It's funny, I was just thinking about Babes in Arms and how we haven't seen a revival in a while. (Yes, that's the sort of thing that spontaneously crosses my mind. Blessing? Curse? You be the judge.) And then I checked Internet Broadway Database and it turns out there has never been a Broadway revival of Babes in Arms, although there have been numerous studio recordings and concert versions of the show, such as the 1989 version with Judy Blazer and Gregg Edelman, and the 1999 Encores cast with David Campbell and Erin Dilly.
Now, Variety is reporting that next season we could see a revival of the Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms featuring Rosie O'Donnell. The production is slated to be directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, a recent Tony nominee for White Christmas. The show will sport a new book by the very busy Joe DiPietro, author of the long-running I Love You You're Perfect Now Change, the somewhat forgettable All Shook Up, the currently running The Toxic Avenger, and the upcoming Memphis.
It's kind of amazing that we haven't seen a Broadway revival of the show since its 1937 premiere, given that the score is chockablock with Rodgers and Hart standards, including, "Johnny One-Note," "I Wish I Were in Love Again," "The Lady is a Tramp," "Where or When," and what just might be the most beautiful song of all time, "My Funny Valentine." (Arguable, yes. But you have to admit it's a fantastic song, with a dynamite melody and one of Larry Hart's best lyrics.) Of course, the reason we don't see revivals of a lot of shows from the '30s is that the books are creaky and dated. So when we do see them (Anything Goes, Girl Crazy/Crazy for You, The Boys From Syracuse, On Your Toes) they usually involve reworked or completely new books, or suffer from the lack.
The plot of Babes in Arms involves a chorine (O'Donnell, believe it or not) who helps a group of kids whose parents are out-of-work vaudevillians "put on" the proverbial "show" to help them raise money so they won't be sent to a work farm. The show flops, but later a transatlantic aviator lands nearby and they're able to parlay the publicity into a successful subsequent run of the show. The original show had modest sets and no stars, so it was able to make a profit. The new production will reportedly feature a cast of 15 and a single, unit set, which means it will probably fill one of Broadway's lesser-used, smaller houses.
Bear in mind, though, that at this point last year we were also anticipating revivals of Brigadoon, for colored girls..., and a reworked version of Oh, Kay, AKA Nice Work if You Can Get it. So don't go planning your trips to NYC just yet. As I type this, I'm looking at my unused ticket to the aborted revival of Godspell.