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Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Stage Addiction: Martin Short Is Kinda Funny. Kinda.

THE MODFAB MINI-REVIEW: If you've seen the commercials, you know exactly what Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me is: a series of funny skits that wouldn't be out of place on a middling episode of Saturday Night Live. Which isn't as dull as you might guess -- Short does the whole neo-vaudevillian thing pretty well, and his impressive supporting cast (especially Capathia Jenkins and Brooks Ashmanskas) make him seem more talented than he actually is. The conceit is that we're looking back at Short's troubled, fantastic life, but he admits in the first monologue that most of it is made up, so it lacks any gravitas that might have made it more meaningful. But we're selling laughs here, not History Boys; composer Marc Shaiman plays piano on stage, and that's a thrill, but by far the best are the celebrity guest stars interviewed each and every performance by Short's alter ego, Jiminy Glick. Recent guests have been David Schwimmer, Dennis Miller, Michael Riedel, Gene Simmons, Bob Costas, Chris Noth and Kevin Nealon; for our performance last Sunday, it was Nathan Lane.
Ticket Price: $111.25. What We'd Pay: $59.75.

- The rumors began early in the week that Laura Benanti was being pushed ever so gently out of her role in The Wedding Singer. The reason: producers hope to bring in a big-name star to gas up the show's sluggish box office. Now comes word that Benanti is on a "4-6 week medical leave" for undisclosed reasons. Not good. (Although it might be good if you're in the cast of Curtains in L.A., which would like to move into the Al Hirschfeld Theatre -- where Wedding Singer resides -- before Christmas.)

- The stars are aligning for a Broadway transfer of Spring Awakening this fall. Leading man Jonathan Groff has left Paper Mill's upcoming production of Godspell, while his leading lady, Lea Michele, has pulled out of the Broadway return of Les Miserables. (Even we can put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4.) Plus, Sweeney Todd got out of their way, deciding to close early in September rather than run through the end of the year as planned. Hmmmm. Now if only producer Tom Hulce could raise the cash, he'd make it official.

- The new cast recording of A Chorus Line, available October 3rd, will be a collector's treat. In addition to hearing all the great new voices, the CD will include "The Overture That Never Was," specially arranged and performed on two pianos by Chorus composer Marvin Hamlisch. But it's even better if you download at iTunes, which will exclusively offer the bonus track "And", a previously unrecorded number from the show.

- Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do...why hasn't someone made THAT into a movie musical, I ask you?) will join the previously announced Julie White (Six Feet Under) and Johnny Galecki (Roseanne) in the Broadway transfer of The Little Dog Laughed in January at the Cort. White and Galecki were in the original cast Off-Broadway last season at Second Stage; Scott takes over the leading role of a closeted movie star. (Speaking of Second Stage and gays, they're playing musical chairs with their new season, moving Terrence McNally's new gay dramedy, Some Men, to the spring. Wassup witdat?)

- Your problem is, you don't believe me when I tell you a show is good, even if the idea is crappy. So here's the evidence: I told you Xanadu was good. You should trust me more.

- I've already complained about the new reality TV show You're The One That We Want, which will pick the leads for Broadway's new (and completely unnecessary) revival of Grease. There's more info being released about the details, which should make any lifelong performer weep.



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