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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

 

Stage Addiction: Kevin Kline Must Be Stopped By Any Means Necessary

- Here on 42nd Street, industry insiders are buzzing about...absolutely nothing. It's the dead of August, the dullest part of the summer, where anybody who's anybody is out of town on vacation. A Slow News Week. The best of the lot:

- The original dirty rotten scoundrel, Norbert Leo Butz, has returned from his quick sojourn in Hollywood (guess that sitcom didn't pan out) to the more welcoming environs of Broadway, where he'll star in his first non-musical on the Great White Way. The play is called Is He Dead?, and it's a new play by a very, very, very old writer: Mark Twain. Originally written in 1898, the 109-years-in-the-making world premiere about a group of struggling artists (adapted by David Ives, of All in the Timing fame) will land at the Lyceum on November 8th.

- Those rumors about Kevin Kline (King Lear) and Jennifer Garner (Alias) doing a Broadway limited-run Cyrano de Bergerac this fall? They're true. The rumors that I'll be seeing it? Not until Kline stops overacting. (A fake nose is all the excuse he'll need to gorge on the scenery. Count me out.)

- Even as Spring Awakening prepares to take the entire globe by storm, the musical's creators -- Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik -- are workshopping their follow-up piece this week. And how fabulous it sounds! Nero: Another Golden Rome will follow the legendary Nero through his ascension to emperor and the burning of Rome. The workshop cast, which will play for industry bigwigs, stars our favorite Boy George impersonator, the uber-talented Euan Morton (Taboo) as Nero, with Jan Maxwell (Coram Boy), Steven Skybell (Wicked), Aaron Lohr (See What I Wanna See) and Diane Davis (Old Acquaintance) also making appearances.

- While we're talking about the old empire, fans of HBO's recently-ended series Rome will be excited that their very own Julius Caesar, Ciaran Hinds (Munich) is alive and well and leading the cast of The Seafarer, the latest by Conor Pherson (The Weir). The National Theatre transfer, also starring Robert Morse (How I Learned To Drive) will begin at Broadway's Booth Theatre in October.

- That Christian Hoff-led Pal Joey revival planned for Broadway is dead in the water. Or maybe it's still happening. Or maybe not. Make up your minds, people.

- I'll have to defer to Stage Addiction's unofficial London correspondent, Paul at The Zapping, on whether this is really worth getting exciting about or not: the West End's "remixed" revival of Rent, which features an updated look "for the iPod generation," a re-orchestrated electronic score, and a cast led by Brit pop star Siobhan Donaghy of The Sugarbabes (whoever they are). What gets ME excited about it is the producer...William Baker, who also happens to be Kylie Minogue's former creative director. Kylie and Rent, all in one sentence. I might just die of happiness right now. (By the way, if this works in the West End, expect Broadway's company to similarly mix it up, in the hopes of jump-starting their sagging box office.)

- No matter how fun a show sounds in theory, when the producer replaces the entire cast days before the opening night, think twice about buying that ticket. Caveat emptor, American Idol fans.

- Hmmmmmmmm. An interesting trio of talents has come together over at Playwrights Horizons for next February: It-Girl Playwright of the moment Sarah Ruhl (The Clean House), legendary directrix Anne Bogart (bobrauschenbergamerica) and actress Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America, Wit) joining forces on Ruhl's latest, promisingly titled Dead Man's Cell Phone. The combination makes it a must-see in my book...

- Here's a sentence I never thought I'd write: early 90's gay porn star Ryan Idol will make his Broadway debut this season. And get this -- he'll do so at the senior citizen-friendly Roundabout Theatre Company, as a "patron" of the titular bath house in Terrence McNally's chestnut The Ritz. When asked why they decided to cast a gay-for-pay porn star 15 years past his prime, Roundabout officials saidthey thought about other options: Matthew Rush was busy, Tim Hamilton too contemporary, and Jenna Jamison didn't appeal to Broadway's target demographic, if you know what I mean.

- Kiki Alert: Justin Bond does The Carpenters in Central Park. No, none of that is a typo.

- And finally, our prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery to Dan Sullivan, the acclaimed stage director who fractured four ribs and suffered a collapsed lung when he fell off the set of the soon-to-open Midsummer Night's Dream at the Delacorte in Central Park. Sullivan's contributions to theatre cannot be underestimated -- in the last ten years, he's directed 15 Broadway productions and three Pulitzer Prize winners, earning a Tony for Proof in 2001 among his many laurels. Take care, Dan, and come back as soon as you can!

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