Though many recent movie-to-musical transformations have fizzled- Saturday Night Fever, Footloose- the latest may just be a Producers-sized hit. Sweet Smell of Success, based on the stylish 1957 flick starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, makes its New York debut this month (Martin Beck Theatre; 800/432-7250 or 212/239-6200). John Lithgow takes up the Lancaster role of gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and theater vet Brian D'Arcy James updates Curtis's weaselly flack who'll do anything for some press. Nicholas Hytner (Carousel) directs; Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line) and Craig Carnelia (Working) provide music and lyrics.
Arthur Miller is a playwright best-suited for serious times, which could explain the advent of two new back-to-back Broadway productions. Director Richard Eyre's revival of the 1953 classic The Crucible casts Liam Neeson and Laura Linney as the couple at the center of witch-hunt-obsessed Salem (Virginia Theater, opens March 7; 212/239-6200). Next, Scott Ellis directs Chris O'Donnell in The Man Who Had All the Luck, Miller's 1940 fable about a small-town man's anomalous good fortune (American Airlines Theatre, previews begin April 19; 212/719-1300. "This is a play that poses a larger question," Ellis says. "Do we have control over our own fate?" These days, who can say?