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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Stage Addiction: Dolly Parton Is Our Personal Lord and Master

The Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle Awards have done precious little to clear up the wide-open Tony Awards race...a surprising lack of consensus is the primary commonality among the three. Take LoveMusik, for example: the most-nominated show at the Drama Desks couldn't even find a Best Musical nomination from League voters and barely made a showing with the Outer Critics. Mary Poppins was the biggie at the Outer Critics, but it only got courtesy nods from the other two. The organizations omitted Grey Gardens completely, because of its being considered for all of the awards last year during its Off-Broadway run....which makes it a complete wild card for the Tony nominations. The only universal truth? That A Moon for the Misbegotten sucks...the show was omitted from Best Revival by all three groups. ModFab's Tony Predictions will appear later this week...so be prepared for some wild guesswork.

Even as Young Frankenstein sets up its pre-Broadway August tryout in Seattle, the show's Broadway home for next fall is suddenly up in the air. Originally, Frankenstein was booked for the St. James Theatre, the recently-vacated home of The Producers. Recently, however, Mel Brooks and company have been eyeing a bigger, nicer space -- the Hilton Theatre, currently home to struggling musical The Pirate Queen. The question is whether the Queen will try to make it through the summer; if so, Frankenstein would probably not have enough time to prepare, and would settle for the St. James. But if the Irish lassie doesn't fare well in next week's Tony nomination, expect Mel Brooks to start circle her carcass like a vulture.

Now that Rosie O'Donnell has officially decided to leave The View, what will she do for an encore? Reports are in that she'll head back to Broadway, for a turn as Madame Thenardier in the re-revived Les Miserables. Currently, the show has only announced a run through September; however, since September also happens to be the time Rosie is supposed to start her run, one can guess that the French revolutionaries will be at the Broadhurst at least through the end of 2007.

Spring Awakening is turning to global domination -- be prepared, because your town is probably on its hit list. Besides a national tour beginning in 2008, productions are skedded for London, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Toyko, Seoul and more. If this is the response merely from the Broadway run (prior to a Tony win), just imagine what will happen when it becomes available for every college and community theater in the country. The thought is staggering.

If you can't get tickets for the hit production of Frost/Nixon, don't despair...in 2008, you'll be able to pay a mere $10 to see the exact same performances in the film version. Of course, there is a downside to waiting for the movie version; instead of seeing Michael Grandage's superb direction on Broadway, you'll be forced to witness the overblown histrionics of Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code). So it'll be cheaper, in all senses of the word.

Rentheads, take note: original cast member Gwen Stewart has returned to the New Amsterdam Theatre. She was riffing her way through "Seasons Of Love" when Jennifer Hudson was in diapers. (Well, almost.)

Yes, this is the column's second Rosie-related item. (Thrilled, aren't you?) I've never taken Rosie O'Donnell's gay family cruise before, but I may have to go this July, because the talent is truly astonishing. The lineup for the week-long boat trip includes soon-to-be Tony winner Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens), disco gods Erasure, comedians Sandra Bernhard and Judy Gold, cabaret sisters Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway, Euan Morton (Taboo), Seth Rudetsky, Alec Mapa, football hunk Esera Tuaolo and more.

The movie-to-musical transformation of 9 to 5 has a lot more potential than most: a score by none other than Dolly Parton, direction by Joe Mantello (Wicked). Let's hope the staged reading next month goes well; if it does, word is that it'll be on Broadway by Spring 2008.

  • Cymbeline, Shakespeare's notoriously convoluted play staged by London's Cheek By Jowl at BAM (May 2)
  • Passing Strange, the acclaimed bluesy new musical by Stew and Heidi Rodewald at the Public Theater (May 1)
  • Coram Boy, the best new play of the season (and winner of the ModFab Seal of Approval) (May 2)
  • LoveMusik, the Brecht, Weill, and Lenya collage-like musical (enter at your own risk) (May 3)
  • Deuce, Terrence McNally's world premiere about two aging tennis stars, played by Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes (May 6)
  • Radio Golf, August Wilson's last play about politics and redevelopment (May 8)

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