The grande dames of theater are all over the news this week, whether they’re returning to center stage or passing on to that great big curtain call in the sky.
Stephen Sondheim, who is the closest a Broadway composer-lyricist comes to being a grande dame, will have his classic songs paired with the writings of ’60s poet Charles Bukowski in a show humorously titled B.S.: Bukowski.Sondheim, the brainchild of the California Repertory Company’s Joanne Gordon. How does she plan to puzzle together the writers’ very opposing styles? “It’s a mélange, it’s a collage,” says Gordon. “I don’t know what you want to call it, but it’s B.S.” For her sake, let’s hope critics don’t agree. [New York Times]
Is cult fave TV show Pushing Daisies headed for the stage? When asked at San Diego’s Comic-Con about a potential stage adaptation, series creator Bryan Fuller replied, “Perhaps! I can’t really say until it’s confirmed. But perhaps. We’re working on something that is definitely a Pushing Daisies revival, and the idea would be to have as many cast [members] as we can to participate in it.” Considering the show is packed with veteran stage actors like Lee Pace, Ellen Greene and Kristin Chenoweth, an all-star musical version may not be a shabby idea. [Broadway.com]
Jennifer Holliday returns to the role that made her an overnight sensation 31 years ago. Starting this week she’s stepped back into her Tony-winning role of Effie White in a production of Dreamgirls at the Muny in St. Louis. It doesn’t matter that Ms. Holliday is three decades too old for the role: Girl looks fantastic, and you bet your booty her killer pipes are rattling the stars above the Muny’s outdoor stage. Besides, her age will bring added nuance to the second act, when Effie’s a washed-up has-been. If you can’t make it to St. Louis, check out this always welcome classic clip of Holliday blowing the roof off with “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” [Playbill]
We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out a new play by famed funny gay playwright Paul Rudnick, who penned the classic ’90s AIDS comedy Jeffrey and the hilariously sacrilegious The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. In August, his new short play, Cabin Pressure, will debut at New York’s Summer Shorts Festival. If it’s like his previous work, it promises a witty romp through the silliest corners of gayland. [Summer Shorts Festival]
A moment of silence for the great Celeste Holm (1917-2012), the theater and film star who died on Sunday. Most gays of a certain age remember her Margo Channing’s bestie in All About Eve, but Holm also had a remarkable career on the Broadway stage, having originated the role of the man-loving Ado Annie in Oklahoma! During the ’50s and ’60s, she filled in for Gertrude Lawrence in The King and I and for Angela Lansbury in Mame. Newbie gays should immediately Netflix her films (including Gentlemen’s Agreement, for which she won an Oscar). After one viewing, her indelible sparkle and sophisticate’s delivery will win you over instantly. [NYT]