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Issue #79: January 1, 2002


  • Broadway landlord/producer The Shubert Organization is backing a new musical by Michel Legrand called Le Passe Muraille. After a successful workshop in November that had James Lapine directing and John Carrafa choreographing, the producers are looking at a May 2002 opening.
  • Barely opened, the shortest run of any Andrew Lloyd Webber musical By Jeeves closed the doors on December 30. Mixed reviews and the prospect of a bleak January and February were behind the decision to close. Other shows slated to exit include Kiss Me, Kate and The Rocky Horror Show.
  • Mel Brooks isn’t the only family member who is into theatre. His wife, Anne Bancroft will star in the world premiere of Edward Albee’s The Occupant, which opens February 24 at the Signature Theatre Company.

London's West End

  • Nicole Kidman isn’t lacking for work these days. Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) will direct the lovely Auzzie in two classics; Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night. No opening date has been set but these two productions are part of the Donmar’s 10th anniversary season.
  • Another director is talking up Nicole Kidman – National Theatre Artistic Director Trevor Nunn is reported to have offered her the lead in the revival of Ibsen’s The Lady From the Sea.
  • Pop “diva” Boy George has written a new musical called Taboo, which is currently in rehearsals at the 329-seat Notre-Dame Hall in Leicester Place. Previews begin January 11 with a January 29 opening.
  • With all the doom and gloom these days regarding the theatre world one bright note for the producers of Trevor Nunn’s critically acclaimed revival of My Fair Lady is that it broke even after just 18 weeks.

Broadway Around the World

  • Jacobsen Entertainment Group (JEG), based in Australia, is leading the way with a roster of productions. JEG has just wrapped a 42-week tour down under of the musical Shout based on rock ‘n’ roll icon Johnny O’Keefe. JEG will remount the musical in collaboration with the Really Useful Group (RUG) when it tours in a circus tent format for 35 – 40 dates in 2003. RUG pioneered the musicals under the big top – ala Cats. JEG will also partner with mega producer Cameron Mackintosh when The Witches of Eastwick lands at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in August. JEG’s first foray into Asia is with Fame: The Musical, which kicks off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May. Jacobsen is hoping to take three other shows to the region over the next three years.
  • Cameron Mackintosh will be taking his award-winning production of Oliver! to Sydney, Australia in May. He is partnering with entertainment giant IMG on this venture.

Curtain Call

  • Stage and screen lost another brilliant actor when Sir Nigel Hawthorne passed away on Wednesday, December 26 at the age of 72. Although most know him from his Oscar nominated role in The Madness of King George in 1994. It was Hawthorne who originated and played the stage role for two years on the West End for which he won the best-actor Olivier Award. He is also familiar to those PBS fans as Sir Humphrey Appleby in the hilarious series Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, which ran from 1980 – 1987 but can still be seen in reruns. In the 60s he appeared as Field Marshall Haig in Joan Littlewood’s production of Oh What A Lovely War. He also received critical acclaim when he played Prince Albert in the 1968 production of Early Morning. Other notable plays he was in were Narrow Road to the Deep North, Privates on Parade and Hopgood. His talent was recognized in the 90s when he won a Tony Award for his role as C.S. Lewis in the Broadway play Shadowlands in 1991. He was last seen on stage in 1999 in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear.

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