Three Tony champs — Hugh Jackman (“The Boy from Oz”), Kristin Chenoweth (“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”) and Andrea Martin (“My Favorite Year”) — led a recent reading of the 1978 tuner “On the Twentieth Century.” The non-profit Roundabout Theater organized this star-studded cast for what could be the first step towards a full-scale production.
This musical adapation of the 1932 farce by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur (“The Front Page”) boasted a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman. The plot revolves around a down-on-his luck producer (Jackman), a spoilt leading lady (Chenoweth) and a rich eccentric (Martin) all aboard a train bound for Hollywood.
For its first run, John Cullum, as the beleaguered impressario, as well as Kevin Kline in a featured part won Tony Awards as did the score, book, and scenic design. The show lost the top prize to “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and both Madeline Kahn as the madcap movie star and Imogene Coca as the batty old bird were bested in their races.