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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Stage Addiction: L.A. and London Edition

The verdict is in from L.A. on the Broadway-bound musical 9 To 5, and that verdict is...ambivalent. Although other local critics were generally positive, the review that matters to Broadway's power-brokers is Variety; their take is a frustrating, fence-sitting affair. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the show is good, but not yet great. Which means two things: it's definitely on track to hit Times Square next spring, and Dolly's got work to do until then.

The buzz has begun on two new Broadway projects. London's just-opened revival of Ivanov, with Kenneth Branagh in the leading role of Tom Stoppard's adaptation, is so unbelievably good it might cure cancer. Broadway seems a natural next step, if the star wants to soldier on past the limited West End run. Meanwhile, Julia Stiles -- whose film resume is dotted with theatrically-themed projects like 10 Things I Hate About You (a Taming of the Shrew update), O, and Hamlet -- has let it slip that she may be doing a revival of David Mamet's Oleanna in the near future. The sexually-charged polemic of a play won't be her first collaboration with the playwright; he's cast her in two of his movies previously (2000's State and Main and 2005's Edmond).

For those of you who like to play Tony Awards Roulette all year long, the awards have released their first eligibility rulings of the season. The only mild surprises are Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen, Title of Show's song-and-dance men, who have been elevated to the Best Lead Actor race while their co-stars, Heidi Blickenstaff and Susan Blackwell, remain relegated to the supporting category. It'll be interesting to see how this show is remembered come next spring, when it will be a distant, quirky memory in Tony voters' minds.

If you needed more reasons to grab seats for Off-Broadway's political drama Farragut North -- the headlining John Gallagher Jr., the imminent screen version with Leonardo DiCaprio, the Broadway-transfer buzz -- let's give you one more: Chris Noth, aka Sex and the City's Mr. Big, is joining the ensemble. Our longtime paramour Mr. ModFab, who has long harbored a massive crush on Big, will be in the first row, I'm sure.

Does 13, the new kiddie musical, really have young teens calling each other homophobic names? I'd love to know if anyone's seen it yet...and more importantly, heard it.

Producer's Perspective tries to put as positive a spin as possible on the economy's effect. Let's hope he's right, and that there will be little to worry about.

If you live in the lonely, theatre-starved hinterlands of North America, and are frothing at the mouth to see Xanadu when it begins its tour next year, you'll be happy to know that it'll contain some grade-A talent when it finally gets to your neck of the woods. No, not original leads Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson...the Broadway duo both qualify as rising mega-stars these days, and they'll be staying in town to capitalize on their career trajectories. But the new Kira and Sonny have, at least, been on Broadway before: Elizabeth Stanley (Cry-Baby) and Max Von Essen (Dance of the Vampires). Not too shabby.

Everyone (and by everyone, I mean three people I know) who have seen early previews of Equus tell me it's absolutely amazing. Is it going to be impossible to get in after opening? I'm guessing so. But for any show to certify its must-see status these days, it has to achieve one rare distinction: a skewering by the comic masterminds of Broadway Abridged. Revisionist drama has never tasted so delicious.
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Blogger Vance said...

Okay, apparently I'm the only one that liked 13 though I don't particularly remember the fagmo comment at Goodspeed. But the whole thing felt more like American Teen the musical or a after school special but I liked the simplicity of that (though I will say the book could have had a bit more oomph).

Loved JRB's music though and that it was fun and peppy and completely different than his other stuff (but variety in ones career repertoire wins me big points).

On the other hand, maybe I'm just too positive. I think I was the only other person that liked Glory Days at Signature too so what do I know?

And I'm seeing 9 to 5 in a week! I'll probably love it won't I?

9/23/08, 2:10 AM  
Blogger David S. said...

I just want to say for the billionth time, I love this feature. Thanks for keeping me updated!

9/23/08, 11:19 PM  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

ModFab, Appreciate the tip on Ivanov since I'll be trekking across the pond for Thanksgiving. Even managed to snag a third row seat.

9/24/08, 2:23 PM  

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