Comings and goings on N.Y. theater scene

Comings and goings on N.Y. theater scene

NEW YORK -- This weekend, while many (myself included) gather to watch new movies at the film festival in Telluride, Colo., the New York theater scene shrinks considerably. Sunday will mark the final Broadway performances of "Sweeney Todd" at the Eugene O'Neill, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at the Imperial and "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" at the Lyceum. That same day, Shakespeare in the Park's short-term run of "Mother Courage and Her Children," with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, wraps at Central Park's Delecourt Theater. ... Broadway may be losing "Sweeney," but Stephen Sondheim will still be seriously conspicuous. Arriving on Nov. 29 at the Ethel Barrymore will be that much-anticipated revival of the Sondheim-George Furth "Company," directed by John Doyle, featuring Raul Esparza and the rest of the cast of Doyle's original Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park staging. Also, next year's "Encores!" series at the City Center will start off with a concert staging of Sondheim's "Follies" from Feb. 8-11. Other shows on the 2007 "Encores!" agenda include "Face the Music" (March 29-April 1) and "Stairway to Paradise" (May 10-14), which will be a compilation of numbers from various editions of the bygone "Ziegfeld Follies." ... The last time Sondheim's "Follies" had a New York run (a Roundabout revival in 2001 at the Belasco), the long-distance runner Betty Garrett was one of the co-stars. Now, that same Betty G. will be co-starring with Rachel York and Michael Gruber in a concert staging of Tommy Tune's 1983 Gershwin musical "My One and Only" for the West Coast's "Reprise!" series, a cousin to N.Y.'s "Encores!" franchise. She'll be playing a character originated by the great tapper Charles "Honi" Coles. The gender was changed just for Betty, thus Cole's Mr. Magix character will now be Madam Magix. ... It's always great when something positive in the world of show business happens to someone who's been paying their dues and, at the same time, struggling to get a cherished piece of their work mounted on the boards. A good friend of mine, a determined fellow and talented composer named Brian Feinstein, has been toiling for many moons on a new musical called "Mimi Le Duck," working with Diana Hansen-Young, who did the lyrics and libretto. After many tryouts and workshops over the years, "Mimi" made a successful debut in 2004 at the Adirondack Theatre Festival in Upstate New York and later that year was part of the N.Y. International Fringe Festival. Feinstein is now understandably elated, as are his pals, that his show has been announced for a New York run. It'll begin prevuing off-Broadway at the New World Stages on Oct. 11, with its opening set for Halloween. And further good news: It's hardly sneaking into town. Eartha Kitt will be starring, along with Annie Golden ("The Full Monty"), with some Tony winners also involved, such as set designer John Arnone and costumer Ann Hould-Ward. Thomas Caruso, who did the show's staging for its Fringe Festival run, again directs. ... Jack Jones, who sings better than anyone and appears in these parts all too infrequently -- he should be a yearly regular like Barbara Cook -- will be a welcome addition next month, opening Sept. 12 for a two-week run at the Oak Room of the Algonquin.
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