Marty, the Charles Strouse-Lee Adams musical of the Oscar winning 1955 film about a homely, unassuming Bronx butcher who gets a new lease on life through an unexpected romance, is showing some signs of life after having fallen off the radar for over a year. A new reading of the piece will take place at The Dramatist's Guild in New York City on Aug. 1.
The reading is not intended for backers, producer James Weissenbach told Playbill On-Line, but is a private affair for the benefit of the creative team. "It's for the production staff to hear the material," said Weissenbach. "I mean, Charles' [singing] is great, but it's such a delicate show, we want to hear real singers sing it."
An estimable cast of 15 is being assembled and should be finalized by early next week. For now, it looks like Carol Lawrence will play the role of Marty's mother; Josie de Guzman (Guys and Dolls) will play Clara, the shy girl who displays faith in Marty; and Robert Sella will be Leo, one of Marty's cronies.
"Seinfeld" actor Jason Alexander, long connected to the project, is still involved, but will not take part in the reading. Instead, he will examine the musical from the audience. The actor playing the title role for the reading has not been identified.
The show recently took on a new bookwriter in the person of Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Holmes replaces Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, television's "The West Wing" and "Sports Night"). The change in personnel necessitated some rewriting. Composer Strouse and lyricist Adams are best known for the 1961 Tony-winning Best Musical, Bye Bye Birdie. They also collaborated on Golden Boy, All-American and Applause. Strouse is also famous for his Annie score.
On screen, the movie earned Oscars for Ernest Borgnine, who played Marty, screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, and director Delbert Mann. It also won the Best Picture prize.
--By Robert Simonson