New curtains rising on Broadway and off
NEW YORK -- The fall theater season is beginning to hum, punctuated by tonight's launch of the latest edition of the "Forbidden Broadway" spoofest, this one subtitled "Rude Awakening," with its "affectionate" roasting of "Spring Awakening," "Young Frankenstein," et al. It's taking place at the new "F.B." headquarters, the 47th Street Theater. ... Broadway-wise, Thursday sees the opening of the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Theresa Rebeck's "Mauritius," directed by Doug Hughes ("Doubt") at the Biltmore, with a cast headed by F. Murray Abraham. ... Also on Thursday, prevues begin at the Walter Kerr on the first Broadway exposure of Chazz Palminteri in his famed solo show "A Bronx Tale," which began life off-Broadway in 1989, then was expanded into a 1993 film with Palminteri and Robert De Niro, which De Niro also directed. No Bobby D. this time; the director is Jerry Zaks. Chazz again is working as a one-man cast, and its official opening date is Oct. 25. ... Meanwhile, the pace is picking up off-Broadway as well. On Wednesday, Staci Swedeen's new play "The Goldman Project," directed by Joe Brancato, launches the new season for the Abingdon Theatre Company at the June Havoc Theatre on West 36th. On Thursday, the new musical "Greetings From Yorkville," directed by the late Thommie Walsh, written and performed by Anya Turner and Robert Grusecki, debuts at the SoHo Playhouse; the same night, after a delay, the new play by Myra Bairstow, "The Rise of Dorothy Hale," directed by Penny Templeton, launches at the Theatre at St. Luke's. (There's an irony in that title; the play's about a New York woman who plunged to her death from a Hampshire House apartment in 1938 and was ruled a suicide but may have not have been.) ... On Sunday, the martial arts smorgasbord known as "Jump," directed by Chul-Ki Choi, begins energizing the Union Square Theatre. ... Tony Martin, who had briefly canceled his plans for a two-nighter at Feinstein's at the Regency, has rescheduled and will take over at that Park Avenue venue Oct. 21-22. ... Meanwhile, anyone looking for an exceptional night out on the town right now should make a beeline to the Oak Room of the Algonquin to see and hear KT Sullivan delivering one of the best cabaret performances in many a moon. KT's someone whose kewpie doll looks, nifty voice and twinkling humor have for years, and countless outings, been a welcome addition to the town's talent parade, but something's different and unusually attractive about her this time. "I'm not a girl anymore," she says as a toss-away line at one point, and indeed, that may be the key to this new, reinvented Sullivan. She is in better voice and more self-assured than before, no longer a boop-oop-a-doop ingenue but a bona fide, womanly entertainer of many dimensions, with a great sense of both fun and maturity that makes her particularly magnetic. (It's doubtful anyone gets a bigger kick out of doing what she does than this lady.) This current Algonquin turn show is a definite standout, not only making great use of Sullivan but also songs by Berlin, Sondheim, Coward, Porter and others as well as words culled from Dame Diana Rigg's witty 1982 book of theatrical pans "No Turn Unstoned." Kudos also to her musical director Tedd Firth, director Eric Michael Gillett and bass Steve Doyle.