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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 

Stage Addiction: Billy Elliot is one Bad Muthaf---ka

- Billy Elliot has finally announced its Broadway engagement...for 2008. Which may seem like eons away to you, but to the producers, it's merely an opportunity for more buzz and hype. In fact, they're so sure of the Elton John-penned smash from London, they've already gone ahead and booked the Imperial. Now THAT, my friends, is confidence. (And I guess they don't have much faith in High Fidelity, which will open at the theatre in November.)

- It only took six years, but Mel Brooks may finally be ready with his follow-up to The Producers. The musical adaptation of Young Frankenstein will get a private workshop in October starring Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked), Shuler Hensley (Tarzan) and Marc Kudisch (Assassins). The Producers creative team, including director Susan Stroman and co-writer Thomas Meehan, are back on board....and Brooks hopes his original Frau Blucher, Cloris Leachman, can be tempted back as well. Can lightning strike the same spot twice?

- Perhaps feeling a little dirty after starfucking Usher so hard, the producers of Chicago have rediscovered their roots -- they're bringing back original star Bebe Neuwirth for three months beginning in December. This time, she won't be playing her original role, Velma Kelly...she'll be vamping it up instead as Roxie Hart. Which makes this an absolute must-see, despite her being a little long in the tooth for the part. Think of it this way: Bebe, in the musical she was born for, in a new and surprising way. ModFab is reserving tickets the minute we finish typing this....

- Yay to the record-breaking Avenue Q. We love it when the good guys succeed.

- We're of the opinion that very few 80's cult films would make great musicals. Hairspray worked out okay; I can imagine a pretty kick-ass version of Heathers too. But by far the best wacky idea is Evil Dead: The Musical, a tuneful telling of Sam Raimi's ridiculous slasher. As The Lieutenant of Inishmore proved, blood and gore on stage can be hilarious. The question now: can it sing? We'll know in less than a month, when it opens under the direction of Tony winner Hinton Battle (Miss Saigon, OutKast's Idlewild) at New World Stages (formerly Dodger Stages).

- I'm quoting the press release here: "Broadway veteran and star Patrick Page will play The Grinch in the upcoming version of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical." Perhaps, like 99.9999% of the planet, you have no idea who Patrick Page is, or why he could possibly be billed as a "star". Let us help you out: he was in The Lion King a few years ago, long after the tourists took over. And he did indeed win an award in D.C. for his Iago. But in a world where the term "star" sadly applies equally to Meryl Streep, Paris Hilton, and William Hung, we say: enough with the overzealous press releases. He's a Broadway veteran, but not a star.

- Next month's benefit concert for The Actors' Fund has us a bit worried. The classic show being performed this year is The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, but the cast is less than inspiring: Harry Groener, Andrea McArdle, Felicia Finley, Mary Faber, Richard Kind and (I kid you not) Constantine Maroulis. We've been fans of these concerts in the past (the Dreamgirls concert was a revelation), but we might have something else to do this particular night. Something.

- Here's the Equity audition for the Grease reality show. Brush up your monologues, shine your tap shoes, and leave your dignity at the door...

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