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Not Since Capeman

I'm jetlagged. I'm sittin' in the kitchen carvin' up the chicken with my Diana Ross concert knife (you would have had to have been in Central Park years ago to understand that) when it hits me. Rialto! Yikes. I've been doing these columns for over a year, but when I travel I get a bit disoriented.

The reviews on The Capeman have been scathing. It hasn't been this much fun since 1982 when Carrie opened. Howard Kissel, in the Daily News, apologized for his review of Chess when he saw the disgusting Carrie. Well, The Capeman makes Carrie look like My Fair Lady.

Y'know, you go to the theater and there is nothing like opening night, you've heard all the hype and you expect filet mignon. The lights dim, the orchestra starts and then all of a sudden, you're looking at a stage and you have a sudden urge to throw up. Eleven million dollars worth of vomit, I might add.

The Daily News headlined, "Simon's 'Capeman': Rhythym of the Ain'ts". God bless ya Fintan O'Toole. You must have been reading back columns of Howard Kissel, but keep it up, it's the kind of stuff we love when we are served turkey. Linda Winer's review in Newsday said, 'Capeman' had a Stong Beat." Yeah, right Linda, but we've heard it in Graceland and it was enjoyable then. Clive Barnes in the New York Post says, "Winning score can't save a losing script." Clive, go have dinner with Linda.

The best review, though, was from the New York Times from our old buddy, Ben Brantley. You know, the guy no one can figure out, the guy who loved Side Show but nailed Ragtime. His headline, "The Lure of Gang Violence To a Latin Beat." And then he tears it to shreds. My gosh, I thought he borrowed my concert knife, but you know what, Brantley was right on in this case.

Never have I witnessed such nonsense on a Broadway stage and don't tell me about the score. It's repetitive and makes no sense. Listen to "Graceland" or "Rhythym of the Saints" before plopping down $75.00 for this drek if you're a Simon fan.

However, being a guy who never met a musical he didn't like, well, I did like one piece of scenery and also the performance by that Marc Anthony guy. The others, well, go back to Rock n Roll or wherever you came from. Simon, reportedly, has said he wrote the musical for himself and doesn't care what the theater community thinks. Wonder if he stated that at the backers auditions or when 2 million more was needed toward the end? Will the show last? No way. Will the backers see their money, perhaps, in CD sales? Don't think so. The music is almost as bad as the book.

Tidbits: "In here life is beautiful" proclaims the ads for Cabaret which opens at the Kit Kat Klub in previews on February 13. It's a daring revival because of the setting. Many think director, Sam Mendes, is stretching it a bit with the "real" cabaret setting. I don't think so. I think it's about time.

Judy Garland fans....she's b-a-a-c-k! Well, not quite, but if you are a Judy fan, then you can catch Tommy Femia as Judy in I Will Come Back where you will hear "Smile", "The Trolley Song" and all the songs from the trunk. It's down on MacDougal Street in the Village at the Players Theater starting Tuesday, Feb. 10th. "....and the people called it Dragtime."

The Wizard of Oz is back again this year. What is this? An annual event? It's at Madison Square Garden and I would yawn at the whole idea except it has Mickey Rooney and the wonderful Eartha Kitt. May 1 to 31. P-u-r-r-r-r-r!

We have two new features for you in addition to a new Sound Advice column for you CD listeners. The new features are Broadway Bound by Michael Reynolds and Broadway 101 by Robert Rusie which I think you'll enjoy. One covers the future of Broadway and the other covers the past. Both will be continuous columns over the next year.

A very special thanks to Craig, the owner of Barrymores on W. 45th Street for hosting the Talkin' Broadway/Phantom party this past Monday. To Craig and his staff, a heartfelt thanks. We had a ball. Perhaps, at Tony Time, we can do it again!

See you Thursday!

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