Broadway's 'On the Town' to Go On the Road

Joan Marcus
'On the Town'

Nominated for four Tony Awards, including best musical revival, the show will embark on a 2016-17 national tour, with Tony Yazbeck reprising his leading role.

The trio of World War II sailor buddies in On the Town, who dock in New York for a day in search of romance, fun and adventure, are headed to other ports of call.

Producers of the show, which is nominated for four Tony Awards including best musical revival, announced on Tuesday that a national tour is in the works for the 2016-17 season, to coincide with the centennial celebrations around the 100th birthday of composer Leonard Bernstein.

In an unusual move, Tony-nominated lead actor Tony Yazbeck has committed to reprise his role of Gabey on the road in select cities. While Broadway stars of earlier decades frequenty went on tour with productions that had earned them acclaim in New York, that tradition has now largely disappeared.

Read more 'On the Town': Theater Review

In addition to musical revival and lead actor, On the Town received Tony nominations for John Rando's direction and for Joshua Bergasse's buoyant choreography.

The beloved 1944 musical comedy features book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and was based on an idea by original choregrapher Jerome Robbins. The classic jazzy Bernstein score includes such standards as "New York, New York," "Come Up to My Place," "Lonely Town" and "Some Other Time."

Lead producers on the revival are Howard & Janet Kagan. A full tour schedule will be announced shortly.

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The show opened at the Lyric Theatre on Oct. 16 and landed on a number of publications' Top 10 theater lists for 2014, including The Hollywood Reporter's. However, box office has been middling for a venue with a capacity of more than 1,800 seats, and producers clearly are hoping for an adrenaline shot from Tony attention.

Tony Award strategists have long believed that announcement of a U.S. tour is a key step in securing the votes of road presenters. News of its touring plans didn't earn any Tony love for Harvey Weinstein's Finding Neverland, which was snubbed by the nominating committee. However, a tour was announced for An American in Paris in the runup to nominations, and that production now leads the field, securing mentions in 12 categories.

On the Town faces stiff competition for best musical revival against two other glowingly reviewed shows: The King and I and On the Twentieth Century. The Tony Awards will be presented at Radio City Music Hall on June 7.

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