Major new musicals will be celebrating world premieres left and right during the first two weeks in December -- but not in New York.
* Jane Eyre, the musical adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's novel, opens Dec. 3 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. Starring Anthony Crivello and Maria Schaffel, the musical has a score by Paul Gordon, book and directing by John Caird. It's scheduled to open on Broadway March 16, 1997.
* Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical, Whistle Down the Wind, starts previews Dec. 6 and opens Dec. 12 at the National Theatre in Washington DC. With lyrics by Meat Loaf's Jim Steinman, the show stars Davis Gaines and Irene Molloy. Harold Prince directs. It's scheduled to open on Broadway April 17, 1997.
* Ragtime, the new musical based on the E.L. Doctorow novel, opens Dec. 8 at the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. It has music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book by Terrence McNally. Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell star. The show is scheduled to open on Broadway in December 1997 or January 1998.
-- By Robert Viagas