Bye Bye Birdie and Present Laughter Are Broadway-Bound

News   Bye Bye Birdie and Present Laughter Are Broadway-Bound
Roundabout Theatre Company wants its audiences to put on a happy face — at least twice — in 2009-10 with two newly announced productions. The not-for-profit revealed Jan. 25 that it will revive the Tony Award-winning musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie and Noël Coward's showbiz comedy Present Laughter.

Victor Garber stars in
Victor Garber stars in "Eli Stone" Photo by ABC/Bob D'Amico

Both productions will play Broadway, at theatres to be announced. Roundabout currently operates two Broadway theatres: Studio 54 (housing Pal Joey at the moment) and the American Airlines Theatre (now home to Hedda Gabler).

In fall 2009, Robert Longbottom (Flower Drum Song, Side Show) will direct and choreograph Bye Bye Birdie, the 1960 musical comedy about an Elvis-like rock star being inducted into the Army, and his agent-songwriter's plan to exploit the milestone. The book is by Michael Stewart and songs are by composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams.

The sweetly satiric hit show introduced the songs "Put On a Happy Face," "A Lot of Livin' to Do" and "Kids."

Strouse told that theatregoers can expect a traditional "period" version of the show. Roundabout workshopped the musical in recent seasons, with Longbottom helming.

In winter 2009-10, Nicholas Martin will direct Victor Garber in Coward's Present Laughter, reuniting actor and director following their production of the play at Boston's Huntington Theatre.

According to Roundabout, "At the center of his own universe sits matinee idol Garry Essendine (Victor Garber). While Garry struggles to plan his upcoming trip to Africa, his elegant London flat is invaded by a love struck ingénue, an adulterous producer and a married seductress, not to mention Garry's estranged wife and a crazed young playwright. Just before Garry escapes, the full extent of his misdemeanors is discovered and all hell breaks loose."

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