Artbeat: Theater | 2001

Artbeat: Theater | 2001

Mel Brooks's new musical, Joseph Fiennes, Tom Sawyer and Hamlet in Seattle

In Mel Brooks's new musical The Producers, based on his 1968 film of the same name, Nathan Lane plays a down-on-his-luck theater producer and a bookish Matthew Broderick is his bumbling accountant. Together they hatch a scheme to raise more than enough money to stage a guaranteed flop and run off with the remaining cash. Indeed their brainchild, Springtime for Hitler, proves to be entirely offensive. The rest is a good deal less predictable. The Producers, St. James Theatre, opens April 19; 212/239-6200.

Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, opens March 13; 44-208/741-2311.

A stage adaptation of Robin Maugham's novel (made into a film by cult director Joseph Losey in 1963) in which a cunning manservant becomes master of his vulnerable employer.

MOUTH TO MOUTH Royal Court Theatre, Feb. 1—March 10; 44-207/565-5000.
British stage sensation Lindsay Duncan stars in this new play by Kevin Elyot (My Night with Reg) about a pair of old friends haunted by a tragedy brought about by their hidden passions.

LULU Almeida Theatre, opens March 1; 44-207/359-4404.
In this adaptation of the original Lulu plays — written in 1894 — Anna Friel (Closer) plays a femme fatale who threatens to destroy herself and her lovers.

Crucible Theatre, March 8—31; 44-114/249-6000.

Joseph Fiennes stars in Christopher Marlowe's bloody Elizabethan drama about an emasculated king who is murdered by power-hungry barons.

New York
Belasco Theatre, opens April 15; 212/947-8844.

Matthew Warchus (known for the recent hits Art, True West) directs this much-anticipated revival of the 1971 Sondheim musical, in which a group of Broadway showgirls reminisce about their pasts. They gather at the theater where they perform (you're supposed to know it's the Ziegfeld), scheduled to be torn down the next day.

Minskoff Theater, opens April 26; 800/755-4000 or 212/307-4100.

Mark Twain's classic novel about life in 19th-century Missouri is set to music by composer Don Schlitz, whose songwriting credits include the country hits "The Gambler" and "Forever and Ever Amen."

Manhattan Theatre Club, opens March 20; 212/581-1212.

In the tradition of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Rodgers and Hart, this new musical revue takes a satirical look at making it in New York. Composer Stephen Weiner and lyricist Glenn Slater keep it hip.

Goodman Theatre, through March 4; 312/443-3800.

In Alan Ayckbourn's two new plays, the actors run back and forth between neighboring stages, delivering two versions of the story of Englishman Teddy Platt, a womanizer maneuvering for a seat in Parliament. Desperate to clean up his act before an envoy of the prime minister arrives, Teddy tries to explain his behavior to his wife (House), while outside he carries on with a French actress (Garden).

Mercer Arena, April 6—19; 206/443-2222.

Iconoclastic director Peter Brook puts on Shakespeare's play with a small cast of Asian, African, and European actors. Adrian Lester (Primary Colors) is the Danish prince.

A downtown Los Angeles fleabag motel, called the Million Dollar Hotel by its residents, becomes the focus of a murder case in German filmmaker Wim Wenders's latest. A junkie named Izzy is found dead in his room; when he turns out to be the son of a tycoon, Detective Skinner (Mel Gibson) embarks on a surreal investigation. The U2 sound track gives this neo-noir a pop spin, while the script, co-written by Bono and Nicholas Klein, keeps it hard-boiled. (Catch Amanda Plummer as a delusional romantic and Jimmy Smits as a smooth-talking con man.) Opens this month.

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