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Issue #108: May 1, 2003


  • It looks like Melanie Griffith will be earning a pay cheque while she's in New York keeping an eye on her husband, Antonio Banderas.  Antonio is currently getting rave reviews for his performance in Nine.  Mrs. Banderas will be taking over the role of floozy (not a stretch!) Roxie Hart in the Broadway revival of Chicago.  Her stint will be from July 11 to Sept. 28.
  • Even though Harvey Fierstein has been keeping busy starring in Hairspray he is also looking to his next project.  Collaborating with John Buccino, Fierstein is working on a musical based on the Bette Davis picture A Catered Affair.
  • Whoopi Goldberg presents playwright August Wilson with the New Dramatists' lifetime achievement award on May 13.

Broadway On The Road

  • The Broadway bound new musical Wicked will play the Curran Theater in San Francisco May 28 - June 29.  Directed by Joe Mantello, the cast includes Robert Morse, Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel.  No date or theatre has been mentioned for the New York opening.

London's West End

  • It looks like movement has started for the staging of Mary Poppins with the announcement by producers Cameron Mackintosh and Thomas Schumacher of Disney Theatricals of the creative team.  Former National Theatre artistic director Richard Eyre looks to be on board for directing and songwriting team George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Honk) will enhance the original Sherman brother's music.  Oscar winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) has been given the task of writing a fresh book for the stage.  A London premiere is targeted for 2004.
  • Discussions are in the works for the National Theatre to bring Al Pacino to the Lyttelton Auditorium to recreate his role in Brecht's Arturo Ui, which sold out in New York.   At the moment they are looking at a February run.

Bits & Pieces

  • BBC4, the UK's digital channel specializing in culture and the arts, is spearheading a stage to screen initiative.  This was a concept recently tried in New York but it seems to have fallen by the wayside.  The first three UK productions set to hit the airwaves are Vincent in Brixton, Eddie Izzard and Victoria Hamilton's A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, and On an Average Day with Woody Harrelson and Kyle MacLachlan.  No doubt, if these programs are well received, hopefully a public broadcaster in North America will pick them up so we can all see them.

    Not to be left behind though, the New York PBS station is in production with an independent film company to produce Broadway: The American Musical, which will be a six-hour documentary tracing the evolution of musical theatre over the past 100 years.  Director Michael Kantor who worked on Ken Burns' The West and Ric Burns' New York takes on the project. It will include interviews with Broadway legends Carol Channing, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Joel Grey, Harold Prince as well as use of interviews of the late Adolph Green, Al Hirschfeld and Walter Matthau.  The series is scheduled to air in 2004. 

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