“Days of Wine and Roses,” a musical adaptation of a midcentury story about a loving marriage destroyed by alcoholism, will come to Broadway early next year starring the acclaimed stage performers Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James.
The production had a 10-week run earlier this year at the Atlantic Theater Company, an Off Broadway nonprofit. Writing in The New York Times, the critic Laura Collins-Hughes called it a “jazzy, aching musical,” and praised its “glorious sound.”
O’Hara is a seven-time Tony Award nominee who won the award in 2015 for her performance in a revival of “The King and I.” James is a four-time nominee, most recently for last season’s revival of “Into the Woods.”
The Broadway production, directed by Michael Greif (“Dear Evan Hansen”), is scheduled to begin previews Jan. 6 and to open Jan. 28 at Studio 54 for a 16-week run. The lead producers are Kevin McCollum, Mark Cortale, Lorenzo Thione and Joey Monda.
“Days of Wine and Roses” began its life as a teleplay in 1958; it was then adapted into a film in 1962. The musical features a score by Adam Guettel and a book by Craig Lucas; they previously collaborated on the 2005 musical “The Light in the Piazza,” and both of them have spoken about their own struggles with substance abuse.
Guettel said he’s not sure when he first encountered the film, but that it immediately resonated. “I was really streaming tears at that point,” he said. “I had a sense of how alcohol and drugs had affected my life, and even though I had escaped the clutches of all that, the vivid recognition of it really spurred me on, not to create some sort of cautionary tale, but to depict how being addicted affects your life and the people around you.”
The musical, like many, has had a long and bumpy road to Broadway. Guettel said he first discussed the idea with O’Hara two decades ago, when the two were working on “The Light in the Piazza,” and that he had developed the score for her.
“It seemed like the right role for her, even then, in terms of the tenderness and the strength,” he said.
James joined the project in the earliest days as well; he and O’Hara are friends who performed together in “Sweet Smell of Success.”
There have been others who have come and gone — at one point, John Logan was the writer; at one point, Scott Rudin was the producer; at one point, Lincoln Center Theater was going to stage the show.
“The fact that it is coming through the steeplechase intact is incredible,” Guettel said.