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Issue #148: March 15, 2005
Spring-Is-Coming Edition - next issue April 15


  • One of the most popular annual spring events is the Encores! Concert Series that is held at City Center.  From March 31 to April 3 a concert version of Purlie starring Blair Underwood (LA Law) will be staged by director Sheldon Epps.  The original musical opened on Broadway in March 1970.   This series is the forum that launched the Broadway revival of Chicago in the mid 90s.  At that time Broadway producers attended en masse and it was the producing husband and wife team the Wiesler's who secured the producing rights and hence Chicago is still packing them in on Broadway and reaping the rewards of an Oscar winning film based on the musical.  Keep your eyes on what happens with Purlie.
  • When the Brit import Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opens this spring you will find Hedwig and the Angry Inch's Kevin Cahoon starring as the Child Catcher.

Broadway On The Road

  • If you're a Christine Baranski fan you can catch her this Christmas at The Kennedy Center when she stars in Mame.  Signature Theater's artistic director Eric Schaeffer (Sondheim festival in 2002) will stage the production.
  • As I sign off on this month's issue talks are currently under way in Toronto between producer David Mirvish and London producer Kevin Wallace for the rights to the $30 million The Lord of the Rings, the Musical.  An announcement is expected in the next day or two to confirm the arrangement, which would have the production opening next March at The Princess of Wales Theatre for an open-ended run.  More to come on this developing story.

London's West End

  • Lord Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White is still packing them in at London's Palace Theatre.  Look for two-time Olivier Award winner Joanna Riding (My Fair Lady, Carousel) to take over the lead role in May.
  • Friends alum David Schwimmer will make his London stage debut in May when Some Girls makes its world premiere.  Playwright Neil LaBute's new five-character play begins April 11 under the direction of David Grindley.  Opening night is penciled in for the Gielgud Theatre on May 24 for a limited 13-week run.
  • Seventy-four year old playwright Harold Pinter has hung up his pen and paper for politics.  Recently in a BBC interview Pinter, who has expressed opposition to Prime Minister Tony Blair's support of and Britain's involvement in the Iraq conflict, will actively pursue his political beliefs and make things uncomfortable for Mr. Blair.  When not doing his political thing Pinter says he will pass his time writing poetry.

Bits & Pieces

  • A big fan of the much-loved English soap opera Coronation Street, Sir Ian McKellen is fulfilling his desire to appear on the television staple.  Playing a flamboyant romance novelist, McKellen's appearances will be airing in May in the UK.  Rebroadcasts in other countries often air months behind the British schedule.

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