Drama Desk Nominees Feted; Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton Reunite; Fonda and Channing Among Presenters for May 17 Awards to be Hosted by Harvey Fierstein by Ellis Nassour
Timing is everything in theater. And at Friday’s cocktail reception for the 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards nominees the timing couldn’t be better for 9 to 5: the movie co-stars Dolly Parton, in a luminous black and white outfit and making her Broadway debut as composer of 9 to 5: the musical; and Jane Fonda, back on Broadway after a longgggggg absence in 33 Variations, carrying her precious dog Tulia.
The eternally youthful multi-talented singer, dancer, cabaret entertainer has left us. Renowned as the self proclaimed "sex kitten" in a career that spanned five decades, the actress was active as recently as last September where she performed at Cafe Carlyle. Her accomplishments cover every facet of the entertainment industry, but she may be best know to millions as the Cat Woman of the long running "Batman" television series. Orson Wells called her "the most exciting woman in the world." And the world will be a little less exciting now that she’s gone.
The Noble prize winning British playwright Harold Pinter, acclaimed for his dark menacing stories of bleak lives, passed away at 78 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 2005 and his acceptance speech at the time was most profound. Just this past season, Pinter was represented on Broadway with a star studded revival of his classic The Homecoming.
"Quiet please, there’s a lady on stage. She may not be the latest rage, But she’s singing and she means it; And she deserves a little silence…"
[Carole Bayer-Sager/Peter Allen]
Well, she didn’t get it!
The audience response was near pandemonium. After Liza with a Z took six bows, including ones with her pianist Billy Stritch, music director Michael Berkowitz and the 12-piece orchestra, she reluctantly left the stage, completely drained and wet from perspiration, wrapped in Stritch’s arms.
THEATERLIFE.COM has discovered a delightful new book for which we hope to help find a publisher. Written by Tom McMorrow, a former theater critic of the Daily News, past president of The Drama Desk and editor of the Drama Desk News for all lovers of elegant language, Words of Wit and Wisdom has been hailed by educators (see below), who have called it “monumental” and compared it to Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary.
by Ellis Nassour Barbara Cook caricatures by SAM NORKIN
The New York Philharmonic will host a belated celebration of and with Barbara Cook to mark her 80th birthday, which was October 25. Miss Cook will reminisce about her storied career and sing from her lengthy repertory of songs by Bernstein and Comden and Green, Lerner and Loewe, Arlen and Mercer, Gershwin and Caesar, Hammerstein and Romberg and, among others, a friend named Stephen. The concerts are Monday and Tuesday, November 19 and 20, Mo at 7:30 at Avery Fisher Hall. An additional concert is also set for Tuesday, January 8. 2008
KLEINFELD generously sponsored an Afternoon ofElegance, a glamorous Fashion Show with a dash of bold modern style, at their magnificent 35,000 square foot showroom to benefit the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. One hundred seventy five guests attended a private Champagne Reception and Fashion Show at Kleinfeld’s extraordinary fashion emporium, which runs the length of an entire city block on West 20th Street in the heart of Chelsea.
Drag legend extraordinaire Charles Busch is making a return engagement to the Bay Street Theater MainStage in a revival of his much acclaimed satire The Lady in Question, which begins previews on August 14 and will run through September 2. Mr. Busch was last seen here during the summer of 2004 in a revival of Auntie Mame on the MainStage, when he played another legend Mame Dennis, made famous by yet another legend, the film and theater star Rosalind Russell. Christopher Ashley, who helmed the current Broadway hit Xanadu, will direct Lady. He also directed the outstanding Broadway productions of All Shook Up and the revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show earning a Tony nomination in the process.
Turandot: The Rumble for the Ring By Gordin & Christiano
Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner, the creators of a new rock opera, Turandot: The Rumble for the Ring, which will be making its World Premiere at Bay Street from July 10 – August 5, are a dynamic duo that just happen to be married to each other. I met with them a couple of weeks ago at a rehearsal studio on the 5th floor of Playwright’s Horizons on West 42nd Street in New York City, where Diane was hard at work putting the cast through their paces in preparation for this week’s opening. Their hip new musical is based on a classic fairytale "Turnadot," not the Puccini opera, although, their account bears many similarities. Their Turandot, however, is set in the violent World of Professional Wrestling, but the press release declares the show is "jam-packed with some of the greatest arias from other operas…only this time they are set to a rock beat." After watching a portion of a rehearsal and chatting with the stimulating couple, I am convinced this clever theatrical event may be one of the most unique happenings on the East End this summer.
Orfeh and Andy Karl Score As Paulette and Kyle in Legally Blonde by Ellis Nassour
“Tweenboppers” rejoice: Legally Blonde has arrived on Broadway! Shop, shop, shop to your heart’s content in the show boutique.
There’s good news onstage, too. Laura Bell Bundy, Christian Borle, Orfeh, Andy Karl and all the Legally Blonde gang will be around a while in the show that got almost across-the-boards positive reviews. It’s been exciting audiences for weeks now, and has just been Drama Desk-nominated for Outstanding Musical. One might expect a few nods come Tony Award nomination time.
With the death of Frank Ebb in 2004, Curtains marks probably the last original collaboration by Kander & Ebb, Broadway’s longest-running songwriting team. The duo gave us Cabaret, Zorba, Chicago, The Rink, Steel Pier and Kiss of the Spider Woman, not to mention The Act, Flora, the Red Menace, The Happy Time, 70 Girls 70, and Woman of the Year. And, the song “New York, New York.”Curtains has been developed by Mystery of Edwin Drood Tony winner Rupert Holmes from an original concept by the late Peter Stone, who won Tonys for his librettos for Titanic, Woman of the Year and 1776. Composer Kander has done additional lyrics with Holmes.
(Curtains is in previews at the Hirshfeld Theatre, Opening Night is March 22)