Broadway, she wrote: Lansbury set to return


NEW YORK -- The best showbiz news of the week in these parts is the announcement that Angela Lansbury will be returning to Broadway, full-scale, co-starring with Marian Seldes in Terrence McNally's new play "Deuce," scheduled for a May 6 opening at the Music Box Theatre. Michael Blakemore ("Copenhagen") directs; Scott Rudin, Stuart Thompson and Mayberry Prods. will be producing in association with Primary Stages. It'll be Lansbury's first Broadway gig in 23 years (the last time: a 1984 revival of "Mame," after which she began her triumphant 12-year TV run starring in "Murder, She Wrote"). She will first, however, be dipping a toe into the Broadway scene Nov. 5 at the Schoenfeld Theatre, when she participates in a one-night-only benefit for the York Company. She'll be joining Boyd Gaines, Harriet Harris, Lisa Banes and Lynn Collins in "This Is on Me: An Evening of Dorothy Parker," a staged reading of works by the legendary wit Dorothy Parker, adapted by Tom Fontana. (Lansbury chairs the Actors Advisory Board of the Acting Company, which received a Tony in 2003 for excellence in theater.) And no question about it: Broadway always looks better when the four-time Tony-winning Ms. Lansbury is on the boards here, back where she belongs. ... This week's big openers: Simon Gray's black comedy "Butley" with Nathan Lane, officially debuting Wednesday at the Booth, and the Twyla Tharp-Bob Dylan musical "The Times They Are A-Changin'," which launches Thursday at the Brooks Atkinson. ... Today's the day that Ellen Burstyn's memoirs, "Lessons in Becoming Myself," officially hits the bookstores, duly noted Sunday night at a big launch party at the Carnegie Foundation, hosted by Vartan Gregorian; that followed a busy weekend in which she received an award at the Hamptons Film Festival, then did a lengthy conversation at Guild Hall about her life and career moderated by the Museum of the Moving Image's David Schwartz, which packed the Hampton Hall to its rafters. There's more Burstyn activity ahead: On Wednesday, she guests on "The View," then she works her way across the country doing press, leading to a book party Friday night at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. ... Another new show business book, just out: Marni Nixon's "I Could Have Sung All Night," a particularly interesting story because Nixon marvelously managed to carve out a grand career and make a name for herself even though most of her work was of a ghostly, stay-out-of-sight nature as she supplied the singing voice for so many nonsinging stars (Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, etc.) in landmark musicals. ... Halloween promises much more than pumpkins, fright wigs and broomsticks in New York. At the Museum of Television & Radio, Robert Altman and Garrison Keillor will team up for an evening of chat about their favorite radio moments (with examples of same) along with sharing some heretofore unseen DVD footage, all to coincide with the DVD launch of this year's Altman-Keillor treat "A Prairie Home Companion." Across town the same night, Lorenzo Lamas will make his N.Y. cabaret debut at Feinstein's at the Regency, in a show nurtured by Feinstein himself, following an earlier break-in engagement for Lamas at Tommy Rolla's Gardenia in Hollywood.