Monday, February 18, 2008

In the pipeline for 2009

I'm looking forward to the first time I see a show on tour that I first saw on Broadway. It'll be fun to compare the two versions. I'm not sure when it'll happen or which one it'll be, but at least there's a starting date for the tour of my first Broadway musical, Curtains.

Thanks to a link on the Broadway World message boards, which I check regularly throughout the day, I found the site for the Avid Touring Group. It lists the North American tour as beginning in September 2009. No word yet as to where it'll kick off, but I'm hoping it'll be Boston's Colonial Theatre, where the backstage murder mystery takes place.

Other touring productions on Avid's fall 2009 roster are two current Broadway comedies: The 39 Steps and Is He Dead? It'll be interesting to see how they do, because they're not musicals and they're not plays that are terribly well known.

I saw The 39 Steps last fall, during its pre-Broadway tryout in Boston, and I loved it. But I'm not sure how well it'll do on tour. A large part of the humor comes from knowing the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock movie that it re-creates. On the other hand, the show is pretty inspired. It does a lot with four actors and a few props. There's a lot of physical, slapstick humor that I think would be pretty hilarious even if you've never seen the movie.

I haven't seen Is He Dead?, a long-lost play by Mark Twain about a struggling artist who fakes his death to drive up the price of its paintings. It's gotten good reviews, but I think a lot of those are based on the comedic talents of its star, Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz. Avid lists the show as being "in the pipeline."

One show that I'm hoping will come my way this fall needs no introduction. It's the musical Happy Days, based on the hit tv series. Happy Days begins its 1950s nostalgia-laden tour on Oct. 31 at Southern California's La Mirada Theatre. Shouldn't it be launching in Milwaukee?

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