Screwball Comedy ROOM SERVICE Eyes 2017-18 Broadway Bow

By: Dec. 12, 2016
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Room Service, the 1937 screwball comedy by Allen Boretz and John Murray is Broadway-bound.

The play, perhaps best known to audiences around the world for the RKO film adaptation starring the Marx Brothers, has been optioned by producers Michael Pressman and Andrew Ames through Samuel French. Pressman and Ames are aiming for a production in the 2017-2018 Broadway Season, and hope to announce casting in the coming months.

One of the great comedy successes of all times, Room Service tells the story of a desperate and nimble-witted producer, living on credit with several actors in a Broadway hotel. He finds his script, and, by great good luck, he also finds an angel with $15,000. During a hectic few days, the producer plays hide-and-seek with the angel who wants to withdraw his financial support, manages to outwit creditors, and open his play in spite of the most ludicrous and unexpected obstacles.

On stage, Room Service debuted on in 1937 at The Court Theatre on Broadway. Produced by the legendary George Abbott, the cast featured notables including Eddie Albert and Sam Levine and ran for 500 performances. The play was revived in 1953 featuring a young Jack Lemon in his Broadway debut. The most recent New York production opened at The Bank Street Theatre in 2006 before moving to Off-Broadway's Soho Playhouse.

One year following the plays Broadway debut, RKO released a 1938 film starring The Marx Brothers, Lucille Ball, Ann Miller and Frank Albertson. In 1944 RKO released a starry musical adaptation of the play, titled Step Lively with Frank Sinatra, George Murphy, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria DeHaven, Walter Slezak and Anne Jeffreys.

"With things so surreal in the world today, just being able to laugh can be a big relief. It beats crying," say Michael Pressman and Andrew Ames. "That's one reason we think the timing is so right for this project. The Marx Brothers made Room Service famous. But it was a huge theatrical hit before that and has been in productions all around the world ever since. Now, Room Service is more relevant - and perhaps more essential to our survival -- than ever before."

Pressman, who will also direct the production, most recently directed the Broadway revival of Come Back, Little Sheba starring S. Epatha Merkerson. Among his feature film credits are To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, and Frankie and Johnny Are Married. His most recent work in television includes "Law and Order SVU" and " Blue Bloods." Pressman was Executive Producer on the Emmy Award-winning acclaimed series "Picket Fences"

Andrew Ames is an Emmy Award-winning television production executive and producer/director. With a wide range of adventure, comedy, history, documentary and children's programs, credits include "Sesame Street," "Candid Camera," "Good Morning America," as well as others for ABC, PBS, History, CBS and other networks. He's earned nine Emmy nominations and won an Emmy as a producer of "Reading Rainbow." Ames serves as the Executor for the Allen Boretz Estate.

Pictured: ROOM SERVICE at Westport Country Playhouse in 2014. Photo by Carol Rosegg.