Rosie O'Donnell was just the beginning. The Weisslerian parade of stars through Seussical appears to have begun in earnest this week, and the first two names are appropriately kid friendly. Cathy Rigby will don the striped chapeau of the lead Cat on March 15. Rigby is no doubt already familiar to many young theatregoers (and their parents) as the Peter Pan of this generation. But, aside from the Act One gimmick that pulls The Cat toward the fly space when the curtain mechanism "fails," she won't be doing any flying above the crowds. For now.
A few days after the announcement of Rigby's involvement, it was revealed that pre-teen heartthrob Aaron Carter would join the cast for five weeks starting April 4. The "Little Prince of Pop" will play the lost kid Jo Jo. For those adults out there who don't know of Carter, just think Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears (he has performed with both) and you'll get a general idea of the sensation behind such songs as "Crush on You" and "Crazy Little Party Girl." Now, all the producers have to worry about is if all those pint-sized fans can reach the box office window at the Richard Rodgers.
What did Bob Fosse ever do to deserve so many devoted acolytes eternally laboring to keep the memory of his talent alive? Ann Reinking, who choreographed and originally starred in the still-running Broadway revival of Fosse's Chicago, is now executing the master's footwork in another of her re-creations, Fosse. She is joined on stage by Ben Vereen, who earned a Tony Award for his work in the Fosse show, Pippin, and is still finding "Magic to Do" 30 years after. Meanwhile, Bebe Neuwirth — the human pillar that buttresses Chicago from time to time — will leave that show on March 11 to do yet more of Bob's work in Fosse, dancing with Reinking April 3- 29.
A would-be Broadway spring contender has dropped out of the race. Producer Jon Wilner was so confident a theatre would open up for his revival of Mack & Mabel that he registered an April 23 opening night date with the League of American Theatres and Producers. Now he's aiming for a November start date. The money is in place, Bill Irwin is attached as a special movement director and Doug Sills and Donna McKechnie are still the stars, Wilner said, but Jane Krakowski's TV filming schedule may prevent her from playing silent film star Mabel Normand in the cult hit. Wilner said he plans to put British actress Caroline O'Connor — who appeared as Mabel in Wilner's 1995 London mounting of M&M.
The most hotly anticipated Broadway musical revival of the season, the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim's Follies, had its first preview March 8. There will be a month more of them until it finally opens on April 5. Off-Broadway, Jon Robin Baitz's new play Ten Unknowns, starring Donald Sutherland in his first New York stage appearance in 20 years, and Julianna Margulies, officially opened at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on March 8, to mixed reviews. A couple of Downtown Manhattan auteurs are ready to unveil their latest vision. Michael Counts, the artistic director of the Brooklyn company GAle GAtes et al, will fill the theatre's 40,000-square foot performance space/gallery, with So Long Ago I Can't Remember—a divine comedy, a Dante-inspired theatrical installation in 13 parts. (Theatregoers: wear comfortable shoes.) And director, choreographer and co-founder of HERE, Kristin Marting, will open her latest experiment with "gestural vocabulary," Possessed, at HERE, on March 27. The monumental and quite dead author whose work is mined in this case is Dostoyevsky.