Playbill On-Line has learned that Marty Richards will be the lead producer on the new Cy Coleman musical, It's Good to Be Alive. Richards has produced such shows as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Crimes of the Heart, The Life, The Will Rogers Follies, La Cage Aux Folles and On the Twentieth Century.
"We're still forming the production team," Coleman said, "but Marty Richards and PACE Theatricals will be producing."
Coleman confirmed that Gene Saks will direct the musical comedy and that the book will be by Avery Corman, author of the novels "Kramer vs. Kramer," "Oh, God!" "The Old Neighborhood" and "50." Choreography on the show will be by Patricia Birch.
In addition to the music for the show, Coleman collaborated on the lyrics with Avery Corman.
The popular composer of Sweet Charity, City of Angels and The Will Rogers Follies, Coleman describes It's Good to Be Alive as hysterical. As reported earlier, Alan King will star as the acting managing director of a struggling theatrical troupe in the '20s, during the heyday of Yiddish theater in New York City.
"Back then," Coleman said, "there were 22 thriving theatres in New York, which was quite a revelation to me."
Coleman described his play's lead character saying, "You've got Alan King playing 'Romeo.' This is a guy in his '60s and he's decided nothing has been written that can't be changed. So he rewrites Shakespeare so that all of the endings are happy endings."
Coleman said he wants to take the show out of town for tryouts for a number of reasons. "When you do this kind of comedy," Coleman explained, "it's best to go out of town and be able to play with your audience and see if everything you thought would work actually works."
Production sources say substantial financing has been committed to It's Good to Be Alive, and that the show could be up sometime in the spring.
-- By Murdoch McBride