NEW YORK — It’s turning into a big year for Richard Adler.
Miramax recently announced plans for a remake of his “Damn Yankees.” Now producers Jeffrey Richards and James Fuld are moving ahead with a major Broadway revival of “The Pajama Game.”
Back in the 1950s, those two tuners were back-to-back hits for Adler and his writing partner Jerry Ross, who brought “Game” to the stage in 1954, followed by “Yankees” one year later.
Richards and Fuld, who last teamed on Broadway for the Tom Selleck starrer “A Thousand Clowns” two years ago, look to go into production on their “Pajama Game” in late spring or early summer 2004. The producers put capitalization at $8 million.
The revival will mark Kathleen Marshall’s Broadway debut as a director. The veteran choreographer has done terp duties on recent tuners including “Kiss Me, Kate,” as well as the upcoming “Little Shop of Horrors.” She also will choreograph “Pajama Game.”
Bob Fosse made his Broadway debut as a choreographer with the original “Pajama Game,” and how much Marshall re-creates his classic steps for the famous “Steam Heat” number remains to be seen. She called the arrangements “absolutely perfect.”
Richards and Fuld plan significant changes to the original “Game” book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, author of the show’s source material, novel “7½ Cents.” With the various estates’ blessings, the producers have brought on playwright-screenwriter Peter Ackerman (“Ice Age”) to rework the story of a strike at a garment factory.
Expect a shorter “Pajama Game,” Marshall said. “Life is faster. Abbott would reflect that now. His show would not be three hours long.”
The biggest changes to the 2004 “Game” probably will be made by Adler himself. Improving on a score that includes “Hey, There” and “Hernando’s Hideaway,” the lyricist-composer has written two new tunes.