A West Coast hit during its spring engagement at the Canon Theatre in Beverly Hills, and a hot ticket at various venues in New York State, the Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna duet, If You Ever Leave Me...I’m Coming With You, is seriously eyeing a Broadway production this-coming spring.
Both Bologna and co-general manager Steven Levy confirmed that negotiations have begun in finding a theatre for the comedy, which covers the couple's romantic courtship, their first wedding reception on the Merv Griffin Show, their five marriage ceremonies, and the "near spouse-icides of the three decades of professional collaboration" (the latter phrase courtesy of a spokesperson at the Canon). The show, which employs film clips and stills to augment the live performances, also includes scenes from the couple's last duet, the Off-Broadway hit, Bermuda Avenue Triangle, as well as It Had to Be You and their best-known pairing, Lovers and Other Strangers.
“We’re definitely approaching theatre owners,” Levy (of Soloway/Levy Productions, Inc.) told Playbill On-Line (Oct. 17). “Anything from 750 seats up, but obviously not too big either. Capitalization is still being worked out, but it’s in line with other shows of this size.” Marvin Melzer is the lead producer of the show, which will likely be an open run.
GM Levy added that If You Ever... is specifically targeting Broadway rather than Off, owing to Bologna and Taylor’s popularity and increasingly polished presentation. “The show has developed more and more, to better and better response,” said Levy, “regardless of house size and configuration of theatre. These people are known from TV, film, Broadway, and there’s a tremendous audience for their comedy... Broadway has such greater exposure than when you’re tucked away in an Off Broadway theatre. That’s why they’re taking the plunge.”
Married for more than 33 years, Taylor and Bologna wrote, co-directed and star in the show, which was staged at a few regional theatres after having been briefly workshopped in L.A. two years ago. Venues have included the Helen Hayes Center in Nyack, NY as well as Queens Theatre in the Park and one-night gigs at Long Island's Westbury Music Fair, March 5 and Oct. 15. Beyond If You Ever, Bologna has been especially busy these days, having directed the hit comedy King Levine, which had a commercial engagement at the Tiffany Theatre in L.A. and a run at the Hayes Center in Nyack, and, on the West Coast, Metrano’s Accidental Comedy, a revised version of Art Metrano’s solo, The Amazing Metrano, concerning the comedian’s recovery from paralysis following being shot by a crazed parking lot attendant. Taylor is known to TV audiences for her Emmy-nominated role as Fran Drescher's mom on "The Nanny." The Soloway/Levy general management firm also owns Playhouse 91 and handles that Off-Broadway theatre’s current tenant, The Syringa Tree, a solo by Pamela Gien.