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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

 

Stage Addiction: My Spidey Sense Is Tingling...Like The Lights of Broadway!

Try not to freak out, kids: a new musical based on Spider-Man, to be directed by Tony Award-winner Julie Taymor with music and lyrics by U2's Bono and The Edge, is quietly casting for a developmental workshop, to take place this July. No, we can't get you tickets. No, this is not a sick, horrible dream. No, Peter or Mary Jane have not been cast yet. And no, there's no industry confirmation that this is even real. But even so, Nathaniel just exploded with joy.

Heard about the Pulitzer Prize in Drama? Yep, there's a wee bit of scandal. (It's not like Anna Nicole Smith won or anything, but it's still a little juicy.) The good news is that David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole won the 2007 prize, a marvelous drama about loss and recovery that played Broadway last spring. The scandalous news, however, is that Rabbit Hole wasn't even nominated in the first place. The Pulitzer Committee -- including New York Times lead doofus Ben Brantley and playwright Paula Vogel -- chose three little-known plays instead, which must have enraged the Pulitzer board. So they voided the choices of the committee, and picked Rabbit Hole instead. I wonder if this will happen if Legally Blonde beats Spring Awakening at the Tonys?

And now...your weekly dose of Scarlett Johansson Fever! Keep the hype alive!

The all-black Cat on a Hot Tin Roof revival scheduled for next fall has completely fallen apart...a tragically sad development, since director Kenny Leon had a stellar cast on board (Oscar winner Forest Whitaker as Big Daddy, Anthony Mackie as Brick, and Tony winners Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald as the women who love them). Blame idiot, first-time producers who didn't know who McDonald was (they tried to replace her with Whitney Houston) and threatened Whitaker with a replacement (Danny Glover). What a shame...it would have been spectacular.

Not that you should judge a play before it opens, but here's a look at an early preview of Deuce from our friends at Show Showdown. Strap yourself in: it isn't pretty.

Here's some news that will make Ashley at Radio Allegro very happy: the Maury Yeston musical Nine will be the next Broadway chestnut to become a Hollywood epic, directed by none other than Academy Award nominee Rob Marshall (Chicago). Nine, of course, is the musical based on Fellini's 8 1/2 that beat Dreamgirls for the Tony back in 1982. A recent 2003 revival starred Antonio Banderas and Jane Krakowski, but producer Harvey Weinstein is thinking more glam for the celluloid treatment, already throwing around names like Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, George Clooney and Johnny Depp. Personally, I'm nonplussed by the news. Despite a few cute songs, Nine leave me emotionally cold; in my opinion, a movie version is a terrible idea. Watch the Fellini, and leave well enough alone, I say.

And now...your weekly dose of Mamma Mia Fever! Joining Meryl Streep in the movie: Christine Baranski and Julie Walters (as her deluded, dimwitted friends)! Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgaard (as the possible fathers of Streep's narcissistic child)! And as the fey boyfriend: The History Boys' Dominic Cooper! (In related news, I need a pistol, and a bullet. No, it's for me, you can't have it.)

The Pirate Queen is soldiering on, having weathered the terrible reviews last week and actually increasing their sales a bit. (Thanks again to Lois Teitelbaum, group sales manager at the Jewish Seniors' Home in beautiful Mahwah, New Jersey!) They're planning to record a show album, too...but all of their cheery smiles will fade, I predict, on May 15th. That's when the Tony nominations will be announced, which I expect to be a Pirate-free zone.

A personal plug: some readers my know the work of ModFab friend and fellow college alum Kate Chisolm, who has written some truly fabulous musicals in the last decade or so. One of my favorites, The Hidden Sky, will be performed next month at Joe's Pub with a cast that includes Tony nominee Manoel Felciano (Sweeney Todd). Treat yourself to a great musical find, if you're in the area.

Lots of theatre coverage coming your way over the next two weeks: reviews of Legally Blonde, The Year of Magical Thinking, Inherit The Wind, Frost/Nixon, LoveMusik, and our Tony Award Nomination Preview. Let me hear what you want to hear about, and I'll make it happen for you!

Bits o' news:
PREVIEWING
  • Coram Boy, Helen Edmundson's acclaimed British transfer. (April 16)
  • I Land, one man's journey to explore his Pacific Islander heritage. (April 20)
  • Radio Golf, the last play by the late August Wilson, starring Harry J. Lennix and Tonya Pinkins (April 20)
  • The Brig, The Living Theatre opens its new downtown space with this acclaimed revival. (April 19)
OPENING
  • Frost/Nixon, the acclaimed play by Peter Morgan starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen (April 22)
CLOSING
  • King Hedley II, August Wilson's play given a celebrated revival. (April 22)
  • Our Leading Lady: A new play by Charles Busch about Laura Keane, the woman who starred in the play Lincoln was watching when he was assassinated. (April 22)
  • The Producers: after six years and some unbearable casting replacements, the most-awarded musical in history finally closes its doors. (April 22)
  • Some Men: a terrible new play by Terrence McNally that embarrasses gay men everywhere in its mindfucking badness. (April 22)

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