Here's a list a movies born from, or relevant to, the world of theatre, opening between now and New Year's:
Madonna stars as Eva Peron in the long-awaited film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita (Hollywood Pictures). Directed by Alan Parker, the film also stars Jonathan Pryce as Juan Peron and Antonio Banderas as Che.
Kenneth Branagh, who's made a cottage industry of adapting Shakespeare to the screen (Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V and others) leads an all-star cast in a big-budget production of the actors' Everest, Hamlet, which reportedly runs some four hours.
Playwright Robert Harling graduates to film director with his adaptation of The Evening Star (Paramount Pictures), helping one of his screen Steel Magnolias (Shirley MacLaine) perpetuate the Oscar-winning performance she began in Terms of Endearment. Bill Paxton, Juliette Lewis and Mianda Richardson also star.
Australian writer-director Jane Campion, who played The Piano to Oscar-winning effect, may have deduced from the 1994's Tony-winning success of The Heiress that Henry James IS relevant to our times, for she's giving Nicole Kidman (below) a cinematic spin in his The Portrait of a Lady (Gramercy Pictures), which lasted only seven performances on Broadway with Jennifer Jones. John Malkovich co-stars in this tale of a young American woman who challenges the confines of her sheltered existence.
Herb Gardner, a playwright who tends to turn director when nobody steps up to the plate to make a movie out of a favorite play of his (The Goodbye People), just brought to the screen his Tony-winning Best Play of 1986, I'm Not Rappaport (Gramercy Pictures), starring Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis.
Nicholas Hytner, lately of Broadway (Miss Saigon) and Lincoln Center (Carousel), got Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren into the Oscar running for his first film effort, 1994's The Madness of King George; this year, he's pushing Daniel Day-Lewis and Joan Allen in that direction via the film version of Arthur Miller's classic witch hunt drama, The Crucible (Twentieth Century Fox).
And yet another film bow this season will be that of Tony-winning Jerry Zaks, directing Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, et al in Marvin's Room (Miramax), the Drama Desk Award-winning play by the late Scott McPherson.
-- By Harry Haun and Robert Viagas