The reading for Manhattan Theatre Club — like many readings sponsored or seen by resident theatres — does not necessarily guarantee a future life on that troupe's stage. MTC has not announced the show for any of its three spaces (Stage I or II Off-Broadway or the aborning Biltmore on Broadway).
Based on a Eudora Welty novella and first staged in 1974, prior to two separate runs on Broadway, The Robber Bridegroom is a flavorful sexual fable set upon the "Natchez Trace." The show has been attracting producer interest since 2002, Alfred Uhry told Playbill On-Line last year.
"There have always been stock and amateur productions right through these 25 years, but there's never been a full scale [revival], and people are talking about it now," he said.
The MTC reading was musical-directed by Eric Stern. Playbill On-Line confirmed the cast included Chris Seiber as Jamie Lockhart, Kerry Butler as Rosamund, Dick Latessa as Musgrove, Candy Buckley as Salome, Bill Youmans as Goat, Randy Redd as Little Harp, C. Mingo Long as Big Harp/Ensemble, Allyson Tucker as Raven/Ensemble and Michael Brian, Jeff Edgerton, Eric Michael Gillett, Megan McGinnis, Rachel Ulanet and Melanie Vaughn in ensemble roles.
* The Robber Bridegroom had a 1974 staging at St. Clement's Church, courtesy of Musical Theatre Workshop. The following year, a touring production by the Acting Company played briefly at Broadway's Harkness Theatre in 1975-76. A young Kevin Kline played the romantic bandit Jamie Lockhart and pre-Evita Patti LuPone was voluptuous Rosamund Musgrove, who falls prey to Jamie's charms. LuPone and Uhry were nominated for Tony Awards.
The musical returned to Broadway in 1976-77 for a longer run. Gerald Freedman again directed, but the cast had changed. Barry Bostwick was Jamie and Rhonda Coullet played Rosamund. This time, Bostwick was nominated for a Tony and won.
The score of Robber Bridegroom features such songs as "Two Heads," "Pricklepear Bloom," "Nothin' Up," "Sleepy Man" and "Once Upon a Natchez Trace." A cast album exists.
Uhry would not write another original musical until 1998's Parade. In between, he wrote the award-winning plays Driving Miss Daisy and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. His most recent plays are Without Walls, which premiered in 2002 at Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Edgardo Mine, seen at Hartford Stage.
Composer Waldman and lyricist Uhry previously collaborated on a 1968 musical version of "East of Eden" called Here's Where I Belong, which had a book by Terrence McNally. It played one night on Broadway.