Met Opera Commissions New Fledermaus Book From Comden & Green

News   Met Opera Commissions New Fledermaus Book From Comden & Green After almost 60 years of successful collaboration -- the longest stretch of creative teamwork in showbiz history -- Betty Comden and Adolph Green are actually making a debut somewhere.

After almost 60 years of successful collaboration -- the longest stretch of creative teamwork in showbiz history -- Betty Comden and Adolph Green are actually making a debut somewhere.

The NY Metropolitan Opera has commissioned these legendary lyricists to write a new English book for its old war-horse by Johann Strauss Jr., Die Fledermaus, and the result of their labors will be opened on Christmas Eve at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center.

"They're still going to sing in German," Comden postscripts blithely. "We couldn't stop that."

This "new book and English dialogue by Betty Comden and Adolph Green," as the Metropolitan bills their latest translation brush-up, will be directed by Otto Schenk. Robert LaFosse (who was so memorable in Bob Fosse's Dancin') will provide some new choreography, and the musical portion of the evening will be conducted by Patrick Summers.

That's December. In November, Comden and Green have two -- count 'em, two -- shows bowing on Broadway. Both are revivals: The first show will be their first show, On the Town, which George C. Wolfe will install Nov. 19 at the Gershwin. Four days later, at a theatre TBA, Cathy Rigby reaches Broadway in a holiday run of Peter Pan, for which the two share songwriting credit with Jule Styne, Moose Charlap and Carolyn Leigh. A few weeks earlier, on Nov. 9, they will get the Governor's Award at the annual Mr. Abbott Awards held at the Copacabana. (George Abbott directed their 1944 On the Town.)

Plus, their shows still speak for themselves: The Will Rogers Follies just enjoyed a run at the Paper Mill Playhouse, with an authentic Oklahoman (John Davidson), and Faith Prince did Judy Holliday's Tony winning role in a D.C. concert edition of their Bells Are Ringing.

The next Comden and Green resurrection on the horizon is Billion Dollar Baby. It will conclude the York Theatre Company's annual series of "Musicals in Mufti," Sept. 25-27.

The best news of all is that Comden and Green are working on a brand-new musical with their Tony-winning composer of On the Twentieth Century and The Will Rogers Follies, Cy Coleman. "We can't go into details," Comden says, heading off additional questions. "It is a work very much in progress so we are not permitted to say anything yet."

-- By Harry Haun

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