‘Marty’ sings in Boston

Musical highlights Huntington season

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — The world premiere of a musical version of “Marty,” with book by Rupert Holmes, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams, highlights the 2002-03 season at the Huntington Theater Co.

The season, announced by Huntington a.d. Nicholas Martin, includes new play “The Blue Demon,” written and directed by Darko Tresnjak, and the Boston premiere, in collaboration with Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment, of current Broadway hit “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” by Charles Busch.

Based on the teleplay and screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky about a lonely bachelor butcher, “Marty” the musical is scheduled to run Oct. 18-Nov. 24. Mark Brokaw directs.

The Tresnjak play, with music by Michael Friedman, revolves around a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian, all of whom stand accused of killing a sultan’s storyteller. They face death unless they can please the sultan with their own storytelling. It’s scheduled to run Jan. 3-Feb. 2.

The Busch play, to be directed by Lynne Meadow, will be performed at Boston’s downtown commercial Wilbur Theater, as has been done with HTC’s two previous annual collaborations with Broadway in Boston/Clear Channel Entertainment. It’s set for its Wilbur run in December. The season’s other five plays will be seen at the Boston U. Theater, HTC’s home.

The remaining three productions announced by Martin are Brian Friel’s adaptation of Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country,” directed by Martin, to open the season Sept. 6-Oct. 6; the Boston premiere of Kia Corthron’s “Breath, Boom,” March 7-April 6; and a revival of Benn Levy’s early 1930s comedy “Springtime for Henry,” May 16-June 15, with Robert Sean Leonard in the title role, also staged by Martin.

The Huntington Theater Co. is in the midst of a nationwide search for a literary manager. Adding such a position to its artistic staff has been made possible by two major grants from the Educational Foundation of America and the Boston Foundation. Also, it soon begins construction on two small theaters at the Boston Center for the Arts — the first new legit houses to open in Boston since 1925. While HTC will continue to be based primarily at the Boston U. Theater, the two small theaters will be used for its productions of new plays.

Those new plays will be encouraged via the HTC’s new Stanford Calderwood Fund for New American Plays, which is providing funds to commission new scripts from several playwrights annually. Established playwright Jon Robin Baitz received the first Calderwood commission, and another commission will be awarded shortly to a young, relatively unknown writer.