Apologies for light blogging. I've got a bunch of NY Times reviews in the hopper; not sure when they're supposed to appear.
I was stunned but not surprised—is that possible?—by James C. Taylor's slam of the Ahmanson's Dead End. The folks at the Center Theatre Group must be counting the days until incoming LA Times critic Charlie McNulty alights on L.A. soil, as Taylor has been their bete noire for some time now. Oh, goodie: Mr. Fire and Rain will no doubt get to pronounce on whether this show is worth the hype. (While he's been very thorough in reporting on how L.A. productions fall short of their New York and London originals, he hasn't been as reliable a prognosticator of SoCal-to-Broadway fortunes, as his dismissal of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels proved.) For another point of view, there's Evan Henerson's far more upbeat review of Ritchie's bank-busting opening shot.
We know the Ahmanson's next musical, whose title is The Drowsy Chaperone, must be important because it made it into this otherwise (almost) entirely New York-centered fall preview listing in the NYT. My thoughts on the list (which also nods to the Canadian production of Lord of the Rings and to the Old Globe's Dylan-Tharp musical The Times They Are A-Changin'):
SHOWS WE ALREADY SAW IN SoCAL (and mostly at South Coast Rep)
The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow at the Atlantic Theatre
The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World (part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival)
A Naked Girl on the Appian Way at the Roundabout
Latinologues at the Helen Hayers
4.48 Psychose at BAM; OK, technically SoCal hasn't seen it yet—but this French production of Sarah Kane's play is going to UCLA before it lands in Brooklyn, for whatever that's worth
Hell House; Les Freres Corbusier, who last brought L.A. A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, either stole this idea from the folks behind last year's Hollywood Hell House or are collaborating with them on it somehow; all I know is that I noticed the connection when both were running in L.A.
Mr. Marmalade at the Roundabout
Three Days of Rain on Broadway; all right, I know this doesn't even begin to count, since this is a new, for-Broadway production starring that Pretty Woman gal, but I feel the need set straight reports, like this one, that the play was first produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club; sorry, folks, it premiered at South Coast Rep in early 1997, already starring the not-too-shabby Patricia Clarkson and Jon Tenney
SHOWS I'M SAVING THE DATE FOR
Tipping my hand here:
Spirit, the newest from the Improbable Theatre (already got tickets)
Sweeney Todd (see below)
Karla, a play—not a musical, I believe—by Steve Earle, about Karla Faye Tucker (wonder what his take will be? Hmm)
The aforementioned 4.48 Pychose
Bach at Leipzig, a comedy about competing organists; sounds deliciously nerdy
Abigail's Party, the New Group's latest Mike Leigh revival, to star the endearingly slouchy Jennifer Jason Leigh (no relation, I'm told)
Brundibar & Comedy on the Bridge, vintage operas adapted by Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak; I'm very afraid but I'll be there
Pinter's Celebration & The Room at the Atlantic
Rabbit Hole, the newest from David Lindsay-Abaire
The House of Bernarda Alba, a new musicalization by LaChiusa and McNally that's bound to rival Brundibar for pretension
The Pajama Game; sorry, I've got a soft spot for this weirdly sunny musical about unionization, though my actually spending top dollar will depend on who they get for the female lead
Grey Gardens: A New Musical; again, I'm very afraid, as this is based on one of the most depressing, albeit fascinating, documentaries ever made
Hedda Gabler with Cate Blanchett? Oh yeah
The Threepenny Opera with Alan Cumming? Double oh yeah
SHOW I HAPPENED TO SEE IN LONDON
Sweeney Todd, which was a really stirring chamber musical with unknowns when I caught it last year (I mentioned it here) but whose life I fear for in the face of Broadway expectations; I can't wait to hear Michael Cerveris tear into the score, and to see how much of director John Doyle's downmarket concept has survived the transfer, but I'm planning on getting my ticket early
I'm sure there are other gems to come, but that's how the season looks to me. Now, if I could just find a comprehensive listing of Off-Off-Broadway, which is what I'll be most likely to cover.
Finally, I've had nothing to say about Katrina, since the words have failed me. And so I leave you with this fulsome image, no doubt already making the rounds, which is worth several thousand words at least.