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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Stage Addiction: Kate Winslet Could Totally Kick Claire Danes' Ass

- All week long, it's all anyone on Broadway was talking about: is Patti LuPone's Gypsy transferring to Broadway or not? Officially, they're in discussions, mulling it over. But privately, ModFab's little spy network says...it's a go for the St. James, once Grinch closes.

- The hot news that Mike Nichols (Spamalot) was returning to Broadway was important for two reasons. First, because he's coming back to do a blazing-hot revival of The Country Girl, Clifford Odets' backstage drama, starring Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby), Frances McDormand (Fargo) and Peter Gallagher (American Beauty). Pretty powerful cast. But what wasn't announced to the public is that he'll be returning again in late 2008 with another hot show: Farragut North, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. My sources tell me contracts are done, and it's now down merely to scheduling an opening night.

- Damnit, London wins again: the musical stage adaptation of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will open in the West End next year...co-produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, no less. Harumph. This is my pissed-off-I-don't-live-in-London face.

- Three of the funniest people I've ever seen onstage -- Linda Lavin (The Tale of the Allergist's Wife), Jayne Houdyshell (Well), and Peter Bartlett (The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told) -- have all just been cast together in Paul Rudnick's latest, The New Century, skedded for March at Lincoln Center. Add that one to the grocery list.

- There's an epidemic going round this week in theatre circles, a sickness we like to call "Hot New Show" Disease. It usually hits in the fall, just as the season is really getting underway. The symptoms: a tendency of theatrical insiders to jabber on endlessly that [insert title here], which is still in [rehearsals/previews/out of town] is "a must-see" and "simply unmissable" and "one of the best of the season." Forgetting that the season, such as it is, is only five weeks old. Still, like one of Pavlov's dogs, I perk up at the first signs of "Hot New Show" Disease; there are three out there at the moment -- the lesbian noir The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, the myth-and-rhythm The Brothers Size, and, most spectacularly, the imminent Broadway engagement of August: Osage County. I privately heard three separate critics tonight -- from Variety, Time Out New York, and the Daily News, no less -- compare it to the masterpieces of Arthur Miller. No joke. (And despite its box office bonanza, there's no one saying much about Margaret Cho's The Sensuous Woman. Well, not saying much positively.)

- Rosie O'Donnell's art exhibit, Solace, is now on display at New World Stages. I've seen her work before, at Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum, and she's really a talented visual artist. Whatever you think of her personally (and I love her), it's worth a trip just to see a different side of someone you think you already know.

- Although people keep telling me that Claire Danes is getting better and better, no one is quite yet telling me that Pygmalion is worth my time. And these photos don't exactly say "unmissable", now do they?

Oh, sorry, I was daydreaming...about who really SHOULD have been cast in Pygmalion instead. I apologize to Claire...Claire, believe me, you are absolutely NOTHING like Kate Winslet.

And finally, a lesson in casting:

- Example of good casting: Tony winner Elizabeth Franz (Death of a Salesman) returns to the theater in Julia Cho's Off-Broadway drama The Piano Teacher, giving us all a rare chance to see a semi-legend, up close and personal.

- Example of stunt casting: fading R&B crooner Brian McKnight steps into Usher's Billy Flynn's shoes in Chicago. Because someone, somewhere still thinks "Back At One" was a brilliant song. (Poor, deluded people.)

- Example of heinously terrible casting: George Wendt (Cheers) will play Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. I don't really have to say anything more, do I?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the scoop on Farragut North. There is another report that the whole thing is off, especially regarding Nichols. Do you think that's just bad info?

10/9/07, 1:28 PM  
Anonymous cgeye said...

he could actually be good, as Edna...

[sfx: continued dry heaving]

10/9/07, 1:41 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

I don't know, Anonymous. They certainly don't want FARRAGUT to take any focus off of COUNTRY GIRL, so maybe they're putting out fake information. Or maybe he's really not doing it. But my sources say that the Broadway run will be a test-drive for the movie adaptation to follow...similar to the London run by Gwyneth Paltrow in PROOF.

10/9/07, 4:23 PM  
Blogger T$ said...

sorry - but that first shot of Clare looks like something from a high school production.

goes without saying...I ain't seeing this.

10/9/07, 6:52 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Whatever happened to the gorgelicious Greg Wise, anyway? He looked kind of like a young Frank Langella. Or Frank Langella when he was young. I know he became Mr. Emma Thompson (take THAT, Kenneth Branagh!), but does he still work, I wonder???

10/9/07, 9:12 PM  
Blogger FleshPresser said...

George Wendt?!? AAUUHHGGHH!!! That is the sound of me running as far away as possible from Broadway, as quickly as I can!

OK... so I might return for ONE reason.... FUERZABRUTA? Are we still on for this?

10/11/07, 9:15 AM  

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