PLAYBILL.COM’S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 19-25: Ebb Tide

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM’S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 19-25: Ebb Tide
 
First Curtains , then All About Us , now The Visit . No doubt, the late Freb Ebb—who was blessed with an exceptionally mordant sense of humor (see Chicago)—would have something delicious to say about the upswing his career has taken since he died on Sept. 11, 2004.
Jill Paice and David Hyde Pierce in Curtains.
Jill Paice and David Hyde Pierce in Curtains. Photo by Craig Schwartz

Very likely, we will see the smash hit Los Angeles production of Curtains on Broadway this season, making it Ebb and longtime songwriting partner John Kander's first new Broadway musical since Steel Pier in 1997. And producers will probably be watching the Westport Country Playhouse mounting of All About Us (Kander and Ebb's take on Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth ), and the newly announced staging of The Visit at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, to see if they are deemed New-York-ready by critics.

The esteem in which Kander and Ebb are still held is shown in the A-level stars these projects are attracting. Curtains is headlined by David Hyde-Pierce, the "Frasier" veteran who knows his way around a stage. Hyde-Pierce pulled down a shower of praise for his turn as a musical-mad detective investigating the murder of a leading lady in a Boston tryout. Without question, producers will assure he remains in the cast when it heads east.

All About Us , meanwhile will cause stage legend Eartha Kitt to take MetroNorth to Westport, according to reports. And none other than Chita Rivera will star in The Visit . Rivera played the central role of vengeful millionaire Claire Zachanassian in the Goodman Theatre world premiere in 2001, and has remained faithful to the project. Frank Galati, who directed that debut, will again pilot the show.

***

Of course, Curtains has to find a Broadway theatre first. There aren't many to choose from right now. High Fidelity seized the Imperial, home to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels until Sept. 3. The Lyceum will become free the same day — The Lieutenant of Inishmore announced this week it would close — but it rarely houses musicals. Still, it's early in the season. Wait and see. ***

Reviews for Mother Courage covered more ground than the Thirty Years War. Some, like the New York Sun, were negative. Others, like Variety, were positive. Many more, including the New York Times, were mixed, but choosing different things to praise and condemn. The same went for star Meryl Streep, though a majority said she carried the production the way (as one critic put it) Mother Courage pulls her cart behind her.

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