NEW YORK — One good musical deserves another.

“Hairspray” scribes Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan are on board to write the book for John Waters’ new stage tuner, “Cry-Baby,” based on his 1990 film comedy about a bad boy who falls in love with a debutante.

“They understand the Waters milieu,” said Adam Epstein, one of the show’s producers. “It could be a lovely companion piece to ‘Hairspray,’ but different.”

“If ‘Hairspray’ is ‘Cinderella,’ ” opined O’Donnell, “then ‘Cry-Baby’ is ‘Romeo & Juliet.’ ” He said the “Cry-Baby” story would have to be “reinvented” for the musical. “The helicopter rescue and the chicken race with all those cars would be difficult to stage in the theater.”

Epstein is part of the producer team on “Hairspray,” as are fellow “Cry-Baby” producers Allan Gordon and Elan McAllister. Producer Brian Grazer, who will make his Broadway debut with “Cry-Baby,” joins them on the project. Epstein said the new tuner’s composer, lyricist and director would be announced shortly.

Meehan is one of the busiest book writers in the business. Before “Hairspray,” he wrote the books for “The Producers,” “I Remember Mama” and “Annie.” He is Americanizing upcoming musical “Bombay Dreams” and penning Mel Brooks’ new one, “Young Frankenstein.”

Meehan said he and Brooks hoped to have a draft of the new tuner ready for a reading by year’s end.

Regarding “Cry-Baby,” he said it was in the “embryonic stage, as is ‘Rocky.'” Meehan is working with Sylvester Stallone on turning those boxer pics into a musical. No composer-lyricist is yet set.

Tube to stage

Veteran TV writer Jeffrey Lane takes his first shot at writing a tuner book with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Based on the 1988 Michael Caine-Steve Martin feature about two con artists on the French Riviera, “Scoundrels” reunites “The Full Monty” team of composer-lyricist David Yazbek, director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Lane is the new guy. Terrence McNally, who wrote the “Monty” book, is not involved with the new musical.

“Scoundrels” is expected to workshop in December and May before the full production opens in September 2004 at the Old Globe in San Diego. A rep for the theater company did not confirm dates for the show.

Marty Bell and David Brown are attached as commercial producers. They most recently collaborated on “Sweet Smell of Success,” which graced the 2001-02 Broadway season.

“We have a deal with MGM,” said Brown. ” ‘Scoundrels’ is one of the projects we extrapolated from their library.” The film was produced by Orion.

‘Nine’ arrivals

The Roundabout is not letting its “Nine” hit fade with the Oct. 2 departure of Antonio Banderas and Jane Krakowski. The company is in negotiations with John Stamos and Jenna Elfman to replace the show’s current stars. Stamos goosed the box office last spring and summer with his Emcee turn in the Roundabout’s long-running revival of “Cabaret.”

“Nine” would mark Elfman’s Broadway debut. There is also talk of the “Dharma and Greg” star playing Lily Garland opposite Alec Baldwin’s Oscar Jaffe in the Roundabout’s upcoming revival of “Twentieth Century” as adapted by “Moon Over Buffalo” scribe Ken Ludwig.

Rebecca Luker, last seen on Broadway in “The Music Man,” has been announced to play the role of Claudia in “Nine.” She replaces Laura Benanti, who goes into Richard Greenberg’s new one, “The Violet Hour,” at the Biltmore Theater this fall.

‘Wonderful’ revival

The revival of “Wonderful Town” has secured the Al Hirschfeld Theater. If all goes as planned, producers Roger Berlind and Barry and Fran Weissler will open the production in late November or early December. Donna Murphy headlines, reprising her 2001 Encores! turn in the Leonard Bernstein musical.

The 2003-04 season is turning into a big one for Kathleen Marshall, who would make her Broadway directorial debut with “Wonderful Town.” She helmed and choreographed the Encores! concert version, and would repeat those duties for the full production on Broadway. She follows “Wonderful Town” with “Pajama Game,” currently skedded to open in late spring or early summer 2004.

Marshall choreographs the upcoming revival of “Little Shop of Horrors,” set for its Broadway preem Oct. 2.