rambling reporter

Stew's 'Strange' segues to Broadway in a lonely bow

This week's sole Broadway opening is the new musical "Passing Strange" at the Belasco. The bow follows its world premiere run last year at the Public Theatre, where it was presented in collaboration with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It has a book and lyrics by singer-songwriter Stew and music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, with Annie Dorsen directing the same cast that delivered the goods during that Public run. Karole Armitage choreographs. … Prevues begin Monday at the St. James on the much-anticipated revival of "Gypsy," with Patti LuPone doing a full Broadway run in a role she seems born to play. … Great news for theatergoers: The Steppenwolf's magnificent "August: Osage County" won't be leaving town when it wraps its limited run April 20 at the 1,425-seat Imperial. It'll re-open nine days later, intact, just a few steps east at the 1,009-seat Music Box, where Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention," with Hank Azaria and Jimmi Simpson, wraps Sunday. … Another holdover: The Roundabout's off-Broadway revival of Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart," directed by Kathleen Turner, has been extended through April 20 at the Laura Pels. … More to anticipate: Barbara Cook returns March 4 for six weeks at the Cafe Carlyle, a venue she's played at least once every year since she first sang there in 1981, always doing a new Cook repertoire. … Just added to the agenda of Feinstein's at the Loews Regency: Bebe Neuwirth as the cabaret headliner May 20-31, with Tony Danza there June 3-14 . … Some of the best theatrical nights in New York have been those limited-run "Encores!" endeavors and the one-night-only Carnegie Hall events, as when Hugh Jackman and Audra McDonald performed "Carousel" and Brian Stokes Mitchell, Reba McEntire, Alec Baldwin and a great cast brought "South Pacific" back to life. Now, another biggie is being planned for Andrew Carnegie's great Hall on June 10, when there will be a one-night-only concert performance of the Kern-Hammerstein "Show Boat," with Paul Gemignani conducting and a cast that includes Marilyn Horne. Francesca Zambello, who's now repped on Broadway by "The Little Mermaid," directs. … Speaking of that Steppenwolf group from Chicago, responsible for the brilliant "Osage County": The fifth annual Steppenwolf Theatre Company Celebrity Golf Classic will be held March 13-16 in Indian Wells, Calif., hosted by the company's co-founder, Gary Sinise, along with Palm Springs businesswoman Edra Blixseth and Rep. Mary Bono Mack. When the tournament was launched in 2004, it did seem a bit bizarre for a group of serious actors from the Midwest to be teeing off in California along with celebrities and golf pros. But it was, admittedly, for an exceptionally good cause: to raise funds needed to keep the theater company in good financial shape and help sponsor its arts programs. It has turned into a yearly, eagerly anticipated event. Among those who'll be stepping on the greens this year will be Sinise, Joe Mantegna, Jack Scalia, Dennis Farina, Michael O'Keefe, Gregory Harrison, Robert Hays and LPGA golfers Nicole Castrale and Angela Jerman.