On the Twentieth Century: Peter Gallagher Misses the Train Again

Gallagher will return soon.

Gallagher will return soon.

Peter Gallagher is still recovering from a serious sinus infection and that means that he was not seen on stage tonight in the revival of the Tony Award winning musical On the Twentieth Century. He is now expected to be on stage for the Saturday, March 7 evening performance. Gallagher has been out since the evening of February 21. The Roundabout cancelled the evening performance that night and the next day Gallagher’s understudy, James Moye, play the role of Oscar Jaffe. Moye, who usually plays Max Jacobs, has been filling in for Gallagher ever since, playing opposite Tony and Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth (Lily Garland)

Postponements and Cancellations

On the Twentieth Century has already had numerous cancellations and postponements. The producers changed the first preview by one day due to setbacks caused by dismal winter weather. Then there was the cancellation of the Saturday night preview performance due to Gallagher’s illness and the need to offer Moye more rehearsal time. Recently, the Roundabout put off opening night, opting to offer the official opening on March 15 rather than March 13. The show is being performed at the American Airlines Theatre and it’s directed by Scott Ellis.

The Show

On the Twentieth Century, which was nominated for nine Tonys when it premiered in 1978, winning five, is a crazy comedy that takes place on a luxury train that’s named The Twentieth Century. The train is brimming with a wide range of unique and comical characters, including desperate Broadway producer Oscar Jaffe, former Broadway star and now film queen Lily Garland, Garland’s jealous and egotistical boyfriend, and a crazed but extremely benign religious zealot.

As the train travels along it’s predetermined destination, characters are side tracked and driven. The various characters collide to create mayhem, madness, and mischief. There are wonderful comic scenes, great gags and lines, and a lot of wonderful duets, solos, and production numbers.

The original production ofOn the Twentieth Century received five, including Best Book and Best Score. It was also nominated for four Drama Desk Awards, winning four including Outstanding Music.

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On the Twentieth Century’s Off Track Again

On the Twentieth Century. delays opening night

On the Twentieth Century. delays opening night

Chenoweth in On the Twentieth Century.

Once again, On the Twentieth Century has experienced a schedule snag as producers have decided to delay opening night by three days. That means the Broadway revival of the Coleman, Comden, and Green musical will March 15 instead of 12. Earlier, due to delays associated with inclement weather, the Roundabout delayed the show’s preview by one day, and then, a week from this past Saturday, the decision was made to cancel the evening performance due to Peter Gallagher’s (Oscar Jaffe) illness and the fact that his understudy had not yet had enough rehearsal to go on in his stead. The show did go on the next day with understudy James Moye in the role of Jaffe.

Reason for Latest Delay

The three-day delay is reasonable, as co-star Peter Gallagher has missed an entire week of previews due to a sinus infection. For the past week, co-star Kristin Chenoweth (Lilly Garland) has been playing opposite Moye. Gallagher is due to return tomorrow, which will offer him about a week-and-a-half of previews before opening night.

The Story

On the Twentieth Century, which was the big Tony-winner when it premiered in 1978, is a wacky comedy set on a luxury train that’s been given the appellation The Twentieth Century. The train is filled with an array of rich and funny characters, including desperate Broadway producer Oscar Jaffe, former Broadway star and now film queen Lilly Garland, Garland’s jealous and egotistical boyfriend, and a crazed but extremely benign religious extremist.

As the train rumbles along, these characters are driven: some are driven into each other’s arms, others are driven to scheme, while others are driven to follow their convictions. The extreme drives of the various characters collide to create mayhem, madness, and mischief. There are wonderful comic scenes, great gags and lines, and a lot of wonderful duets, solos, and production numbers.

The original production of On the Twentieth Century was nominated for nine Tonys. It received five, including Best Book and Best Score. It was also nominated for four Drama Desk Awards, winning four including Outstanding Music.

On the Right Track?

Can anyone get this train to run on time? Actually, it’s expected that the show will be fine and that the Roundabout and director Scott Ellis are being prudent in waiting to open. On the Twentieth Century a physical play, and Gallagher will have to work his way back into it. Aspects of this production were still being refined when he took ill. For the week that Gallagher was out, ticket sales were down for the musical comedy with capacity falling 9.4% from 97.7% to 83.3%. Look for a rise in ticket sales with Gallagher back.

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2014-15 Broadway Season: 4 Shows Open on Broadway in March 2015

The Heidi Chronicles will be the final show to open on Broadway in March.

The Heidi Chronicles will be the final show to open on Broadway in March.

Late April marks the deadline for Tony nominations and that means there will be a few new shows opening on Broadway in March and then 14 in April. During the next two months, a total of 18 new shows, more than have premiered in the other 10 months of the 2014-2015 theatre season, will make their way to a Broadway stage. Here is a thumbnail sketch of what is opening in March.

Fish in the Dark (Opens March 5; Cort Theatre)

It is the first Broadway comedy by Seinfeld co-creator and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David. The March 5, 2015 opening is a fait accompli, as Fish in the Dark has been selling at over 100% capacity and there is no end in sight to that phenomenon, except for the fact that the show is in a limited run and will be closing June 14, 2015. David fans have lined up to buy tickets to the show and are enthusiastic about the play and the chance to see David on stage.

The cast, which numbers 18, includes Larry David as Norman Drexel, Rosie Perez as Fabiana Melendez, Jayne Houdyshell as Gloria Drexel, and Jake Cannavale as Diego Melendez. Other cast members included Jerry Adler as Sidney Drexel, Rita Wilson as Brenda, Drexel, and Ben Shenkman as Arthur Drexel.

The dark comedy is about a son who loses his dad to death and how he and the rest of the family deal with the event.

The Audience (Opens March 8; Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre)

Helen Mirren has crossed the pond and is presently in previews in The Audience, playing Elizabeth II in the play which earned her an Olivier Award about three years ago. The Audience takes as its starting point a historical fact: every week for the past 60 years Queen Elizabeth II has had a private, secret meeting with her Prime Minister. No one knows what has been said in such meetings. Playwright Peter Morgan has created a series of scenes detailing individual meetings between the 12 Prime Ministers and one Queen that have served England for six decades. Mirren, a consummate actress, will be on Broadway through June 28, 2015. The show is selling at close to 100%.

On the Twentieth Century (Opens March 12; American Airlines Theatre)

There’s been a lot of press about the first Broadway revival of the Tony winning musical On the Twentieth Century. The musical, which has music by Cy Coleman and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, is about a Broadway producer, Oscar Jaffe, who is desperate for a hit show. Jaffe’s professional life is in a shambles and believes that his former love and muse, Lily Garland, can save his career if he can get her to star in his next Broadway production. They board the luxury train the Twentieth Century, along with Garland’s jealous lover and an obsessed, hyperactive Christian, and as they cross the country old relationships are rekindled, jealousies surface, and mayhem ensues. It is an all stops out, no holds barred musical farce.

The revival of On the Twentieth Century stars Peter Gallagher as Oscar Jaffe and Kristin Chenoweth as Lily Garland. Gallagher has been ill of late and has missed a week’s worth of performances. He’s due to be back on stage starting Tuesday, March 3. The show has been selling at approximately 98% capacity.

The Heidi Chronicles (Opens March 19; Music Box Theatre)

The cast of The Heidi Chronicles includes Elisabeth Moss as Heidi Holland, Jason Biggs as Scoop Rosenbaum, and Bryce Pinkham as Peter Patrone, That is an exciting triumvirate of actors for the first Broadway revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s 1989 Pulitzer and Tony Award wining comedy.

The Heidi Chronicles focuses on the life of Heidi Holland and details her journey as a high school student in the 1960s, through her college and early professional years in the 70s, and into the 80s where she finally finds a balance of some sort between love, family, intimacy, and career. Wasserstein adeptly captures characters in respective eras and adroitly details their emotions, challenges, disillusionments, frustrations, and triumphs. In her comedy, Wasserstein investigates redefining family, love, and motherhood as the end of the 20th century nears.

Some of What to Expect in April

There’s a lot more to preview in March including Chita Rivera in the Kander, Ebb and McNally musical The Visit, the dark comedy Hand to God, and the romantic comedy Living on Love with opera superstar Renee Fleming making her Broadway debut. Also coming in April will be the Broadway premiere of the Gershwin musical An American in Paris, with a book by Craig Lucas, the musical adaptation of the epic Doctor Zhivago, and the new musical about how J.M. Barrie discovered Peter Pan, finding Neverland.

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On the Twentieth Century Derailed Saturday Night Back on Schedule for Sunday

James Moye understudy for Peter Gallagher Twentieth Century

James Moye understudy for Peter Gallagher Twentieth Century

James Moye as Buddy rehearsing the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Elf in November 2014.

It’s been announced that the Roundabout’s revival of On the Twentieth Century at the American Airlines Theatre will be back on track today. The show did not go on last night as one of the stars, Peter Gallagher, was unable to perform due to vocal problems. It’s been reported that Gallagher has been rehearsing and performing all week with a cold and that it finally got the best of him. To complicate things, the understudy was not yet ready to perform. That combination of factors meant that the performance had to be cancelled.

Brakes Put on Last Minute

Although some audience members were irritated that the cancellation of On the Twentieth Century was announced right about curtain time, Kristin Chenoweth, who came out to make the announcement with director Scott Ellis, made every effort to smooth things over.

After explaining the predicament, Chenoweth offered the sold out house a rendition of the Charlie Chaplin classic “Smile.” Then she asked the four actors who play the porters in On the Twentieth Century to come out and they performed the tap dance number “Life is Like a Train”. It was a huge audience pleaser.

Tough Sell

It’s not easy to cancel a performance on a Saturday night, which is the most attended performance time of the theatre week, but due to the fact that the show is still in previews Gallagher’s understudy, James Moye, was not fully rehearsed. This is not unusual to have this situation at this point in the production process, as the show is still being refined and changes continue to be made. Plus, along with learning Gallagher’s role, Moye, who is part of the ensemble, must know his ensemble duties in the show.

The Show Will Go On

The latest news from On the Twentieth Century is that Moye rehearsed last night after the cancellation and will be able to perform in Gallagher’s stead. Showtime is 2 pm. Gallagher is day-to-day.

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Broadway Revival of On the Twentieth Century Delays First Preview

On the Twentieth Century preview postponed. until Feb 13

On the Twentieth Century preview postponed. until Feb 13

On the Twentieth Century preview postponed until Feb. 13.

The weather has not been kind to On the Twentieth Century, the Roundabout’s revival starring Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher. The musical farce, which won five Tonys when it premiered on Broadway in 1978, is now in rehearsals for its first Broadway revival. The first preview has been postponed by one day and is now set for February 13.

The show, which is scheduled to open March 12 at the American Airlines Theatre, is to have a limited run and will close on July 5, 2015. Along with Chenoweth and Gallagher, the Roundabout production also includes Andy Karl (Bruce Granit), Mark Linn-Baker (Oliver Webb), Michael McGrath (Owen O’Malley), Mary Louise Wilson (Letitia Primrose), and an ensemble of 18.

The Show

Gallagher and Chenoweth.

Gallagher and Chenoweth.

With music by Cy Coleman and lyrics and book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the show, which is set on the luxury train The Twentieth Century, involves a desperate Broadway producer, Oscar Jaffe (Gallagher), attempting to convince a former Broadway now Hollywood star, Lily Garland (Chenoweth), to return to The Great White way in an epic drama about Mary Magdalene. The show does not exist, but Jaffe, who has had four flops in a row, is desperate to re-establish his reputation on Broadway, and he needs his former lover and muse under contract in order to have the juice to do so. Add to the mix a young, jealous, and not so bright Hollywood leading man, a religious fanatic, and a whole lot of other folks who simply complicate everything and you’ve got a screwball comedy.

The Production

The Broadway premiere of On the Twentieth Century opened on February 19, 1978 at the St. James Theatre and ran for 11 previews and 448 performances. It starred John Cullum, Madeline Khan, Imogene Coca, and Kevin Kline. Hal Prince directed, as the show won Tonys for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Cullum and Kline also won Tonys.

The Roundabout production includes additional lyrics by Amanda Green, direction by Scott Ellis, and choreography by Warren Carlyle.

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