Though initially targeted for late fall, Eric Houston's comedy, Sweet Deliverance, is now eyeing Broadway for early spring 2000. Financing and details are still being ironed out, as is casting, though "The Nanny's" Fran Drescher has already participated in a July 12 reading and has been seriously mentioned for the lead, according to spokespersons at the David Rothenberg press office.
In early spring 1999, producer Alexander H. Cohen optioned the comedy, which tells of a hospital intern who transforms herself into "an amalgam of Dr. Kevorkian and Martha Stewart." He also said David Warren, who staged the Roundabout's Hurrah At Last, is in discussions to direct (no director has yet been announced).
Sweet Deliverance was workshopped in 1994 as part of Barter Theatre of Abingdon, VA's Early Stages program. Niko Associates/Carl Pasbjerg serve as General Managers on the project.
Producer Cohen, who will also mount an all-star anniversary production of Noel Coward's Waiting In The Wings on Broadway this season (with Lauren Bacall, Barnard Hughes, Rosemary Harris, Simon Jones, Rosemary Murphy and Dana Ivey), appeared in his own Off-Broadway show this past winter. In Star Billing, Cohen reflected on his theatrical successes (including Richard Burton's Hamlet, John Gielgud's School for Scandal, Harold Pinter's The Homecoming), his inevitable flops, as well as some of the infamous feuds he's had over the years, with names like Jerry Lewis, Marlene Dietrich, and the Shuberts.
The 78-year old Cohen began his producing career 57 years ago, when his Angel Street opened in 1941. Cohen also produced the televised Tony Awards for 20 years, as well as three "Night of 100 Stars" specials. He has received countless awards including a Tony, Emmy, Oscar, Theatre World's Showman of the Year, The Shubert Foundation Award and numerous others. He's also initiated a nasty legal battle with the League of American Theatres and Producers and the American Theatre Wing over rights to the first 20 years of Tony Award television broadcasts. -- By David Lefkowitz