"The only thing I can say is that it will be the next one we'll attack," Herman told Playbill On-Line, referring the an agreement with the Nederlanders to stage Herman's La Cage aux Folles, Mame and Hello, Dolly! in the next five years. La Cage goes into rehearsal this summer under the direction of Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell. It will play an out-of-town tryout before Broadway, he said.
Announcements of 2004 pre-Broadway engagements of Mame (in Cleveland and Minneapolis, for example) have been "premature," he said. "Thinking about [Mame] now with all the other things [going on] makes me crazy."
The "other things" in 2004 — beyond the Broadway La Cage revival — include a revised version of Mack & Mabel, by Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT, in October 2004. His revue, Showtune, has just been released as a licensable property by Music Theatre International and will likely blossom in regional markets (a recent Caldwell Theatre staging in Florida was the first licensed production).
Reports about Cher starring in a TV movie musical of Mame this year are also premature, he said.
"That's sort of on hold, the TV movie," Herman explained. "I think we all want to do it legitimately one more time and then we'll worry about filming it. I want to see it on the stage again." Mame, inspired by the Patrick Dennis novel and later Lawrence and Lee play, Auntie Mame, was last on Broadway in the mid 1980s, starring Angela Lansbury in the role she created. The staging was a surprise flop.
"There's an entire generation that has never seen it, and it will be absolutely new," Herman said of the project. "I believe so passionately in revivals of good pieces of work. We don't throw out our operas. We don't throw out fine plays. Why should we dispose of our musicals? They're part of our heritage. I'm very happy that I'm being revived."
A creative team has not been announced for Mame.