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A Kiss Isn’t Just a Kiss

By David Lefkowitz

One of the more whimsical Broadway romances of recent years...

One of the more whimsical Broadway romances of recent years, Prelude to a Kiss, returns to the Great White Way tonight, March 8, in a revival helmed by Daniel Sullivan and featuring "Frasier" star, John Mahoney.

Mahoney plays an old man who shows up uninvited at a wedding and asks for a kiss from the pretty bride. More than saliva gets swapped in the smooch, leading the newlyweds to consider the nature of youth, beauty and love.

A Tony winner for The House of Blue Leaves, the gravel-voiced Mahoney is best known as the middle-class father of the upper-class Crane brothers on "Frasier." Prelude's young couple are played by "Law and Order" A.D.A. Annie Parisse and Epic Proportions alum, Alan Tudyk. Theater veterans James Rebhorn and Robin Bartlett are also featured in the revival, which boasts a set by Santo Loquasto, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Donald Holder and original music by John Gromada.

After its debut at California's South Coast Rep, the original Prelude, starring Barnard Hughes, Alec Baldwin and Mary-Louise Parker, became a big hit for off-Broadway's now-defunct Circle Repertory. With Timothy Hutton taking over for Alec Baldwin, the sweet-sour comedy opened May 1 at the Helen Hayes Theater and went on to last 440 performances. A movie version followed, with original star Baldwin playing opposite Meg Ryan.

Author Lucas has also penned Blue Window, The Dying Gaul and Reckless, which had its revival (and Broadway debut) 20 years after its first developmental stagings. (In between, a revised version of Reckless became a success at the aforementioned Circle Repertory shortly before Prelude did). Director Sullivan's credits include Rabbit Hole, Proof and Stuff Happens.

Produced by the Roundabout at their American Airlines Theater, Prelude is scheduled to run through April 22.