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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

 

Stage Addiction: The Hidden Link Between Will Ferrell And Dennis Kucinich

- After succesfully horning in on Disney's share of the animated film market in the last few years, DreamWorks is now looking to challenge Disney's Broadway empire here in New York. What with? Shrek, of course; their prize franchise will hit Broadway next November after a Seattle tryout next August. We've mentioned in the past the stellar talent on board for this musical adaptation (to recap: Rabbit Hole Pulitzer winner David Lindsay-Abaire, Caroline or Change composer Jeanine Tesori, Avenue Q director Jason Moore, and Spamalot hunk Christopher Sieber). The only thing this talented group needs is their theatre...could such a large show fit into Circle in the Square, recently vacated by Spelling Bee? We're guessing it's too small...the Nederlander, which will be Rent-free this summer, or the Broadhurst, which will be empty after the limited run of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof closes, look like better bets.

- What are Scott Frankel and Michael Korie -- the Tony-nominated musical team behind Grey Gardens -- up to next? They'll be turning the Oscar-nominated film Finding Neverland into a Broadway-bound extravanganza. Which may not be as strange as it seems....the film, after all, was based on the original stage play by Allan Knee. And let's not forget that Peter Pan, which gets extensive play in the movie, was one of the most successful stage plays of the 20th century.

- ModFab's favorite stage obsession, Tony winner Julie White (The Little Dog Laughed), is returning to New York...but Off-Broadway, where she'll star in From Up Here, a world premiere by Liz Flahive at Manhattan Theatre Club. Previews begin March 27th. Remember that White began her Little Dog triumph Off-Broadway as well (at Second Stage) before it transferred and won her the prize. Will history repeat itself?

- Will Ferrell wants to do a one-man show on Broadway. Yeah. And Dennis Kucinch wants to be President. Both are equally likely to happen, IMHO. Until Ferrell's film career starts to wane, I don't expect him to take the stage route.

- Fans of TV's Friday Night Lights should be thrilled with the news that Gaius Charles -- aka Brian "Smash" Williams -- is heading to New York next month to star in the Off-Broadway premiere of Lower Ninth, by hot-as-fire playwright Beau Willimon. Taking place on a rooftop after a mighty storm, the title refers to New Orleans' Ninth Ward, making it the first major play to address Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. With a cast that also includes NYPD Blue's James McDaniel, this is the kind of stunt casting we can all be happy with. Produced by The Flea Theater, which had Marisa Tomei last month and Sigourney Weaver last season.

- Another victim of winter's dwindling audiences: The Fantasticks, which will close February 24th at the Snapple Center. Off-Broadway is tough on musicals these days, and this old-school entertainment didn't have the advertising budget or the star casting that might have kept it alive.

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