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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

 

Stage Addiction: The Return of De La Guarda

- Are you sitting down for this? At the Daryl Roth Theatre -- where they enjoyed a seven-year run with their last show -- De La Guarda is returning with a new theatre-slash-fantasy experiment, Fuerzabruta, opening October 11th for a 18-week run. What's up in the new show? "A man runs full throttle through a series of moving walls, individuals race to connect from opposite sides of a whirling sail and performers frolic and interact in a watery world suspended just above the audience." Since I saw their last show five times (yes, FIVE times), this has already become the must-see of 2007 for me. (Check out the videos on their site if you want to see what I'm salivating about.)

- If you believe the old theatrical axiom that 90% of success is casting -- pairing a role with the most suitable actor available -- then New York theatre has a lot of success last week. Among the casting coups:
  • The Farnsworth Invention: Hank Azaria (Spamalot) stars in Aaron Sorkin's return to Broadway, at the Music Box beginning November 14
  • City Center Encores!: Rosie O'Donnell and Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone) in No, No Nanette and Tony winner Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens) in Applause
  • The Homecoming: the Harold Pinter revival at the Cort will feature Ian McShane (Deadwood), Raul Esparza (Company) and Michael McKean (A Mighty Wind)
  • Scarcity: Lucy Thurber's new play at the Atlantic will feature Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock from the Sun), Jesse Eisenberg (Roger Dodger), Miriam Shor (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and Michael T. Weiss (Jeffrey).
  • A Catered Affair: Matt Cavenaugh (Grey Gardens) is joining Harvey Fierstein (Hairspray), Faith Prince (Guys and Dolls), Tom Wopat (42nd Street) and Leslie Kritzer (Legally Blonde) under John Doyle's direction at the Walter Kerr beginning March 25
  • Chicago: Tony winner Adriane Lenox (Doubt) is taking over a late-summer stint in Chicago
  • The Receptionist: Adam Bock's October premiere at City Center will include Josh Charles (Sports Night), Robert Foxworth (Six Feet Under) and Jayne Houdyshell (Well)
  • National Theatre: All right, technically it's in London...but if Simon Russell Beale (Jumpers) and Zoe Wanamaker (Awake and Sing) were starring in Much Ado About Nothing, you'd probably include it too, right?
- No news yet on the impending stagehand strike on Broadway...but there's a part of me that thinks they've got to budge. I'm a strong supporter of unions, but when the guy moving the scenery is averaging $115,000 a year -- sometimes paid when there's not even any work to do -- I think it's time to realize it's a too-sweet deal.

- Summer is almost over. How can I tell? Because show rumors are starting to trickle around the Great White Way again, which means it won't be long before Broadway is back in business (and back from the Hamptons). The rumors revolve around a trio of possible A-list productions: West Side Story, August: Osage County, and most enticingly, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Don't get your knickers in a twist, though...until they get domestic financing, most of these can officially be called pipe dreams. For the moment, anyway.

- When In The Heights made it official -- their move to Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre will begin performances on Valentine's Day, 2008 -- Roundabout, in an unusual display of timidity, moved the opening of their Sunday in the Park with George revival to the following week instead of going head-to-head against the Latino rap-meets-salsa musical. I would have thought they would have enjoyed a small game of chicken.

- Every summer when the season brochures start to arrive, I play a game with myself: what New York theatre company has the most exciting season planned? For my money, it comes down to two: the Public Theater and SoHo Rep. The Public has some truly big guns: the Wooster Group doing Hamlet, the buzz-worthy The Brothers Size, and new plays by Richard Nelson, David Henry Hwang, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Caryl Churchill. (Sadly, the rumored revival of Stephen Sondheim's Bounce did not make the schedule.) Meanwhile, the far smaller but much scrappier SoHo Rep will present some of the most cutting-edge artists working in the city today: the long-awaited revisioning of Philoktetes by John Jesurun, No Dice by Nature Theatre of Oklahoma (and their It-Boy director, Pavol Liska) and a production of Sarah Kane's Blasted. And if that's not enough to excite any serious theatrgoer, their new works-in-development series will include Somewhere Fun, by the hottest playwright in town, Jenny Schwartz (God's Ear).

- Second Stage's production of Eurydice has extended for a third time (to August 26th), making it the rarest of beasts: a summer New York theatre smash. Dang, it must be amazing...

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