Bea Arthur Is Now Open-Ended Run; Paper Doll Not Booth-Bound

News   Bea Arthur Is Now Open-Ended Run; Paper Doll Not Booth-Bound Can you ever trust it when they say "limited run"?

Can you ever trust it when they say "limited run"?

Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends, first announced as a limited engagement Jan. 29-March 10, is such a hit at the Booth Theatre, it has blossomed into an open-ended run there.

The producers announced Feb. 28 that the 78-year-old, 5-foot-9-inch actress known for playing "those assertive women" (as she puts it) on TV will continuing at the Booth indefinitely. The decision by the producers of I'm Not Rappaport to delay its Broadway opening (slated for the Booth) helped make way for the Arthur extension.

This puts the kibosh on any speculation that the new Marlo Thomas vehicle, Paper Doll, will open at the Booth before the Tony Award eligibility period ends in early May.

* Just Between Friends, in which Arthur reminisces, tells jokes and sings a clutch of specialty songs (with Billy Goldenberg at the piano), was originally slated for Jan. 29 March 10, but she was extended to March 24 when the public embraced her show. The week of Feb. 18-24 the intimate Booth was at 80.6 percent of capacity.

The opening night party was held Jan. 29, and a press opening was held Feb. 17. The show was always considered a strictly limited run. Golden-girl Arthur is a vet of "Maude," "The Golden Girls" and Broadway's Mame.

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A cast album of the Arthur revue (recorded on the road last year when it had another title) was released Feb. 12 on the DRG Records label.

Daryl Roth, USA Ostar Theatricals and Bev Bartner are producing Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends (formerly titled ...And Then There's Bea, With Her Friend Billy Goldenberg at the Piano), which opened at Minneapolis, MN's Guthrie Theatre April 24-29, 2001. The show charts Arthur's theatre and TV career through songs and anecdotes.

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Those looking for an alternate take of "The Man in the Moon Is a Lady," from Mame, are in luck.

Record producer Hugh Fordin snagged the cast album deal for Arthur's solo show, And Then There's Bea, last fall and recorded it live Dec. 12-13, 2001, while it was on its national tour under that title. Billy Goldenberg is at the piano on the disc and on Broadway, where the salty-funny Arthur pretends to bark orders at him in service of her evening of tunes and career stories.

The album was recorded at the Royal Poinciana in West Palm Beach, FL.

Arthur is widely known for TV's "Maude" and "The Golden Girls," and won a Tony Award as Vera Charles in Broadway's Mame and as the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof (her part was substantially cut on the road, and Arthur has choice words for late director Jerome Robbins in her show). She also appeared in the famed Theatre de Lys staging of The Threepenny Opera Off-Broadway in 1954.

Arthur's last Broadway show was Woody Allen's The Floating Lightbulb.

Composer Goldenberg is best known for his film work ("The Last of Sheila," "Play It Again, Sam") but he also wrote the music for The Queen of the Stardust Ballroom (also known as Ballroom) and An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May, and served as dance music arranger for such musicals as Greenwillow and High Spirits.

Mark Waldrop directs.

The cast album includes the musical numbers "Fun to Be Fooled," "What Can You Get a Nudist for Her Birthday?," "Isn't He Adorable," "Let's Face The Music And Dance," "Bosom Buddies," "Pirate Jenny," "It Never Was You," "And Then There's Maude," "Some People," "Where Do You Start?," "If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' On It!," "Who Cares," "Fifty Percent," "You're Gonna Hear From Me," "The Chance to Sing," "The Man in the Moon Is a Lady."

For tickets ($50-$65) and information on Bea Arthur On Broadway call (212) 239-6200.