Robert Longbottom is set to direct and choreograph Bye Bye Birdie in the fall, the first Broadway revival of the show since its original production in 1960. Featuring a book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse, Bye Bye Birdie centers around an Elvis Presley-type rock ’n’ roll superstar named Conrad Birdie who has been drafted into the Army. Conrad’s agent Albert and his long suffering secretary/love interest Rosie plan a publicity stunt in which a lucky teenager gets to bestow a farewell kiss upon her idol. The Tony Award-winning Best Musical features such songs as “Put on A Happy Face,” “Kids” and “A Lot of Livin’ To Do.”
Four-time Tony nominee Victor Garber will play Garry Essendine in Present Laughter, directed by Nicholas Martin, in the winter of 2009-2010. Coward’s classic comedy surrounds its leading character, a London matinee idol, with a lovestruck ingenue, an adulterous producer and a married seductress, not to mention his estranged wife and a crazed young playwright. Just before Garry escapes on a planned trip to Africa, the full extent of his misdemeanors is discovered and all hell breaks loose.
Before starring in TV series such as Eli Stone and Alias, Garber gave Tony-nominated performances in Damn Yankees, Lend Me a Tenor, Little Me and Deathtrap. His other Broadway credits include Art, Arcadia, Two Shakespearean Actors, The Devil’s Disciple, You Never Can Tell, Noises Off, the original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd, They’re Playing Our Song, Tartuffe and The Shadow Box.
Present Laughter debuted on Broadway in 1946 with Clifton Webb as Garry Essendine. The playwright himself played the part in a six-performance Broadway run in 1958, and George C. Scott starred in a 1982 Broadway revival. The play was most recently revived on Broadway in 1996 with Frank Langella as Garry.