The Madwoman of Central Park West

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The Madwoman of Central Park West
an original musical comedy
Original cast recording
Book Arthur Laurents
Phyllis Newman[1]
Productions 1979 Broadway

The Madwoman of Central Park West is a semi-autobiographical one-woman musical with a book by Arthur Laurents and Phyllis Newman and songs by various composers and lyricists. It focuses on the difficulties faced by an older actress who is seeking to balance her career with her life as a wife and mother.

Among those whose songs are included in the production are Peter Allen, Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Bock, Martin Charnin, Betty Comden, Fred Ebb, Adolph Green, Sheldon Harnick, John Kander, Ed Kleban, Barry Manilow, Joe Raposo, Mary Rodgers, Carole Bayer Sager, and Stephen Sondheim.

Under the title My Mother Was a Fortune-Teller and starring Newman as basically herself, it originally was staged by Laurents at the Hudson Guild Theatre.[2] Slightly revised and with a new title, it transferred to 22 Steps where, after 15 previews, it opened on June 13, 1979 and closed on August 25 after 85 performances.

In his review for New York, John Simon described it as "above all else, embarrassing" and called the writing "uniformly feeble." He thought the interpolated songs were "not great stuff" and added, "[T]hough Miss Newman is a talented musical comedienne, she cannot make them into more than they are." He did praise "a medley of old songs glorifying woman as sex object or domestic drudge - which she renders with delightful satiric brio."[3]

Twelve of the musical numbers were recorded and released by DRG Records.

Production credits: Scenery Design - Phillip Jung, Costume Design - Theoni V. Aldredge, Lighting Design - Ken Billington, Sound Design - Abe Jacob, Orchestrations - John Clifton, Musical Direction - Herbert Kaplan, Special Orchestrations - Kirk Nurock, General Manager - Marvin A. Krauss, Production Stage Manager -= James Pentecost, Producer's Associate - Amos Abrams, Directed by - Arthur Laurents[4]


  1. ^ Showbill (Original Program) 22 Steps Theatre, 1979
  2. ^ Bryer, Jackson R. and Davison, Richard Allan, The Art of the American Musical: Conversations with the Creators. Rutgers University Press 2005. ISBN 0-8135-3613-8, p. 146
  3. ^ New York, July 9-16, 1979, pp. 95-96
  4. ^ Original Showbill (program) 1979, 22 Steps theatre

External links[edit]

The Madwoman of Central Park West at the Internet Broadway Database