What will Jason Alexander do if NBC does not meet his demand for $1 million per episode on a ninth season of "Seinfeld"?
Very possibly Broadway.
Alexander, the Tony-winning star of Broadway's Jerome Robbins' Broadway, who has earned national fame as co-star of the TV comedy "Seinfeld," was reported by Variety as planning to star in a musical version of the film Marty in the 1998-99 season.
His agent, Ames Cushing, had only an answering machine picking up calls May 9, asking if Alexander would move up the musical if TV negotiations fall through.
The Variety story listed no composer, lyricist, librettist or director, but said James Weissenbach, who originated the role of Franklin Shepard in the 1981 Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along got the rights to the script from MGM and from the estate of screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky and will produce the musical. Alexander also appeared in Merrily -- oddly enough, as Weissenbach's producer. Weissenbach was replaced in that leading role during the show's notoriously rocky previews.
Alexander will play the role of a homely mama's boy who tragically reaches out for love. The role earned an Oscar for Ernest Borgnine in 1955.
Variety quoted Weissenbach in October 1996 as saying, "We're going on the assumption that 'Seinfeld' is probably going to be over in the next couple of years, and we're hoping that this will be Jason's transition back to Broadway."
Alexander also starred in a TV movie version of the musical Bye Bye Birdie in 1995, and has been announced to appear in a limited-run California staged reading of Promises, Promises.
-- By Robert Viagas