PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 5-11: 2,000-Plus Shows and Counting

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Aug. 5-11: 2,000-Plus Shows and Counting
 
The New York International Fringe Festival, that dirty-faced, noisome, ragamuffin stepchild of the Gotham legitimate theatre, turns 10 years old Aug. 11, and, gee, we all couldn't be more proud. Of course, a decade of life hasn't mellowed the bratty little thing much. It's still running us ragged with too many offerings and trying to get the attention of mommy and daddy by coming up with titles like Breathe... Or You Can Die!, Reservoir Bitches and Harriet Hopperdoodle's Hair-Brained History Test!. Kids do say the darndest things! But who can blame them? You can't expect growing artists to behave themselves once they realize a show called Urinetown can make it all the way to Broadway.

The festival continues until Aug. 27, and will include some encores of past Fringe hits that are not called Urinetown. These include: 24 is 10: The Best of The 24 Hour Plays, Americana Absurdum, Complete Lost Works…Samuel Beckett, Minimum Wage: Blue Code Ringo, Never Swim Alone, Pith!, The Bicycle Men, The Pumpkin Pie Show: la petite mortes, Todd Robbins' Carnival Knowledge and Tuesdays and Sundays.

Not returning for another go are the prominent Fringe-born shows Matt & Ben, Debbie Does Dallas and Dog Sees God, which drew their inspiration from, respectively, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, "Peanuts" and porn. Ah, the Fringe.

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A couple of Broadway plays are getting new cast members. Jordan Bridges (starting Aug. 19), Christopher Denham and Jerzy Gwiazdowski (starting Aug. 22) will join The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Lyceum Theatre, replacing Jeff Binder (James), David Wilmot (as the title character, Padraic) and Domhnall Gleeson (Davey), respectively. Both David Wilmot and Christopher Denham (who is replacing Wilmot) tied for the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor this year: Wilmot for The Lieutenant of Inishmore and Denham for Red Light Winter. Which makes us think that Denham is one competitive actor.

Also, the Broadway transfer of Douglas Carter Beane's acclaimed comedy The Little Dog Laughed will have a new lead in the figure of Tom Everett Scott. He will make his Broadway debut opposite Julie White and Johnny Galecki at Broadway's Cort Theatre on Oct. 26. Actually, Beane and Galecki will also be making their Broadway debuts. White returns to Broadway after a 17-year hiatus (she joined the cast of The Heidi Chronicles midway through its run). ***

Peter Weller, who blew up lots of buildings as Robocop, will build lots of buildings as architectural legend Frank Lloyd Wright in the New York premiere of Richard Nelson's Frank's Home at Playwrights Horizons. Harris Yulin will play Wright's mentor, architect Louis Sullivan. In other PH news, Kristine Nielsen joins the previously announced Sigourney Weaver in the world-premiere cast of Crazy Mary, a new play by A.R. Gurney. And Reg E. Cathey and André Holland will headline the New York premiere of the two-actor tour-de-force Blue Door, a new play by Tanya Barfield.

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Speaking of A.R. Gurney, that Buffaloan is one prolific WASP septuagenarian. In addition to the above-mentioned Crazy Mary (a cousin to Gurney's 1988 Sweet Sue, perhaps?), he's also responsible for Indian Blood, the memory play which received nice reviews when it opened at Primary Stages on Aug. 9, and Post Mortem, which will run this fall at the Flea Theatre, the Tribeca company where Gurney goes when he wants to get political (Mrs. Farnsworth, Screenplay) —something he's wanted to do ever since W. hung up his hat at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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