York Theatre Company has dropped its plan to mount the world-premiere staging of the new musical comedy, The Lady In Penthouse B, April 30-June 9, but is calling the change a postponement.
Among issues impacting the change was star Tovah Feldshuh's commitment to another show, which overlapped with Lady. In the new show, which was to also star Liz Callaway, Feldshuh was to play a gossip columnist, and Callaway her assistant.
The show has music by Matthew Ward and book and lyrics by Peter Napolitano. Jay Berkow was to direct. Feldshuh and Callaway appeared in a May 2001 reading of the musical at the York's digs at The Theater at St. Peter's in Manhattan. An announcement about a replacement show for April-May is expected the week of April 8.
The Lady in Penthouse B is a tell-all, showbiz fairy tale billed as part Cinderella and part Cindy Adams. In the New York City-set show, a struggling actress named Mel Mitchell (to be played by Callaway) takes a job as personal assistant to the famous gossip columnist, Lady Susan. Mel hopes that putting up with the demanding, insensitive Lady will help her realize her dream of becoming a Broadway star. Lady Susan's ego and insecurity blinds her to the truth about her faltering career and increasing solitude. When she is injured in an accident and forced to rely on Mel, the show becomes about the women finding common ground and mutual respect. The show has a cast of six. Feldshuh (Lady Susan) has received three Tony Award nominations, an Emmy nomination, three Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critic Circle Awards, the Obie, and The Theater World Award. She has a recurring role on the TV series "Law and Order" and co-stars in the Fox Searchlight film, "Kissing Jessica Stein," to be released in New York in March. Her recent one-woman show, Tallulah Hallelujah, in which she played Tallulah Bankhead, played Off-Broadway last season, earning another Outer Critics Circle nomination.
Liz Callaway (Mel) starred on Broadway in Baby (Tony Nomination), Miss Saigon and Cats. She is the singing voice of the title characters in the animated films "Anastasia" and "The Swan Princess." She has recorded three acclaimed CD recitals and tours the country performing solo and with her sister, Ann Hampton Callaway. Earlier this season she earned rave reviews for her role in The Spitfire Grill at Playwrights Horizons.
When Lady had a public reading in 2001, it was billed as "a musical comedy fairy tale" in which "animals sing, furniture dances and dreams come true."
The York Theatre is known for its commitment to new musicals and concert presentations of classic shows in its intimate setting at The Theater at St. Peter's in the Citicorp Center at Lexington and 54th Street. For information, call (212) 239-6200.
— By Kenneth Jones