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Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Stage Addiction: Wayne Brady Still Not A Homo

- Your humble editor crashed his way into the sealed-tight private reading of Xanadu: The Musical last Friday, and our thumbs are up -- it's going to be phenomenal when it opens next spring. The ersatz fun of the 1980 movie has been preserved, and the music is better than...well, it's better. The tweaked-up script by Douglas Carter Beane (As Bees in Honey Drown) is the real find, delightfully shrewd and funny stuff. It won't be everone's cup of tea, but if they can keep even half of their all-star cast (a luminous Jane Krakowski, matched beautifully with Cheyenne Jackson as the leads; supporting turns by Mary Testa, Darius de Haas, Jai Rodriguez, Annie Golden, and the indomitable Ben Vereen), it'll be a big fat hit.

- Whadaya mean, there won't be a Lestat cast recording? Oh right...it sucked.

- That Los Angeles revival of Fences keeps getting starrier and starrier. Kadeem Hardison (A Different World) and Orlando Jones (Drumline) have joined the ensemble, which already featured Oscar nominee Angela Bassett and Tony winner Laurence Fishburne. We're officially praying that it comes East in January.

- The national tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has a completely new opening number, "The Only Game in Town." Whathefuck, is this a DVD directors' cut? Next you'll have to stay after the curtain call to watch scenes they deleted out-of-town in Boston.

- Big stars, big musicals: Tom Hanks is preparing to turn Mamma Mia into a movie, which is a terrible artistic idea and a brilliant financial one. With productions currently playing on five continents (and with a score of ABBA songs everyone already knows), it's the perfect worldwide phenomenon. Too bad the story/dancing/acting/orchestrations completely suck. Better news is that Hugh Jackman is planning to star in a remake of Carousel, a beautiful old chestnut by Rodgers and Hammerstein. (Our last Hollywood mention in this theoretically legit column: Jim Broadbent will play husband Wilbur to John Travolta's Edna in the movie version of Hairspray. Great choice, we think. John Waters meets Moulin Rouge meets Grease!)

- Kiki and Herb finally arrive on Broadway this week, and the entire universe is breathless with anticipation. (Okay, maybe just us.) If you're unfamiliar with the nihilistic cabaret duo, here's the live promo video to school your uneducated ass. We laughed until we peed.

- Veteran comedians Marin Mazzie (Kiss Me, Kate) and Johnathan Hadary (Awake and Sing) are taking over the leads in Spamalot beginning October 1st. Finally, there may be a reason to see that show after all.

- FringeNYC starts this week, the biggest theatre festival in North America. I've been almost every year, and can vouch that it is 95% pure crap, 5% gold. The question is: which is which? There's no way to tell until word of mouth kicks in, so at this point we'll go by our favorite title: Moral Values, or We No Likey The Homo Touch Touch.

- We got a preview copy of the new cast recording of Grey Gardens this week, the first step in its push towards world domination its Broadway transfer in October. The music sounds lovely, but it's not quite as powerful on disc as it was in person. Get your own copy (a full week early at PS Classics), and let us know whatcha think.

- Wayne Brady has dropped out of The Wiz due to "scheduling conflicts." Who knew he still had a career? And while we're on the subject...is he gay yet?
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