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Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Stage Addiction: Just Dig Zero Mostel Up From His Grave, Why Don't You?

- To squeeze every last shekel out of The Producers before it closes next summer (in order to make room for Mel Brooks' latest, Young Frankenstein), the show isn't content to close the final curtain with current 'star' Tony Danza. Instead, they've made an offer to the ones who started it all -- original stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. Will they return? And if so, will their salaries be more than $120,000/week, the record-setting takes they were each paid when they returned to the show in 2004? The answer: Maybe, and Bet Your Ass.

- Here's the first video footage from Legally Blonde: The Musical, currently in tryouts in San Francisco. It's very, uh...pink. Consider yourself warned.

- Put your completely-shocked face on...there's a Broadway revival of Dreamgirls in the works for 2008. Gee! (It takes a lot of balls, though, for the producers to suggest that Jennifer Hudson might be enticed to reprise her role as Ellie for the stage. If she's smart -- and she is -- she'll turn them down and move, move, move right on to a Hollywood career. Queen Latifah is getting a bit long in the tooth for all those feisty buddy comedies.)

- Fans of Edward Scissorhands, rejoice! In preparation for the Matthew Bourne ballet (based on Tim Burton's film) which arrives at BAM on March 14th, there's now a video teaser which gives you a mere taste of the fabulousness of this work. Can. Not. Wait.

- The Playgoer has some truly scary numbers on the recently closed production of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. It made the mind-boggling sum of $15 million in just barely 11 weeks. How is that humanly possible, you ask? By doing 12 shows a week. Welcome to the future: a Salvadorean sweat shop for actors Broadway!

- Now HERE's a bargain: six of this season's new productions from the Metropolitan Opera will be broadcast on PBS, including those directed by theatrical icons Bartlett Sher (The Light in the Piazza) and Jack O'Brien (Hairspray) and vaunted film director Zhang Yimou (Curse of the Golden Flower). Last week, they began with Julie Taymor's vision of The Magic Flute, and it was superb. If you watch all 6, you can literally save hundreds of dollars...although I have to say, going to the Met is one of the great experiences of life, and everyone should experience its majesty at least once.

- It's finally arriving, tattered reputation and unwieldy narrative intact: The Pirate Queen! To celebrate, WLIW will be running "The Making of The Pirate Queen", a one-hour special, on March 12th. Let's hope there's reaction shots of the moment when the cast first saw those scary Chicago reviews. We're hoping for tears and crushed dreams.

- Virtual unknown Sierra Boggess is supposedly the choice to play Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid. Never heard of her? Me either. She's currently starring in Phantom of the Opera: The Las Vegas Spectacular. Yeah. And she toured in Les Miz. Yeah. (I bet she looks great in a fishtail, though.)

- The most interesting of the West End transfers this season, Frost/Nixon, will open on April 22nd at the Jacobs Theatre, recently vacated by Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. The play's stars, Frank Langella (Fortune's Fool) and Michael Sheen (Tony Blair in the Oscar-nominated film The Queen), have just been nominated for Olivier Awards in London.

- One of the most entertaining evenings in recent years has returned to New York's stages -- Point Break Live!, a theatrical re-creation of the clunky Keanu Reeves-Patrick Swayze surfer film. Keanu's part is played each night by a volunteer from the audience, who reads lines from cue cards...a performance style that effortlessly captures Mr. Reeves' blank void. See it, love it. Ride the wave.

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