Musical Marty with John C. Reilly Coming to Broadway Next Season

By Ernio Hernandez
February 21, 2003

Marty, the musical version of the Paddy Chayefsky-penned 1955 film, will reach the Broadway stage next season, confirmed director Mark Brokaw. The musical which premiered at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company will once again star John C. Reilly.

"The plan had always been to do it next season. But [when] it went so well in Boston, we were trying to figure out how to get it in earlier, but it was too late in the season," said the helmer of the currently jam-packed Broadway boards.

Plans for the new musical to reach The Great White Way were expected considering the award-winning talent involved: Tony Award-nominated star John C. Reilly (True West), Obie Award-winning director Brokaw (Lobby Hero), Tony Award winning bookwriter Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), the Tony Award-winning songwriting team of composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams (Bye Bye Birdie, Applause) and Tony Award-winning choreographer Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie).

Brokaw revealed there was some work being done on the musical which will be produced under the auspices of Jim Weissenbach and Waxman Williams Entertainment. Weissenbach originally acquired the rights from the Chayefsky family on the strength of the previously-attached star, Jason Alexander. Director Robert Longbottom (Flower Drum Song) and writer Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, "The West Wing") were also previously with the project.

The Huntington Theatre Company's world premiere production of the musical broke all previous advance sales records with a total of $154,471 in non-subscription tickets. That number does not include the over 16,000 subscribers already signed up for this season, according to a Huntington spokesperson.

Reviews for Huntington's production of Marty all favored actor Reilly who is known for his film work moreso than his singing. "I've spent more of my life doing theatre than I have doing film," said Reilly in an interview published in a Huntington newsletter. The thespian who grew up doing musicals such as Brigadoon, The Pajama Game, The King and I and Jesus Christ Superstar added, "But because my professional career has been mostly film, people know me from that. But I learned how to be an actor by doing musicals."

Reilly, who took singing lessons in preparation for the role, also showed off his vocals in the film "Chicago" crooning "Mr. Cellophane" in his Academy Award-nominated turn as Amos Hart. Brokaw told Playbill On-Line "Everyone will know him even better now," about his current film success, adding "He's perfect for the part [of Marty], it's perfect casting." A Broadway vet, Reilly was Tony Award-nominated for his double duty in True West, opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The songlist for the Boston run of Marty included "Marty," "Whaddya Feel Like Doiní?," "Saturday Night Girl," "Play the Game," "That Blue Suit," "Why Not You and Me?," "She Sees Who I Am," "Recessional," "Saturday Night Girl Reprise," "My Star," "Niente Da Fare," "What Else Could I Do?," "Almost," "Life is Sweet" and "Wish I Knew A Love Song."