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Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

 

Stage Addiction: Supporting A Serious Cocaine Habit Is Now Cheaper Than Broadway

There they are, to the left, at their first rehearsal. The cast of Young Frankenstein. The next behemoth of Broadway. And the first show in history that will charge $496 a ticket. Although seats aren't on sale yet to the public, the pricing sheets are making the rounds on Broadway this week...and causing sticker shock. Yes, that's the rate for premium seats...regular tickets will be as low as $65 (for student rear balcony). But if you want the first 25 rows of the center orchestra, you'll have to pay at least $414. And expect to pay $133 on the weekends to sit on the side or in the mezzanine. Why the stratospheric pricing? Greed, pure and simple. Who knows, maybe it really will be the next Producers. But I think everyone's got their limits. (The irony, of course, is that if you're willing to wait out the buzz and hit the box office on the day-of-show, there will be great seats available for cheap. I know, it's ridiculous, but it's true.)

Aaron Sorkin, still nursing wounds from his canceled TV drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, will return to his Broadway roots next November with The Farnsworth Invention, most likely landing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (after its current tenant, Tarzan, has its long-overdue final performance on July 8). The play, which started out originally as a screenplay, is about -- what else? -- the birth of television. Dude, you need a new hobby.

Can the cast of the film adaptation of Doubt get any frakkin' better? Answer: hell, yes. Joining Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman will be Amy Adams (Junebug) as the young novitiate caught between them. Adams is nearly pitch-perfect casting; expect this awards magnet to pull down some serious Oscar gold in 2009. I'll go even further: it will be nominated for Best Picture.

Across the pond, that London stage version of All About My Mother just got a lot starrier. Dame Diana Rigg will now join the world premiere as Huma Rojo, the wearied actress played with such grace by Marisa Paredes in the movie. Performances begin in late August; I'm expecting all of ModFab's faithful Brit readers (that means you, Zapping!) to send their reviews over ASAP.

Arguably the greatest thing about summer in New York City, Broadway in Bryant Park features lunchtime performances from over two dozen musicals...for free, outside, in one of the most beautiful parks in midtown. At 12:30 PM each week, you can see Mamma Mia!, Beauty and the Beast, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, In the Heights (all on July 12); Avenue Q, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent (all July 19); Xanadu, Monty Python's Spamalot, The Lion King, Curtains, Stomp (all July 26); Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, Grey Gardens, Hairspray (August 2); The Fantasticks, The Color Purple, Spring Awakening, Wicked (August 9); Altar Boyz, Chicago, and Legally Blonde (July 10). Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Award-winning scribe Edward Albee is going to have a big year next season, with major productions at three different New York venues. First up is Peter and Jerry, which is actually two one-acts -- his renowned drama The Zoo Story and a new prequel to it, Homelife. He himself will direct two more of his classic plays in March down at the Cherry Lane, The American Dream and The Sandbox. Then over at Signature Theatre Company, he'll wrap up with Edward Albee's Occupant, in what they call a "legacy production." Which probably means "overproduced old geezer" in theatrespeak.

Too exhausted by the heat to make it over to Central Park for the oddly-cast Shakespeare this summer? Stay in on August 13th instead, and watch Kenneth Branagh's new Japanese adaptation of As You Like It on HBO (or the BBC, in the U.K.). Check out this cast: Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3) as Rosalind, Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda) as Jaques, Alfred Molina (Fiddler On The Roof) as Touchstone, Brian Blessed (I, Claudius) as Duke Frederick/Duke Senior, Adrian Lester (Primary Colors) as Oliver, Janet McTeer (Tumbleweeds) as Audrey, and David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland) as Orlando. Plus, it's air-conditioned. If you have air-conditioning.

Bits and pieces:

- What's Spike Lee hiding up his sleeve? If it's Do The Right Thing: The Musical, I'm going to get very angry.
- From the Department of Long Overdue And Obvious Awards: sound designers will now get Tony Awards. 'Bout damn time.
- The New York Times lists a number of places to get your theatre fix this summer. Hey, it's better than going to see Evan Almighty, right?
- Woody Allen is directing an opera in Los Angeles next year. Why yes, it does sound like I made that up. Sadly, however, I did not.
- Chicagoans, take note: Mary Zimmerman is again working magic in your town. You have to go, and then you have to tell us all about it.
- Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell closes this week. Don't miss it...a wonderfully fond farewell to a genius.
- Wanna make the Tony Awards telecast better? The Nederlands have a remedy: cancel the stupid thing, fire the producers, or start over...one or the other.

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