Mar. 16th, 2009

The Medium as the Messenger

There is no choreographer listed among the credits for the genial but bumpy new revival of Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” which opened Sunday night at the Shubert Theater. Yet for pure originality and expressiveness, it’s hard to imagine any Broadway chorus line topping the solo dances performed here by an 83-year-old woman with a superfluity of bad jewelry, the gait of a gazelle and a repertory of poses that bring to mind Egyptian hieroglyphs.

That’s Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcati, a very self-serious medium on the prowl for vibrations from the spirit world. And when Madame Arcati feels vibrations, she vibrates — sometimes like a tuning fork, sometimes like wind chimes in a monsoon. As for those little neo-Nijinsky dances, they are Madame Arcati’s method for making herself receptive for the arrival of errant ectoplasms. Were I a ghost, I would definitely make a point of revisiting the dreary world whenever this rare medium dances.

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March 15, 2009
Same City, New Story

WHEN Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins and Arthur Laurents created “West Side Story” in the mid-’50s, they lived within walking distance of the concrete alleys and playgrounds that were the backdrop for their updated version of “Romeo and Juliet,” the crowded tenements where new Puerto Rican immigrants rubbed up against the Irish, Poles and Italians who had preceded them.

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Espinosa Will Sing Mitchell, Sondheim and Schwartz at Joe's Pub; Thompson Is Special Guest

By Andrew Gans
March 16, 2009

As previously announced, Eden Espinosa, whose Broadway credits include Rent, Brooklyn and Wicked, will perform in concert at Joe's Pub March 22-24.

Espinosa's special guest for her concerts — entitled Eden Espinosa — Me — will be Katie Thompson, the singer-songwriter who will be seen in the new Michael John LaChiusa musical Giant this spring at the Signature Theatre in Virginia.

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Butz, Tveit, Wopat, Butler, Hart, deBenedet to Star in Catch Me If You Can Premiere

By Andrew Gans
March 12, 2009

Complete casting has been announced for the new Scott Wittman-Marc Shaiman-Terrence McNally musical Catch Me If You Can, which will make its world premiere this summer at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.

Directed by Jack O'Brien with choreography by Jerry Mitchell, the new musical based on the DreamWorks film of the same name and the autobiography by Frank Abagnale Jr. and Stan Redding will play the Seattle venue July 23-Aug. 16.

The cast will be headed by Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz as FBI Fraud Agent Carl Hanratty, Aaron Tveit as Frank, Tom Wopat as Frank Sr., Kerry Butler as Brenda, Linda Hart as Carol, Rachel deBenedet as Paula and Nick Wyman as Roger.

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