NEW YORK — Howard Panter of London’s Ambassador Group was in town to scout locations for “Doctor Faustus,” which closes May 4 at the Young Vic with Jude Law.
No, Panter and Law are not turning the Marlowe classic into a movie, but neither are they necessarily looking for a traditional space, i.e., a Broadway theater, in which to present David Lan’s production.
“So far we’ve looked at an old supermarket, a cinema and the piers,” Panter reveals. “We’re looking to give the audience that interplanetary experience.”
At the Young Vic, the production achieved that lofty aim by utilizing what the producer calls “a huge pit and a large ramp that runs through the auditorium.”
Not that Panter is ruling out a Broadway house. He says “Doctor Faustus” will be coming into New York City “exactly a year from now,” which happens to be the cutoff for the 2002-03 Tony noms. And it’s unlikely the Marlowe classic will nab any of those if it’s performed in an abandoned Gristede’s.
Busby tuner on tap
Looking beyond their “Lysistrata” brouhaha at Boston’s American Repertory Theater, the team of Larry Gelbart, Alan Menken and David Zippel are at work on a 90-minute musical entitled “Buzz!!” Marty Ehrlichman is producing, with Robert Jess Roth on board as director.
Designed for Las Vegas, the show chronicles the life of Busby Berkeley as told through 10 “Golddiggers”-style production numbers. As Zippel says of the show, “Nothing succeeds like excess.”
Closer to fruition is “Princesses,” which Zippel has penned with book writers Bill and Cheri Steinkellner (“Cheers”) and composer Matthew Wilder, the lyricist’s collaborator for the Disney film “Mulan.” Zippel had been approached about turning “The Little Princess” into a musical, but preferred the concept of a tuner-within-a-tuner in which 15 contempo Eastside girls put on a school production of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic.
“Princesses” workshops this month in L.A. under the auspices of producers James Tod and Susan Dietz.
B’way in clover
A recent New York Times piece recently made the pronouncement that “male singing stars are as elusive as four-leaf clovers,” but say what you will about the tuners of 2001-02, the new-guy talent heading those preems provided many of this season’s high points. There was Raul Esparza in “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” Hunter Foster in “Urinetown,” Norbert Leo Butz in “Thou Shalt Not” and “The Last Five Years” and Brian D’Arcy James in “Sweet Smell of Success.”
Add to that list Gavin Creel, who turned 26 and made his Broadway debut on April 18 in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
To these eyes and ears, Creel is the rarest commodity in the theater: a tenor who possesses the charm and looks of a young Jimmy Stewart.
Creel made it up through the ranks the new-fashioned way, via workshops and readings. After a brief stint on tour in “Fame,” he landed his first Gotham gig last spring as a member of the tribe in “Hair” at Encores!
Championed by casting directors Jim Carnahan and Bernard Telsey, Creel soon started appearing in all sorts of workshops and readings, including those for “Curtains,” “Mask,” “Hairspray,” “Wicked” and “Spring Awakening,” which led him to “Millie” helmer Michael Mayer, who was looking for a male lead of the right stature to play opposite the quite tall Sutton Foster.
When it comes to bemoaning the present, it’s best to remember the past: For every Richard Kiley, Broadway also gave us Sydney Chaplin.