A number of misfortunes conspired to postpone moving George C. Wolfe's Central Park revival of On The Town to a legit Broadway house this spring, but the show is still a go for early fall.
Public Theatre spokesperson Carol Fineman denied (April 20) recent reports that the transfer had been cancelled. Fineman said rehearsals are set to start in August with Wolfe, who recently underwent a kidney transplant, directing. No choreographer has been selected and casting has not yet been announced. Fineman said the show was still on track to open in September or October. No theatre has been booked.
A dispute between director Wolfe and choreographer Christopher d'Amboise was originally blamed for postponing the planned Broadway transfer of the successful summer 1997 Delacorte revival of On the Town, the New York Times reported Jan. 12. Wolfe is recovering from surgery he underwent after completing direction of Macbeth with Angela Bassett and Alec Baldwin, which ended its run at the Public Theatre Mar. 29.
On The Town was to have started rehearsals Feb. 24 and previews April 7 at the St. James Theatre. The Times quoted a spokesperson for The Public Theatre, the revival's primary producer, as saying the production has been postponed until the fall 1998, presumably with a different choreographer.
The spokesperson said d'Amboise left the project owing to "genuine creative differences concerning the dance sequences that could not be resolved," between Wolfe and d'Amboise. Choreographic problems have dogged this revival of the nearly through danced 1944 Leonard Bernstein/ Betty Comden/ Adolph Green musical, which grew from the Jerome Robbins ballet, "Fancy Free." Several times during the 1997 Delacorte Theatre engagement, condensation on the outdoor stage required choreographer Eliot Feld's dance sequences to be dropped in mid performance. Though the revival generally got excellent reviews, especially for comedienne Lea DeLaria as the randy cab driver, Feld's work was seriously questioned, and he withdrew from the Broadway transfer. Now d'Amboise has done the same, and a new choreographer will have to be found.
The Public Theatre announced Jan. 6 that DeLaria would recreate her performance on Broadway this spring. No word yet on whether she will keep herself available until the fall. (She's currently in the Encores!' Li'l Abner and will soon join the Roxie Company of the Chicago tour as Mama Morton.)
The $5.7 million On The Town will open in late September or early October, the Times reported. The production had been considered one of the strongest contenders for the 1998 Best Revival of a Musical Tony Award. Town's postponement left the field to Cabaret, 1776 and The Sound of Music.