Aussie actor Rod Taylor, long missing in screen action, pops up in a new and loony comedy from down under, Welcome to Woop Woop, helmed by the director of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Stephan Elliot. Taylor lords over the title town in the Australian outback with an unbalanced iron fist and a passion for Rodgers and Hammerstein. Hence, the concentrated R&H on the soundtrack, easily the greatest conglomeration of their tunes ever packed into one picture. All six of their Broadway efforts are represented (via their movie soundtracks) plus their Oscar-winning "It Might As Well Be Spring" from State Fair. One Rodgers and Hart is tossed into the mix, just to see if anybody would notice.
COLD AS ICE:
The Ice Storm, Ang Lee's chilling study of New England suburbia in the wife-swapping 1970s, is now available at video stores and book stores. Newmarket Press has published James Schamus's darkly fascinating screenplay (from the Rick Moody novel). The author chipped in an introduction and some notes on the production. Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Cumpsty and John Benjamin Hickey are among the fine New York actors who are featured in this disturbing drama.
ALL THE BEST
For 77 years that theatrical Bible known as The Otis Guernsey/Burns Mantle Theater Yearbook has been presenting scenes, excerpts and facts about what it called a given year's "Best Plays." The 78th edition, just put out by Limelight, will for the first time in theatrical publishing history highlight only those shows that won the Tony and awards from the New York Drama Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and American Theatre Critics Association (to name names: Titanic, How I Learned to Drive, Skylight, Violet and The Last Night of Ballyhoo) plus one "Hit Parade extra," Old Wicked Songs, which made the Pulitzer running. . . . Also from Limelight comes Tom Jones's Making Musicals: An Informal Introduction to the World of Musical Theatre. The author wrote the book and lyrics to the longest-running musical in history and we do mean The Fantasticks, now in its 38th year (!) at the Sullivan Street Playhouse.
THE DANCING BABY
Jane Anderson, author of the recent Defying Gravity, debuts as a film director in a TV-movie adaptation of her own play,
The Baby Dance. Stockard Channing, Peter Riegert, Laura Dern and Richard Lineback play couples from opposite ends of the socioeconomical spectrum who are engaged in an adoption tug-of-war. It's set for airing this season on Showtime. . . . Amadeus Press, which specializes in books on classical music, has a double-barreled salute to Met star Lawrence Tibbett on the shelves: Lawrence Tibbett, Singing Actor, edited by Andrew Farkas, and Dear Rogue: A Biography of the American Baritone Lawrence Tibbett by Hertzel Weinstat and Bert Wechsler.
-- By Harry Haun