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Las Vegas Spotlight: March 2006

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Carol Linnea Johnson in Mamma Mia!
(Photo © Joan Marcus)
Boy does life ever move fast in Vegas! Last month Avenue Q announced that it was cutting its playing time down (presumably in the hopes of making itself a more attractive prospect for tourists), but the show has officially posted a closing notice for May 28. Producers have to wonder if it's a bad sign for the future of smaller shows in Las Vegas. On the plus side, the Strip's other Broadway baby, Mamma Mia! just celebrated its third anniversary at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, and the recently opened Hairspray at the Luxor garnered excellent reviews.

Sadly, Las Vegas Little Theatre had to cancel its production of Topdog/Underdog due to an actor dropping out. In your average play, one actor leaving wouldn't be enough to shutter a show, but Topdog is an intense two-hander, so it's not a surprise that in this particular case the show couldn't go on. Next up in the Fischer BlackBox is Agnes of God, beginning performances on March 31. John Pielmeier's play, which many may remember from the 1985 film starring Anne Bancroft and Jane Fonda, is about a novice nun who claims her baby was the result of a virgin birth.

Coming to LVLT's mainstage is Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out, playing March 24 through April 9. The winner of the 2003 Tony Award for Best Play, Take Me Out chronicles the fall-out of popular baseball player Darren Lemming's public announcement that he is gay. Walter Niejadlik directs the production, which features Alexander Pink as Darren, Chris Carrier as antagonistic teammate Shane Mungitt, and Brian Hinson as Darren's newly baseball-loving business manager Mason Marzac. The Marzac character was originally played to great acclaim by Denis O'Hare, and is an obvious stand-in for the playwright himself, whose enthusiasm for baseball shines throughout the play.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival is dropping by the Community College of Southern Nevada to present a 75-minute version of "the Scottish play" (that's Macbeth, for those of you who aren't in-the-know) on March 3rd and 4th. The recipient of the 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, USF has a popular educational touring company that always sets out this time of year to bring the Bard to schools in the Western states -- check 'em out while you can.

Finally, you have a few more chances to catch Jade Productions' Mame, which has its final performance on March 5 at the Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center. Joy Demain assays the title role, which was made famous by Angela Lansbury in the original Broadway show, and later played by Lucille Ball in the film version. The tuneful Jerry Herman score features several big hits, including "Mame," "If He Walked Into My Life," "We Need a Little Christmas," and "Bosom Buddies."

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