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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Stage Addiction: Under No Circumstances Will Screech Play Ulla

- John Mahoney, the irascible dad on Frasier, will be the headliner for the just-announced Broadway revival of Prelude to a Kiss, Craig Lucas' switched-body romantic fantasy. Opening at the American Airlines in February (yes, the Roundabout strikes again), no other casting is yet known. Might want to get on that, since rehearsals should start in a month or so.

- More septugenarians on Broadway: Deuce, the world premiere by Terrence McNally starring Marian Seldes and Angela Lansbury (in her return to New York stages after a 20-year absence), is the buzz project of the month on the rialto. It's moving into the Music Box in Paril after The Vertical Hour moves out, where Julianne Moore is getting (surprise) mixed reviews.

- Set the TiVo: Audra McDonald, live on PBS, on New Year's Eve. Shweet.

- Here's a no-brainer, Mr. Producer: how about a new Broadway revival of Dreamgirls? Just thinking out loud. (And David Cote, one of my favorite writers on the theatre beat here in NYC, gives the movie a careful thumbs-up.)

- Speaking of producers and their questionable decision-making processes, The Producers has finally gotten desperate enough to start stunt-casting. After last week's announcement that Tony Danza will play Max Bialystock on beginning this month (shudder), Michael Reidel dropped the bomb that Mario Lopez is being wooed to join the show in early 2007. To which we say: Dancing With The Stars, Saved By The Bell, and Breaking The Surface: The Greg Louganis Story is not ENOUGH cultural destruction, Mario? Now we have to take out the American theatre as well? First Cameron Mackintosh, and now...Slater?

- In only slightly less disturbing news than the Danza-Lopez notice above, here's another: Nathan Lane and Kristin Chenoweth are planning a sitcom together. Playing talk show hosts, a la Regis and Kelly. Wow, that's....really....gay. Even for me.

- The Color Purple announced that they are now officially, after almost a year, a profitable institution. This is pretty terrific news...it's been a very, very long time since an open-ended production on Broadway starring an entirely African-American cast made money. (Lesson learned: never underestimate the power of The Oprah.)

- Show Queen Alert: this Friday, you can hear live previews of The Grapes of Wrath, the new opera by Ricky Ian Gordon (My Life With Albertine) and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens), by simply making a donation to the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. The authors will be in attendance, too. How sweet is that?

- And finally, a personal recommendation: one of the best musicals of the last decade, in my humble opinion, was the little-seen Elegies: A Song Cycle by William Finn (Spelling Bee, Falsettos), which ran for a mere month in 2003 at Lincoln Center. A simply exquisite evening about love and loss, it was a limited engagement that deserved a much wider audience. A little of that audience will be gained on December 17th at Joe's Pub at The Public, when the musical is revived for one night only with original cast members Betty Buckley (Cats), Michael Rupert (Falsettos), Christian Borle (Spamalot) and Darius de Haas (Marie Christine). It deserves your time, your attention, and your adoration. So go, and I'll see you there!



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