Talkin' Broadway



Tony Handicapping

Itís that time of year when we can take a look at the season and begin our Tony handicapping for musicals, plays and actors. Oh, the fat lady is only warming up as the deadline for openings for Tony Award consideration is not until April 28th. While there is a wealth of plays this season the smash hit musical has yet to arrive, or has it? In addition to what has already opened here is a list of the openings between now and the deadline:

  • Not About Nightingales - opens Feb. 25th, Circle in the Square.

  • Annie Get Your Gun - opens Mar. 4th, Marquis Theatre.

  • Band In Berlin - opens Mar. 7th, Helen Hayes Theatre.

  • Night Must Fall - delayed opening until Mar. 8th, Lyceum Theatre.

  • The Lion in Winter - opens Mar. 11th, Roundabout.

  • Via Dolorosa - opens Mar. 18th, Booth Theatre.

  • Closer - opens Mar. 28th, Music Box Theatre.

  • The Weir - opens Apr. 1st, Walter Kerr Theatre.

  • The Iceman Cometh - opens April 8th, Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

  • Marlene - opens Apr. 11th, Cort Theatre.

  • Amyís View - opens Apr. 15th, Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

  • The Civil War - opens Apr. 22nd, St. James Theatre.

  • Fascinating Rhythm - opens Apr. 25th, Longacre Theatre.

  • Ring Round the Moon - opens Apr. 28th, Belasco Theatre.

There is also the possibility of The Dead, a musical version of a James Joyce story, opening at the Vivian Beaumont now that Parade is, well, dead. According to an article in the New York Times by Jesse McKinley, producer Gregory Mosher is trying to raise the 3 million dollars necessary to get the show open before the Tony nomination deadline. Why? Does he think The Dead is a runaway hit that can capture the Best Musical prize? Well, not exactly ... or it could very well be. Itís more like the lack of a runaway hit this season and Dead has as much as a shot as the dead Parade. Mosher sees an opportunity, an opportunity which doesnít happen very often; so heís going after the big brass ring.

Letís take a look at what heís up against. Well, thereís Footloose with its mediocre reviews but good box office, and we all know about Parade, but Tony voters donít generally vote for musicals that have closed. (Yes, I know, it happened once.) Charlie Brown? Good reviews but is this a revival or what? That leaves us with the upcoming Band In Berlin and Wildhornís The Civil War, neither of which has the fire of, say a Ragtime or a Lion King. So bring on The Dead or the revue Fascinating Rhythm. It shouldnít hurt in this mediocre season.

Actually, I see history repeating itself. You see, I have purposely avoided mentioning one musical and there may lie the key to this yearís Best Musical Tony Award..

In a dismal season a decade ago a certain musical which was nothing more than a celebration of a choreographerís work walked away with the Best Musical Tony. Jerome Robbinsí Broadway was not much different than this seasonsí Fosse in which there is no book but a series of choreographed song and dance numbers from the body of Fosseís work. Itís long and not perfect but the general consensus from critics and fans is that itís pretty good. Unless Band, Dead, Rhythm or The Civil War comes up with something very exciting, history will repeat itself and Fosse will probably walk away with the prize!

Tidbits:

  • Cabaret has union problems which they are negotiating right now. Unless they come to terms with the stagehands representatives a strike would be in order thereby stopping their plans for the new home at the Selwyn Theater. I wouldnít worry about it as these things work themselves out to everyoneís satisfaction. Even the Lion squealed like a mouse a year or so ago, but it worked out.

  • Calvin Klein caused a furor with his latest ad campaign in Times Square. His latest billboard underwear campaign was to feature toddlers in jockeys and boxers. It was reported that at the last minute the campaign was pulled due to public outrage and the billboards on 42nd Street would feature the regular sexy adults. Last minute? Not quite true. The toddlers did go up. I saw them and raised an eyebrow! They went down the same day.

  • Great article in Sunday's New York Times about London theatre vs. American theatre. Vincent Canby, Ben Brantley and Peter Marks exchange thoughts over tea and biscuits.

  • Tix are on sale now for The Wizard of Oz at The Theater At Madison Square Garden. Mickey Rooney and Jessica Grove star. It runs from May 6 through 16th. For tickets call Ticket Master at 212-307-4111.

  • Can Christmas be around the bend? Tickets go on sale today for the Radio Cityís Christmas Spectacular. Itís for America Express cardholders. For what itís worth call 212-307-1000 if you have the card and the inclination.

  • Great word of mouth coming out of Los Angeles for the new production of Floyd Collins. The musical has fiercely devoted fans on the Web and many are flying from all parts of the country to see it.

  • Annie Get Your Gun I hear is shaping up nicely and trimming the fat. What was 2 hours and 45 minutes is now 2 hours and 15 minutes.

  • They seek her here, they seek her there! Where is Ute? She was supposed to start in the Toronto-Las Vegas bound production of Chicago this past Friday but it didnít happen. Stephanie Pope was to head to the New York production but Bebe is back for 5 weeks, so Iím all confused with all these Velmaís schedules. Must be artistic differences!

  • Speaking of Chicago, Toronto critic Kate Taylor got blasted by Kander and Ebb for her very unkind and unfair review of Chita Rivera.

An afterthought: Can The Scarlet Pimpernel be nominated for Best Musical this year? ;)

See you Thursday!

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