Dis tries for four-peat with musical 'Poppins'

Dis tries for four-peat with musical 'Poppins'

NEW YORK -- This is the week prevues begin at the New Amsterdam on the legit version of "Mary Poppins," which has been a huge hit in London's West End since December 2004. The local "Poppins" prevues begin poppin' Saturday, with its official opening scheduled for Nov. 16, which will bring the number of Walt Disney Co. musicals on Broadway to four, with "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King" and "Tarzan." ... This is also the N.Y. Week of La Streisand: Barbra, joined by Il Divo, was SRO for her first Madison Square Garden concert Monday, with a second show added Wednesday. ... Also on Wednesday, the revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Heartbreak House" opens at the American Airlines Theatre; on Thursday, Simon Mendes da Costa's new play, "Losing Louie," premieres at the Biltmore. ... Meanwhile, the new revival of "A Chorus Line" opened to an enthusiastic crowd last week at the Schoenfeld, still looking good at 30-plus. (Its first Broadway incarnation opened July 25, 1975, and kicked up its heels at the Shubert Theatre for the next 14 years and nine months). Admittedly, "Chorus" no longer retains the infinite impact it once possessed, a victim of its own success as its "theater confessionals" format has triggered so many imitations in the years since. But the music by Marvin Hamlisch, aided by Edward Kleban's lyrics and choreography by the late Michael Bennett -- this time restaged by Baayork Lee -- still manages to send chills up the spine on several occasions, aided by Bob Avian's re-creation of Bennett's direction (Avian was Bennett's co-choreographer on the original). It also remains a great ode to passion, especially passion for one's work, and is likely to still land a sock in the solar plexus to those who have never seen it before, just as it did to those who worshiped it during the first incarnation. The new 29-member cast works hard and delivers the goods in varying degrees, and the show has a definite place on the Broadway of 2006: It's one of the few musicals in town that looks like a Broadway musical is supposed to look, thus filling a vacant spot for New York visitors that has been lacking since the revival of "42nd Street" closed almost two years ago. ... Meanwhile, out California way, this is the week Lynn Redgrave officially opens in her play "Nightingale" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. It's Part 3 of a trilogy of sorts about Redgrave's kin, the first having been Lynn's much-lauded (and Tony-nominated) "Shakespeare for My Father," which dealt with her dad, Michael Redgrave; the second was "The Mandrake Root," which focused on her mother, actress Rachel Kempson. This third play deals with the life of Lynn's grandmother, Beatrice Kempson, a shadowy presence in Redgrave's life and someone she knew little about until she began researching her. "Nightingale," directed by Joseph Hardy, opens Sunday and plays through Nov. 19; sister Vanessa already has caught it during prevues. Depending on the Los Angeles reaction, there's a strong possibility this "Nightingale" could wing its way to Broadway in the spring, meaning there could be two Redgraves concurrently on the New York theater scene doing one-woman shows. Vanessa already is set to star in Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking," scheduled for a March opening at the Booth, to be directed by David Hare and co-produced by Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind and Debra Black.
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