Valerie Harper, Michele Lee, Tony Roberts, Shirl Bernheim and Anil Kumar exit the Broadway production of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife May 26, and pack their bags for the comedy's Los Angeles premiere, set for June.
This leaves an empty stage — but not for long — at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where Charles Busch comedy has been a hit. Stepping into the lights of the Broadway production May 28 will be an entirely new company, including Rhea Perlman as the depressive Upper West Side wife, Marjorie Taub; Marliu Henner as childhood friend, Lee, who shakes things up; Richard Kind as the allergist; Charles Daniel Sandoval as Mohammed, the doorman; and Chevi Colton as Frieda, Marjorie's cranky mother.
The comedy's two new stars, Marilu Henner and Rhea Perlman, made their names in two James Burrows sitcoms, "Taxi" and "Cheers," respectively. Kind starred in the sitcom, "Spin City."
The Harper-Roberts-Lee production plays the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, June 18-Aug. 11, followed by a run in San Francisco at the Curran Theatre, with Lee, Harper and Roberts. After that, Harper (famously, TV's "Rhoda") and longtime Broadway Wife standby Jana Robbins star in a 40-week national tour that launches Sept. 10 in Denver.
* Henner has appeared in the Broadway production of Chicago and tour of the recent revival of Annie Get Your Gun, for which she won positive notices. In addition to "Taxi," in which she played hopeful art dealer Elaine Nardo, Henner starred in the series "Evening Shade" and the film "L.A. Story." Before gaining fame on "Cheers" as the acerbic waitress Carla Tortelli, Perlman actually did a stint on "Taxi" playing the girlfriend of Danny DeVito's character, Louis DePalma. Devito and Perlman are married in real life.
The Charles Busch comedy about a depressed Manhattan wife (Perlman) and the childhood friend (Henner) who shakes up her life began at Off Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club in 1999 2000 and made a commercial transfer to become a Broadway hit. Its original "wife" was Linda Lavin, who was nominated for a Best Actress Tony Award for her work. Allergist's Wife continues at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it opened Nov. 2, 2000.
Producers are Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, artistic director; Barry Grove, executive producer), Carole Shorenstein Hays, Daryl Roth, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer. Designers are Santo Loquasto (set), Ann Roth (costumes), Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Bruce Ellman and Brian Ronan (sound).
Broadway tickets range $35-$75. For information, call (212) 239-6200.