Royalty has its privileges.
Dame Edna, the comedic entertainer who'd been set to begin performances at Broadway's Booth Theatre Sept. 15, has made the proclamation that she's starting previews a day early, Sept. 14. Citing a wish to acclimatize herself to American audiences ("Believe it or not, even a tough old trouper like me is beginning to get butterflies in the tummy..."), Dame Edna has decreed that tickets for that performance be only $20, rather than the $35-$45 for remaining previews and $45-$60 for regular performances.
Tickets for the Sept. 14 show went on sale -- at the box office only, 222 West 45th Street -- Wednesday, Sept. 8 at noon.
Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, the latest show of Dame Edna Everage, comic creation of Australian comedian and British sensation Barry Humphries, will have its official coronation -- er, opening -- Oct. 17. Tickets are on sale via Telecharge (212) 239 6200).
The show recently had a stint -- Oct. 1, 1998-Jan. 17, 1999 -- at San Francisco's Theater on the Square, leading to speculation of a Broadway engagement if a theatre proved available. Via Dolorosa, the previous Booth tenant, ended its limited run June 13. Dame Edna's run will be open. The tour is presented by Leonard Soloway, Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy and Jonathan Reinis. Designing the show are Kenneth Foy (set), Stephen Adnitt (costumes), Jason Kantrowitz (lighting) and Peter Fitzgerald (sound).
Accompanied now and then by an on-stage pianist, the silver-haired, bespectacled Edna will entertain American audiences with talk of England's Royal family, baby-sitters and her pet project, the Prostate Olympics 2000. As the show's press release (courtesy of production spokesperson Kevin McAnarney) puts it: "Blessed at birth with natural wisteria hair, Dame Edna is a housewife, megastar, social anthropologist, investigative journalist, chanteuse, swami, adviser to British royalty, grief counselor, spin doctor, children's book illustrator and icon."
Humphries created Edna -- described as a "Melbourne housewife-chanteuse swami-monstre sacre" -- in 1956. The character first made a splash in Britain with the 1969 show Just a Show. Subsequent London ventures have included A Night with Dame Edna, Back with a Vengeance and 1996's Look at Me When I'm Talking to You.
-- By David Lefkowitz