The past couple of years have been a fallow period for legendary theatre composer Cy Coleman, marked by lots of projects in the hopper but little coming to fruition. Following the close of the unfortunate Exactly Like You Off-Broadway two years ago, the next Broadway project was supposed to have been Ostrovsky, starring comedian Alan King. Apart from a name change to It's Good to be Alive, little has been heard about that project since.
Far more recently, Coleman has been linked with his Barnum librettist, Mark Bramble, on a project they'd shelved back in 1987 owing to the death of their third collaborator, lyricist Michael Stewart. Nothing But the Truth, based on a play of the same name by James Montgomery, concerns a man who must tell the truth for 24 hours. Interest has been expressed by a British star to do a London version of the show.
Now word has it that Coleman is working on yet another show, this one with Pulitzer-winner Wendy Wasserstein. Office spokespersons for both the playwright and the composer confirmed that they were adapting Wasserstein's children's book, "Pamela's First Musical," into a musical, though little else is currently known about the project.
"Pamela's First Musical," published in 1998 with colorful illustrations by Andrew Jackness, tells of a young girl experiencing Broadway for the first time. Her aunt takes her to the Russian Tea Room for an, old-style New York afternoon, capped by a visit to the theatre, which Pam finds exciting and wondrous. The book has proved a popular gift item for young girls and seemingly even inspired a glow-infused TV commercial (for the recent Broadway The Sound of Music revival) using the same premise.
When last the theatre world heard from Wendy Wasserstein, her multi generational drama, Old Money, was playing at Lincoln Center earlier this season. She won the Pulitzer for The Heidi Chronicles and also penned the popular Isn't It Romantic?, The Sisters Rosensweig and An American Daughter. Composer Coleman received the ASCAP Richard Rodgers Award this past December. His works include Little Me, Sweet Charity, On the 20th Century, Barnum, City of Angels and The Will Rogers Follies. His last Broadway effort was the Tony-nominated tuner, The Life.
— By David Lefkowitz