Work Progresses on Jason Alexander Musical Marty

News   Work Progresses on Jason Alexander Musical Marty Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander confirmed to Playbill On-Line that he is planning to return to Broadway "in a very special way, with a very special project," the stage musical adaptation of the Academy Award-winning 1955 film Marty.

Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander confirmed to Playbill On-Line that he is planning to return to Broadway "in a very special way, with a very special project," the stage musical adaptation of the Academy Award-winning 1955 film Marty.

Broadway veterans Charles Strouse and Lee Adams are collaborating with playwright/screenwriter Aaron Sorkin on the project.

"Work is progressing nicely," said Alexander from his Jason Entertaiment offices on the 20th Century-Fox Studio lot in Hollywood. "Within a year to a year-and-a half, we'll take a look at it and begin thinking about a workshop and how we'll come to Broadway. As far as we're concerned, the sooner the better."

Composer Strouse and lyricist Adams are best known for the 1961 Tony-winning Best Musical Bye Bye Birdie. Strouse, of course, is famous for his Annie score. Sorkin took Broadway by storm with his 1990 sleeper hit A Few Good Men, which was made into a hit film starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore.

"We've got an outline of the show," said Alexander, "and five songs are finished. We've sat back and taken a look and listen and we're quite pleased." Alexander stated that a director is still to be chosen, but his partner James Weissenbach is the producer of record. Alexander said that all rights to the film had been obtained by Weissenbach from M-G-M studios and the estate of the late screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky "contingent on my involvement in the musical."

The co-star of NBC-TV hit sitcom "Seinfeld," now in its ninth season -- with all the stars this season getting a huge boost in salaries -- said he wasn't discounting another season on the show.

Alexander, the Tony-winning star of Jerome Robbins' Broadway, also co-starred in the short lived 1981 Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along, in which Weissenbach briefly also co-starred as Franklin Shepard. He was replaced during previews.

In Marty, Alexander will play the role of a Bronx butcher, a homely mama's boy who doesn't plan to find love, but does. On screen, the role earned an Oscar for Ernest Borgnine. Chayefsky also won for his screenplay, which had originally been presented as a TV special.

Alexander will be seen on ABC-TV's "Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday, Nov. 2 in a newly added role in Disney's new adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein favorite "Cinderella." The $10-million special, with contemporary orchestrations and arrangements, also stars pop singer Brandy, Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg, Paolo Montalban, Veanne Cox and Natalie Desselle. Alexander portrays the prince's steward.

Alexander starred in the 1995 TV movie of Strouse and Adams's Bye Bye Birdie opposite Vanessa Williams and Tyne Daly.

This May in Los Angeles he co-starred in the "Reprise!" concert staging of the 1968 Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Neil Simon musical Promises, Promises at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, which is being brought back by popular demand Aug. 14-24. Alan Thicke, Jean Smart, Karen Fineman, Linda Hart and Barney Martin (from the original Chicago) are among the stars in the cast of the musical, based on Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's Oscar-winning film "The Apartment."

Alexander, in what could easily be called his busiest two years, also is starring in the film adaptation of Love! Valour! Compassion! as Buzz, the role originated by Nathan Lane in Terrence McNally's Tony winning play.

-- By Ellis Nassour

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