Ethel Barrymore Theatre, (4/17/1977 - 5/20/1979)

First Preview: Apr 13, 1977
Opening Date: Apr 17, 1977
Closing Date: May 20, 1979
Total Previews: 7
Total Performances: 857

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Setting: Trenton, New Jersey. The Present.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by Terry Allen Kramer and Harry Rigby; Produced by arrangement with Joseph Kipness; Associate Producer: Frank Montalvo

Book by Michael Stewart; Lyrics by Michael Stewart; Music by Cy Coleman; Based on the play by Luis Rego; Music arranged by Cy Coleman; Musical Director: John Miller

Directed by Gene Saks; Musical Staging by Onna White

Scenic Design by David Mitchell; Lighting Design by Gilbert V. Hemsley, Jr.; Costume Design by Ron Talsky; Sound Design by Lou Gonzales

General Manager: Jack Schlissel and Jay Kingwill

Production Stage Manager: Bob Vandergriff; Stage Manager: Tony Manzi; Technical Supervisor: Mitch Miller

Bass Player: John Miller; Guitar: Michael Mark; Piano: Ken Bichel; Drummer: Joseph Saulter

General Press Representative: Henry Luhrman Associates; Photographer: Martha Swope and Sy Friedman; Advertising: Ash / LeDonne and Richard Kagey; Casting: Feuer & Ritzer

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Opening Night Cast

Lenny BakerAlvin
Ken BichelNorman
Joanna Gleason
Broadway debut
Monica
Ilene GraffCleo
Michael Mark
Broadway debut
Stanley
John MillerHarvey
James NaughtonWally
Joseph SaulterQuentin

Understudies: Warren Benbow (Quentin), Michael Mark (Harvey), Joel Mofsenson (Norman) and Michael Sergio (Stanley)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1977 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Terry Allen Kramer and Harry Rigby; Produced by arrangement with Joseph Kipness

 1977 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Michael Stewart

 1977 Best Original Score [nominee] 

Music by Cy Coleman; Lyrics by Michael Stewart

winner 1977 Best Featured Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Lenny Baker

 1977 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Musical Staging by Onna White

winner 1977 Best Direction of a Musical [winner] 

Gene Saks

Drama Desk Award

 1977 Outstanding Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Terry Allen Kramer and Harry Rigby; Produced by arrangement with Joseph Kipness

winner 1977 Outstanding Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Lenny Baker

winner 1977 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Michael Mark

winner 1977 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Joseph Saulter

winner 1977 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical [winner] 

John Miller

winner 1977 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Ken Bichel

 1977 Outstanding Director of a Musical [nominee] 

Gene Saks

winner 1977 Outstanding Music [winner] 

Music by Cy Coleman

Theatre World

winner 1977 Award [recipient] 

Joanna Gleason

Songs

music by Cy Coleman; lyrics by Michael Stewart

ACT 1 Sung By
We're Still FriendsCompany
MonicaAlvin, Monica and Four Guys
By ThreesWally, Alvin and Harvey
A Mover's LifeAlvin and Four Guys
Love RevolutionCleo
Someone Wonderful I MissedMonica and Cleo
Sexually FreeAlvin, Cleo and Wally
ACT 2 Sung By
Hey There, Good TimesHarvey, Stanley, Quentin and Norman
Lovers on Christmas EveMonica, Wally and Norman
ScreamHarvey, Stanley, Quentin and Norman
Everybody Today Is Turning OnAlvin and Wally
Married Couple Seeks Married Couple Alvin, Cleo, Wally and Monica
I Love My WifeAlvin and Wally

Reviews


New York Daily News: "A small, disarming musical"

An utterly disarming trinket of a musical called "I Love My Wife," with a cast of four or eight, depending on how you look at it, danced into the Barrymore last night. It's set in Trenton, N.J., of all places.

Here is the sort of intimate musical that could solve a lot of Broadway's economic problems. Not that it's cheaply done. In some ways -- numerous costume and scene changes, a couple of offstage backup musicians and an elaborate sound-control console at the rear of the orchestra that could probably send a man to the moon -- it's undoubtedly costly. But it's a small-scale show, all the same, with everything delightfully in place.

And what a pleasure it is to hear Cy Coleman's brisk, bouncy and gently melodic music issuing from a stage once more, set to a trim book and engaging lyrics by Michael Stewart.

And since the songs, rather than the story -- an adaptation of a French frivolity about an attempted menage a quatre that closed recently in Paris after a long run -- are the thing, what a charming idea to have the four main musicians become part of the play itself, weaving in and out of the proceedings and at one point stopping the show, which takes place on Christmas Eve, with their own upbeat number, "Hey There, Good Times," which they sing and play down front in Santa Claus costumes. In fact, these four -- musical director John Miller as Harvey, on bass; Michael Mark as Stanley doubling on guitar and banjo; Joseph Saulter as Quentin, on drums; and Ken Bichel as Norman, on piano -- come close to stealing the show.

But that would be reckoning without Lenny Baker's resourceful comic performance as Alvin, the shy one of the two married couples who wind up in bed together only to finally find themselves with their own legal partners. This is Baker's best performance to date, so detailed in its comedy that there should henceforth be no need to find a new Bobby Clark or Ed Wynn. "Get Baker," should be the cry.

Ilene Graff, a cute blonde, is also a strong asset, sailing into her big number, "Love Revolution," with commanding verve and vocal style. James Naughton is fine as Wally, a live wire public relations man who conceives the idea of a marital threesome (two girls and himself would suit him fine) that turns into a foursome. And so is Joanna Gleason as Wally's handsome brunette wife, at first outraged and then acquiescent. Her angered serving of an uneaten turkey dinner while in her underthings is nicely done, but Baker's slow, careful disrobing and disposal of the articles is nifty work.

A unity between the musicians and leads is established in the opening scene in which Baker and three of the musicians wear identical coveralls for a moving and storage firm while the fourth works behind the counter. From then on, the musicians appear as, besides Santa, a spiffy marching band, a group in togas and olive-branch wreaths and later four men in pajamas slinking on in the bedroom scene.

Among the up-tempo numbers, there's a song-and-dance duet for Alvin and Wally, handling imaginary top hats and canes, called "Everybody Today is Turning On," set to a '20s kind of tune and with several slick choruses, as in the old musical-comedy tradition. And there are two charming ballads, the easygoing title waltz, sung by the two husbands, and "Someone Wonderful I Missed," sung by the wives.

Gene Saks has staged this little conceit brightly and imaginatively, and Onna White's dance numbers are deft. David Mitchell's scenery, with lights twinkling on a hillside behind a scrim at the rear, and quick change of furnishings by means of a hung floor, wall and other units dropping into place while the musicians trundle furniture on and off, is slight and right. Ron Talsky's costumes, and the lighting by Gilbert V. Hemsley Jr. are also praiseworthy.

Musical comedy is back. Hooray!


New York Daily News
04/18/1977

Replacement/Transfer Info


The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.


Ethel Barrymore Theatre

(4/17/1977 - 5/20/1979)
Piano: Mark Franklin.

Advertising: Regis Albrecht; General Press Representative: Anne Obert Weinberg.

Cast

Christine Anderson
Marjorie Barnes
Monica
Brad Blaisdell
Alvin
Wally
James Brennan
Alvin
Mark Franklin
Norman
Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs
Alvin
Maureen Moore
Cleo
Lawrence John Moss
Alvin
Larry Riley
Wally
Jana Robbins
Cleo
Monica
Virginia Sandifur
Monica
Janie Sell
Monica
James Seymour
Wally
Barbara Sharma
Cleo
Dick Smothers
Broadway debut
Alvin
Tom Smothers
Broadway debut
Wally
Hattie Winston
Cleo
Tom Wopat
Wally


Standbys: Walter Bobbie (Alvin, Wally), Mary Gordon Murray (Cleo, Monica).


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