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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Stage Whispers: Naked Fun with Harry Connick Jr.

Must-see of the Week:
Bernarda Alba / Lincoln Center Theatre
Opens March 6

Why is Bernarda Alba a must see? So many reasons. The story by Federico Garcia Lorca. The music and lyrics by celebrated composer Michael John LaChiusa (Marie Christine, The Wild Party). A venerated director in Graciela Daniele (Dessa Rose, Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life). A cast of heavyweight actresses including Phylicia Rashad (Gem of the Ocean), Saundra Santiago (Nine), and Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent). The production imprimatur of Lincoln Center. This new musical promises to be the total package, and any serious theatregoer should have it on their spring schedule.

This Week's Stage Whispers:

- In case you don't know, Harry Connick, Jr. has enormous, gargantuan pectorals...which you can now see for a mere $101.25 every night in The Pajama Game. Porn is back on 42nd Street!

- Lestat now has its very own blog, documenting the musical's arrival on Broadway. No posts about those scathing out-of-town reviews, though.

- Awards Watch #1: London's equivalent of the Tonys, the Olivier Awards, handed out prizes to Jane Krakowski (Guys and Dolls), Brian Dennehy (Death of a Salesman), and a pile to Billy Elliot: The Musical (Best Musical, Choreography, and the Best Actor award shared by all three of its leading lads). Photos of the ceremony are available at BroadwayWorld.

- Audra McDonald is the big catch next season for Broadway's Roundabout Theatre Company, which will feature the star in a revival of the Jones/Schmidt tuner 110 in the Shade for spring 2007. Other productions on the bill: Philip Bosco in Shaw's Heartbreak House and Howard Katz, the new play by Patrick Marber (Closer).

- Legally Blonde: The Musical makes its way to Broadway in '07. Death of culture to follow.

- Awards Watch #2: The 2006 Steinberg New Play Award has narrowed down the finalists for its $25,000 prize: A Body of Water by Lee Blessing, American Fiesta by Steven Tomlinson, The Pain and the Itch by Bruce Norris, Radio Golf by August Wilson, Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp, and Restoration Comedy by Amy Freed. Rapp's Red is currently playing Off-Broadway, and Wilson's Golf is scheduled to hit New York next season. The others? A smart company would do well to pick them up...

- So ya wanna be a theatrical producer? Bring your checkbook.

- A seriously smart cast is lining up for the New York premiere of David Hare's anti-Bush drama Stuff Happens on March 28th. The show will feature Jeffrey DeMunn (K2) as Donald Rumsfeld, Zach Grenier as Dick Cheney, Peter Francis James (Drowning Crow) as Colin Powell, Byron Jennings as Tony Blair, Gloria Reuben (ER) as Condoleezza Rice and Jay O. Sanders (Lone Star Love) as Dubya. Rumsfeld's famous response to the looting of Baghdad provides the title for this play built from events of the last two years. Hare has fashioned a historical narrative drama about the frustrations of power and the limits of diplomacy. Sweet!

- Awards Watch #3: Playwrights Amelia Bullmore and Elizabeth Kuti are the co-winners of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, honoring female playwrights. Bullmore got the nod for Mammals, her comedy about a disintegrating marriage, and Kuti won for The Sugar Wife, set in a Quaker community in Dublin in 1850.

- Check in on the biggest musical in the history of civilization: the $23 million musical Lord of the Rings, now in tumultuous previews in Toronto. One kick-turn to rule them all...

- Sandra Bernhard has a new Off-Broadway show, Everything Bad and Beautiful. Don't even THINK about not going.


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