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Hasta la Vista, Capeman


The Capeman will take its final bows on March 28th at the Marquis Theater. Already, wags are stating that it's the biggest flop ever on Broadway. Dollarwise, I suppose it is, but I don't think it's the biggest artistic flop in Broadway history. The failure of the musical is just one of those eleven million dollar things.

To reign as the ultimate flop requires a certain set of guidelines that must be followed. Rule number one is that you must have an impossible book and Capeman certainly has that. Then, you must have a creative staff that is never allowed to be on the same page, because if allowed to do so, you may have a hit. Rule three is very important. You must get scathing reviews from the press, especially the New York Times. So far, so good. However, The Capeman broke rule number four and Paul Simon is to be blamed for the show not going down in history as the biggest turkey to hit Broadway.

Rule four is that you cannot have a cast recording of the show. And because Mr. Simon's score has some pretty decent material, unlike the book, the original cast recording will be released by Dreamworks in April.

Actually, there were some pretty good things about The Capeman in addition to the score, most notably the performances by Reuben Blades, Marc Antony and Ednita Nazario. While I don't think we'll see Blades on the stage anytime soon, both Marc and Ednita found the entire experience to be worthwhile and they enjoyed it immensely. Hopefully, they'll be back someday. Marc has a film offer when the show closes so all's well that ends well.

Rick Lyman, in the New York Times, quotes Rocco Landesman, president of Jujamcyn Theaters as stating, "...I think there is a feeling about Paul Simon that it couldn't happen to a nicer guy." He's talking about the feelings of the theater community. There has also been talk of Simon's arrogance, but in addition to that, The Capeman brought out a lot of anger in people. First, of course, were the protesters who were against the show from its inception. They represented the victims of murderer Salvador Agron. Even some staff members of the Marquis hated the show and couldn't wait for it to close. One of them, a long time resident of Hell's Kitchen, gave me a full litany of expletives on the night I saw the show. He also told me that one creative team member, chomping on a cigar, stormed out of the theater during previews and was quoted as saying, "...they just won't listen."

Still, the show had a smattering of followers and fans, most notably in the Latino community. Night after night fans gather at the stage door for autographs and many have seen the show several times. One fan presented Marc Antony with a "Ken" doll dressed as the Capeman will full black cape and red lining. Marc said he would treasure it as a memento from the show. He's a heck of a nice guy and he does pose for pictures with the fans as well as autographs Playbills or whatever is handed to him.

Once the Capeman set is struck, Forever Tango will move from the small Walter Kerr Theater into the huge Marquis. The Kerr will be the new home to the anticipated London import, The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Tidbits: Any travel bugs out there? If so, Playbill is hosting a London theater trip in June. A friend of mine went last year and loved it. You'll get to see four West End hits in great seats, some meals and a great hotel location near Covent Garden. In addition there will be tours and also discussions of each show with managing editor, Robert Viagas. If they're seeing Whistle Down The Wind I just may call Janice Marie Johnson at 1-888-Playbill for details.

Wait Until Dark has good word of mouth in Boston. It previews at the Brooks Atkinson on Mar. 27... Sixteen weeks only, better get your tickets now... Brian Stokes Mitchell graces the full page color ad in today's New York Times Ragtime advertisement... it's almost framable... June Moon at the Variety Arts theater closes on March 15 despite favorable reviews. Go figure... Toni Tenille will be genderbending in September when she stars in the touring company of Victor/Victoria.

Get ready for some laughs as another London hit import comes to the Golden Theater for a limited run of 84 performances. Ionesco's The Chairs previews March 23rd...Lord of the Dance will be at Radio City for five days from March 13 through 17. What a nice way to spend St. Patrick's Day... Tommy Femia got great reviews for his Judy Garland tribute musical called I Will Come Back. It's down at the Players Theater... Speaking of legends, Tovah Feldshuh opens in previews tomorrow in the new musical, Tallulah's Party at the Kaufman on 42nd Street.

Sound of Music opens on Thursday. Preview audiences have nothing but praise... Craig Schulman returns to Les Miserables in the role of Jean Valjean. His performance, alone, is worth the price of a ticket.

Take my advice and go see The Capeman otherwise you won't be able to take part in discussions for years to come. You have until March 28th before you can say hasta la vista Capeman! Maybe we'll see you on the road!

And long live Carrie!... long may she reign!


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