Broadway Revival (1973)

Trivia & History

Following the success of No, No, Nanette (1971), Constance Montgomery (widow of librettist James Montgomery) suggested to producer Harry Rigby that Irene would be a good property to revive.

Harry Rigby initially did a revision of the book and then brought in Hugh Wheeler and Joseph Stein to revise his revision.

Billy De Wolfe was cast as Madame Lucy, but left the production shortly after rehearsals started due to illness. He died of lung cancer on March 5, 1974.

Early announcements stated that Natalie Schafer would be in the cast, but this did not come to pass. Presumably she would have played Emmeline Marshall.

When the production opened its pre-Broadway tryout in Toronto, it was scheduled to open on Broadway on January 28, 1973. This was already a postponement from January 18. When it was clear much work needed to be done, the run in Philadelphia, where the show played after Toronto, was extended, and a third tryout engagement — in Washington, D.C. — was added. Gower Champion was hired to oversee the staging, and the Broadway opening was postponed to March 13, 1973.

The production took a week off from the Broadway run to play at the St. Louis Muny. The Muny was August 6-11, 1973.

Although the production was generally playing a Tuesday through Sunday schedule for the last part of its run, it closed on a Saturday.

During that final week, the production played a Monday matinee as it was the Labor Day holiday weekend. Debbie Reynolds for that final week of the run, priot to starring in the national tour.

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