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New York Spotlight: April 2007

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Laura Bell Bundy in a publicity shot
for Legally Blonde
(© Paul Kolnick)
Omigod, it's here! The musical Legally Blonde (Palace, previews begin April 3), based on the popular film of the same title, details the adventures of seemingly dumb sorority star Elle Woods (Laura Bell Bundy), who applies to Harvard Law School -- and gets in! Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell directs and choreographs the show, which has music and lyrics by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O'Keefe, and a book by Heather Hach.

LoveMusik (Biltmore, previews begin April 12) tells the true-life tale of the brilliant German composer Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, the lusty young woman from the streets of Vienna who became his muse, his star, and his wife. Tony Award winners Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy star as the couple. Directed by the legendary Harold Prince, the show features songs by Weill and a book by Alfred Uhry.

At Studio 54, the Roundabout Theatre Company revives 110 in the Shade (previews begin April 13), the musical based on N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker, with a book by Nash and a score by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt. Four-time Tony winner Audra McDonald has the central role of Lizzie Curry, a Texas spinster who's romanced by a huckster called Starbuck (Steve Kazee).

Three new non-musical shows also begin performances on Broadway this month. Terrence McNally's Deuce (Music Box, previews begin April 11), directed by Michael Blakemore, stars Marian Seldes and Angela Lansbury -- the latter returning to Broadway after an absence of nearly 24 years -- as two retired female tennis players who once made up a championship doubles team. Coram Boy (Imperial Theatre, previews begin April 16) is an acclaimed import from London. Set in 18th-century England and featuring more than 40 performers onstage, plus seven musicians, it tells the epic tale of two orphans: Toby, saved from an African slave ship and Aaron, the abandoned son of the heir to a great estate. Last, but not least: Radio Golf (Cort, previews begin April 20), the final work in the late August Wilson's decade-by-decade portrait of 20th century African-American life, concerns a mayoral hopeful whose past may affect his candidacy. Kenny Leon directs a cast headed by film star Harry Lennix and Tony winner Tonya Pinkins.

Off-Broadway, there's a whole lot going on as the season moves into the home stretch. Matthew Passion (Chernuchin Theater, through April 8) interweaves three stories: the passion of Christ; the all-too-true tale of Matthew Shepard being picked up at a bar in Laramie, Wyoming, beaten, and left for dead on a hillside; and the story of an HIV positive man who has outlived his life expectancy.

The Transport Group revives The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (Connelly Theatre, through April 21), William Inge's play about an Oklahoma family torn apart by economic forces, social upheaval, violence, and sexual trauma, with a cast headed by Tony winner Michele Pawk and Donna Lynne Champlin.

Eric Winick's Rearviewmirror (59E59, through April 22) is a pop music-inflected, modern day Bacchae set at an outdoor rock festival, where three lonely souls embark on a search for spiritual fulfillment. Athol Fugard's Exits and Entrances (Primary Stages, through April 28) is an autobiographical two-hander that chronicles the friendship between a young, idealistic South African playwright and an older actor who's struggling to find meaning and dignity in his fading career.

If you're looking for laughs, consider John Fugelsang's solo outing, All the Wrong Reasons: A True Story of Neo-Nazis, Drug Smuggling, and Undying Love (New York Theatre Workshop, through May 6); The J.A.P. Show, Jewish American Princesses of Comedy (The Actors Temple, previews begin April 4), starring Cory Kahaney, Jackie Hoffman, Cathy Ladman, and Jessica Kierson; and American Fiesta (Vineyard, April 14-May 20), written and performed by Steven Tomlinson, about an obsessive collector of vintage ceramic Fiestaware who goes cross-country in search of perfect specimens.

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