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Issue #174: July 1, 2006


  • Donny Osmond does his turn on Broadway as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast at the Lunt-Fontaine Theater starting September 19.

Broadway On The Road

  • Look for the new Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg (Les Miserables, Miss Saigon) musical The Pirate Queen  to do a pre-Broadway stint in Chicago from October 3 to November 26.
  • The latest from Middle Earth is that the way-over-budget Lord of the Rings will be heading out of town on September 3.  The reason cited was poor reviews....but let’s face it, as a former employer once told me “if you have to rely on reviews to sell your show, then you haven’t done your job.”  Let’s remember that when Les Miserables opened in London the reviews were scathing.   However the day after it opened the line to purchase tickets snaked around the block.  In other words....if you have a great show, it’s the people who will make the decision to support it or not.  As reported in this column earlier The Lord of the Rings will open on the West End at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Drury Lane Theatre.  The previews are scheduled to begin in May and I suspect it will be a revised version of what audiences saw in Toronto.

Broadway Around the World

  • The 33rd annual South African National Festival of the Arts is on until July 8.  This year Booitjie and the Oubass (Boy and the Old Man) a new play by South Africa’s own Athol Fugard premiered under the direction of Janice Honeyman of the Baxter Theater in Cape Town.  Fugard is the author of Tsotsi on which the Oscar winning film was based.

Bits & Pieces

  • The Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario recently announced their new artistic team.  Once current artistic director Richard Monette steps down next year a talent heavy triumvirate will take over.  Don Shipley, a former child actor who appeared on the Stratford stage and who worked as an assistant to renowned director Robin Phillips, and most recently artistic director of the Dublin International Theatre Festival in Ireland, brings his international experience to the festival.  Marti Maraden brings her extensive directing and producing skills — most notably for Canadian plays and the classics — to the team.  Rounding out the talent heavy team is Canadian born Tony Award winner Des McAnuff whose most recent project, The Jersey Boys, took top prize at the Tony’s this year.  McAnuff has spent a sizeable portion of his career at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California, a regional theatre that has seen the birth of many hit musicals that transferred to Broadway.  This threesome could prove to be a defining moment in the evolution of this 50 plus year old festival.

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