Passing Stages: October, 1995

Passing Stages: October, 1995 SONDHEIM IN REVIEW: Now a year-and-a-half old, the publication called The Sondheim Review has 2,000 subscribers, with readers in 47 states and 24 countries (the latest is Gabon). An additional 2,000 are sold in book and record stores.

SONDHEIM IN REVIEW: Now a year-and-a-half old, the publication called The Sondheim Review has 2,000 subscribers, with readers in 47 states and 24 countries (the latest is Gabon). An additional 2,000 are sold in book and record stores.

Says Editor Paul Salsini: "[Stephen] invariably sends us congratulatory notes--and if we get something wrong, we hear about it."

The fall issue contains a large spread on the Roundabout Theatre's current revival of "Company" as well as the original 1970 production. Future Sondheim works to be covered are the Broadway revival of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" next spring; his murder mystery with George Furth at the Old Globe in San Diego this fall; songs in the movie "Birds of a Feather"; and his big new musical at the Kennedy Center in Washington in the fall of 1996.

The address of The Sondheim Review is P.O. Box 11213, Chicago, IL 60611-0213.

ANCIENT MUSICAL HISTORY: A fascinating new book, "A Song in the Dark" by Richard Barrios (Oxford University Press), offers an in-depth study of early movie musicals, when sound (Vitaphone) first hit the silver screen. Of interest to theatregoers is the vast number of Broadway musicals that were bought by Hollywood and converted into "All Talking/All Singing/All Dancing" movie musicals. Such Broadway hits as "Whoopee," "Rio Rita," "Girl Crazy," "Follow Thru," "Flying High," "The Vagabond King," "The Desert Song"--to name only a few--were adapted for the screen, some in vivid color.

The 1930 screen version of "Whoopee" not only retained much of its Broadway cast and creative staff, but its famed producer Florenz Ziegfeld, who co-produced the movie with Hollywood's Sam Goldwyn. Viewed today, it is a nostalgic reminder of what Broadway musicals looked like in the 1920's and 1930's, with Busby Berkeley's dances rendered in stage rather than screen fashion. Barrios's book reflects yesteryear's movie musicals with true critical acumen.

HEIDI ENCORE: If you missed Wendy Wasserstein's "The Heidi Chronicles" during its long Broadway run, you will be able to enjoy it on Turner Network Television (TNT) on Sunday, October 15 at 8 PM (ET). Winner of every major theatre award in 1988 (Tony Award, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Dramatists Guild Award and the Pulitzer Prize), the celebrated comedy/drama presents a compelling look at why and how women have struggled for success in a male-dominated society.

In the made-for-TV film, Jamie Lee Curtis plays Heidi Holland, Tom Hulce and Kim Cattrall play her best friends, and Peter Friedman re-creates his Broadway role as Scoop, Heidi's off-and-on lover. Paul Bogart directed the film for Brandman Productions.

BY ANY OTHER NAME: Several theatre books containing a biographical sketch of Katharine Hepburn list as her first Broadway play, "Night Hostess" at the Martin Beck Theatre (1928) in which she appeared under the name of Katherine Burns. I once asked Ms. Hepburn about this, and she scoffed at the data. "Why would I appear under the name of Katherine Burns," she asked. "My first Broadway play was "These Days" at the Cort Theatre in 1928. Anyway, I would never spell Katharine with an `e.' "