ON THE AISLE by Harry Haun -- Freak and Art

News   ON THE AISLE by Harry Haun -- Freak and Art
 
You know what's great about this play?" -- Parker Posey posed that question the night John Leguizamo opened his one-man Freak show at Broadway's Cort Theatre -- "It's about letting this actor talk about his life. He's going to reach a lot of people. A lot of Latin American kids are seeing this show, and I think it's important to cater to the younger generation." True to those words, Leguizamo's so-billed "semi-demi-quasi-pseudo autobiography" is pulling in crowds that usually eschew Broadway -- young, Latin and in such abundance the gig has gone into extra innings.

You know what's great about this play?" -- Parker Posey posed that question the night John Leguizamo opened his one-man Freak show at Broadway's Cort Theatre -- "It's about letting this actor talk about his life. He's going to reach a lot of people. A lot of Latin American kids are seeing this show, and I think it's important to cater to the younger generation." True to those words, Leguizamo's so-billed "semi-demi-quasi-pseudo autobiography" is pulling in crowds that usually eschew Broadway -- young, Latin and in such abundance the gig has gone into extra innings. That writing was on the walls of Carbon, the midtown disco, which was packed with a decidedly different breed of first-nighter: Janeane Garofalo, Rupert Everett, original Rent cast members Daphne Rubin-Vega and Adam Pascal, Rosie Perez, Sam Rockwell, Linda Fiorentino,Frank Whaley (who's directing Pleasantview Avenue for Leguizamo's production company), Lorraine Bracco, Jeffrey Wright,Illeana Douglas, Cindy Crawford and, missing the play but making the party (because of a late-night shoot), Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, an old friend dating back to Wynn Handman's acting class.

It's conceivable the entire casts of two shows could comprise this year's Tony category for Best Actor: Freak, in which Leguizamo juggles 30 or 40 characters all by himself, and Art, where Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina play three-handed verbal ping-pong with a ferocious vengeance. A more staid Establishment-type crowd -- Ben Gazzara, Glenn Close, Kathy Bates, et al. -- attended its opening-night party at Sotheby's, where the walls were full of paintings with something on them (unlike the play where a simple canvas painted white triggers the dazzling histrionics).

Upstaging the cast in the roar-of-the-crowd department was the play's co-producer, a former chorus boy from the original London company of South Pacific named Sean Connery. It's his Broadway debut and, he says resolutely, the only he'll ever make. But he will act in the movie of Art once the play has run its course. What role? "I have no idea."

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