Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Charles Busch's Manhattan Comedy, Opens Nov. 2

News   Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Charles Busch's Manhattan Comedy, Opens Nov. 2 The whine began flowing freely on Broadway beginning Oct. 11, when Linda Lavin began previews as a deeply discontented Upper West Side married lady in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
Michele Lee and Linda Lavin toast a spiritural new beginning in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife.
Michele Lee and Linda Lavin toast a spiritural new beginning in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. (Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus)

The whine began flowing freely on Broadway beginning Oct. 11, when Linda Lavin began previews as a deeply discontented Upper West Side married lady in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

On Nov. 2, the urban comedy by Charles Busch — a sellout hit at Off-Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club in the spring — officially opens on Broadway.

Lavin repeats the role that won her raves and affection in the earlier MTC world premiere. The Off-Broadway cast reunites for the Broadway staging.

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The Barrymore is ground zero for the earthquake of angst and depression experienced by the title character in Busch's New Yorky comedy, about a depressive, kvetching Upper West Side wife, Marjorie Taub (played by Lavin), who cannot find hope in her life despite her daily intellectual, social and charitable activities. She is finally comforted by the appearance of a vivacious childhood friend, played by Michele Lee, who leads Marjorie and her doctor husband (Tony Roberts) to new and surprising experiences.

Tale previously had a sold-out 10-week Off Broadway run at Manhattan Theatre Club. The cast also includes Shirl Bernheim (as Marjorie's prickly mother) and Anil Kumar (as the building's doorman). MTC artistic director Lynne Meadow again stages the show.

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For the Broadway Allergist's Wife, MTC will partner with producers Carol Shorenstein Hays, Daryl Roth, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer. The cost to mount the show is $1.6 million, Variety reported.

Designers remain Santo Loquasto (set), Ann Roth (costumes), Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound).

Tale originally was told Feb. 8-April 16 (it opened Feb. 29) at MTC's Stage II. 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 Broadway revival of Gypsy (after Tyne Daly). Show tune fans know her for a memorable secretary role in the cult Charles Strouse-Lee Adams musical, It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman.

Roberts appeared in Play It Again Sam, Sugar and Victor/Victoria on Broadway, and Woody Allen's film, "Annie Hall," among other pictures.

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.

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Broadway tickets are $30-$70. The Barrymore Theatre is at 243 W. 47th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway. Call (212) 239-6200 for information.