The Ethel Barrymore Theatre, previously "mentioned" as ground zero for the earthquake of angst and depression experienced by the title character in The Tale of Allergist's Wife, is now confirmed as the place to be this fall for the hit comedy by Charles Busch.
Tale, which sold out its 10-week Off-Broadway run at Manhattan Theatre Club, will begin Broadway previews Oct. 11 and open Nov. 2, starring the cast that helped make it a hit: Linda Lavin, Michele Lee, Tony Roberts, Shirl Bernheim and Anil Kumar. An Oct. 10 first preview was previously reported. Tickets are on sale now.
It was thought that Lavin (playing whining, aching Upper Westsider Marjorie Taub) might only tell the hit Tale for a few months due to her starring in announced revivals of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound in repertory in Miami in February 2001, prior to a Broadway run. But an MTC spokesman told Playbill On-Line April 21 that the lauded Lavin is signed to star in Tale for the entire Broadway season, from September 2000 rehearsals through 2001 Tony Award time.
(There is still no official word on the Neil Simon casting, but Zoe Wannamaker and Elizabeth Franz have been mentioned.) For the Broadway Allergist's Wife, MTC will partner with producers Carol Shorenstein Hays, Daryl Roth, Stuart Thompson and Douglas S. Cramer to present the Broadway staging of the comedy about a depressive Upper West Side Jewish pseudo intellectual housewife (Lavin) whose comic self-hatred is alleviated by the arrival of free-living, free-loving childhood friend (Lee). Roberts plays Lavin's blase allergist husband, Bernheim is her hateful, aging mother and Kumar is the building's doorman.
Designers remain Santo Loquasto (set), Ann Roth (costumes), Christopher Akerlind (lighting) and Bruce Ellman (sound).
Lynne Meadow , MTC artistic director, staged The Tale, which opened Feb. 29 at MTC's Stage II. Previews began Feb. 8 and word of mouth, plus solid reviews, fueled a sellout.
Playwright Busch is the popular drag performer and scribe whose work includes Psycho Beach Party, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Green Heart and Die! Mommy! Die!
Lee was the strong-willed Karen on TV's "Knots Landing," appeared in the film, "How to Succeed Without Really Trying," and sang the songs of Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields in Broadway's Seesaw (earning a Tony Award nomination).
Lavin starred in TV's "Alice," but is also remembered for Broadway's Broadway Bound (she won the Best Actress Tony Award for playing Kate Jerome) and the most recent revival of Gypsy.
Roberts appeared in Play It Again Sam, Sugar and Victor/Victoria on Broadway, and Woody Allen's film, "Annie Hall."
Bernheim appeared in the world premiere of Old Lady's Guide to Survival at The Humana Festival of New American Plays (and later Off-Broadway), and as Miss Lynch in Grease on Broadway and on tour. She is veteran of many American regional theaters.
Kumar made his Broadway debut in The Public Theater's Macbeth and was Dilip in the American premiere of Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink.
The Tale of the Allergist's Wife closed April 16 at MTC.
Tickets are $30-$70. The Barrymore Theatre is at 243 W. 47th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway. Call (212) 239-6200 for information.