PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 25-31: Summer Slowdown

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 25-31: Summer Slowdown The theatre doesn't shut down in the summer the way it used to once upon a time, but there's no stopping show folk from taking a week or two before and after Labor Day. So, right now, the tourists own Shubert Alley, and the pigeons reign in Duffy Square.
Kate Mulgrew stars in Iphigenia 2.0.
Kate Mulgrew stars in Iphigenia 2.0. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Pigeons and tourist don't make any decisions theatre-wise, however, so not much was happening this week, making the job of a columnist rather difficult. Perhaps the most significant event of the week was the opening of the willfully audacious playwright Charles L. Mee's season at the Signature Theatre Company. Iphigenia 2.0 was the initial offering (a very Mee title), opening Aug. 26. Tina Landau directed, and the cast featured Kate Mulgrew as Clytemnestra (very apt casting, that).

The reviews were mixed, but even the bad ones were kinda enthusiastic, so the production extended until Oct. 7.

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P.S. 122 announced its 2007-08 line-up of productions this week, and, as has been the case since globally minded Aussie Vallejo Ganter took over as a.d. a few years back, explaining the nature of those productions furnishes theatre journalists with a particular challenge. (And, Lord knows, we need something to challenge us these days.)

Among the attractions: 500 Clown Frankenstein, which uses circus arts, improv and "action-based performance" to deconstruct Frankenstein's library; and (3-D) Dinosaur Death Dance, a "new rock-opera multimedia theatre experience." (Calling something a "play" just won't do in the East Village.) Things get underway Sept. 26 with MedEia, which utilizes American and British pop tunes and the Medea story to create — oh, skip it.

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Staying Downtown, the 10th annual New York International Fringe Festival held an awards ceremony Aug. 26 honoring the best of the nearly 200 productions participating in this year's fest.

Among the winners: Outstanding Play went to I Dig Doug, Lights Rise on Grace and Catch The Fish; Outstanding Musical was awarded to Bash'd: A Gay Rap Opera, Bukowsical! and Piaf: Love Conquers All; and Outstanding Playwriting went to Mac Rogers for Hail Satan, Corey Patrick for Bombs in Your Mouth and Sara Jeanne Asselin for The Rise and Fall of Miles and Milo.

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Pop songsters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling") have been working on their musical version of the film Mask for what seems like forever. But this spring, it will finally see the light of day. Originally scheduled to make its debut at the Arizona Theatre Company, it has traded up to a world premiere at The Pasadena Playhouse, March 7-April 13, 2008.

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Finally, the 2007 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Spring Awakening, recouped its initial $6 million capitalization. That Frank Wedekind! He's just money in the bank.

Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff in <i>Spring Awakening</i>.
Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff in Spring Awakening. Photo by Joan Marcus
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