Starting Nov. 30, Bway's Dame Edna Has a New Piano Man

News   Starting Nov. 30, Bway's Dame Edna Has a New Piano Man Showered with rave reviews and blessed by good box office numbers, Dame Edna looks to be a fixture on Broadway for months to come but her pianist, Andrew Ross, won't be continuing the pilgrimage with her. Prior commitments in his (and Edna's) native Australia made Ross leave the show Nov. 28. Fret not, possums, for Edna has a new straightman for her barbs: Mark Nadler, who begins in the show Nov. 30.

Showered with rave reviews and blessed by good box office numbers, Dame Edna looks to be a fixture on Broadway for months to come but her pianist, Andrew Ross, won't be continuing the pilgrimage with her. Prior commitments in his (and Edna's) native Australia made Ross leave the show Nov. 28. Fret not, possums, for Edna has a new straightman for her barbs: Mark Nadler, who begins in the show Nov. 30.

It's felicitous timing for Nadler, since he's been doing his cabaret solo, "Nonstop Broadway Hootenanny," at Sardi's Restaurant throughout the fall. He'll continue that show three more nights -- Dec. 2, 9 and 23 -- and then possibly pick it up again after New Years, according to Tony Origlio spokesperson David Lotz

"I'm thriled to be a bloom on Dame Edna's gladiola stalk," Nadler said in a statement. Spokesperson Lotz added that Nadler has said he's "very excited to be working with a comic genius" like Barry Humphries, the male alter ego of the irrepressible Edna. Nadler won't be bringing his own schtick to the Broadway gig, however; he'll play it as straight as Ross, which essentially means accompanying Edna on four songs and taking some photographs.

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Production sources have reported that Dame Edna: The Royal Tour continues to break house records at the Booth Theatre. With a single day ticket take of $90, 654 in early November, Dame Edna broke the previous records for the Booth. On a rainy Election Day, the show shattered its own record with a box take of $92,741. Attendance for the week ending Nov. 14 reached 92.3 percent. Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, features the comic creation of Australian comedian and British sensation Humphries. The show began previews Sept. 14 for a run that, like so much else about Edna, is wide open.

The show is presented by Leonard Soloway, Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy and Jonathan Reinis. Designing the show are Kenneth Foy (set), Stephen Adnitt (costumes), Jason Kantrowitz (lighting) and Peter Fitzgerald (sound).

Accompanied now and then by two leggy "Edanettes" (Roxane Barlow and Tamlyn Brooke Shusterman), the silver-haired, bespectacled Edna entertains American audiences with talk of England's Royal family, baby sitters, the lifestyle choices of her children (ushering in the song, "I Never Thought I'd Meet So Many Friends of Kenny...") and her late husband's prostate difficulties. She also tends to remark on audience members' clothing choices and home decorating skills, but only "in the most loving way." Former Monty Python extra Ian Davidson contributes additional material to the evening, subtitled "The Show That Listens."

Humphries created Edna -- described as a "Melbourne housewife-chanteuse swami monstre sacre" -- in 1956. The character first made a splash in Britain with the 1969 show Just a Show. Subsequent London ventures have included A Night with Dame Edna, Back with a Vengeance and 1996's Look at Me When I'm Talking to You.

For tickets and information on Dame Edna call (212) 239-6200.

-- By Murdoch McBride, David Lefkowitz