Manhattan Theatre Club has officially announced what had been mentioned off the-record and in newspaper columns: The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, the hit comedy by Charles Busch that sold out its 10-week run in MTC's Off Broadway season, will move to Broadway this fall with its three stars intact.
Linda Lavin, Michele Lee and Tony Roberts will star in the comedy when it moves to a yet-to-be-named Broadway house in October 2000. Shirl Bernheim and Anil Kumar will also join their OB castmates on the Great White Way.
It was thought by some that Lavin would only tell the hit Tale for a few months due to her starring in announced revivals of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound in repertory in Miami in February 2001, prior to a Broadway run. But an MTC spokesman told Playbill On-Line April 21 that the lauded Lavin is signed to star in Tale for the entire Broadway season, from September rehearsals through 2001 Tony Award time. An October opening is expected.
MTC will partner with producers Carol Shorenstein Hays, Daryl Roth, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer to present the Broadway staging of the comedy about a depressive Upper West Side Jewish pseudo intellectual housewife (Lavin) whose comic self-hatred is alleviated by the arrival of childhood friend (Lee). Roberts plays Lavin's blase allergist husband, Bernheim is her hateful, aging mother and Kumar is the building's doorman.
Designers remain Santo Loquasto (set), Ann Roth (costumes), Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound). Lynne Meadow , MTC artistic director, staged The Tale, which opened Feb. 29 at MTC's Stage II. Previews began Feb. 8 and word of mouth, plus solid reviews, fueled a sellout.
Playwright Busch is the popular drag performer and scribe whose work includes Psycho Beach Party, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Green Heart and Die! Mommy! Die!
Lee was the strong-willed Karen on TV's "Knots Landing," appeared in the film, "How to Succeed Without Really Trying," and sang the songs of Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields in Broadway's Seesaw (earning a Tony Award nomination).
Lavin starred in TV's "Alice," but is also remembered for Broadway's Broadway Bound (she won the Best Actress Tony Award for playing Kate Jerome) and the most recent revival of Gypsy.
Roberts appeared in Play It Again Sam, Sugar and Victor/Victoria on Broadway, and Woody Allen's film, "Annie Hall."
Bernheim appeared in the world premiere of Old Lady's Guide to Survival at The Humana Festival of New American Plays (and later Off-Broadway), and as Miss Lynch in Grease on Broadway and on tour. She is veteran of many American regional theaters.
Kumar made his Broadway debut in The Public Theater's Macbeth and was Dilip in the American premiere of Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink.
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife closed April 16 at MTC.
There is no word yet about the fate of Brighton Beach Memoirs or Broadway Bound at Miami's Coconut Grove Playhouse. A spokesperson for the Coconut Grove is in contact with the New York producer and an announcement is expected soon.
The Neil Simon plays were announced to play Miami Feb. 6 March 18, 2001, prior to a Broadway run in spring 2001.