rambling reporter

Three newbies follow 'Blonde' to Broadway

The next five days usher in three more new Broadway biggies to join Sunday's launch of the musical "Legally Blonde" at the Palace. On Wednesday, "Coram Boy," the ambitious hit from London's National Theatre, opens at the Imperial, followed Thursday by the debut of Harold Prince's latest, the new musical "LoveMusik," at the Biltmore with Donna Murphy as Lotte Lenya and Michael Cerveris as Kurt Weill. On Sunday, the new Terrence McNally play "Deuce" has its official opening at the Music Box with two of Broadway's most popular ladies at the forefront, Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes. … Additionally, prevues begin tonight at the Public on "Passing Strange," with book and lyrics by pop singer Stew, who also wrote the music with Annie Dorsen. … Meanwhile, some good things have come to an end. On Sunday, Charles Busch's delightful new play "Our Leading Lady" ended its limited Manhattan Theatre Club engagement at the City Center, and the Roundabout's revival of "Prelude to a Kiss," with John Mahoney, wrapped at the American Airlines Theatre. The Acting Company's adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" will conclude its limited run at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on Saturday. … Interesting, what with Lansbury's imminent return to the Broadway boards: Beginning May 9, the Irish Repertory Theatre will stage a limited run of Patrick Hamilton's play "Gaslight," which, as any Lansbury watcher can quickly tell you, later became the movie in which she made her screen debut in 1944. The play, however, was known not as "Gaslight" but as "Angel Street" when it opened on Broadway in 1941, and it was Elizabeth Eustis who played the part that later brought Lansbury fame and an Oscar nomination. (For the record, the roles done in the movie by Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten were done onstage by Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn and Leo G. Carroll, respectively.) It looked as if that "Angel" might be bedeviled or, at the least, the victim of excruciatingly bad timing. The play opened at the Golden theater on Dec. 5, 1941, two days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that plunged the U.S. into World War II. But people, suddenly with war on their minds, didn't stay away from the mystery thriller set in Victorian London as many expected they might. Instead, "Angel" turned out to be exactly what audiences flocked to see to take their minds off what was happening in the real world, going on to become one of the all-time long-running Broadway plays, racking up 1,295 performances and running three years; only when it closed in 1944 was MGM allowed to release its film version. A later Broadway revival in 1975 didn't fare so well. With Dina Merrill, Michael Allinson and Christine Andreas (the latter in the Lansbury part), that production, still using the "Angel Street" handle, lasted fewer than two months. … Another addition to my list of favorite titles: "Lipstick on a Pig." It's a new play by Linda Evans (not the "Dynasty" Evans) that world premieres May 23 at Theatre Row's Beckett Theatre on 42nd Street. … Tonight, Linda Eder begins a two-week run at Feinstein's at the Regency, which has officially had its name altered to Feinstein's at Loews Regency.
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