Kristin Chenoweth Says She's Broadway-Bound With On the Twentieth Century

By Kenneth Jones
14 Sep 2011

Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth

Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth said that her next Broadway project will be a revival of the On the Twentieth Century, the stylish 1978 musical comedy set on the 20th Century Ltd., the luxury-liner train that used to travel between Chicago and New York City.

She played movie star Lily Garland in a Roundabout Theatre Company reading of the Tony Award-winning show by composer Cy Coleman and lyricist-librettists Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Hugh Jackman and Andrea Martin were also in the reading, it was reported, respectively playing producer Oscar Jaffe (Lily's old flame, hoping to revive his career by signing her to a play) and Letitia Primrose, a wealthy investor (and religious zealot) who promises to back their show.

"The next thing I do on Broadway will be On the Twentieth Century — I'm going to revive that show," Chenoweth said on her Sept. 13 appearance on the talk show "The View," on which she was promoting her new CD "Some Lessons Learned."

Chenoweth, star of TV's "The West Wing," "Pushing Daisies" and the upcoming series "GCB," won her Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She originated the role of Glinda in Wicked and starred in Roundabout's revival of The Apple Tree.



A Roundabout spokesperson confirmed that Chenoweth had done a reading On the Twentieth Century, and said that Roundabout hopes to produce the show in the future. No official plans have been announced.

Based on the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur comedy Twentieth Century, the original Broadway production of the musical opened at the St. James Theatre in February 1978, playing 449 performances before closing in March 1979. The original company, directed by Harold Prince, included Madeline Kahn, John Cullum, Kevin Kline and Imogene Coca. The musical won 1978 Tonys for Score (Coleman, Comden and Green), Scenic Designer (Robin Wagner), Book (Comden and Green) and actors Kline and Cullum. A national tour followed, starring Rock Hudson and Judy Kaye (she had taken over the Lily role on Broadway).

In 2005, On the Twentieth Century was presented as the fifth annual benefit concert for the Actors Fund of America, at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Marin Mazzie and Douglas Sills co-starred.

Mazzie portrayed Lily Garland in the one-night-only benefit concert with Sills as Oscar Jaffe.