Broadway Shows Avenue Q, Wicked, Taboo, Caroline, Stars and Writers Featured in Tribeca Film Fest

News   Broadway Shows Avenue Q, Wicked, Taboo, Caroline, Stars and Writers Featured in Tribeca Film Fest Theatre fans may take in a number of stage-related films at the Tribeca Film Festival, starting April 19. Avenue Q, Wicked, Taboo and Caroline, or Change all make appearances as well as stage stars, writers and even a new musical wicked witch.

From Top: Tribeca Film Festival Offerings
From Top: Tribeca Film Festival Offerings "Show Business", "My Sister Eileen", "The Lady In Question Is Charles Busch" and "Asylum" Photo by Dramatic Forces (top)

The fourth annual event presented by co-founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff runs through May 1 in the namesake downtown New York City locale. Nicole Kidman (The Blue Room), Catherine Keener (Burn This) and Sean Penn (Slab Boys) star in the festival opener "The Interpreter," the latest from director Sydney Pollack.

Dori Berinstein and Richard Hankin document the road to Broadway for the musicals Avenue Q, Wicked, Taboo and Caroline, or Change in her film "Show Business" which debuts at the fest. Stage stars Alan Cumming, Rosie O'Donnell, Boy George, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth are featured as well as the casts of the stages shows.

"My Sister Eileen" — the 1955 moviemusical version of Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov's play which served as the basis for the musical Wonderful Town — will play as a special feature. Betty Garrett, Janet Leigh and Jack Lemmon co-star with choreographer Bob Fosse.

Fans of Wicked or The Wiz or simply The Wizard of Oz will be able to enjoy the latest take on the fantastical journey of young Dorothy with "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz." Pop singer Ashanti stars as the heroine with Jim Henson's creations taking on other characters — Kermit the Frog (Scarecrow), Gonzo (the Tin Thing), Fozzie Bear (the Cowardly Lion) and Miss Piggy (Wicked Witch) — with Glengarry Glen Ross star Jeffrey Tambor as the Wizard and appearances from Queen Latifah ("Chicago"), David Alan Grier (...Forum) and Quentin Tarantino (Wait Until Dark).

Broadway's James Barbour (Assassins, Jane Eyre, Carousel), Daphne Rubin Vega (Rent, Anna in the Tropics) and Tovah Feldshuh (Golda's Balcony) star in "Alchemy" about a ploy to win a woman's love with a man-made man. The film penned and directed by Evan Oppenheimer also stars onetime-"Ed" and Urinetown lead Tom Cavanaugh opposite Modern Orthodox actress Sarah Chalke ("Scrubs"), Illeana Douglas (Surviving Grace) and Celeste Holm (Oklahoma!). Rubin-Vega and Feldshuh also appear in the film "Life on the Ledge" alongside Mark Blum (Twelve Angry Men) and Omar Metwally (Sixteen Wounded). Ten Unknowns star Donald Sutherland also makes two appearances in the festival with "Aurora Borealis" and "Fierce People." The former work, a James Burke family drama also stars London's A Life in the Theatre star Joshua Jackson ("Dawson's Creek") with Louise Fletcher ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"), Steven Pasquale, (Fat Pig, A Man of No Importance) and Juliette Lewis ("Natural Born Killers"). Sutherland also appears in the "Fierce People" directed by Griffin Dunne (actor in Marie and Bruce) opposite Diane Lane (The Cherry Orchard, Runaways).

Taboo bookwriter and stage veteran Charles Busch will be extolled in a new documentary "The Lady In Question Is Charles Busch" which follows the drag queen's career from the East Village to Broadway and Hollywood. The John Catania-Charles Ignacio work is filled with "archival footage, interviews, and clips from a-never-before seen short directed by Busch himself," according to show materials.

The creator of the 1971 musical Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death — which saw a revival this year at the Classical Theatre of Harlem — is also the focus of new documentary "How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It)." Spike Lee and the stage and screen hyphenate's son Mario Van Peebles are interviewed in the "unabashed portrait" of Melvin Van Peebles.

Another African-American legend, the late Ossie Davis (Purlie Victorious) stars in the film "Proud" about the only World War II African-American crew to take a Navy warship to battle. Vernel Bagneris (The Life), Erik Laray Harvey (White Chocolate), Janet Hubert-Whitten (Crowns) and Aidan Quinn (The Exonerated) also appear.

Closer playwright Patrick Marber pens "Asylum" from the Patrick McGrath novel about a psychiatrist's wife (current Streetcar star Natasha Richardson) who becomes intrigued by one of her husband's volatile patients. Sir Ian McKellen (Dance of Death) also stars.

Playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and one of his stars Maggie Gyllenhaal (Homebody/Kabul) appear with Edie Falco ('night, Mother), Dick Latessa (Hairspray) and Olympia Dukakis (Rose) in the cast of "The Great New Wonderful" from director Danny Leiner ("Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle") which interweaves five stories in post-9/11 New York City. Also appearing are Rosemarie DeWitt (Danny and the Deep Blue Sea), Anita Gillette (Chapter Two), Judy Greer, Will Arnett, and Stephen Colbert.

Former Six Dance Lessons in Sex Weeks collaborators — director Arthur Allan Seidelman and writer Richard Alfieri — offer a new take on Anton Chekov's The Three Sisters in "The Sisters." Nine star Mary Stuart Masterson plays Olga opposite Maria Bello (Marcia) and Erika Christensen (Irene). Eric McCormack (The Music Man), Tony Goldwyn (Holiday), Alessandro Nivola (A Month in the Country), Rip Torn (The Young Man from Atlanta) and Chris O'Donnell (The Man Who Had All the Luck).

Other films that feature actors who have trod the boards include "Adam & Steve" with Malcolm Gets (Amour) and Parker Posey (Hurlyburly); "Bad Blood" with Alan Cumming (Cabaret), "The Baxter" - Michelle Williams (Killer Joe) and Justin Theroux (Observe the Sons of Ulster...); "The Bittersweet Place" - Michael Esper (Big Bill), Glenn Fitzgerald (Hedda Gabler - NYTW) and J. Smith-Cameron (Tartuffe, Our Country's Good); "Duma" - Campbell Scott (Ah, Wilderness!) and Hope Davis (Spinning Into Butter); "The F Word" - Josh Hamilton (Hurlyburly) and Sam Rockwell (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot); "Five Children and It" - Kenneth Branagh (Edmond), Zoë Wanamaker (Piaf, Loot, Electra) and Eddie Izzard (A Day in the Death of Joe Egg); "Four Lane Highway" - Reg Rogers (Holiday, Proposals), Frederick Weller (Glengarry Glen Ross, Take Me Out), "Ladies in Lavendar" - Breath of Life stars Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench; "Lucky 13" - Jeremy Piven (Fat Pig); "Piccadilly Jim" - Brenda Blethyn ('night, Mother), Allison Janney (A View from the Bridge) and Austin Pendleton (The Diary of Anne Frank); and "Special Thanks to Roy London" - Jeff Goldblum (Pillowman) and Hank Azaria (Spamalot).

For more information (including schedules) on the Tribeca Film Festival, visit the website at www.tribecafilmfestival.org.

Tribeca Film Festival Offering "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"
Tribeca Film Festival Offering "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz"