Wonderful Town, with Murphy, Is Again a Broadway Possibility

News   Wonderful Town, with Murphy, Is Again a Broadway Possibility
The 2000 Encores! concert presentation of the Leonard Bernstein-Adolph Green-Betty Comden show Wonderful Town, once seemingly Broadway-bound, is apparently back on track for a full production.

A spokesman for Roger Berlind, who would produce the show with Barry Weissler, said the showman was still interested in mounting a production, possibly for the 2003-04 season. He added, however, that at present all viable Broadway theatres are booked.

Should a staging be realized, Donna Murphy, who was praised for her work in the Encores! version, would star.

Murphy's schedule has had a lot to do with the project's ups and downs over the past three years. Speaking of Wonderful Town, Murphy told Playbill On-Line in 2002: "Initially there was a lot of talk of my doing it. But after a while, I was offered this television show, and I couldn't wait anymore. Then, the producers were waiting to see the fate of that show, which was a replacement series. And we did get picked up and we shot nine episodes. But then we got canceled after only a few aired. So I was available and there was talk of bringing in Wonderful Town in the spring. But I got pregnant."

The Encores! Show also starred Laura Benanti, currently in Nine and set for The Violet Hour this fall. Also in the Encores! cast were Richard Muenz, David Aaron Baker, Lewis J. Stadlen, Gregory Jbara , Becky Ann Baker, Alix Korey, Raymond Jaramillo McLeod, Stephen DeRosa, Patrick Quinn, Ray Wills, Jenny Hill and Steve Ryan. Kathleen Marshall directed and choreographed.

* Wonderful Town has never had a major Broadway revival. The story brings characters from My Sister Eileen back to life. The parade of Greenwich Village life in the 1930s includes such songs as "Conga!," "Ohio," "Christopher Street," "My Darlin' Eileen," "A Quiet Girl," "What a Waste" and "Wrong Note Rag." Rosalind Russell starred as big sister Ruth in both the original and in a TV version. Both versions are on CD, as are others: A London revival, a studio-cast recording of the entire score (on the Jay label) and yet another recent studio-cast recording conducted by Simon Rattle (on the EMI Classics label), with Audra McDonald as little sister Eileen.

The score is famous for being written in only a few months, in order to fit star Russell's schedule.

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