The Visit will not be making a second regional stop before opening in New York City, but instead is likely to begin pre-production work sometime near the close of 2002.
Producer Elizabeth Williams told Playbill On-Line Feb. 11 that she was talking to a few different interested regional cities about the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Terrence McNally musical. Those plans, however, have apparently changed, according to a show spokesman. Now, producers Barry Brown, Anita Waxman, Elizabeth Williams and Kevin McCollum are exploring "various options" in Manhattan. It could not be discerned whether this meant the musical, long aimed for Broadway, might attempt an Off-Broadway bow.
Chita Rivera and John McMartin starred in the generally well received world premiere of the Dürrenmatt-inspired musical. The show opened Oct. 1, 2001, at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, after previews from Sept. 21. Williams said the two stars would likely headline future productions. She noted, however, that McMartin is currently busy in the Broadway bound revival of Sondheim's Into the Woods. In the meantime, the show's creative team are busy retooling the piece.
Frank Galati (Ragtime) directed and Ann Reinking (Fosse) choreographed the tale of a depressed town and its famous former resident — Claire Zachanassian, the richest woman in the world. Claire was driven from her hometown in disgrace when she was 17, betrayed by her lover, Anton Schell (McMartin). Many years (and seven husbands) later, she returns (beautifully dressed, but with a wooden leg) to her now-impoverished stomping grounds and offers to save the town. The price? Nothing less than the life of Schell.
The musical is drawn from the 1956 play of the same name by Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt. The play's original title was Der Besuch der alten Dame (Visit of the Old Woman), and was produced in London and New York as The Visit starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. The musical's cast included Guy Adkins (Karl Schell), McKinley Carter (Annie Dummermut), Mark Jacoby (Mayor Peter Dummermut), Cristen Paige (Otillie Schell), Ami Silvestri (Matilde nee Blumhard), Steven Sutcliffe (Schoolmaster Kuhn), with Scott Calcagno, Tina Cannon, Jim Corti, Mark Crayton, Joseph Dellger, Roberta Duchak, John W. Eskola, James Harms, Rob Hatzenbeller, Brian Herriott, Rosalyn Rahn Keirns, Leisa Mather, Matt Orlando, Adam Pelty, Greg Walter, Jonathan Weir, Bernie Yvon and Raymond Zrinsky.
—By Robert Simonson