The Jason Alexander musical vehicle, Marty, will probably not reach Broadway this coming season. "We've all agreed this is not a race," producer James Weissenbach told Playbill On-Line (July 2). "It's possible we might get there, but there is no reason to."
Weissenbach said much depended on the musical's book, a new draft of which he expected from playwright Aaron Sorkin by next week. "We feel it's most important that the draft of the book be solidified," he said. "A show like Marty needs to have a strong book. Then we'll look at it, and decide whether to rewrite or bring aboard a director." He added that he had no worries concerning the score, given the speedy work habits of composer Charles Strouse and Lee Adams. Six songs have been completed, and many more had been written and discarded.
Marty, based on the 1955 film, concerns a homely, hapless Bronx butcher who is granted a new lease on life when he unexpectedly finds love. 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.
Composer Strouse and lyricist Adams are best known for the 1961 Tony winning Best Musical, Bye Bye Birdie. Strouse is also famous for his Annie score. Sorkin wrote 1990 Broadway hit A Few Good Men. Alexander recently finished his final season as George in the sitcom "Seinfeld." He stage credits include Jerome Robbins' Broadway and Merrily We Roll Along.
Marty may receive a reading next summer, said Weissenbach, and afterwards stage a tryout in a city other than New York. If all goes well, he said, the musical may proceed from the tryout directly to Broadway. --By Robert Simonson