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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Stage Addiction: Someone Should Make Norma Rae Into A Musical

- After the Broadway stagehands union yesterday voted unanimously to allow a strike, the question is no longer whether there will be one, but when. James J. Claffey Jr., the president of Local One, has publicly said that there will be “no work in December without a deal.” But my guess (and the guess of most inside-the-industry folk, who are battening down the hatches) is that the strike will actually start around Thanksgiving week, when the influx of holiday shoppers and tourists will be growing...and when it will hurt producers the most. If you're insistent on spending some holiday time at the theatre, here's our tips for avoiding the a canceled performance:
  1. Go to a show that won't be affected. The theatre owners involved in the strike are the Jujamcyns, Shuberts and Nederlanders (who have a different contract but are still involved). Together, they own 32 of the 39 Broadway theatres. The theatres that will still be open, then, are the New Amsterdam (Mary Poppins), the Hilton (Young Frankenstein), and the not-for-profit spaces, including Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre (Pygmalion) and Studio 54 (The Ritz), Manhattan Theatre Club's Biltmore Theatre (Mauritius), and Lincoln Center (Cymbeline). I'm also under the impression that Duran Duran: Red Carpet Massacre at the Barrymore is under a different contract and will proceed as planned, although it ends in mid-November anyway.
  2. Give Off-Broadway A Try. There's great theatre in New York south of 42nd Street. And it's cheaper. And it's usually better. You can see Mikhail Barishnikov in Beckett Shorts, Marc Kudisch in The Glorious Ones, or swimming nymphs in Fuerzabruta.
  3. If You Must See A Broadway Show, Go Christmas Week. If there's anything we learned from the musicians' strike in 2003, it's that these strikes can't last long for either party. My guess is that someone in this fight will cave in less than a week. So if you buy late in the holiday season, odds are good that it will be long over before your performance occurs.

- The 2-CD, special edition soundtrack of Sweeney Todd: The Movie is now available for pre-order. And before you get all excited, no, there are no sound clips on Amazon as yet. So we STILL don't know if Depp can sing or not. Curse you, Gods of Hollywood and your infernal musical cockblocking!

- Now here's an idea with potential: two of the producers behind the unlikely hit Xanadu have their next movie-to-musical project in the works: the 1995 black comedy To Die For, which won rising star Nicole Kidman a Golden Globe and became a cult classic. If you're not familiar, the film follows Suzanne Stone, an ambitious TV reporter, who will do anything to be in the spotlight...including seducing teenagers into killing her husband. Sounds like Broadway fun to me!

- Crimes of the Heart, directed by Kathleen Turner (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf) and starring Lily Rabe (Heartbreak House) and Sarah Paulson (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), will fill the empty slot at Roundabout's Off-Broadway space, the Laura Pels, come January. Is Turner planning to transform her acting career into a directing career? Well, let me put it another way...do YOU want to still see her taking her clothes off onstage? I didn't think so.

- Last year's sleeper hit, Passing Strange, is heading uptown to Broadway under the auspices of producer Liz McCann (Caroline, or Change) next February. You may be asking yourself why a seasoned pro like McCann would move a delicately odd musical by a performance artist (Stew) about a young bohemian's journey through sex, drugs and rock and roll. Besides the obvious comparison to its spiritual cousin Spring Awakening, I think McCann's announcement is the first visible sign that 2007-2008 is a weak season for new musicals...and McCann sees an opening. With only six new musicals planned all season -- Xanadu, Young Frankenstein, and the still-to-come Cry-Baby, A Catered Affair, In The Heights and The Little Mermaid -- there's an opening for a sophisticated horse in the Tony Awards race. And if Strange can catch lightning in a bottle, maybe it'll be even more than that.

- A Broadway revival of Bob Fosse's revue Dancin' is on the docket for 2009. Please, people, try to pretend you're excited.

- If you can believe it, a new high in Broadway ticket prices is on the way for next year: although the premium seats for next September's Billy Elliot will "only" be $300 (as opposed to Young Frankenstein's $450), the regular price for orchestra, mezzanine, and front balcony will be a record-setting $135. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: before the end of the decade, the average ticket on Broadway will be $200 per person.

- In related economic news, Jersey Boys breaks its own box-office record...for the 26th time! With all their dough, the producers can now probably buy New Jersey, if they want.

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Blogger Paul said...

major MAJOR points for excellent use of cockblock. I bow down and worship.

10/23/07, 1:17 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Thanks. I do what I can. ;-)

10/23/07, 9:54 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

If they would just bail out Encap so we taxpayers don't have to, I'd be happy.

10/23/07, 11:28 PM  

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