The Broadway revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, with Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci, will begin previews at the Belasco Theatre July 26 prior to an Aug. 8 opening.
The Araca Group, the producing team behind Broadway's Urinetown, is presenting the staging of the two character Terrence McNally play, about tentative romance between two working-class people. Joe Mantello (who helmed McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion!) directs. John Lee Beatty is designing the set.
The three Araca partners, Matthew Rego, Michael Rego and Hank Unger, were planning to bring the play to Broadway in the spring, but the stars' schedules did not allow for it. The historic Belasco's most recent tenant was The Mystery of Charles Dickens starring Simon Callow.
Tucci rose quickly through the Off-Broadway ranks (Scapin) to become a film star ("Big Night"). Just before "The Sopranos" made her an offer she couldn't refuse, Falco created the role of Terry in the Tony Award-winning Side Man.
* A reading of the play, with Falco and Tucci, was done in fall 2001. Designers include Brian MacDevitt (lighting), Scott Lahr (sound) and Laura Bauer (costumes).
Recent years have seen author McNally concentrate on gay themes (Corpus Christi, L!V!C!, The Lisbon Traviata) and libretti for big Broadway musicals (Ragtime, The Full Monty), but this earlier hit was a somewhat old-fashioned love story: Middle-aged boy meets plain-jane girl and, despite mutual wounds that haven't healed, romance ensues.
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune originally played the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1987, and starred Kenneth Welsh and a pre-"Misery" Kathy Bates. Later couples would include Carol Kane and Bruce "Hill Street Blues" Weitz, and Bonnie Franklin and Tony Musante. The show would run 533 performances. The 1991 movie version, "Frankie and Johnny," was well-received, though some critics noted that stars Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer were a tad too glamorous to play a short-order cook and a waitress.