Issue #50: August 15, 2000
- Angela Lansbury has withdrawn completely from the musical
The Visit, which was scheduled to open at the Broadway
Theater in the spring. Lansburys decision comes
following her husbands heart surgery and her desire to
be with him during his recuperation. Producer Barry Brown
indicated replacements are currently being discussed by
the shows creators John Kander and Fred Ebb,
book writer Terrence McNally, choreographer Anne Reinking
and director Frank Galati.
- In the mid 90s there were two touring productions of Cameron
Mackintoshs Miss Saigon now there are
none. The second national tour, which had its debut in Seattle
in 1995, packed up and is headed for storage following its last
performance in Buffalo on August 6. But it may not be forever.
The production team is currently working on a scaled down version,
which is set to premiere in Manila at the end of August. This
production will feature Lea Salonga, Miss Saigons
original Kim, in an entirely new concept. If all goes well
and the new concept takes off we may see Miss Saigon back
on the road by the summer of 2001 doing one-week engagements.
- Even though his Miss Saigon closed on the road, it
looks like producer Cameron Mackintosh is flying high
once again. The reviews are in on his latest musical The
Witches of Eastwick and for the most part they are embracing
the vampish production. Talks are already underway to bring
it to Broadway within the next 18 months.
- The high hopes the Aussie theatre community had for the new
musical Pan have crashed and burned. The retelling of
the tale of a boy who never grew up closed after just nine weeks
at Sydneys Capitol Theatre. The closing cancels their
hopes for a long run in Australia and an international tour,
which was tentatively booked until 2002.
- In 1934 John Gielgud got Alec Guinness the first
big break of his career. Now, sadly, both Sir Alec Guinness,
who died at 86 on Saturday, August 5, and Sir John Gielgud
have left us and the world of theatre. He will be remembered
worldwide for his Oscar-winning performance in the 1957 film
Bridge on the River Kwai and as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the
film Star Wars. But it is Sir Alecs connection
to the Stratford Festival in Ontario that is less known but
fondly remembered. On July 13, 1953, the curtain rose on Guinness
as Shakespeares Richard III, under a tent beside
the Avon River the site which has become the Stratford
Festival Theatre. The opening performance was the single
most memorable experience I have ever had in the theatre,
said Toronto Star theatre critic Nathan Cohen. Along
with several of his fellow knights of the English theatre, Guiness
was one of the great stage actors of all time.