'Birdie,' 'Laughter' coming to Broadway
Roundabout Theater Company has added two more Broadway productions to its lineup for the 2009-10 season, with the first Rialto revival of the 1960 musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” about an Elvis-style singing sensation with a rabid teen fan base; and a return of the Noel Coward comedy “Present Laughter,” starring Victor Garber as a vain 1930s matinee idol.
While no theaters have been confirmed, “Bye Bye Birdie” is scheduled for the fall and has been rumored as a possible opening attraction for the Roundabout’s third Broadway venue, the newly rebuilt Henry Miller’s Theater. Robert Longbottom will direct and choreograph the show, which won Tonys in its original run for musical, lead actor Dick Van Dyke and for Gower Champion’s direction and choreography.
Longbottom’s most recent Broadway credit was as director and choreographer of the 2002 “Flower Drum Song” revival.
Opening next winter, “Present Laughter” will be directed by Nicholas Martin, marking the fourth Broadway revival of the 1946 Coward classic. The play was last seen on the Rialto in 1996 starring Frank Langella and Allison Janney. Martin directed Garber in the comedy at Huntington Theater Company in 2007, however, the Roundabout staging is being billed as a new production. Martin’s last Broadway directing gig was on the 2006 Huntington transfer of “Butley” with Nathan Lane.
The two weekend confirmations follow Friday’s announcement that Roundabout will stage Patrick Marber’s Strindberg update, “After Miss Julie,” next season on Broadway, starring Sienna Miller. The non- profit will partner on that venture with Sonia Friedman Prods. and Ostar Prods. Roundabout also is believed to be mulling a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” next season.