A Revival for “On the Town”

Rob Kim

A revival of the classic musical comedy "On the Town" will open in October at Broadway’s Lyric Theatre.

The show, which tell the story of three wartime sailors chasing love during a daylong shore leave in New York City, comes from a legendary creative team. The story idea grew out of the Jerome Robbins' 1944 ballet “Fancy Free,” and features music by Leonard Bernstein and a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

Tony winner John Rando (“Urinetown,” “A Christmas Story”) will direct the Broadway revival. Rando has had a long history with the show. He also directed a 2008 Encores! production, and a recent critically acclaimed Barrington Stage production.

No casting decisions have been announced yet, but Rando’s Dec. 2013 workshop of the show maintained many of the Barrington Stage production castings, including Tony Yazbeck (“Little Me”), Clyde Alves (“Nice Work…”) and Jay Armstrong Johnson (“Hands on a Hardbody”) in the three sailor roles. Alysha Umphress (“Bring It On: The Musical”), Elizabeth Stanley (“Million Dollar Quartet”), Jackie Hoffman (“The Addams Family“) and Tony winner Phillip Boykin (“Porgy and Bess”) also starred.

"On the Town" is known for its balletic dance numbers and iconic songs, like “New York, New York,” “I Can Cook Too,” “Lonely Town” and “Some Other Time.” Audiences can expect to hear to those standards backed by the largest orchestra on Broadway, with 28 musicians, and choreograhped by Emmy winner Joshua Bergasse (NBC’s “Smash”).

It will be the first show to open at the newly renamed Lyric Theatre. The historic space, which was created from a combination of the original Apollo Theater and the original Lyric Theatre that stood on the site, will be reopened when renovation is completed by its new owners, Ambassador Theatre Group. The theater is one of Broadway's biggest houses, with 1,900 seats. It was most recently known as the Foxwoods Theatre, where "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" played for three years.

Whether by coincidence or by design, the “On the Town” revival comes just as the musical celebrates its 70th anniversary. 

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