The 41-city national tour of Charles Busch's hit Broadway comedy, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, launches Sept. 10 at Denver's Auditorium Theatre, with Valerie Harper as the title character she played on Broadway and the West Coast.
Harper comes to the Mile High City from summer engagements of the show in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and her 2001-02 run on Broadway, where she had taken over for Linda Lavin, who created the role. Harper, best known as Rhoda on TV's "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda," plays middle-aged Marjorie Taub, a depressed Upper West Side housewife whose deflated life gets some helium in the form a surprise visit from a sexy childhood friend named Lee, played by Jana Robbins, who stood by for the roles of Marjorie and Lee on Broadway.
The current Broadway production, with Rhea Perlman, Richard Kind and Marilu Henner, ends its run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre Sept. 15. The play was first seen at the Manhattan Theatre Club Off-Broadway, where Lavin co starred with Michele Lee (as Lee), Tony Roberts (as Ira), Kumar and Shirl Bernheim (as mom Frieda). In the Broadway troupe that closes Sept. 15, Chevi Colton is Frieda and Daniel Sandoval is Mohammed.
MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow directs the national troupe, as she did previous stagings. The play opened on Broadway Nov. 2, 2000, after its spring 2000 run Off Broadway. Jana Robbins appeared in Broadway's Good News, I Love My Wife, Romance/Romance, Crimes of the Heart and Gypsy. She was the standby for Tyne Daly and Linda Lavin in Gypsy and both the wives in Cy Coleman's I Love My Wife.
Burstyn's credits include Ain't Broadway Grand on Broadway (Outer Critics Circle nomination), the Encores! concert staging of Fiorello!, plus Barnum, Inquest and The Megilla. Off Broadway he appeared in The Rothschilds (Drama Desk nomination) and The Prisoner of Second Avenue. He toured in Jolson. Fluent in eight languages, he has enjoyed a distinguished international career, including appearances on Dutch TV, in the Dutch production of Barnum and in major venues such as London’s Paladium. He is considered one of the major stage, screen and recording artists of Israel.
This is the most successful and high-profile work of actor writer Charles Busch yet. His plays include Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Times Square Angel, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset (in which he also appeared, in drag). He also penned the novel, "Lost Whores of Atlantis," and the book of the musical, The Green Heart. The Tale of the Allergist's Wife earned him the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for Playwriting. He was also Tony Award-nominated for the play.
Lynne Meadow has been artistic director of Manhattan Theatre Club since 1972. The Tale of the Allergist's Wife is produced by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, artistic director; Barry Grove, executive producer), Carole Shorenstein Hays, Daryl Roth, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer, The creative team includes set design by Santo Loquasto, costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Christopher Akerlind and sound by Bruce Ellman and Brian Ronan.
Cities on the 2002-03 tour list include St. Louis, Detroit, Boston, Chicago and more. Tour dates through April 6, 2003, have been announced. Click here to visit Playbill On Line's listing for the tour.
For Denver Center for the Performing Arts ticket information, call (303) 893-4100 or (800) 641-1222.