Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gonna Party Like It's 2002!

You know those movies/tv series/comic books/novels where people go back in time? I feel like I'm relieving the summer of 2002. In that summer, on my schedule for the 2002-2003 Broadway season, were a revival of Pal Joey and a Broadway mounting of Lone Star Love. And they were actually on my schedule for years after that. Somewhere along the line, beaten-down by many false-starts, I crossed them off. That's why, when I heard casting rumors and theaters for each of them, I refused to believe the hype. Now the casting rumors have been reported as firm news and a theater and dates have been announced for one of the shows, so it's looking more and more like they are both going to happen, yet I feel myself still in doubt, though I know I shouldn't be.

For a couple of years there was talk of a Pal Joey revival, but it wasn't until January 2003 when it looked like it was coming together. That was when the Weisslers had a big reading of Pal Joey. Does anyone remember that? John Stamos was Joey. He wasn't their first choice, but that's who they got. Donna Murphy, Laura Benanti and Faith Prince were also in it. (Additionally, I have a recollection that Jessica Stone--who I always thought should have received rave reviews for Chris Ashley's last show at the Helen Hayes--was in it, though I have zero idea what she played. I only bring this up because she is a big Joe Mantello favorite, so maybe we'll see her in this one.) Then nothing, until we heard the Weisslers started talking to Robert Altman in the fall of 2003. Then, for a few years, after, casting rumors abounded. I think my favorite one was Antonio Banderas, but there were loads more. But, again, nothing concrete. Then the news that the Weisslers were out and Marc Platt was in and so was Joe Mantello. And nothing for a while after that... So it is any surprise I doubted we'd ever see it? But, of course, just when I give up...

I don't actually know if it took me longer to give up on Pal Joey or Lone Star Love. The history of Lone Star Love is so long, I could write for hours on just what I remember and there would still be much more to tell (because I have a life and don't have room in my head for every detail, contrary to what you might think). Lone Star Love premiered before I hit my teens. Under the name The Merry Wives of Windsor, Texas it debuted regionally in 1988. It happened a few more times regionally, but still needed more development. In the mid-90s, the new Lone Star Love had a workshop in New York and people said it was coming to Broadway. Nope. For years after, the rumors said it would appear. Nope. In the fall of 2001, it opened some festival somewhere. Keith Carradine was supposed to star. That didn't happen and, again, the show failed to transfer. Then, in late 2004, it had an off-Broadway run. I don't know if any of my readers attended the off-Broadway run, but they served free food onstage before the show. It was a cute gimmick, but they had the actors serve it in character and I found it embarrassing for Clarke Thorell to be on a stage offering me a mini-weeny (I don't know how else to put it). But, regardless, after that run, I continued to hear it for Broadway and every season it was always the Belasco that was to be its home. Now it's officially announced for there and has Randy Quaid, which I guess puts more weight on it. Of course, years ago I announced Randy Quaid to make his Broadway debut in a play opposite Timothy Hutton and that didn't happen, but I guess this is more concrete.

So maybe I'll just have to get over my reservations and embrace the long-delayed musicals. I do love a song and dance.

No comments: