‘Rappaport’ kicks off flurry of B’way activity

'Enchanted,' 'Nine,' 'Blue/Orange' prep for new season

The new Broadway season kicked off Thursday with the Judd Hirsch-Ben Vereen starrer “I’m Not Rappaport.” Elsewhere, Gotham was rife with production and casting news regarding upcoming projects.

  • Elizabeth Ashley, Mia Kirshner and Molly Ringwald will headline Matthew Barber’s new stage version of the oft-adapted “Enchanted April,” by Elizabeth von Arnim. Lead producer Jeffrey Richards confirmed the casting. Michael Wilson, who helmed the play’s world premiere at Hartford Stage two years ago, will once again take up the reins. Rehearsals will begin in February for an April opening on Broadway.

  • Antonio Banderas may find himself wooing Jane Krakowski, Chita Rivera and Saundra Santiago in the Roundabout’s 2003 revival of “Nine,” by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston. There are about 20 other femme roles to be filled in the tuner version of Fellini’s classic “8½.” Roundabout did not confirm the casting.

  • Expected for Broadway last season, “Blue/Orange” will go the downtown route instead with a production this fall at the Atlantic Theater Co.

    Joe Penhall’s much lauded play about the psychiatric treatment of a troubled young black man was first presented at the Royal National Theater in 2000. When producers Michael Codron and Lee Dean transferred it to the West End the following year, expectations were that “Blue/Orange” would come to Broadway, possibly under the auspices of either Elizabeth I. McCann or Scott Rudin.

    Now skedded for Off Broadway, the play’s Gotham preem is set for Nov. 24. The Atlantic’s new season will open a few weeks earlier, Oct. 2, with George S. Kaufman’s “The Butter and Egg Man,” with David Pittu directing. The Atlantic also will present Conor McPherson’s “Dublin Carol” (Feb. 20) under the direction of the playwright.

  • As previously reported in Daily Variety, Dodger Stage Holding Theatricals has leased 55,361 square feet of space at Worldwide Plaza (off 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th streets) to convert into five theaters and one rehearsal space. The seating capacity of the theaters has not yet been determined. Formerly occupied by Cineplex Odeon, the theaters will be renamed Dodger Stages.

    In a written statement, Michael David of the Dodgers said the new venues would be up and running mid-year 2003. The legit org is currently represented on Broadway with “42nd Street,” “Into the Woods” and “Urinetown.”

  • They said it couldn’t be done, but an Off Broadway show has actually recouped! After just two months of perfs, and capitalized at an ultrafrugal $100,000, “Capitol Steps: When Bush Comes to Shove” has returned its initial investment at the John Houseman Theater.

    Meanwhile, “Thunder Knocking on the Door” will close at the Minetta Lane Theater Sunday after a mere six-week run. It joins the list of such recent downtown B.O. losers as “Bat Boy,” “The Last 5 Years,” “Reefer Madness,” “Summer of “42nd” and “Tick, Tick . . . Boom.”

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