Chita Rivera’s Destination: Broadway’s Lyceum For ‘The Visit’

No Broadway theater goes unspoken for very long, especially in the frenzied run-up to the April Tony Awards eligibility deadline. As Deadline reported Monday, the Lyceum Theatre, a Shubert-owned jewel on West 45th Street, will be the home of The Visit, the last musical by the Cabaret and Chicago team of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, who died in 2004. The book is by Terrence McNally, the quadruple Tony winner who’s having the run of a lifetime with the smash revival of his comedy It’s Only A Play. McNally’s husband, Tom Kirdahy, is lead producer on both shows.

kirdahymcnallBased on the dark post-WWII satire by Swiss playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt as adapted by Maurice Valency, The Visit concerns a visit by Claire Zachanassian (Chita Rivera), the world’s richest woman, to the Middle European town she left in disgrace as a half-Jewish, half-Romani teenager. She promises to turn around the town’s long plunge into poverty and ruin in exchange for the execution of Anton Schell (Roger Rees), who seduced and abandoned her. While the town’s official response is to recoil in horror, the impact on individual behavior, as Claire bides her time, is what makes the play extraordinary.

Long aborning, the show’s newest iteration was presented last summer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The director is John Doyle, with choreography by Graciela Daniele. Performances are slated to begin March 26, with opening night on April 23, the deadline for 2015 Tony Award consideration.

It will mark the second star-driven Broadway transfer this season from the Massachusetts summer theater, following The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper and Patricia Clarkson; another show from this past summer, Fool For Love with Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda, is scheduled to begin Broadway performances in September.

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