Ever since the invention of air conditioning, summer has been a busy time for the theatre industry. Why should 1998 be any different?
The new Broadway season got underway when Side Man, Warren Leight's new play about one man's obsession with jazz, arrived at the Roundabout in June. Next came Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, which opened at Lincoln Center Theater in July under the direction of Nicholas Hytner. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is at the Broadhurst Theatre August 59 with his final performance taped for broadcast on HBO, while Jerry Herman -- the composer/lyricist of Mame, La Cage aux Folles, and Hello, Dolly! -- appears at the Booth Theatre in An Evening with Jerry Herman, co-starring Lee Roy Reams and Florence Lacey. Cabaret welcomes Jennifer Jason Leigh, who takes over the role of Sally Bowles Aug. 4th.
Meanwhile, Footloose, the high-energy Broadway-bound musical based on the 1984 film of the same name, is in rehearsal. An out-of-town tryout bows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. at the end of the month, followed by a New York opening in October.
Summer means baseball, even on Broadway. The Broadway Show League, now in its 44th season, draws dozens of cast and crew members up to Central Park on Thursday afternoons. And this summer Broadway performers have been tapped to sing the national anthem for the New York Yankees. These star-spangled performances will continue at selected home games through September 14 when Rent welcomes the Boston Red Sox to the Stadium.
Alas, there won't be much of a summer vacation for the staff of the N.Y. Public Library for the Performing Arts. In order to accommodate two years of renovations at its Lincoln Center facility, the library is moving to temporary quarters. It's a big job -- Robert Marx, the library's executive director, counts eight million objects to be tagged and boxed. The research division, including the invaluable Billy Rose Theatre Collection, moves to the Library Annex, 521 West 43rd Street, as of August 10. The circulating collection closes on August 11 and reopens at the Mid-Manhattan branch (5th Ave. and 40th St.) on August 24. And the Library's public programs will head downtown to the Great Hall of Cooper Union, beginning in October.
-- By Ben Pesner
STAGE DIRECTIONS is presented, courtesy of
Playbill, by The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., the national trade association for the commercial theatre industry.