The Visit's fate had been in limbo since the show debuted at The Goodman Theater in Chicago on Oct. 1, 2001. The show's longtime goal had been Broadway, but those plans later altered into reports of a regional berth and "various options" in Manhattan. The Visit will be Kander and Ebb's first original musical to bow in New York since the short-lived Broadway venture, Steel Pier, in the 1996-97 season.
The Friedrich Dürrenmatt-inspired musical is about Claire Zachanassian (Rivera), the world's richest woman, and the price she asks of her former beau (McMartin) for saving her economically-depressed hometown. The supporting cast in Chicago included Guy Adkins, Steven Sutcliffe and Mark Jacoby.
Over the past year, McMartin's time has been taken up with playing the narrator in the Broadway revival of Into the Woods. The Sondheim show recently closed. Rivera, meanwhile, is contracted to star in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of Nine this spring.
Barry Brown, Anita Waxman, Elizabeth Williams and Kevin McCollum are The Visit's commercial producers. At one point, several seasons back, The Visit starred Angela Lansbury and was on the fast track for Broadway. When Lansbury dropped out to tend to her sick husband, the project stalled until it found a home at the Goodman and a new star in Rivera. Kander and Ebb are currently enjoying a late-career moment in the sun with the astounding success of the movie version of their show Chicago.
Past Public Theater musicals include A Chorus Line, The Wild Party and On the Town. This season includes Radiant Baby, a new musical about artist Keith Haring. The Public has not officially announced its 2003-04 season.