Nicky Silver, a sliver of his former self and silly as ever, says he's "making a snuff film for Disney." In truth, he's focused on his "revisal" of Rodgers & Hart's The Boys From Syracuse, which the Roundabout will offer in January. Director Scott Ellis starts casting it this week. "I'm hoping some of the chorus boys will be foolish enough to think that sleeping with me will advance their chances," sighs Silver. "Robby Baitz--people know that sleeping with him will advance their chances. Me? They never ask. I'm so bitter. But I don't pry; I live on rumor and innuendo."
Speaking of Jon Robin Baitz, that playwright is bracing for his Broadway debut on October 4. He's making it not with one of his original works but with his adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler. Similarly, Richard Greenberg, another major Off-Broadway talent, is taking one of his thus-far infrequent trips to Broadway on October 11 with his adaptation of August Strindberg's The Dance of Death.
DRAMA DEPT. DOINGS: SPARKLING PLENTY
Thursday was another big night for the Drama Dept.--J. Smith-Cameron and T. Scott Cunningham in a Douglas Carter Beane seriocomedy, again directed by Mark Brokaw. All four hands together again for the first time since As Bees in Honey Drown.
The audience was full of DD supporters, or outright plants. So the play, Music From a Sparkling Planet, went down well, and the party afterward at Spa on East 13th was smooth (if humid) sailing. A couple of Kevins could be counted among the first nighters: Kevin Geer, back from the London Side Man, and Kevin Chamberlin, who says the London Dirty Blonde fell through but he'll be doing the L.A. edition. (Los Angeles is a good town to go West in, Kev!) Chip Kidd, who designed the logo for Sparkling Planet--to say nothing of Jurassic Park)--has made his mark as an innovator in book-jacket designs but, in October, he'll penetrate beyond the cover as author of The Cheese Monkeys for Scribner's. As the title clearly indicates, it's about studying design at a state university.
Apparently, the duties of a best man don't end with the wedding. At least, that's the way Matthew Broderick plays it. He stood up for Kenneth Lonergan when he married J. Smith-Cameron and, after wowing 'em in The Producers on Thursday, he dropped by Spa and lent his celebrity to Mrs. Lonergan's opening night. The upshot: all three made the entertainment pages of the dailies. Beau geste, Matthew. . . . Lonergan, whose acclaimed Lobby Hero has been extended till September 2 at the John Houseman, came to Planet via Camelot: He's currently scripting an adaptation of T. H. White's The Once and Future King for Warners. Half of that property is owned by Warners by virtue of having produced the movie version of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot. The first half of the property--the adventures of the boy Wart en route to becoming King Arthur--is owned by Disney, which made an animated feature of it in 1963 called The Sword in the Stone. Lonergan's screenplay will cover both halves.
NOBBS AND OTHER NUDES
One of those constantly working Stupid Kids, Keith Nobbs, racks up his first stage nude scene in Four, the warmly reviewed Christopher Shinn play at the TriBeCa Playhouse, and he tells a funny story about preparing his father for this turn of events: "I told him on the phone, and he's going, 'Okay, Keith, I can deal with this, I can deal with this.' " And he did. He caught the show and "took it surprisingly well," according to his son. Viva enlightened parents! Nobbs says that critical reaction has caused Four to be held over till the first week of August, and that people (like: producers) have been coming in to look at the show with the idea of moving it. Considering the raw emotions of the play, Nobbs was surprised to learn that Shinn was 20 when he wrote it. "I was still urinating on walls at 20," he jokes.
Another duo who found themselves Together Again at the aforementioned Music From a Sparkling Planet bash: Ross Gibby, who's in the play, and Peter Bartlett, who was there in a show of support. They were last paired in a hilarious Paul Rudnick one-act at Ensemble Studio Theater, Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach: Bartlett played an epicene access-television talk-show host and Gibby was the gratuitous-nudity portion of the program. That one-act will constitute a third of the next Drama Dept. offering, Rude Entertainment, directed by Christopher Ashley. Bartlett will definitely be aboard, but Gibby's participation is iffy. (Pity.) Harriet Harris, who co-starred with Bartlett in Rudnick's Jeffrey, is rumored to be up for the play's third role.
NEXT TANGO IN PHILADELPHIA
Rehearsals begin August 7 for Camila, an original book musical by Laurie McKelbey with lots of tango and Latin dancing, set to bow September 12 at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theater. It's based on a true story set in Argentina in the 1840s. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hayden will star; her name is Elizabeth Sastre. (Interestingly, "sastre" is Spanish for "tailor.") In support: Titanic's Alma Cuervo and Once Around the City's William Parry. The director is BT McNicholl and the choreographer is Scott Wise, both of whom earned high marks recently--McNicholl for The IT Girl and Tony-winner Wise for the Astaire Awards.
THE LUNTS: AT HOME IN A THEATER
A permanent photo exhibition celebrating the theater lives of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne opened the other afternoon, with champagne corks flying, at the Broadway house that bears their name--the one that housed their last Main Stem effort, The Visit. This is our theatrical royalty, parading majestically in an extraordinary collection of photographs arranged in chronological order, exquisitely mounted, beautifully notated.
The exhibit, commissioned by the theater itself, was created with T.L.C. by Ten Chimneys, the foundation named for the fairy-tale castle that the Lunts called their summer home in Genessee Depot, WI. The party enabled the foundation to display its plans to make Ten Chimneys a world-class museum and national arts center. The Main House will open to the public in 2002, with 2005 the target date for completion of the project. (If you care for more information, you should contact Ten Chimneys Foundation, P.O. Box 225, Genessee Depot, WI 52127; telephone 262-968-4161; fax 262-968-4267.)
Most of the afternoon's audience consisted of participants in the League of Historic Theaters' annual convention. They'd spent the earlier part of the day exploring every single theater (restored or rotting) on 42nd Street, including the last one we must save as a legitimate house: the Times Square Theater. Word was out at the party that "two major groups" had placed tentative bids on the building. Cross your fingers, everyone!