NEW YORK — Alec Baldwin and Debra Messing headline the Roundabout’s reading of Ken Ludwig’s new version of “Twentieth Century” April 29.
The comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur opened on Broadway in 1932, boasting a cast of 30. Two years later, John Barrymore and Carole Lombard played the sparring legit lovers who end up train-trapped in the Howard Hawks film classic.
As a stage vehicle, “Twentieth Century” has all but disappeared from the boards due to its huge cast. (Musical version “On the Twentieth Century” remains popular.) Two years ago, Ludwig secured estate permission to work on a 12-actor script that would be easier to produce in today’s economically challenged environment.
Roundabout readings often develop into full productions. Until then, Ludwig’s version of “Twentieth Century” gets the full treatment this fall at Virginia’s Signature Theater. Eric Schaeffer directs.