This sure has become almost exclusively a film blog lately! Hey…we just got through the Oscars, what do you want?! But I’m promising to get back to the theatre over the next few weeks. Spring and fall are the two seasons that most of my stage attendance occurs the last few years, and it seems like this year will follow that pattern too. So, what’s on the way? Everything’s coming up revivals, revivals, revivals! I most likely will revisit Stephen Sondheim’s “Passion” in the month of March after it officially opens off-Broadway tomorrow night. I got to see the original Broadway production in the spring of 1994, and even managed to meet and chat with “Fosca”(a mostly unknown at the time, Donna Murphy)after the show. She was very charming, delighted by the attention she was getting, and it’s actually one of the few times I asked someone to sign my Playbill. Of course the show went on to win 4 Tonys and 6 Drama Desk awards that season—including Best Musical for Sondheim and Best Actress for Murphy from both. Donna’s been a star ever since. A full decade later I visited her again via her Tony-nominated performance in the revival of “Wonderful Town”. That made it a quartet of Murphy stage vehicles for me, having seen two of her off-Broadway musical performances before she became famous: the short-lived “Birds of Paradise” in 1987 and the fun “Song of Singapore” in 1992. Judy Kuhn will take over the role of Fosca for this “Passion” revival, with the maverick Scot—John Doyle—directing. Mr. Doyle is renowned for two Sondheim revivals in which the performers doubled as the orchestra during the show. John staged “Sweeney Todd” in 2005 using this method, and then “Company” in 2007. I caught both productions, and I’ll never forget witnessing the legendary Patti LuPone in “Sweeney”(as a mesmerizing and sexy Mrs. Lovett)—who also at one point plays the tuba! Believe me—Doyle made this work. I understand the performers will not be taking on the orchestral responsibilities for this “Passion” revival, but I’m still excited to witness his staging of this difficult(but rewarding) musical. Other possibilities for the spring season: the Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz’s “Pippin”(originally staged by Bob Fosse), the off-Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson’s “Talley’s Folley”, and the much ballyhooed pond-jumping one-man version of “Macbeth” via the versatile Alan Cumming. You heard it correctly: the “Scottish play” as a one-man show!
Revival Mania: the 2013 New York Theatre Season kicks into high gear!