Star Illness Derails Last Night's On the Twentieth Century; Audiences Treated to Impromptu Kristin Chenoweth Song

News   Star Illness Derails Last Night's On the Twentieth Century; Audiences Treated to Impromptu Kristin Chenoweth Song
The Feb. 21 evening performance of the Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century was canceled at 8:05 PM after the show's leading man, Tony Award nominee Peter Gallagher, fell ill.

The Roundabout Theatre Company revival, which also stars Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth, began performances Feb. 13 at the American Airlines Theatre.

A representative for the production told that Mr. Gallagher has been battling a cold for the past week.

Due to the fact that the production has only been in performances for a week, Mr. Gallagher's understudy did not have sufficient rehearsal time with the set. "It would be unsafe to ask him to perform with all the moving parts of the show," representatives stated.

Shortly after the decision was made to cancel the performance, Ms. Chenoweth and the show's director, Scott Ellis, took to the stage to inform the audience of the news. Chenoweth then offered an impromptu performance of the classic "Smile" and invited the four actors who portray the train's porters to perform the show's rousing tap number "Life Is Like a Train."

Audience members were told that they could receive a refund or reschedule their tickets for a later date. Following a series of rehearsals last evening and this morning, On the Twentieth Century will resume performances Feb. 22 with Gallagher's understudy, actor James Moye, performing the role of Oscar Jaffe for the 2 PM matinee.

On the Twentieth Century will officially open March 12 for a limited 20-week engagement through July 5 at the American Airlines Theatre.

The musical — featuring music by Cy Coleman and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green — premiered on Broadway in 1978 under the direction of Harold Prince and won Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical.

Here's how Roundabout bills the classic: "It's nonstop laughs aboard the Twentieth Century, a luxury coach travelling from Chicago to New York City. Luck, love and mischief collide when the bankrupt theater producer Oscar Jaffe (Gallagher) embarks on a madcap mission to cajole glamorous Hollywood starlet Lily Garland (Chenoweth) into playing the lead in his new, non-existent epic drama. But is the train ride long enough to reignite the spark between these former lovers, create a play from scratch, and find the money to get it all the way to Broadway?"

The American Airlines Theatre on Broadway is located at 227 West 42nd Street. For tickets, call (212) 719-1300 or visit

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