Collette Expected Back in Bway's Wild Party April 6; Opens April 13

News   Collette Expected Back in Bway's Wild Party April 6; Opens April 13 Toni Collette had an extra night to rest after a week fighting a cold, and did not appear in the April 5 evening performing of Broadway's aborning The Wild Party, at the Virginia Theatre.

Toni Collette had an extra night to rest after a week fighting a cold, and did not appear in the April 5 evening performing of Broadway's aborning The Wild Party, at the Virginia Theatre.

A spokesman for the intermissionless tuner by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe said Collette would appear in the April 6 performance. Nicole Van Giesen, Collette's understudy played blonde chorine Queenie while Collette had the sniffles during the past week. The April 5 matinee was canceled.

Collette, Mandy Patinkin, Eartha Kitt and company begin press performances in the coming days, leading to the official opening April 13.

A statement by the producers cited "cast illnesses and absences" as the reason for the April 5 cancellation, with the extra rehearsal hours seen as important in getting the musical ready for its opening.

Though previews for the musical began March 10, the show has rarely had its three stars on the boards at the same time. Patinkin, known for his thrillingly theatrical vocal extremes, returned to the company March 28 following 13 days of doctor ordered vocal rest. The March 16 performance was canceled due to Patinkin's vocal strain, allowing David Masenheimer time to rehearse the lead role of brutal vaudevillian Burrs, whose throws the Jazz Age party in Manhattan.

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The musical is a theatrical retelling of the Jazz Age verse poem by Joseph Moncure March ("The Wild Party"). It's the second New York musical of this season to be based on a 1928 poem that few heard of before 1999.

Composer-lyricist LaChiusa wrote the libretto with Wolfe (who directs), drawing on the narrative poem by March, who imagined a debauched party populated by playboys, show folk, drinkers, gangsters and hosts Queenie (a sex-driven chorine) and Burrs (her lover and a brutal vaudeville clown).

At Off-Broadway's Manhattan Theatre Club, composer-lyricist librettist Andrew Lippa's version, also called The Wild Party, opened February 24 to mixed reviews but packed houses and strong audience response. It will run through April 9 but not move to Broadway, despite producers who were waiting in the wings to move it. A cast recording of the MTC staging is expected.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not, considering the source material), both shows have an opening number called "Queenie Was a Blonde," which is the opening line of the poem.

Collette was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "The Sixth Sense." Angelina Jolie took the prize March 26.

Tickets are $25-$85. The Virginia is at 245 W. 52nd St. in Manhattan. For information, call (212) 239-6200.