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Serving the Theatre Community since 1998

Issue #45: June 1, 2000


  • Producer Pierre Cosette (The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Will Rogers Follies) has acquired the rights for a musical based on the life of former wrestler, current Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. The working title is The Body Ventura — no opening date has been set yet.
  • The 11th Annual Oscar Hammerstein Award was presented to John Kander and Fred Ebb by The York Theatre Company at its gala benefit on Monday, June 5 at the Gramercy Theatre. The lifetime achievement award in musical theatre was created in 1988 with Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince and Jerry Herman among its past honorees. The composer and lyricist team that penned Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman and many others have received three Tony Awards and two Emmy Awards. They recently contributed songs to Liza Minnelli’s Minnelli on Minnelli and are now working on a return to Broadway next season with The Visit starring Angela Lansbury.
  • Following its acclaimed spring run at the Manhattan Theatre Club, look for Charles Busch’s comedy The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife starring Linda Lavin to open on Broadway in the fall.

Broadway On The Road

  • Now that the North American production of Mamma Mia, currently at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, is well underway and playing to sold out houses, it is the tour that is next on the list. In November, the Canadian cast will make its American debut in San Francisco, then on to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Boston, winding up on Broadway. No opening date or theatre is confirmed for New York.

London's West End

  • Theatre legend Derek Jacobi will be returning to the stage in playwright Hugh Whitemore’s God Only Knows due to open in October. Rehearsals begin in July but you can see Jacobi on the big screen these days as one of the senators in the current blockbuster Gladiator.
  • It looks like the London critics have panned the musical Notre Dame de Paris when it opened mid-May. Previously a hit in France and Canada, the musical was translated into English for the London engagement — maybe that was their first mistake. Always considered tough on foreign product, the London critics’ devastating reviews for Charles Aznavour’s Lautrec earlier in May will close the doors this month.

Curtain Call

  • After recently losing independent producer David Merrick, the loss of producer Alexander Cohen on April 22 at the age of 79 confirms the end of an era in Broadway history. His career spanned 59 years beginning with the hit play Angel Street starring Vincent Price. It was with the money he earned as a successful television producer that he financed his first love, theatre. Along with his wife, actress and writer Hildy Parks, he produced the first 20 years of the Tony Awards telecasts. Outside of his producer role, Cohen supervised the building of Toronto’s O’Keefe Centre where the musical Camelot debuted with Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Robert Goulet on October 1, 1960. He continued to book and manage the Centre for the first three years. He produced 101 shows on Broadway and London’s West End with his most recent production of Noel Coward’s Waiting in the Wings starring Lauren Bacall and Rosemary Harris at the Walter Kerr Theater.

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