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Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Stage Addiction: Frankenstein Rises (The Audience Does Not)

- Young Frankenstein began previews last week in Seattle, and the expected internet bitching followed within hours. Still, only one MSM news source went public about the early previews...and wouldn't you know it was muckraker Michael Reidel in the Post. But his take matched up with the online buzz....which was, subtly put, that it ain't no Producers. Stylistically, most thought it was more like Spamalot, with its over-the-top zany pastiches. Most agreed that the standouts are Megan Mullally and Shuler Hensley (as the monster), and that Sutton Foster is underused. (A few, which I won't link here, felt that Roger Bart was downright bad as the maniacal mad scientist...but I can't imagine that is possible.) As for Mel Brooks' new score, it registered a collective "Ehhhhh" with the preview attendees. The reviews may tell another story, and Reidel reports that Brooks knows the musical's not yet ready. But he had better get moving...October is right around the corner, when the show begins on at the Hilton.

- UPDATE: This was posted early Tuesday morning at New York Magazine's site about Frankenstein: By the end of the three-hour spectacle, the audience begins to lose patience. Children squirm. Adults start to yawn. The curtain call is mercifully short. "Um, yeah, it's good," a woman in a black-sequined top says into her cell phone as the crowd surges toward the doors. "But, you know — it's definitely pre-Broadway." Ouch.

- Lance Bass begins his Broadway run in Hairspray tonight, as bandstand host Corny Collins. "Lance" and "Corny", however, is too easy a joke, even for me. Yes, Virginia, there is a thing as too much gay.

Casting Announcements:
  • Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) joins the staff of President Nathan Lane this fall in David Mamet's politically-themed November at the Barrymore. (Guessing it's a comedy, huh?)
  • Onto more serious matters, two of my favorite character actors -- Bill Camp (Coram Boy) and Jeanine Serralles (The Black-Eyed) will be part of Ivo von Hove's radical reimagining of Moliere's The Misanthrope at New York Theatre Workshop next month.
  • Tony winner Christine Baranski (Cybill) will shake her asp next spring, when she headlines the Theatre For A New Audience revival of Antony and Cleopatra.
  • Before the Harvey Fierstein-led musical A Catered Affair arrives at the Walter Kerr in March, the theatre will play host to a limited engagement of Chazz Palmintieri's solo show A Bronx Tale, which he turned into a movie in the 1990's. He begins in October, and ends mere weeks before Fierstein and Company take up residence.
  • In London, Christian Slater (Gleaming The Cube) will top the bill for a stage adaptation of the 1994 film Swimming With Sharks. Because apparently in England, Christian Slater is still a star.
- So what kind of a world do we live in when a musical about freakishly oblivious Clay Aiken fans can't stay open more than a few days? (Answer: a world I enjoy immensely.)

- The private workshop of Shrek: The Musical last week seemed to go well...but not well enough to have permanently set its cast, apparently. Here's to hoping that the producers have the sense to keep at least some of them for the Broadway run, especially Celia Keenan-Bolger (Spelling Bee, Les Misérables) as Princess Fiona and my alternate-universe boyfriend, Christopher Sieber (Spamalot) as Lord Farquaad.

- The website for Tom Stoppard's London import Rock 'n' Roll has gone live. It's very yellow.

- Is there anyone on Planet Earth who doesn't love Charles Busch? One of ModFab's theatrical heroes, Charles burst on the scene almost 30 years ago with Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, and has had an unparalleled string of cinematically-inspired comedies since. His performances, which often recall the legends of yesteryear (including a dead-on Norma Shearer in my favorite, Red Scare on Sunset) are the stuff of legend. Now the doyenne of drag will star in the first NYC staging of his comedy Die Mommie Die!, which you may remember was made into a Sundance-winning film a few years back. Buy your tickets quick: the strictly-limited, 16-week engagement begins October 10th at New World Stages. And if you don't know him, here's an intro, with his legendary sidekick (and fellow Tony nominee) Julie Halston:

And if that didn't make you smile, these photos certainly will. Anthony, Adam, Gwen and Jesse together again. Seasons of love, indeed...

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