PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, April 7-13: Magic/Bird Opens, John Guare's Next Play, Donna Murphy's Witch

By Robert Simonson
13 Apr 2012

Paul Gross
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

John Guare spent a decade or so writing his last play, the sprawling and ambitious A Free Man of Color, which lasted only a couple inglorious months at Lincoln Center Theater. Guare's latest, however, arrived in considerably more haste.

Are You There, McPhee? will run at New Jersey's McCarter Theatre in May. Canadian actor Paul Gross, seen in the recent Broadway revival of Private Lives, will head the cast, which also includes Gideon Banner, John Behlmann, Jeremy Bobb, Molly Camp, Patrick Carroll, Alicia Goranson, Jenn Lyon, Danny Mastrogiorgio and Lusia Strusof. Sam Buntrock directs.

The plot is a typically Guareian soup of crazy, seemingly unrelated elements. Press notes state that a "playwright is inexorably sucked into the tangle of the lives of a pair of abandoned children." Expect "an old Nantucket house, the secret of a long-dead children's book author, a group of amateur actors, a career opportunity, and a mysterious stranger collide in this whirlwind of a play."



God bless playwrights. Without them, there would be no stories where playwrights are the central characters.

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Who says you can't get rich working in the theatre?

Bloomberg.com reported this week that nearly everyone who's ever touched Wicked, the long-running Broadway musical and international sensation, is now as rich as Croesus.

Bloomberg.com obtained its information from papers released by the New York State attorney general's office in June 2010. (A production spokesperson could not confirm the figures to Playbill.com.) Because newer figures are not yet available, Bloomberg.com says its story "undoubtedly understates total compensation to date for the producers, investors and creative team behind Wicked."

So. Let's imagine these figures as understating the matter. Authors Gregory Maguire, Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman have earned more than $95 million. Director Joe Mantello's take has exceeded $23 million. Others who have profited include set designer Eugene Lee (more than $6.6 million), choreographer Wayne Cilento (more than $6.3 million) and costume designer Susan Hilferty (more than $2.2 million).

Millionaire costume designers. Who knew?

Another interesting tidbit from the article: Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, gets royalties for her uncredited work on some scenes. Eve Ensler: Show Doctor. Now, there's a novel concept.

Follow Robert Simonson on Twitter at @RobertOSimonson.