'Baby,' 'Normal Heart' open on same night
NEW YORK — Broadway got so jammed in its final week that legit producers opened two shows on the 2010-11 season’s penultimate night, April 28: the new tuner “Baby It’s You,” about the Shirelles, and a revival of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.”The lawsuit launched that day by the Shirelles didn’t seem to dampen the party mood at the Bowlmor Lanes. Most of the “Baby” participants claimed ignorance, declaring the original girl group as their absolute fave. “I also love the Supremes,” said co-director Sheldon Epps. “But without the Shirelles, there might not have been the Supremes.” “My favorite girl group?” asked star Beth Leavel, who plays the late record producer Florence Greenberg. “That’s tough. The Shirelles, of course!” Only costar Allan Louis disagreed. “The Ronettes. Ronnie Spector! That voice? Damn girl!” Over at the Edison party for “Heart,” Kramer was very happy with the early rave reviews. “I’m hoping Barbra Streisand is reading those,” he said. “She had it for 10 years! Now Ryan Murphy has optioned it for a lot of money,” with Mark Ruffalo announced to star as Kramer’s altar ego Ned Weeks. Ellen Barkin made her Broadway debut with the AIDS drama. She credited her costar and helmer with a lot of the show’s success. “We did this in 12 days of rehearsals and 10 previews. Joe Mantello said to me, ‘We’ll do this. Trust George Wolfe.’ And I did.”
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