On the Town, the classic 1944 musical about three sailors on leave for 24 hours in the Big Apple, is coming back to Broadway. The new production is set to open at the Lyric Theatre, formerly the Foxwoods, in October 2014. This production will mark the 70th anniversary of the iconic show, which marked the Broadway debuts of composer Leonard Bernstein, lyricists and book-writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and choreographer Jerome Robbins. The score by Bernstein, Comden, and Green features such classic show tunes as “New York, New York,” “I Can Cook Too,” and “Lonely Town.” The latest production is directed by Tony winner John Rando (Urinetown) and choreographed by Emmy winner Joshua Bergasse (Smash). Rando has previously staged hit productions of On the Town at the Encores! series and at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, Mass.
The Lyric will be reopening after a renovation by its new owners, the Ambassador Theatre Group. The theater has gone through several name changes. Built on the site of the former Lyric and Apollo Theaters, it opened in 1998 as the FordCenterfor the Performing Arts. In 2005, it was renovated and renamed the Hilton. Then it became the Foxwoods in 2010 and most recently hosted the recently closed Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. It had previously been rumored that the musical King Kong would be occupying the theater later this year.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to make the Lyric Theatre our home for On the Town,” said producers Howard and Janet Kagan. “This classic Broadway theatre, right on 42nd Street in the heart of Times Square, is the perfect spot, and now is the perfect time to bring this big, brassy musical comedy back to The Great White Way.”
Derived from Robbins’ ballet Fancy Free, On the Town first opened at the Adelphi Theatre in 1944 and played 462 performances. The 1949MGM film version starred Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Vera-Ellen, Ann Miller and Betty Garrett and was one of the first Hollywood musicals to film on location in New York. There have been two previous Broadway revivals. In 1971, Ron Field directed and choreographed a new staging starring Bernadette Peters, Donna McKechnie and Phyllis Newman (Green’s wife.) In 1998, George C. Wolfe directed a production from the New York Shakespeare Festival featuring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lea DeLaria and Mary Testa.
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