TOMCAT IN THE HAT?
Maury Yeston, who composed the Tony-winning Nine and the Tony-nominated Grand Hotel for Tommy Tune, has a new musical for him, now that he's free of that EFX spectacular he was doing at Vegas' MGM Grand. But don't be surprised if The Tall One doesn't take up the Cat in the Hat role for the Seussical national tour instead. It'll be Tune's first road trip for Barry and Fran Weissler since he broke a foot in Tampa, stopping their pre-Broadway tour of Busker Alley in its tracks. The Weisslers are also readying South Pacific for the road to Broadway, and it is rumored that Sherrill Milnes, one of the great baritones of the Met, will come out of retirement to sing "Some Enchanted Evening" to an as-yet-to-be-announced Nellie Forbush.
IN THE GENE POOL
What with their signature roles enjoying revived lives on Broadway again, is it any wonder that Gene Wilder and director Gene Saks are getting the theatrical itch? They're teaming for an evening of four one-act comedies at the Westport Playhouse, and where this will end...well, one can only hope! Wilder, of course, was the first to Leo Bloom in The Producers; Matthew Broderick is flowering similarly at the St. James. Saks was the original Leo Herman (a.k.a. "Chuckles the Chipmunk") in A Thousand Clowns, a role that Mark Blum will reinvent for Broadway in July.
Director John Rando called an Easter recess for the Clowns recycle, now trying out in North Carolina, but it was really a paternity break: His wife delivered son Alexander on Easter morn. In addition to the Tom Selleck-starred Clowns for Broadway, Rando is also giving birth to an Off-Broadway musical called, you should pardon the expression, Urinetown. He returned from Durham yesterday (April 23) to focus in earnest on that show, which opens May 6. Those who've seen the eccentric Urinetown call it the quirkiest caper since Bat Boy.
TEETH TOGETHER, MILES APART
It may interest you to know that Kander & Ebb aren't the only tunesmiths to go down for the count in trying to make a musical of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth. Comden & Green made a pass at it years ago, with Leonard Bernstein--and one of their surviving songs from that project, "Spring Will Come Again," opens Lorna Dallas Spring Collection, a bouquet of seasonal theater and film ditties now being flung at Arci's Place. A stunning woman with a shimmering soprano, Dallas is fortified by imaginative arrangements (Christopher Denny) and sharp direction (Barry Kleinbort) through April 28. Hurry!
Following its run at Playwrights Horizons, Kenneth Lonergan's much-applauded Lobby Hero has found a new home at the John Houseman, beginning next month.
Newcomer Gavin Creel is growing up fast in the business. He has been playing the disfigured youth in readings of Mask, the musical with songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil that Ann Hamilton Phelan is adapting from her 1985 screenplay. Next, Creel will be part of the Hair tribe for the Encores! resurrection of that rock musical at City Center, May 3-7. And, after that, he'll be Sutton Foster's leading man in Thoroughly Modern Millie, set to hit Broadway in mid-November.
Felicia Finley, who spoofed the daylights out of Heather Headley's Aida in Forbidden Broadway, now understudies the role of the Nubian princess/slave's romantic rival, Amneris (Taylor Dayne) in Aida at the Palace. Adam Pascal, who plays the object of their affections, has signed up for another year with the Broadway show, while Tony-winner Headley will be staying put at least six more months.
With Bat Boy flying high Off-Broadway, can Byrd's Boy be far behind? Actually, no: Bruce Jay Robinson's new play bows May 30 at Primary Stage under the direction of Arthur Massella and will play through July 1. David McCallum (who previously did Nasty Habits for Primary Stages) and Myra Lucretia Taylor comprise the cast.
The bio on David Margulies as seen in the Playbill for his recent, one-man show at Eric Krebs' new Maverick Theater (In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Gimpel the Fool), pointedly noted that he appeared earlier this season in Arthur Laurents' Big Potato, which was "disowned by the author but claimed without shame by Mr. Margulies."
TWO FOR THE ROAD
Lincoln Center Theater will keep its Contact crown jewels--Tony Award-winners Karen Ziemba and Boyd Gaines and The Girl in the Yellow Dress herself, Astaire Award-winner Deborah Yates--in place and send Meg Howery, Sunset Boulevard's Alan Campbell, and Yates' regular standby, Holly Cruikshank, out on the road in those roles. They're rehearsing right now, preparing for a May 15 opening at the Curran Theater in San Francisco.
The Full Monty is also stripping for road action. Its original Broadway director, Jack O'Brien, puts the national touring company into rehearsal beginning tomorrow (April 25). Exactly one month later, in Montreal, the show will go into previews and open there on D-Day. Kaye Ballard, Larry Marshall, Danny Gurwin, Rod Weber, Andrea Burns, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Susan Fletcher will be essaying the roles originated on Broadway by Kathleen Freeman, Andre DeShields, Jason Danieley, Patrick Wilson, Emily Skinner, Romain Frugé, and Annie Golden.
PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
Congratulations to David Auburn on collecting the Pulitzer Prize for what is, hands down, the best play of the season: Proof. A nod like that could hike a fella's Tony hopes....Speaking of Pulitzers past and Tony hopes: Angels in America author Tony Kushner will make his directing debut next season at the New York Theater Workshop when he helms Helen, a play written by his original Broadway angel, Ellen McLaughlin. What some people won't do to get away from the typewriter!