ONSTAGE OFF-BROADWAY -- April
HAIR TODAY: The closest Off-Broadway has come to a landmark musical of the tribal stripe of Hair is another pressing four-letter word: Rent. Its sensational reception at New York Theatre Workshop has dictated a dramatic shift in real estate all the way to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre.In its transplanting of La Boheme in the East Village in the day of AIDS, it addresses a contemporary generation but not to the exclusion of other theatre audiences and therein lies its commercial universality. The critical hosannas the musical received are counterpointed by poignancy, however: Its composer author-creator, 35-year-old Jonathan Larson, died of an aortic aneurysm Jan. 25, hours before the show's first public performance. Frank Rich posted a bittersweet requiem in The New York Times op-ed page: "In the staying power of his songs, he lingers, refusing to let anyone who hears his voice abandon hope."
OPEN A BLUE WINDOW: Manhattan Theatre Club applied some theatrical Spic 'n' Span to Blue Window, Craig Lucas's party play of 1984, in a revival helmed by Joe Mantello. He invited the angel from his Angels in America (Ellen McLaughlin), a pillar from his Love! Valour! Compassion! (John Benjamin Hickey), a Lynne Meadow sound-alike (Allison Janney), J. Cameron Smith and, somewhat fresh from Oblivion Postponed, David Aaron Baker. The opening-night party that followed this party was held at the hotel across the street from City Center, and it was similarly outfitted with young movers-and-shakers, among them Obie winner Ron Rifkin and Tony winner Debra Monk. . . . Director Robert Falls showed up with the defrocked priest from his Night of the Iguana, William Petersen.
BLOCK AND NUDE: Currently twirling in rep at The Public are two self-penned one-woman shows: Maria Gomez's A Line Around the Block, directed by Corey Madden, and Andrea Martin's Nude Nude Totally Nude, directed by Walter Bobbie. Martin and Bobbie crossed paths in another time/another place, in fact in another galaxy when she did the concert-revival reading of Cole Porter's Out of This World last year for his excellent Encores! series at City Center.
AMAZING GRACE: The Amazing Metrano (i.e., Art Metrano) got his act together in his too-short gig at the Union Square Theatre and is taking it on the road, according to his producers, Mitchell and Victoria Maxwell. There were standing ovations every night for this inspiring, sometimes unexpectedly hilarious true-life tale of his own comeback from a crippling fall.-- By Harry Haun