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2006 Verve Awards

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Stage Addiction: Jessica Fletcher Returns! (Everybody Hide!)

OUCH, INDEED: The Times They Are A Changin', the Bob Dylan jukebox musical conceived by Twyla Tharp, got some truly heinous reviews this week, which mirror the digusted growls and bitching of the patrons who have been leaving in the middle of the show (not waiting for intermission). Considering that Butley also got reamed and The Wedding Singer announced it will be closing on New Year's Eve, it's been a bitterly crisp start to autumn for Broadway. But have no fear...some new stuff will be appearing to raise your spirits, like spring daffodils in March. If you're into septaugenarian broads, Jessica Fletcher herself (Angela Lansbury) will be returning to Broadway in Terrence McNally's new two-hander, Deuce, opposite the one and only Marian Seldes. The show was originally skedded for Off-Broadway, with Seldes playing opposite Zoe Caldwell. But when Miss Murder She Wrote blows into town, it's time to move less famous actresses aside and pump up the volume.

RUMOR MILLING: Is it true that the long-gestating revival of Inherit The Wind is moving to secure the Lyceum Theatre for late spring...ensuring a short run for Liev Schreiber's Talk Radio? Our spies say it's true...but that the offer on the table to Sir Anthony Hopkins is going nowhere fast.

CASTING NOTES: Emmy winner Tony Shaloub (Monk) will join Emmy winner Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) in Theresa Rebeck's The Scene at Second Stage. Marin Mazzie (Kiss Me, Kate) and Jonathan Hadary (Gypsy) are stepping into Spamalot. Michael Stuhlbarg (The Pillowman) and Fritz Weaver (The Crucible) lead the cast of David Mamet's adaptation of The Voysey Inheritance at Atlantic Theatre Company. And the rotating cast at The Culture Project's moving human rights drama, Speak Truth To Power, will include November guest stars Edie Falco, Brooke Shields, Gabriel Byrne, Rosario Dawson, Griffin Dunne, Kim Fields, Charles Grodin, Julianna Margulies, Lynn Redgrave, Isabella Rosellini, and Fisher Stevens. Beat THAT.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Dreamgirls. Soundtrack. Special Edition 2-CD set. Out December 5th. A dance remix of "And I'm Not Telling You...". I am gagging on the imminent fabulousness.

THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT: A gay old time will be had by all at the December 1st benefit reading of The Laramie Project at Town Hall. Sure, it's a long play and the movie is even longer, but some star power will take the edge off: Stockard Channing, Joshua Jackson, Judith Light, Chad Allen, and more, with a special guest performance by Cyndi Lauper. It all goes to benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is a great cause, and the prices are pretty reasonable for such things. A perfect, thoughtful holiday gift for the theatre queen in your family. (And if you get in the charitable mood, you can follow up with the World AIDS Day concert of Rags: The Musical on December 11th, with Harvey Fierstein, Carolee Carmello, Lainie Kazan, Gregg Edelman, Eden Espinosa, Max von Essen and more.)

Some musicals you have never heard of won the 2006 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Huzzah. In two years, at least one will be a hit...how's that for safe predictions?

WHAT'S MY LINE AGAIN? Here's an interesting idea. the oak tree, a new play by Tim Crouch at the Barrow Street Theatre, is a father-son drama...but the father is played every night by a different actor (male or female) who has never seen the text or the show until they walk out on stage and start to perform. An unusual experiment in live performance, the first set of 'fathers' has been announced: F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Charles Busch (Die Mommie Die), Reed Birney (Bug), James Urbaniak (Thom Pain), Randy Harrison (Queer as Folk), Leslie Hendrix (Law and Order), Steve Blanchard (Beauty and the Beast), Austin Pendleton and musical legend Laurie Anderson.

CONFLICTING REVIEWS: So, does The Pirate Queen really suck or not? Chicago, where the show is doing its out-of-town tryout, can't seem to make up its mind.

GUESS THAT MEGAHIT! It may not seem like much right now, but that quiet announcement for auditions last week and the hush-hush reading of a new musical will blossom, two years from now, into a Broadway-stomping megahit the likes of which we have never seen. The world will shake, the heavens will crack wide open, and the universe will shift. What is its title, you ask?

One word: Shrek.



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