PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 2-8: Eric the Read

News   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 2-8: Eric the Read Eric Bogosian the playwright has never gotten the attention that Eric Bogosian the performance artist has. But that may change this season.
Eric Bogosian
Eric Bogosian Photo by Aubrey Reuben

On Sept. 7, Bogosian's first big work in which he didn't star, subUrbia, began a revival at Second Stage with a nifty cast of young 'uns, including Kieran Culkin, Halley Feiffer, Gaby Hoffman and Daniel Eric Gold, playing the group of youths who meet at the parking lot of a Pakistani-owned convenience store. It will be one of three Bogosian works to hit the New York stage this season, including a revival of Talk Radio, which will mark the playwright's Broadway debut.

Liev Schreiber will star in that one, which will be directed by Robert Falls for a limited engagement in February at the Longacre Theatre. Bogosian himself originally played the part, repeating it in the Oliver Stone film version of the play.

At around the same time, the LAByrinth Theater Company will unveil This Is Now!, a new work by Eric Bogosian and musician-composer Elliott Sharp. The work is about "smoking, sainthood and the CIA"—you know, the typical Bogosian conversation topics.

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Splash! The Ariel has landed. The Little Mermaid, the new Disney musical based on the 1989 animated film of the same name, will have its world premiere in June 2007 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, it was announced this week. Francesca Zambello will direct.

The creative team for the Alan Menken-Glen Slater-Howard Ashman musical's pre-Broadway tryout will also include choreographer Stephen Mear, scenic designer George Tsypin, costume designer Tatiana Noginova and lighting designer Natasha Katz, and Doug Wright, the patron playwright of freaky shut-ins (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens), who has written the book.

Given the mixed reception of Disney's depiction of vine-swinging monkeys in Tarzan, one couldn't help but wonder how Zambello and company will depict a cast a characters who spend their days swimming. Disney Theatrical Productions president Thomas Schumacher's response: "Effectively!" Good answer.

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Last time we saw Bebe Neuwirth in a fully produced book musical on Broadway, she was in Chicago. Now she's finally returning to the Broadway musical stage in…Chicago. There is a difference. She'll be playing Roxie Hart, the merry murderess who never intended to be as old as she is, instead of Velma Kelly. Even so, she'll be dancing the "Hot Honey Rag" once again. She'll begin her Roxie of Dec. 31. Happy New Year to us.

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Last season, Classic Stage Company cast Michael Cumpsty as Hamlet. Critics were skeptical, but the actor prevailed, collecting largely good reviews. And so, this season, theatre and performer have joined forces again. Cumpsty began his performance as Richard II on Sept. 6. Brian Kulick again directs.

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It couldn't be stopped. Disney's High School Musical,—the mega-hit TV movie seen on The Disney Channel, which has broken records in television viewership and in CD and online sales—has been turned into an actual musical and will have its professional premiere Jan. 13-21, 2007, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. That's pretty quick for an intermedia transposition; the movie's first broadcast was on Jan. 20, 2006. Most musicals take longer than that just to go from Off-Broadway to Broadway.