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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

 

Stage Addiction: I Hear The Pirate Queen Has Quite The Booty

With a surprising amount of unanimity, all of the major Tony precursor awards -- the Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics -- have chosen the exact same shows in the Big Four categories. Can anything stop the steamrolling trains of Spring Awakening, Company, Journey's End and The Coast of Utopia? At this point, I don't think so. Which means the telecast on June 10 might be duller than usual. Well, at least we'll get to see the Spring kids perform a number...let's hope it's "Totally Fucked". Blah blah blah-blah, blah blah blah! Now that's a lyric. (Okay, I know, it'll never happen. But a girl can dream, can't she?)

The body count from last week's Tony nominations is starting to pile up. As previously reported this past weekend, Coram Boy and Journey's End have announced closing dates; expect The Pirate Queen to follow suit any minute now. On the other end of the spectrum, however, the Audra McDonald-led revival of 110 in the Shade has extended its limited run until July 29. And the un-nominated Moon for the Misbegotten, starring Kevin Spacey, thumbed its nose at everyone by announcing that they have already recouped. Take that, Tony nominators!

Is the Public Theater's new musical Passing Strange the next Spring Awakening? Some people seem to think so...

Once Frost/Nixon completes its limited run this summer, the next tenant at Broadway's Jacobs Theatre will be Rock 'n' Roll, the acclaimed West End hit by Coast of Utopia's Tom Stoppard. The entire London cast -- including heavy-hitters Brian Cox, Sinead Cusack, Rufus Sewell, Nicole Ansari and Alice Eve -- will be crossing the pond for the New York engagement, which begins October 19th. Not to be outdone in the cross-cultural exchange, Broadway will send over Christine Ebersole (after she wins that Tony) to star in the London premiere of Grey Gardens next season, after she finishes out her year at the Walter Kerr .

Wow. I guess Fantastia is really good in The Color Purple. I am Jack's complete and utter shock.

Earlier, I mentioned that The Pirate Queen will probably announce its closure momentarily. I hear you out there wondering, how can ModFab possibly predict that (other than the show's overflowing buckets of suckage)? Here's how, kids...follow me closely, because this is dense logic. It was just announced that Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas will return to Broadway next winter at the St. James Theatre, beginning November 1st...about the same time that Mel Brooks' latest adaptation, Young Frankenstein, is supposed to be opening. At the same theater. Obviously, both shows aren't happening there...which means that Frankenstein, which has been publicly salivating over the Hilton Theatre's roomy backstage and wing space, must know that it will get the Hilton once its current tenant packs its bags. So farewell, Pirate Queen...riverdance your way off to that glorious summer stock in the sky. (Incidentally, Frankenstein has lined up one seriously kick-ass cast. Desperate Housewives' Roger Bart will play the good Doctor -- who may or may not have been the producers' first choice -- and Tony winner Shuler Hensley his monster...joined by Megan Mullaly as Elizabeth, Sutton Foster as Inga and Andrea Martin as Frau Blucher).

Maybe it's just in the air right now, or maybe a case of anxious producers. But in addition to Frankenstein, there are other productions playing musical chairs at the moment. The Starry Messenger, a new play by screenwriter/playwright Kenneth Lonergan (and starring Matthew Broderick), was supposed to open on Broadway next season; instead, it'll find a home at Manhattan Theatre Club's Off-Broadway space at City Center.

The reality-revival of Grease has finally set an opening date of August 19th, which won't give those TV contestants a lot of time to get ready...the Brooks Atkinson Theatre's current tenant, A Moon for the Misbegotten, moves out only nine weeks before.

Ever wondered what it would be like to hear drag diva Charles Busch or Whoopi Goldberg perform the pyrotechnic monologues of Spalding Gray? Me neither. But now you've got your chance.

More news about that ill-fated revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which has re-emerged with a weakened but still noteworthy creative lineup for a planned 2008 Broadway run. Replacing director Kenny Leon (Radio Golf) is Debbie Allen, she of the former TV career and interpretive dance breaks on the Oscars. Phylicia Rashad, Allen's sister, was previously in talks to play Big Mamma, and an offer did go out to Danny Glover (after Forest Whitaker pulled out, along with the original director). The producers are also throwing around other names -- Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose for Maggie, Blair Underwood and LL Cool J for Brick -- but nothing is confirmed. (And speaking of projects coming back from the dead, it looks like that La Jolla Playhouse production of The Wiz -- which last fall featured David Alan Grier in the title role -- is back on and scheduled to play an out-of-town tryout in San Francisco during the summer of 2008. Wonders never cease, huh?)

And finally: They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, and all together ooky. Who? The Addams Family...on Broadway. As a musical. From the writers of Jersey Boys and the composer of The Wild Party and You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. At first, you want to shake your head and cry. But think about it...could it be any worse than Legally Blonde? And if they got Paul Rudnick to doctor the script, the way he did for the movie versions, this could be a hit, a palpable hit.

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