Broadway back in rhythm with sound of music

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NEW YORK -- Ahhhh, it's like old times around the Broadway environs now that the 19-day-long stagehands strike has been settled. The local hills not only are once more alive with the sound of music ("Curtains," "Spamalot," "A Chorus Line," "Jersey Boys" and "Wicked" being among those shows back on the boards, as well as "Chicago" with Maxwell Caulfield in a tux and "Hairspray" with George Wendt in drag), but last week ended with e-mails, faxes and phone calls flying fast and furiously with new dates set for Broadway openings. Aaron Sorkin's new play, "The Farnsworth Invention," directed by Des McAnuff and with Hank Azaria and Jimmi Simpson, debuted Monday night at the Music Box after its 19-day delay; the Steppenwolf's "August: Osage County," a new play by Tracy Letts, opens tonight at the Imperial, delayed by 14 days; the National Theatre of Great Britain's "The Seafarer," written and directed by Conor McPherson, debuts Thursday at the Booth, 22 days later than planned; David Ives' new adaptation of Mark Twain's "Is He Dead?" -- directed by Michael Blakemore and starring Norbert Leo Butz ("Dirty Rotten Scoundrels") -- will have its world premiere Sunday at the Lyceum, 11 days after it had expected to open; and new start dates have now been firmed for the revival of Harold Pinter's "The Homecoming," directed by Daniel Sullivan, at the Cort (now set for Dec. 16) and Disney's newly legitimatized "The Little Mermaid" at the Lunt-Fontanne (now in prevues and prepping for a Jan. 10 launch). ... Off-Broadway openings include "Pumpgirl," the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of the London success, tonight at the City Center, and the Tony Walton-directed "The Devil's Disciple" on Wednesday at the Irish Repertory Theatre. ... Nancy Malone is someone whose work as an actress I enjoyed for years. I never saw her in her Broadway days ("Time Out for Ginger," "Major Barbara," "Requiem for a Heavyweight") but certainly admired her during that era when live television dramas ruled the airwaves and she frequently guest-starred on those groundbreaking series, including "U.S. Steel Hour" and "Studio One." But, smart girl Nancy, she also knew how intangible life as a performer could be and since has distinguished herself as a TV vp and director, co-founder of Women in Film and other endeavors. She still occasionally re-exercises her acting chops as well. But for a Nancy Malone fan like me, it's particularly nice to see that she is one of the 2007 "She Made It" honorees being saluted Thursday at New York's Paley Center for Media along with other outstanding women, past and present, working in television and radio, including Jay Presson Allen, Candice Bergen, Linda Ellerbee, Meredith Vieira, Rosie O'Donnell, Paula Zahn, Barbara Kopple, Lee Grant and Suze Orman. ... Come Dec. 17, one of my favorite movies of the 1980s, "Moonstruck," will be getting a special 20th anniversary screening as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "Monday Nights With Oscar" series at the Academy's current New York headquarters at the Lighthouse on East 59th, with Olympia Dukakis appearing for a postshow discussion. In case your memory needs juggling, Dukakis waltzed off with an Oscar for her great supporting performance in this Norman Jewison jewel; Cher was rightfully Oscared, too, as 1987's best actress, and John Patrick Shanley won for his original screenplay. But, hey, can it really be 20 years since we first heard Cher hilariously admonish Nicolas Cage, "Snap out of it!"?
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