Commentary: Leslie Caron to make rare U.S. appearance

Also: Revivals on Broadway, 'Christmas' in Manhattan

Leslie Caron, one of the few who started out in Hollywood's so-called Golden Age still active in today's world of moviemaking (though not as active as Hollywood should be keeping her), does not make many visits to this side of the Atlantic from her home in Paris.

But she is about to return to the U.S. for the first time since last year, when she picked up her guest actress Emmy for her striking performance as a rape victim on "Law & Order: SVU."

Caron arrives in October to participate in three Los Angeles-area events in her honor. It begins with an Oct. 10 salute by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at its Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills; it will include a 50th anniversary screening of a new, digitally restored print of one of Caron's crowning achievements, the 1958 best picture Oscar winner "Gigi," followed by a Q&A about her 58-year film career.

The spotlight will remain on her the next night, this time at the Santa Monica Puppetry Center.

The night after that, on Oct. 12, there will be a salute by the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, which will include a screening of Caron's 1953 musical "Lili," in which puppetry plays a major part. That film also was a landmark in her career since it brought the first of her two best actress Oscar nominations. (The second was for 1963's British-made drama "The L-Shaped Room.")

Closer to Times Square

In addition to scheduled revivals planned for the upcoming Broadway season -- including "A Man for All Seasons," with Frank Langella, and "Guys and Dolls," from "Jersey Boys" director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo and possibly starring Ewan McGregor, who toplined the recent hugely successful West End revival -- one redo has been scratched.

The plug has been pulled, at least temporarily, on Lerner and Loewe's "Brigadoon," which had been planned for an October-November break-in at the Colonial in Boston followed by a Broadway opening. The reason given for the erasure: No appropriate Broadway theater will be available at that time.

Also a scratch: The revival of "Godspell," which was to begin prevues Sept. 29 ahead of an Oct. 23 opening. Producer Adam Epstein said he had no other option after losing a major investor "in the harsh reality of a slowing economy."

Something "almost" new for the boards: The 1964 Warner Bros. comedy musical "Robin and the 7 Hoods," featuring a cast that included most of the members of the Sinatra entourage of the 1960s -- then known as "the Clan" but now uniformly referred to as "the Rat Pack" -- is coming to a New York stage in spring 2010.

The infectious Sammy Cahn-James Van Heusen score ("My Kind of Town, Chicago Is" and "Style," among the many) will be augmented by other songs from the Cahn-Van Heusen team, including "Come Fly With Me," "Call Me Irresponsible" and "All the Way."

It will feature a book by Peter Ackerman, with direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw.

'Christmas' in Manhattan

Another musical that began life on a Hollywood soundstage will be making its Broadway debut in the fall for a limited run at the Marquis.

"Irving Berlin's White Christmas," which began as a 1954 Paramount blockbuster and 50 years later was staged as a holiday-season legiter in San Francisco, finally will make it to a New York house for a eight-week run starting Nov. 14. It's already played holiday dates in many areas, including Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, Toronto and St. Paul, Minn.

Guided by top theater pros -- Walter Bobbie directing, Randy Skinner choreographing -- "White Christmas" should do exceptionally well in Manhattan, which bulges with visitors during the holidays, a factor that has paid off for the holiday runs of similar shows. Those include a musicalized "A Christmas Carol," which returned annually for about 10 years with a different star playing Scrooge each time, and Broadway runs of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and, of course, the spectacular Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall, which began as a stand-alone stage attraction in 1979.

The ticket scale that first year: $7.50-$10.50. The prices have, er, gone up considerably in the 29 years since, now ranging from $42-$250.

Robert Osborne is the primetime host and anchor of Turner Classic Movies.
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