‘Babes’ back in Broadway arms

Rosie O'Donnell eyes revival

Plans are afoot for a Broadway revival of 1937 Rodgers and Hart tuner “Babes in Arms” to star Rosie O’Donnell.

Randy Skinner, recently Tony-nommed as choreographer of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” is attached to helm and choreograph the production, which has a new book by Joe DiPietro (“Memphis”).

Producers Gerald Goehring, Pat Addiss and Michael F. Mitri organized private readings of “Babes” in Gotham last month with O’Donnell, last on Broadway in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 2005, and Shuler Hensley (“Young Frankenstein”) among the cast.

Although no timeline for the brewing production has been nailed down nor has fund-raising begun, producers hope to have a plan in place by the end of the summer, according to Goehring (also producing the upcoming tuner version of “A Christmas Story”) and Addiss (“Passing Strange,” “The 39 Steps”).

New version of “Babes in Arms” retains the storyline of the Depression-era original, in which a chorine (O’Donnell) helps a group of kids put on a show in order to keep them from being sent to a workfarm. Book was originally penned by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart.

Goehring said the new production would have a relatively modest scale, with a cast of about 15 and what is essentially a single set.

Skinner and O’Donnell worked together previously in a 2008 Encores! staging of “No, No, Nanette.”

Score of “Babes” includes “My Funny Valentine” and “The Lady Is a Tramp,” plus “With a Song in My Heart,” an additional Rodgers and Hart tune incorporated into the new book. Revival of the tuner would be the first on Broadway since its 1937 preem.

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