PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 6-12: An Ogre's Work Is Never Done

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 6-12: An Ogre's Work Is Never Done
 
Shrek the Musical officially opened at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre Sept. 10, following previews from Aug. 14 and much backstage goings-on.

The Seattle Times said the musical had heart, but that it had flaws, citing areas in costuming, scoring and staging that could be improved. But it was, overall, an encouraging review. Variety also said the show had flaws, "but none necessarily fatal." The best performance notices went to Christopher Sieber, who plays the evil, and short, villain Lord Farquaad entirely on his knees. Both reviews thought some work should be done on the characters of the Donkey and the Dragon.

It all adds up to more pre-Broadway work for the show's creative team. Following its out-of-town tryout, Shrek will arrive at New York's Broadway Theatre Nov. 8 with an official opening scheduled for Dec. 14.

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It's finally official. Hair is coming back to Broadway. The Public Theater announced this week that the much-extended Shakespeare in the Park production, directed by Diane Paulus, will arrive on Broadway in 2009. Elizabeth I. McCann and the Public Theater will co-produce the Broadway revival, which is slated to begin performances after the first of the year. Theatre, dates and casting will be announced at a later date.

The announcement of the Broadway transfer follows three extensions for the current Central Park run, which concludes Sept. 14 at the Delacorte Theater. Performances began July 22, and Hair officially opened Aug. 7. ***

San Diego's Old Globe announced the productions for its 2009 summer season. Joining the previously announced new musical The First Wives Club will be productions of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Henry VIII, Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac and (for a drastic change of pace) Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep.

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Two-time Tony-winner James Naughton, whose stage appearances have been rare in recent years, will take on the title role in the Irish Repertory Theatre's 2008-09 season opener, playwright Frank McGuinness' adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's 1892 classic, The Master Builder, beginning Oct. 10. He will be joined onstage by Charlotte Parry.

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It's not every show that loses two-thirds of its cast right after announcing. But that's the case with Primary Stages' production of Lee Blessing's A Body of Water, which will play 59E59 Theaters. Margaret Colin and David Rasche were named as two of the three leads. Then Rasche departed to take the job vacated by Craig Bierko in Manhattan Theatre Club's To Be or Not To Be on Broadway. Soon after, Colin left the production due to scheduling conflicts for TV's "Gossip Girl." (And we all know that, these days, nothing's more important than "Gossip Girl.") Ah well. The replacements aren't too bad at all: Christine Lahti and Michael Cristofer. Standing steadfast throughout has been Laura Odeh, who, though her character's name is Wren, has not flown the coop.

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When the heck is the new TKTS booth in Times Square going to be finished?

That's a question theatregoers have been asking since the Theatre Development Fund announced it was going to shut the booth down and then broke ground on a swanky new model back in May 2006. Well, TDF now says the new structure — dubbed by wags "The Steps to Nowhere" because of its bright-red bleacher-like feature — will open in late September/early October.

The New York Post reports that the lengthy project is in the home stretch of construction on the central island in the northern part of Times Square. The New York Post said the project is currently running $11 million over budget — with a running total of $19 million. Theatre Development Fund countered with a statement, explaining that the project (originally estimated at $12.5 million when it broke ground in 2006) has run $6 million over budget and accounts for the entire renovation of Duffy Square, including a 100 percent expansion of the plaza.

TDF informed Playbill.com that the new booth accounts for only $2 million of hard construction cost (and another $375,000 for interior and office necessities) of the entire $18.5 million budget to renovate Duffy Square, a New York City park.

Originally hoping for a late 2006 opening, the TKTS booth on Duffy Square was delayed due to the bankruptcy of the manufacturer of its glass construction materials and issues with assembling the unique materials. Yeah, I hate it when that happens.

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