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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Stage Addiction: Yeah, But What About Debra Messing?

- Once, you were a Broadway star. Then, you got a hit TV show, won some Emmys. But after that...your next TV show flopped, and flopped hard. So what do you do now? Well, if you are Megan Mullally, you head straight back to Broadway. Starting next October, the actress formerly known as Karen Walker will be taking on the classic Madeline Kahn role in Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks' latest film-to-stage musical. Alongside her will be two Tony winners, Sutton Foster (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Shuler Hensley (Tarzan) as Inga and the Monster, respectively. (Offers have supposedly also gone out to Desperate Housewives' Roger Bart for Igor and Andrea Martin to play Frau Blocher, but neither has accepted yet.) Mullally may also get help from another Will and Grace colleague who has found post-sitcom life a bit difficult -- word is that Eric McCormack has an outside shot at the part of Dr. Frankenstein. (And yes, that means that Kristin Chenoweth has been replaced. Why? She got a TV pilot, of course. And that, kids, is what we call irony.)

- Xanadu's found its leading man: Tony Roberts. Try to restrain yourself, you don't want to pull a muscle. (To add insult to injury, their website isn't working either, but they do have a MySpace page.)

- We're not even close to the end of the 2006-2007 season, and already Broadway is buzzing about what will appear in 2008. In addition to the previously announced Sunday in the Park with George, theatre fans can look forward to three other buzzworthy London transfers. The first: the long-anticipated hit revival of Guys and Dolls, possibly with Patrick Swayze starring as he recently did in the West End. Early next fall will be The Seafarer, the acclaimed play by Conor McPherson (The Weir). And last but certainly not least will be Equus, which has producers all a-twitter over the potenital ticket sales a nude Daniel Radcliffe could bring stateside. London theatregoers, meanwhile, can look forward to the first new musical by Maltby and Shire in years...Take Flight, their homage to the Wright Brothers. All things being equal, we'll take the naked Harry Potter, thanks very much.

- More casting has been announced for the film version of Mamma Mia, including former Bond Pierce Brosnan as one of the philandering daddies and Mean Girls vixen Amanda Seyfried as the fatherless bride. We also now have a release date: July 18, 2008. So start lining up now outside the multiplex, because you can't hear bad ABBA covers just anywhere.

- I have seen the future of Broadway...and it is being auctioned on eBay. Prepare for the death of culture to take the form of an online bidding war. Of course, when you think about it...maybe it's just as well.

- Spring is dawning, and with it, the beginning of festival season in New York. The crown jewel of them all, the Lincoln Center Festival, has sadly announced a disappointing lineup packed with old familiarities (Philip Glass, Robert Wilson) and new oddities (a one-man King Lear from Taiwan). At least the Kirov Opera's coming. Personally, however, we're more intrigued by the brand-new National Asian American Theatre Festival, which will bring 25 companies from around the country to Manhattan. Most of them, like California's East West Players and NYC's Ma-Yi Theatre Company, are packed with exemplary artists. Should be a great confluence of performances and talent.

- Apparently, Miss USA Tara Conner is not only a drunken slut, she's also a terrible actress. I mean, seriously...even I could get cast in Chicago at this point. When a show will cast Melanie Griffith's washed-up ass but leave you in the cold, honey, perhaps it's a sign to take up knitting.

- Wow, Miss Brantley sure was in a pissy mood last week over Kevin Kline's King Lear at The Public: "I have sat through worse productions of Shakespeare’s most devastating tragedy than the one that opened last night, directed by James Lapine. But I have never seen one that left me so utterly unmoved or that seemed so perversely out of touch." Ouch! Don't want to say I told you so, but I did; Kline doesn't have the humility required of the great king. Glad to be missing it, and even happier to be going to see Ian McKellen do it right next fall at BAM.

- The awards schedule is starting to take shape, for those of you that follow such things. The Drama Desk Awards will be held on May 20, while the Lucille Lortel Awards for Off-Broadway achievement will be May 7th (with hosts BeBe Neuwirth and Eric Bogosian). The Drama League Awards will be on May 11th, hosted by Tony winner Gary Beach (La Cage aux Folles, The Producers).

- I'm getting even more excited about D.C.'s June premiere of The Witches of Eastwick starring Marc Kudisch (The Apple Tree). Signature Theatre has finally announced who will be playing the three glamorous witches of the title, and they are wonderful choices: Christiane Noll (Jekyll and Hyde), Jacqueline Piro Donovan (Miss Saigon) and Tony nominee Emily Skinner (The Full Monty). Great musical talents one and all.

- See, this is why we're glad we never buy season tickets. The eagerly-anticipated revival of Ragtime has been postponed by New York City Opera. Where am I supposed to get my Coalhouse Walker fix now?

- And for those of you out in the American heartland, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that A Chorus Line begins its national tour in Denver, starting May 2008. The bad news: before A Chorus Line gets to you, you may have to sit through the U.S. tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's excreable Whistle Down The Wind, which has been exhumed from obscurity like a moldy coffin, all for your pained enjoyment.

  • Prometheus Bound, the rarely-produced Greek tragedy starring David Oyelowo (March 13)
  • Blackbird, the American premiere of David Harrower's Olivier Award-winning play now starring Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill. (March 15)
  • Essential Self Defense, Adam Rapp's world premiere mystery about a force that is making local children vanish. (March 15)
  • Inherit The Wind, the old courtroom classic now starring Brian Dennehy and Christopher Plummer (March 19)
  • Tea and Sympathy, the first major revival of the classic gay drama directed by friend of ModFab Jonathan Silverstein (go Jonathan!) (March 15)
  • Stay, a world premiere by Lucy Thurber directed by friend of ModFab Jackson Gay (go Jackson!) (March 19)
  • 1001 Beds, Tim Miller's latest acclaimed performance piece (March 18)

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