YOU CAN'T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE BUS STOP: Circle In The Square did a sharp U-turn, switching its schedule to avoid The Petrified Forest, giving us Bus Stop instead. The reason was economic. Robert E. Sherwood's Forest is populated with 20-plus actors; William Inge's Bus Stop requires only a cast of eight. Circle's artistic director, Josephine Abady, is sitting in the director's seat this time out, and she has rounded up an excellent cast, headed by the girl from Prelude to a Kiss (Mary Louise Parker) and the guy from Arcadia (Billy Crudup). In support: Ron Perlman of A Few Good Men and TV's "Beauty and the Beast," Kevin O'Rourke of Radical Mystique, Larry Pine of The Preservation Society and a Tony winner from A Chorus Line: Kelly Bishop. Good goin', Josie! Let 'er rip! MORE CASTING, NICELY NICELY DONE: City Center's third season of Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert is off and dazzling the touch of another in-the-biz artistic director, Walter Bobbie, who belted across "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" in the last Guys and Dolls revival. Bobbie expended a couple of Tony winners Robert (Tru) Morse and Faith (G and D) Prince on roles originated by Bert Lahr and Ethel Merman in 1939's Du Barry Was a Lady. There was even one in the supporting ranks (Scott Waara from The Most Happy Fella), plus all manner of Tony nominees: (Bruce Adler from Crazy for You, Dick Latessa from The Will Rogers Follies and Burke Moses from Beauty and the Beast) as well as Damn Yankees' Liz Larsen and Smile's Ruth Williamson. Stars'll be arm wrestling to get into Encores! encores of One Touch of Venus and Chicago!
WELCOME BACK, CYPHER: Stints with "Major Dad" and "Hill Street Blues" have given Jon Cypher the rep of a first-class character actor. Now, he's back on Broadway to reclaim his original image: musical-comedy man. He was, in fact, the second person in the world to sing "The Impossible Dream" (being Richard Kiley's understudy in Man of La Mancha), and he replaced Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson in 1776. Then, he went west to do Juan Peron in Evita, and he stayed on out there doing 42nd Street and "Hill Street." A quarter of a century later, he's on Broadway again in a Big way, playing that Maltby-Shire-Weidman show's toy-story mogul who prances through "Fun" and "The Time of Your Life" with Daniel Jenkins on a massive dance-on-piano. If Big, bowing in April at the Shubert Theatre, goes over as well as that particular production number, then Cypher may never go west again!