Palace Theatre, (3/29/1981 - 3/13/1983)

First Preview: Mar 19, 1981
Opening Date: Mar 29, 1981
Closing Date: Mar 13, 1983
Total Previews: 11
Total Performances: 770

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Comments: On hiatus from January 2, 1983 until February 11, 1983.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Messrs. Nederlander

Produced by Lawrence Kasha, David S. Landay, James M. Nederlander, Warner Theatre Productions, Inc./Claire Nichtern, Carole J. Shorenstein and Stewart F. Lane

Book by Peter Stone; Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb; Based on the MGM film by Ring Lardner, Jr. and Michael Kanin; Musical Director: Donald Pippin; Vocal arrangements by Donald Pippin; Music orchestrated by Michael Gibson; Dance arrangements by Ronald Melrose

Directed by Robert Moore; Musical Staging by Tony Charmoli

Scenic Design by Tony Walton; Costume Design by Theoni V. Aldredge; Lighting Design by Marilyn Rennagel; Sound Design by Abe Jacob; Hair Design by Masarone; Make-Up Design by Margaret Sunshine

General Manager: Marvin A. Krauss Associates, Inc.; Company Manager: G. Warren McClane

Production Stage Manager: David Taylor; Stage Manager: Robert LoBianco and T.L. Boston

Music published by Tommy Valando; Music Contractor: John Monaco

Animations by Michael Sporn

General Press Representative: Merle Debuskey Associates; Asst. to the Choreographer: Ed Nolfi; Promotional Consultant: Sheila Tronn Cooper; Russian Dialogue Coach: Bertha Winogradoff; Casting: Hughes / Moss Casting; Advertising: Ash / LeDonne; Press Representative: Leo Stern and Diane Judge; Photographer: Martha Swope; "Katz" characters designed by Tony Walton

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Opening Night Cast

Lauren BacallTess Harding
(Mar 19, 1981 - Jun 27, 1982)
Harry GuardinoSam Craig
Tom AveraPhil Witaker
DeWight BaxterEnsemble
Joan BellEnsemble
Helon BlountChairperson
Cleaning Woman
Sergio CalEnsemble
Roderick CookGerald
Marilyn CooperJan Donovan
Donna DrakeEnsemble
Rex EverhartMaury
Richard Glendon-LarsonEnsemble
Marian HaraldsonCleaning Woman
Eivind HarumAlexi Petrikov
Rex HaysEllis McMaster
Grace KeagyHelga
Daren KellyChip Salisbury
Michael KubalaEnsemble
Paige MassmanEnsemble
Gene MontoyaEnsemble
Michael O'GormanFloor Manager
Susan PowersEnsemble
Daniel QuinnEnsemble
Lawrence RaikenAbbott Canfield
Jamie RossLarry Donovan
Gerry VichiPinky Peters
Robert WarnersEnsemble

Swings: Karen Giombetti, Jerry Mitchell and Ed Nolfi

Standby: Jamie Ross (Sam Craig)

Understudies: Michael Davis (Abbott Canfield, Maury, Pinky Peters), Richard Glendon-Larson (Chip Salisbury), Marian Haraldson (Helga), Ralston Hill (Ellis McMaster, Larry Donovan, Phil Witaker), Paige Massman (Jan Donovan) and Robert Warners (Alexi Petrikov)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1981 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Lawrence Kasha, David S. Landay, James M. Nederlander, Warner Theatre Productions, Inc./Claire Nichtern, Carole J. Shorenstein and Stewart F. Lane

winner 1981 Best Book of a Musical [winner] 

Book by Peter Stone

winner 1981 Best Original Score [winner] 

Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb

winner 1981 Best Actress in a Musical [winner] 

Lauren Bacall

winner 1981 Best Featured Actress in a Musical [winner] 

Marilyn Cooper

 1981 Best Direction of a Musical [nominee] 

Robert Moore

Drama Desk Award

winner 1981 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical [winner] 

Marilyn Cooper


music by John Kander; lyrics by Fred Ebb

ACT 1 Sung By
Woman of the YearTess Harding and Women
The Poker GameSam Craig and Cartoonists
See You in the Funny PapersSam Craig
When You're Right, You're Right!Tess Harding and Gerald
Shut Up, GeraldTess Harding, Sam Craig and Gerald
So What Else Is New?Sam Craig and Katz
One of the BoysTess Harding, Cartoonists, Maury and Men
Table TalkTess Harding and Sam Craig
The Two of UsTess Harding and Sam Craig
It Isn't WorkingCartoonists, Chip Salisbury, Helga, Gerald and New Yorkers
I Told You SoGerald and Helga
Woman of the Year (Reprise) Tess Harding
ACT 2 Sung By
So What Else Is New? (Reprise) Sam Craig and Katz
I Wrote the BookTess Harding and Cleaning Women
Happy in the MorningAlexi Petrikov, Tess Harding and Dancers
Sometimes a Day Goes By Sam Craig
The Grass Is Always GreenerTess Harding and Jan Donovan
We're Gonna Work It OutTess Harding and Sam Craig


New York Daily News: "A tepid tribute to the 'Woman of the Year'"

"Woman of the Year," which opened last night at the Palace, is a big, splashy musical comedy derived from the 1942 Hepburn-Tracy movie. It begins with a sleek, beaming Lauren Bacall, encased in a skin-tight, gold-beaded evening sheath, bathing in the audience's welcoming applause while behind a scrim she is being hailed as Woman of the Year at an award ceremony.

It's a hard act to follow. Impossible, in fact.

Not that the evening is a total loss. But, perversely, the scrappy love story involving renowned TV commentator Tess Harding (Bacall) and syndicated newspaper cartoonist Sam Craig (Harry Guardino) keeps letting us down, with the subsidiary characters picking us up in between times. Though Tess, now an aggressive morning home-screen celebrity calling to mind Barbara Walters instead of the Hepburn commentator suggestive of Dorothy Thompson, is a good role for Bacall and one she handles with aplomb, there's been a more drastic change in the co-starring part.

In place of Tracy's ace sports writer, which made for an entertaining and credible juxtaposition in the film, we have Guardino the creator of a krazy-kat comic strip called "Katz" to whose Bank St. (Bank St.!!) studio the lionized Tess rushes off in a snit (he's worked her into his strip) only to fall in love. Before you can say "So what else is new?" (that's the strip's unchanging tag line), she's wearing a jump suit and swigging bourbon straight with Sam and his poker-playing fellow cartoonists in a grimy saloon. So much for that "pet pailletted gown," in Cole Porter's phrase, though it does turn up again when the story catches up to the present.

I won't attempt to tell you how Peter Stone's book tries to surmount the film's famous climactic kitchen scene. On the other hand, Michael Sporn's animated cartoon sequences are often more fun than what's taking place on stage beneath them. Especially inasmuch as they're at least partially as real as the cast's miked voices.

The show's high point (we must forget that opening, uncomfortably like a magnification of the star's appearance at the start of "Applause" 11 years ago, and also leading into a flashback) is reached next-to-closing when a small, dowdy comedienne, turning up for the first time, rasies a pinched little singing voice with dead accuracy in a clever duet called "The Grass Is Greener." Her name is Marilyn Cooper, and she's a howling joy.

True, the other half of the duet conducted on kitchen stools is Bacall, smartly attired in sweater and jeans. But the star is serving as straight woman here and, though it's not her kitchen, must resort to shoving the stools under counters to get the stopped show started again.

Earlier, Roderick Cook and Grace Keagy, respectively Tess' secretary and housemaid, have enlivened things with a sniggering duet called "I Told You So." And just before that, they and the ensemble have suddenly quickened our interest with a gossipy piece about the topsy-turvy love match called "It Isn't Working."

And it isn't working. Somehow, the book, with all its amusing moments, doesn't hang together. On top of that, the songwriters - John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb (words); a team hardly ever at a loss for a sock number - have left the two stars regrettably shortchanged. Particularly Guardino, though he manages to give an engaging performance.

The love ballads have a forced, tired sound, and Bacall's big song, "One of the Boys," is reminiscent of innumerable other zippy tunes, though it does allow choreographer Tony Charmoli to put Bacall and the ensemble through a sprightly dance routine. As a matter of fact, all of the musical staging is exemplary, and Robert Moore's direction of the book is expert.

Other principals include Daren Kelly as Tess' distressed "Early Bird" TV partner, and Eivind Harum as a king-size Russian ballet dancer who finds asylum in the Craigs' apartment.

Tony Walton's scenery (a false proscenium of TV screens, infrequently used as such, frames the action), Theoni V. Aldredge's costumes, Marilyn Rennagel's lighting, Michael Gibson's orchestrations, and Donald Pippin's musical direction are all slickly professional. But "Woman of the Year" rarely catches fire.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

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

Palace Theatre

(3/29/1981 - 3/13/1983)
Production Stage Manager: Robert V. Straus.


Thomas Anthony
Carol Arthur
Jan Donovan (Oct 13, 1981 - Oct 20, 1981)
Victor Barbee
Alexi Petrikov
Mace Barrett
Phil Witaker
Mark Bove
George de la Peña
Alexi Petrikov
James Fatta
John Hammil
Chip Salisbury
Nina Hennessey
Broadway debut
Ralston Hill
Larry Donovan
John Hillner
Abbott Canfield
Timothy Jecko
Larry Donovan
Kevin McCready
Joanna Noble
Elyssa Paternoster
Michele Pigliavento
Broadway debut
Ensemble (Nov 1982 - ?)
Bubba Dean Rambo
Debbie Reynolds
Tess Harding (Feb 13, 1983 - Mar 13, 1983)
Jamie Ross
During Harry Guardino's vacation
Sam Craig (Dec 1, 1981 - Dec 14, 1981)
Raquel Welch
During Lauren Bacall's vacation
Tess Harding (Dec 1, 1981 - Dec 14, 1981)
Tess Harding (Jun 29, 1982 - Jan 2, 1983)

Standbys: Timothy Jecko (Sam Craig), Louise Troy (Tess Harding).

Understudies: Mark Bove (Alexi Petrikov), Michael Davis (Gerald), Barbara Gilbert (Jan Donovan), Daniel Quinn (Alexi Petrikov).

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