PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 31-Aug. 6: Wildhorn's Wild Ride

ICYMI   PBOL'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, July 31-Aug. 6: Wildhorn's Wild Ride
The Frank Wildhorn musical Dracula is the composer's first new Broadway show since the 1998-99 season, when he dominated the scene by filling three theatres with his work (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War made up the hat trick).

Dracula hasn't opened yet, but it's already generating a lot of buzz, mainly due to its bumpy path to a scheduled Aug. 19 premiere.Much of the early talk had to do with when the thing would actually take wing. The original start date of July 19 was put off a week to allow for additional time in technical rehearsals. A burst water pipe in the stage-left wing of the Belasco July 26 then prompted producers to move the first preview date from that day to July 28. July 30 finally saw the curtain rise.

Recent talk, however, has focused on the physical charms of stars Melissa Errico and Kelli O'Hara, which are very much on display in Dracula, and—along with Carla Gugino's brief disrobing in After the Fall—mark a spate of female nudity on the Broadway stage which nearly counters last season's male shower scenes in Take Me Out. The skin-baring apparently came out during the rehearsal process, and has led producers to offer theatregoers the choice of a fully-clothed matinee performance and an R-rated evening show—an interesting piece of marketing which is perhaps a first on Broadway.


After the Fall, meanwhile, opened on July 29 to reviews not markedly better than the ones Arthur Miller received when the play premiered in 1964. After taking the confessional drama to task, most critics laid blame on lead actor Peter Krause, the "Six Feet Under" star who played the lead role.

*** Two Broadway shows that took away a 2004 Tony Award apiece—Caroline, or Change and Frozen—announced they would close by the end of August. Neither shuttering came as a surprise. Though both the Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori musical and the Bryony Lavery drama had their supporters in the critical and showgoing communities, they were equally considered commercial longshots, even before they transferred to Broadway. Their regional lives, however, are expected to be long ones.


A scheduled Off-Broadway revival of Larry Shue's perennial comedy, The Foreigner, which looked a little dull on paper, suddenly got a lot more exciting with the announcement that Broadway big Matthew Broderick would star as Charlie Baker, the mousy Englishman who pretends he can't speak English in order to avoid interaction. Also in the cast is Frances Sternhagen. Scott Schwartz directs.


Paul Simon, Billy Joel, ABBA, The Bee Gees, Queen, Elvis, The Beatles, Boy George, Pete Townsend, The Beach Boys. Add to the list of pop artists who are providing Broadway and the West End with their recent scores the super-serious, introspective mood rockers Pink Floyd. Miramax Films and Tommy Mottola want to bring one of the most iconic concept albums in rock history—Pink Floyd's "The Wall"—to the stage as a Broadway musical. The band's former front man, Roger Waters, will provide the book and, of course, the existing score.


Finally, which way does the New York International Fringe Festival lean politically? Well, if the words "New York" and "Fringe" are hint enough, consider these titles, to be seen on various Manhattan stages between Aug. 13 and Aug. 19: The Passion of George W. Bush, Vampire Cowboy Trilogy, John Walker—The Musical, Dementia Presidentia, Patriot Acts, 9/11—The Book of Job, Hanging Chad and Apocalypse! Book One.

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