Talkin' Broadway
Talkin' Broadway

BULLETIN: Off the Town

Plans for the Broadway On the Town revival are now off. Christopher d'Amboise, a principal dancer at NYC Ballet who has also been working on the Broadway-bound High Society was just recently added to the production as choreographer. Days after joining the production d'Amboise withdrew. Now August is the earliest rehearsals could start for the production. The 1997 Central Park staging by George C. Wolfe was to have begun Broadway previews April 7 at the St. James Theatre, with an official opening planned for April 26.

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The Word on the Street...

Mixed. The word on the "street" is mixed for Ragtime and The Capeman.

Ragtime is in previews and opens next Sunday, Jan. 18th. The mixed reaction was to be expected as far as I was concerned. Fans at intermission are using words like "long", "boring", "white-guilt musical" and a myriad of other things. On the other hand the fans are using terms like "brilliant", "breathtaking", "stunning" and "gorgeous." It makes you wonder if they're seeing the same show. I'm with the latter camp.

Because of its long process in coming to New York and the hype associated with the successful runs in Toronto and Los Angeles I knew this show was going to be scrutinized with a magnifying glass. The suspense will be over in a week when the Monday morning reviews come out. The hype said that Ragtime had Tony Awards written all over it. Who knew Disney would come to 42nd Street with such a roar?

Still, it won't be a two way battle between Ragtime and The Lion King if Jerry Zaks has any say in the matter. He's working on The Capeman; feverishly fixing the Paul Simon musical. Already, there are many changes in act one and presumbably, he'll work on act two this week. Fans have mixed emotions about this show. It seems the consensus is that Paul Simon doesn't understand the intricasies of writing a musical and even out of his own mouth on the Letterman show, it was apparent that he was in over his head. Still, fans are now finally speaking up and the music is said to be fantastic. Can Zaks pull it off by the 29th? Stay tuned.

Another thing on Ragtime, guess who was on the aisle at the Sunday matinee after partying in the V.I.P. suites? Christina D'Angelo, that's who. You can read all about it on Thursday in Christina's World, right here on Talkin' Broadway. Aside from the show, I want to know how the Mimosas were?

Tidbits: Melinda Hesbacher was photographed with Alice Ripley backstage at the closing of Side Show by an InTheater photographer. It's in the latest issue in the "On The Town" page. Melinda was one of the volunteers who tried to save Side Show. Producers held a meeting on Monday to come up with a new strategy and to raise a million bucks to re-open the show. No word on that yet. Still, High Society, which was to open at the Richard Rogers, has been moved to another theater thereby leaving the Side Show sets in place just in case the miracle occurs. A cast member informed me that "it looks promising." I suppose, and you have to wonder about this, that if it moves it would have to be nominated in the Best Revival category at the Tony Awards, but if the production stays put, then it goes into Best Musical, right? ;)

The Phantom of the Opera celebrates its 10th Anniversary production on Monday, Jan. 26th. Fans are flying in from all over the world to attend. Select seats were sold to fans and more may open up, so we'll keep you posted on that. The performance is at 7 P.M., and many fans are arranging to meet earlier for dinner over at Barrymores on 45th. See you there!

Other related Phantom news is that Frank D'Ambrosio will head an evening of discussion at the New Conservatory Theater Center in San Francisco on January 19th at 7 P.M. It's a benefit and will cost you $25.00, $15.00 for students. Frank will talk about his experience playing the Phantom. He'll talk about the theater, including auditioning and then take questions from the audience.

The obligatory West End play will arrive on February 12th at the Royale Theater. The hit London play, Art will star Alan Alda, Alfred Molina and Victor Garber. Written by Yasmina Reza and directed by Matthew Warchus. It's a about a white canvas. Hell, I coulda painted that...with a roller, too!

Lord of the Dance will play Radio City minus superstar Michael Flatley as he had some recent heart problems. The Irish folk dance show plays from March 13-15.

Encores! musicals in concerts at City Center will be doing Strike Up The Band on Feb. 12-15, followed by Lil Abner from March 26-29 and then conclude the season with St. Louis Woman on April 30-May 3. Looks like the $55.00 tix are sold out, but the $25-37.00 range are still available.

Roundabout is advertising the revival of the much anticipated Cabaret. You can call for tix (212-719-1300) and not pay a service charge if you do so before Feb. 12th. Previews begin on the 13th. Did I mention the theater? It's going to have its run at the "Kit Kat Klub" on 43rd Street.

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