'Proof,' 'Syracuse,' 'Friends' also add thesps

NEW YORK — The first major postponement of the 2002-03 Broadway season arrived ahead of schedule. The producers of “The Boy From Oz” have pushed back their Broadway opening from spring to September 2003. As for the good news, Hugh Jackman has signed to headline as the late entertainer Peter Allen.

Thesp had been expected to sign with the production after performing in a workshop of the musical last month.

Other Broadway commitments have also been inked:

  •  Len Cariou plays dad to Anne Heche’s troubled daughter in the upcoming cast of “Proof.” Jennifer Jason Leigh and company leave David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama on June 30.

  •  At the American Airlines Theater, the Roundabout’s mega-cast for “The Boys From Syracuse” includes Jonathan Dokuchitz, Deidre Goodwin, Jackee Harry, Tom Hewitt, Lauren Mitchell, Lee Wilkof and Chip Zien. The Rodgers & Hart revival begins previews July 24 and opens in August under the direction of Scott Ellis.

  • Over at Nora Ephron’s “Imaginary Friends,” Christine Baranski essayed Lillian Hellman in the workshop but Swoozie Kurtz will play the “Pentimento” scribe to Cherry Jones’ Mary McCarthy in the full Broadway production, set to open in December after an autumn run at San Diego’s Old Globe.

    Ephron calls it a play, even though “Imaginary Friends” contains up to seven new songs by the “Sweet Smell of Success” team, Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia.

Can a play be eligible for the Tony award for score? In 1999, Jeanine Tesori was nominated for scoring “Twelfth Night,” which also took a nom for revival of a play.

Speaking of the Tonys, Sunday night’s celebration could have used the drama of the current “Metamorphoses” ad snafu in the New York Times. Edward Albee’s “The Goat” took the best play Tony, but the suddenly infamous advertisement has claimed “Metamorphoses” the winner. Elizabeth I. McCann, producer “The Goat,” came out swinging.

“This is clearly negligence on the part of the New York Times and/or the Serino-Coyne ad agency,” she claimed in a written statement.

“Two shows have been hurt by this, and someone must be held accountable. If someone runs a red light, and someone gets hurt, a simple apology doesn’t fix that. But, for the record, we have yet to receive a public apology, retraction or admission of responsibility from the New York Times or the ad agency.”

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