PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 16-22: On the Road Again

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 16-22: On the Road Again
 
In a week so dull that white-tailed deer were spotted peacefully grazing in Shubert Alley, the biggest news stories were the tour plans of two Broadway shows—one still on the boards, one not.

Sure to be a top attraction across the nation with Monty Python geeks and theatre geeks alike will be Spamalot, the Broadway smash which took home the 2005 Tony Award for best musical. It will launch its U.S. tour March 7, 2006, at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. Future stops in Chicago (where is began life) and Washington, D.C., have been announced. Casting, of course, is yet to be announced.

Hitting the highways a little later will be Richard Chamberlain, who will play crusty, retired professor Norman Thayer, Jr., in a new national tour of Ernest Thompson's On Golden Pond. The show, recently seen on Broadway with James Earl Jones, will launch in September 2006. Leonard Foglia will direct, as he did on Broadway, and Jeffrey Finn will produce. Dates and venues are to be announced, as is additional casting. On Golden Pond closed on June 26, after star Jones fell sick.

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The critics decided this week that New York wasn't big enough for them and Suzanne Somers, so they laid into the former "Three's Company" actress and her one-person, confessional show, The Blonde in the Thunderbird, which opened on July 17. Somers was so upset by the reviews, she turned to the New York Post for comfort, offering some choice words for New York Times critic Charles Isherwood, who used the show as an occasion to deliver one of the most fanged and funny notices in memory. At the same time, Somers announced she would be getting into that Thuderbird on July 23 and blowing this hick burg (six weeks earlier than her plan).

Also announcing an exit was the praised new revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which opened on March 20 to largely positive notices. It will end its run on Sept. 4, having played eight previews and 176 performances—not near the number tallied by the original production, but quite a bit better than that of the 1976 revival. ***

The latest work by John Patrick Shanley now has a one-word title, just like a certain recent Pulitzer Prize winner. Chain of Command, which will be given a July 29-31 workshop at the Powerhouse Theatre on the grounds of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, as part of the 2005 summer season of New York Stage and Film, was renamed Defiance. The blockbuster cast now features Chris Cooper, Dana Delany, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Chris Bauer. It's about "two officers who clash over an explosive incident that could end one of their careers."

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Off-Broadway saw the reunion of The Five Lesbian Brothers, who served up their first piece in years, Oedipus at Palm Springs, at New York Theatre Workshop, starting July 20. Created and performed by writer-performers Maureen Angelos, Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey, and Lisa Kron, the show promises to "magically mix the fun-loving surface of tanning, mixed drinks, golf, and sport utility vehicles with a messy infrastructure of commitment, marriage, passion and motherhood." Oh, that old thing.

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