Perez and Chamberlin Steam Up The Ritz as Revival of McNally Farce Opens on Broadway

News   Perez and Chamberlin Steam Up The Ritz as Revival of McNally Farce Opens on Broadway Googie Gomez is back onstage at The Ritz as Terrence McNally's bathhouse-set farce returns to Broadway, opening Oct. 11 starring Rosie Perez and Kevin Chamberlin.

Rosie Perez stars in Roundabout's revival of The Ritz.
Rosie Perez stars in Roundabout's revival of The Ritz. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Roundabout Theatre Company presents the new Broadway staging directed by Joe Mantello. Previews began Sept. 15 at Studio 54; the limited engagement will run through Dec. 2.

Billed as "an over-the-top comedy that takes place in a bathhouse in Manhattan," the farcical The Ritz concerns a man (Chamberlin) — hiding out from a mobster in the titular Turkish bath — who realizes he is actually in a gay bathhouse. He then takes on the guise of a big Broadway producer to avoid being discovered.

Perez plays entertainer Googie Gomez, who aspires to bigger venues as she puts on a song-and-dance act that includes unique homages to Lerner & Loewe, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Kander & Ebb, Sondheim, Styne and more.

Brooks Ashmanskas (Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, The Producers) as bathhouse regular Chris, Ashlie Atkinson (Fat Pig) as Vivian Proclo, Patrick Kerr ("Jeffrey," "Frasier") as "chubby chaser" Claude Perkins, Terrence Riordan (Take Me Out tour) as private eye Michael Brick and Lenny Venito ("The Knights of Prosperity") as raging brother-in-law Carmine Vespucci are also featured in the cast.

Rounding out the ensemble are Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, David Turner, Seth Rudetsky, Adam Sietz, Ryan Idol, Teddy Coluca, Billy Magnussen, Mark Leydorf, Matthew Montelongo, Angela Pietropinto, Jeffrey Evan Thomas, Josh Breckenridge, Justin Clynes, Andrew Cooksey, Lukas Hassel, Nick Mayo and Dillon Porter. Andréa Burns (In The Heights) serves as standby for Perez. Christopher Gattelli choreographs with Rudetsky handling musical direction. The design team includes Scott Pask (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher (lights), Tony Meola (sound) and Paul Huntley (hair and wig).

"It's a farce, a sex farce," McNally previously explained to Playbill. "It's my tribute to being in the wrong place at the wrong time: slamming doors, hiding in closets, diving under beds. And when it works well, it makes an audience very happy. Sometimes it's fun to go to the theatre and just laugh your head off, which is one of the points of this play. I'm delighted to get another opportunity to see it."

Actress Perez has taken time between her screen career to add some stage work to her resume, playing in Broadway's recent revivals of Reckless and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Off-Broadway's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot. Her film credits include "Fearless," "Human Nature," "Do the Right Thing," "Untamed Heart" and HBO's "Lackawanna Blues." She made her directorial debut with the 2006 documentary "Yo Soy Boricua Pa'que Tu Lo Sepas!"

Chamberlin returns to the Broadway stage after a recent turn in the City Center Encores! revue Stairway to Paradise. He received Tony nominations for his work in Dirty Blonde and Seussical and has also appeared in Chicago, My Favorite Year, Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Triumph of Love. The actor has also been seen in the films "Lucky Number Slevin," "Road to Perdition," "DieHard With a Vengeance," "In and Out" and "Christmas with the Kranks."

Director Mantello reteams with Roundabout, following his Tony Award-winning direction of Assassins and the company's revival of Noël Coward's Design for Living. Other credits include Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross, Laugh Whore, Wicked, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Man of No Importance and his other Tony Award win, Take Me Out.

Playwright McNally was recently represented on Broadway by Deuce. His work includes plays (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!) as well as librettos (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman). He won Tony Awards for all four aforementioned works. Other credits include Some Men, Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, The Full Monty, The Visit, Corpus Christi, The Lisbon Traviata, Andre's Mother and Lips Together, Teeth Apart.

The Ritz first played Broadway in 1975 in a production directed by Robert Drivas. F. Murray Abraham, Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller and Rita Moreno starred — the latter winning a Tony Award for her turn as Googie Gomez. (Take a peek back at the original 1975 program with Playbill.com's Playbill Archives feature.) The comedy was adapted for the 1976 film with the same stars.

Tickets to The Ritz at Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300 or online at roundabouttheatre.org.

Rosie Perez and Kevin Chamberlin, with (under the bed) Terrence Riordan and Brooks Ashmanskas
Rosie Perez and Kevin Chamberlin, with (under the bed) Terrence Riordan and Brooks Ashmanskas Photo by Joan Marcus