PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 29-June 4: Scoundrels, Mametian and Otherwise

News   PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, May 29-June 4: Scoundrels, Mametian and Otherwise
 
David Mamet don't need no stinkin' Signature Theatre Company. The New York theatre is his de facto Signature Theatre Company.

During the 2004-05 season—while the respected Signature does its thing by devoting its stage to the works of one playwright, in this case Paula Vogel—the Atlantic Theatre Company and possibly three Broadway houses will give Mamet his own patchwork retrospective. Already known were the Araca Group's plans to bring Speed-the-Plow back to Broadway, possibly with Matthew Warchus directing. Also, a new Broadway Glengarry Glen Ross for spring 2005, with Joe Mantello directing, was announced back in February.

But then the Atlantic filled a slot in its season with a new Mamet, Romance. And now, the classic that put Mamet in the map, American Buffalo, is coming back yet again, with Laurence Fishburne in the role of Teach and Daniel Sullivan at the helm.

The latter will be brought in by producer Robert Cole, who has plenty time to think about next season since he's got nothing going on Broadway this season (though he is general manager of A Raisin in the Sun). Buffalo will begin on Broadway in March, meaning it will be going head to head with Glengarry, which must amuse Cole as much as it irritates him. Cole was the man behind the projected Glengarry revival of two years back. And Sullivan was his director. But the plan fell apart when stars Danny DeVito and Ben Stiller pulled out. Soon thereafter, Jeffrey Richards picked up the property, and Cole, obviously Mamet-mad, turned to a different play by the author and a different star. Luckily, there's obviously enough Mamet to go around. But is there enough of a Mamet audience?

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Marty Bell is another producer with next season on his mind. This week, it was announced the title roles of the new Broadway-bound musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, will be played by John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz. Michael Caine and Steve Martin played the parts in the original film. Also expected in the company of the film-inspired show are Sara Gettelfinger, Joanna Gleason and Sherie Rene Scott. Gleason and Scott will play the women who are the targets of con-men Lithgow and Butz. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will have its world premiere at the Old Globe in San Diego starting Sept. 15. The show is the first from composer-lyricist David Yazbek since The Full Monty and expectations are high. He reunites with his Monty partners, director Jack O'Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. A Broadway opening in early 2005 is expected. (Just when those Mamets are all showing up. Come to think of it, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels sounds like a musical version of any of those plays.)

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Sin: A Cardinal Deposed, Michael Murphy's docudrama, based on public records surrounding the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, which was a hit in Chicago, will be presented by The New Group Off-Broadway in 2004-05. The show came from Bailiwick Repertory and may become the longstanding company's biggest success. It will soon travel to Boston, the hometown of its main character, Cardinal Bernard Law, June 9-27.

The play is a collage of testimonies of, by and surrounding Cardinal Bernard F. Law — the Catholic leader who career was buried under an avalanche of questions and accusations about his governance during years of sexual abuse by priests operating under his purview. It should prove another hit for the New Group, which is on a winning streak.

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