The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Charles Busch's hit comedy that sold out its 10-week Off-Broadway run at Manhattan Theatre Club, will begin Broadway previews Oct. 10 and open Nov. 2, it was announced.
Linda Lavin, Michele Lee and Tony Roberts will recreate their Off Broadway roles when it moves to a yet-to-be-named Broadway house (the Ethel Barrymore has been mentioned). Shirl Bernheim and Anil Kumar will also join their OB castmates on the Great White Way.
It was thought by some that Lavin would 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 no official word on the Neil Simon casting, but Zoe Wannamaker has 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.
MTC enjoyed a high-profile 1999-2000 season with the hit Tale of the Allergist's Wife, the commercial Off-Broadway transfer of David Lindsay-Abaire's Fuddy Meers, and David Auburn's Proof, an audience and critical favorite continuing on Stage I. The world premiere of David Marshall Grant's Current Events is playing on Stage II through July 16.