Mike Burstyn will play the titular allergist to Valerie Harper's angst-ridden wife in the 41-city national tour of The Tale of Allergist's Wife, producers announced.
Following summer engagements in Los Angeles and San Francisco, starring Harper and the original Broadway cast, the refigured tour — with Jana Robbins assuming the Michele Lee role as a sexy childhood friend of Harper's character — launches in Denver in September.
Burstyn's credits include Ain't Broadway Grand on Broadway (Outer Critics Circle nomination), the Encores! concert staging of Fiorello!, plus Barnum, Inquest and The Megilla. Off-Broadway he appeared in The Rothschilds (Drama Desk nomination) and The Prisoner of Second Avenue. He toured in Jolson. Fluent in eight languages, he has enjoyed a distinguished international career, including appearances on Dutch TV, in the Dutch production of Barnum and in major venues such as London’s Paladium. He is considered one of the major stage, screen and recording artists of Israel.
The Charles Busch comedy about depressive Majorie Taub, of Manhattan's Upper West Side, is a Broadway hit that began at Off-Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club. It transferred to the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 2000. Linda Lavin originated the role of Marjorie (earning a 2001 Tony Award nomination), and Harper stepped into the role later. Michele Lee created the role of the mysterious and sexy old pal, Lee, and Tony Roberts played the original Ira, the husband who gets caught in the middle. All three, including Shirl Bernheim (as Marjorie mother) and Anil Kumar (as Mohammed, the doorman) are reprising their Broadway roles at the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. and San Francisco's Curran Theatre this summer. Rhea Perlman and Marilu Henner are currently starring on Broadway. Robbins was a standby for both Harper and Lee on Broadway, and is a veteran of I Love My Wife and the Tyne Daly Gypsy on Broadway. MTC's Lynne Meadow directed Allergist's Wife.
Joining Harper, Robbins and Burstyn on tour will be Kumar (the philosophical doorman) and Sondra James (as the cranky mother). Lynne Meadow has been artistic director of Manhattan Theatre Club since 1972. The Tale of the Allergist's Wife is produced by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, artistic director; Barry Grove, executive producer), Carole Shorenstein Hays, Daryl Roth, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer, The creative team includes set design by Santo Loquasto, costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Christopher Akerlind and sound by Bruce Ellman and Brian Ronan.