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2006 Verve Awards

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Stage Addiction: Bette Davis In Drag Is Redundant

- Are you straight, but wish you could magically become a raging homo theatre queen? Have I got the answer for you! Abingdon Theatre Company's upcoming benefit is guaranteed to bring out the sissy in everyone: an all-star reading of All About Eve, starring drag diva Charles Busch as fading star Margo Channing. The ensemble includes Martha Plimpton as Eve Harrington, Marc Kudisch, Lucie Arnaz, Laurence Luckinbill, and in an inspired bit of casting, bitchy New York Post arts columnist Michael Reidel as Addison DeWitt. A bumpy night? You better your keister.

- A lesson in Tony Award handicapping: when it comes to Broadway, never underestimate the power of London. A palpable hit from the West End can sweep New Yorkers off their feet, with Tonys to boot (The History Boys, Copenhagen, etc.). This season's London heavyweight? Frost/Nixon starring Frank Langella, the historical drama that, after receiving rave reviews, is destined for a Shubert theatre next spring. Expect it to figure heavily against other Brit-influenced competition, including David Hare's The Vertical Hour and Kevin Spacey (see below).

- Will Mel Brooks eat his own tail? His musical adaptation of The Producers has been fighting box office woes for most of 2006; now, Variety is suggesting that the show will close to make room for his new musical, Young Frankenstein. Our spies say it's untrue, though; Mel wants to wring every last buck out of the Producers cash cow, which means he'll probably take the new show for a test drive in another city first -- Chicago or Seattle, most likely.

- Spring Awakening continues to upgrade its Broadway transfer with excellent new actors. Last week, they announced that Stephen Spinella (Angels in America) would be playing the adult male roles in the show; now, they've added Christine Estabrook to play the adult women. If you don't recognize her name, you probably know her TV alter ego -- Mrs. Huber, the devious (and dead) neighbor on Desperate Housewives.

- After a decade of suffering on television as Ray Romano's wife (not exactly Shakespeare, that), Emmy winner Patricia Heaton will enjoy a much better script this December in The Scene, the new play by Theresa Rebeck (Bad Dates, Omnium Gatherum). This "black comedy about the empty narcissism of pop culture" is one of ModFab's most anticipated new plays of the season, so we hope she can actually act she will be fabulous.

- Everybody knows A Chorus Line was based on the life stories of its original cast members. But did you know that those dancers -- including Priscilla Lopez, Wayne Cilento and Gilmore Girls star Kelly Bishop -- were only paid $1 for their tales? It seems it's still a sore point for many of them, even 30 years later. (In related news, I have yet to be paid for my contributions to the movie Showgirls. Esterhazs, you're on my shit list.)

- Kevin Spacey may be coming back to Broadway this spring. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

- It was only a matter of time for soap operas to make it to the theatre world. Douglas Carter Beane (author of To Wong Foo and the soon-to-open Broadway comedy The Little Dog Laughed) has penned a four-episode 'series' called The Cartells, "a wealthy oil family having too much fun in an Aaron Spelling kind of way," which will play on successive Mondays beginning October 16. He's also got a pretty impressive cast assembled: Tony winner Joanna Gleason (Into The Woods), Bryan D'Arcy James (Titanic), Dylan Baker (The Practice) and Joey Slotnick (Girls Will Be Girls). And if you can't see every episode, don't worry...each evening begins with a short playlet, "Previously on The Cartells," to catch you up.
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