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Issue #90: June 15, 2002


  • This year’s Tony-awards are now history with Thoroughly Modern Millie racking up six statues. It shows how cautious the voters played it by going with a “safe” production since it received mixed reviews when it opened. It is a show that will probably do well on the road since it is inoffensive and will appeal to the traditional tastes of Middle America.
  • The latest cast change to the long running award winning play Proof is theatre vet Len Cariou. He will join the company on July 2 as the math genius father to daughter Catherine now being played by Anne Heche. Cariou was last seen on Broadway in Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party. Many may remember his Tony winning performance in Sweeney Todd. And, he was nominated for stellar performances in Applause and A Little Night Music. He has also made many appearances at the Stratford Festival in Ontario.

Broadway On The Road

  • The Full Monty leaves its first tour spot, LA, for Boston’s Colonial Theater for a June 18 to July 7 run. Then it’s off to Japan for the month of August playing at Fukuoka’s Cultural Centre and Tokyo’s Forum. The tour returns to the U.S. for a September 3 opening at Costa Mesa’s Orange County Performing Arts Center through to the 15th. From there the tour is solidly booked throughout the U.S. until June 2003.
  • Nora Ephon’s play with music, Imaginary Friends, is Broadway bound after it makes its world premiere at San Diego’s Globe Theater from September 21 to November 3. Based on the legendary feud between literary icons Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy, Swoosie Kurtz and Cheery Jones take on the roles of battling duo. The Broadway opening is slated for December at a Shubert theater yet to be named.

Bits & Pieces

  • I find it frustrating when people ask me why there are no new original musicals being produced. Certainly here in Canada there is a plethora of wonderful writers who have created original musicals but the main stumbling block is always the almighty dollar.

    Desperately needed, also, is the insight of brave artistic directors to boldly face new challenges. There are no risk takers anymore in the world of musical theatre, no one person or organization willing to embrace a project because they believe in it and then willing to put their money where there mouth is. I wish the journalists who are the biggest whiners about the lack of new product would communicate to the public and those who love theatre that this is the reason.

    As for government funding designated for worthy projects, would-be applicants face formulas riddled with so many requirements in order to be considered, let alone accepted, that most give up in frustration.

    In my opinion, these reasons are why you see so many “safe” productions on Broadway, London, and on the road these days. Revivals, because they were popular and made money originally, and the new “innovation” of regurgitating successful movies and turning them into stage musicals – boring!!! Where are all the true producers who really believe in a work and have the vision to make it a reality? Until they step up to the plate and embrace these talented writers who have worthy works ready to be developed we will continue to be faced with a menu of mediocrity

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