The reception was a ambiguous affair. While many critics found a lot wanting in the play and production, the most important one found little not to love. However, Ben Brantley's love letter was so much to Lucas, as to star Mary-Louise Parker, the latest in a series of female stage stars (such as Donna Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth and Melissa Errico, who this week returned to Broadway's Dracula after five weeks of vocal rest) to whom the critic has pledged fealty in print. Indeed, Brantley referred to a hitherto unknown affliction known as Parkerphilia. Medicos are looking into it.
Brantley was not similarly wooed by Richard III, the much publicized Public Theater production starring diminutive film star Peter Dinklage; he liked Dinklage, hated the production. Reviewers attending Joanna McClelland Glass' memory play Trying, which opened Oct. 13, exhibited admiration for Fritz Weaver's central performance, but little for the play itself. Meanwhile, Little Women, the new American musical based on the classic novel, began it run at Broadway Oct. 13 in far off Durham, North Carolina, at Duke University.
Somebody over at New York City Opera with a dart board this week came up with the cast for the upcoming production of Cinderella. (Joke! Don't call me, NYCO press office.) Sarah Uriarte Berry will take on the title role. Keeping her company will be Eartha Kitt as the Fairy Godmother, Lea DeLaria and Ana Gasteyer as the evil Stepsisters, Christopher Sieber as the Prince, Lypsinka's John Epperson as the Wicked Stepmother and Renee Taylor and Dick Van Patten as the Queen and King. Ya gotta admit, it's eclectic. Dates are Nov. 12-21. ***
Cy Coleman, 75-year-old composer of The Life, The Will Rogers Follies, Little Me, Sweet Charity and City of Angels, reminded folks where he came from by beginning a cabaret stint Oct. 12 at Feinstein's at the Regency. The opening was attended by a few who probably remembered Coleman's origins well, including Charles Strouse, Skitch Henderson and Bobby Short.
Finally, star architect Frank Gehry and his Gehry Partners LLP were this week put in charge of building the performing arts complex on the World Trade Center site, future home of the Signature Theatre Company. Not since Second Stage hired controversial Dutch architect Rem Koolhaus to deck their 43rd space in orange paint, gold curtains and toffee-colored seats has the New York theatre become a potential focus of the editors at Architectural Digest. Signature's new home at the World Trade Center site will be a three theatre complex that will include a 499-seat theatre, a 299-seat theatre, and a flexible 99-199 seat theatre. Once it moves in, the company will certainly have its work cut out for it. Few artistic experiences compete successfully with a Gehry structure.