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Behind the Curtain: Reworked 'Gigi' in works for B'way adaptation, more

Heidi Thomas

Heidi Thomas Credit: Heidi Thomas (Getty Images)

Reworked ‘Gigi’ in the works for Broadway adaptation
A new stage adaptation of the MGM movie musical “Gigi,” which was previously staged on Broadway in the 1970s, is in the works. It will be directed by Eric D. Schaeffer, who staged last season’s revival of Sondheim’s “Follies,” with a revised book by Emmy-nominated screenwriter Heidi Thomas. Set in La Belle Époque-period Paris, “Gigi” observes how a cute young girl is turned into a knockout.

Encores! ponders movie theater transmissions
Although the Metropolitan Opera has achieved considerable success with its live transmissions of performances at movie theaters throughout the country, Broadway has yet to catch on. A filmed version of the musical “Memphis” failed to garner enthusiasm two years ago, but at an audience talkback following the Saturday matinee of “It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman,” City Center Encores! artistic director Jack Viertel said that City Center is in “active discussions” with producers about offering screenings of future Encores! productions.

Playwrights artistic director defends divisive play
In a rare and very unusual move, Tim Sanford, artistic director of Playwrights Horizons, emailed a letter to thousands of the theater’s subscribers last weekend to defend Annie Baker’s new play “The Flick,” which won raves from some critics but has angered countless others due to its length, many pauses and slow pace. “Annie had a vision and this production beautifully executes that vision,” Sanford wrote. He noted how many subscribers have walked out at intermission and complained “emphatically” to the house manager about the play.

‘Comet’ to make comeback in meatpacking district
“Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” an electro-pop opera based on “War and Peace” that briefly played the nightclub Ars Nova a few months ago, will be remounted in May at Kazino, a new meatpacking district venue being created specifically for the show, which will resemble a Russian supper club.

Kazee finally addresses his absence from ‘Once’ musical
Steve Kazee, who officially exited the musical “Once” last weekend but had been out of the show on vocal rest since early February, finally addressed the situation on his personal blog. Kazee said that he sustained a “vocal injury” on Feb. 6, and although he is getting better, he ran the “risk of hemorrhaging a vocal cord” if he re-entered the show too soon. “This is not how I had imagined the run of the show would end for me, and to say it has been disappointing would be understating it quite a bit,” he wrote.

Protesters show up at first preview of ‘Testament’
Dozens of protesters representing the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, a Pennsylvania-based Catholic group, protested outside the Walter Kerr Theatre on Monday night before the first preview performance of “The Testament of Mary,” as reported by Colm Tóibín’s play, which is based on his novel, depicts the Virgin Mary after the death of Jesus. On its website, the group called the novel “blasphemous.” In a statement provided by, the show’s producers said the show “is neither anti-Mary nor anti-Christianity, but rather a portrait of a very human woman.”

‘Mormon’ panned in London, but still brings in big bucks
Unlike its rapturous reception on Broadway, the London critics did not take kindly to “The Book of Mormon,” which just opened there. The Daily Mail found it to be “a cowardly, coarse, cynical show, worth avoiding.” The Times went so far as to call it “pretty racist.” But the musical still managed to break the record in London for the most money earned in ticket sales by any show in a single day.

Spotted …
Neil Simon at “Hands on a Hardbody” … Shia LaBeouf at the first preview performance of “Orphans” … Joe Biden at “Once” … Aretha Franklin at “Motown” … Robert DeNiro, Tommy Mottola and Jim Carrey at “Lucky Guy.”

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