Paul Williams at Work on Happy Days Musical; Feinstein's Gig, Too

News   Paul Williams at Work on Happy Days Musical; Feinstein's Gig, Too
Paul Williams — the award-winning composer of "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "The Rainbow Connection" — is at work on a new musical based on the classic TV series "Happy Days."

Williams, who will play New York's Feinstein's at the Regency this month, is collaborating with series creator Garry Marshall on the new musical. Williams told Playbill On-Line that the musical Happy Days will workshop at Marshall's Falcon Theatre in Los Angeles in the fall. "Garry's book is an original story around the well-loved characters," says Williams.

"Happy Days" had a decade-long run on ABC-TV, playing 1974-1984. The sitcom set in the 1950s revolved around the Cunningham family — mom Marion (Marion Ross), dad Howard (Tom Bosley), son Richie (Ron Howard) and daughter Joanie (Erin Moran) — and Richie's friends: Fonzie (Henry Winkler), Potsie (Anson Williams) and Ralph Malph (Don Most).

No casting has been announced for the workshop, although composer Williams jokes, "The rumors that I'll be playing the Fonz are totally false."

Williams, however, will be playing Feinstein's May 4-15 with special guest Carol Welsman. Williams describes his co-star as "very tall, very beautiful Canadian songbird and pianist. Her scatting alone is worth the price of admission." And what can cabaretgoers expect to hear at the New York hotspot? "Some of the hits for sure," says Williams. "What's an evening with Paul Williams without a co-dependent anthem or two? My own style is leaning a little more jazz flavored, so songs like 'Nice to Be Around,' 'Close Enough For Love,' 'Love Dance' and some newer material written with a variety of co-writers. [Also], 'Rainy Days and Mondays,' 'Evergreen,' and Kermit's theme, 'Rainbow Connection,' for sure."

Feinstein's at the Regency is located in Manhattan at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street. Williams and Welsman will play Tuesday through Saturdays at 8:30 PM with late shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 PM. All shows have a $60 cover and $30 minimum; call (212) 339-4095 for reservations. *

Garry Marshall previously workshopped a version of "Happy Days" in 2001 that featured a score using classic songs of the era. Scott Grossman was the choreographer of that workshop with musical direction by Michael Roth.

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