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Issue #65: April 15, 2001


  • You can tell the television season is nearing the end when reports start filtering in about sitcom stars signing up for a summer run on Broadway. Most recent is Canadian actor Eric McCormack of Will & Grace fame. McCormack will make his Broadway debut in May in the current hit revival of The Music Man at the Neil Simon Theatre. Have no fear — he does have stage legs — he performed at Canada’s Stratford Festival during his struggling actor days.

Broadway On The Road

  • Barry Manilow’s first musical Copacabana should have scared him away from the musical stage with its disastrous outing at the box office and second rate production quality, but not so. The Mercury Theater in Chicago will host Could It Be Magic? The Barry Manilow Songbook beginning June 19. The theatrical revue is based around 29 of the songs recorded by the king of schmaltz. Another example of the proverbial bar being lowered!

London's West End

  • Super producer Cameron Mackintosh is smiling all the way to the bank — again! His latest revival My Fair Lady has taken London by storm with rave reviews all around. Currently at the Lyttelton Theatre, plans are in place to move the production intact to Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, which was the show’s original home for 5 1/2 years. Stars Jonathan Pryce and Martine McCutcheon are signed with the production for nine months so they will be there July 21 when the curtain rises on Drury Lane.

Bits & Pieces

  • Continuing with my rant from the previous column regarding substandard touring musicals - it seems the William Morris Agency has put together a tour based on the 1983 movie Flashdance scheduled to hit the road for the 2002-03 season.

Here we go again where the motive to make money supersedes the creation of quality musical theatre — remember Fame and Saturday Night Fever. Let’s take note that Flashdance’s star Jennifer Beals has done nothing since this “blockbuster film” which leads one to believe that the same fate awaits the musical.

It’s no wonder audiences go back to see classics such as My Fair Lady, Carousel, Annie Get Your Gun, The Music Man, etc. to see original musical theatre. Where are the up and coming writers who can learn from the pros and write exciting new material instead of copping out by using second rate movies. Where is the creativity? Where are the original stories? To be continued!

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