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Bit Parts : The Great Spring Shuffle

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The sudden closing (final performance March 28) of Paul Simon's $11 million debacle "The Capeman" has put in motion a just-as-sudden shuffling of shows rarely seen at this late stage in the Broadway season. No sooner did "Capeman" 's home, the Marquis Theatre, become free than it was snatched up by "Forever Tango," the dance show which has been doing brisk weekend business at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The move came just in time for the Atlantic Theatre Company's hit production of Martin McDonaugh's "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," which sold out the day after opening to a sheaf of rave reviews. "Beauty" will close at the Atlantic on April 5 and reopen at the Kerr on April 22.

"Beauty" 's move to Broadway stiffens the competition for the best play Tony in a season which already boast's Yasmina Reza's "Art," David Mamet's "The Old Neighborhood," and the yet-to-open "The Judas Kiss," by David Hare, "The Golden Child," by David Henry Hwang, and "The Herbal Bed" by Peter Whelan.

Throat Surgery for Julie

Julie Andrews' surgery to remove non-cancerous throat nodules may prevent her from future starring roles on Broadway.

Reports from both The Associated Press and the New York Post say that Andrews is recovering in Switzerland. They quote producer Tony Adams--business partner of Andrews' producer-director husband Blake Edwards--as saying that blood vessels in Andews' throat burst when she tries to sing. Doctors have advised her to refrain from vocalizing for several months. Adams said concert performances might be feasible in the future, but not eight performances a week, as required on the Great White Way.

"InTheater" v. Morehouse

After years of, shall we say, creative, but largely unchallenged, reporting, New York Post theatre newshound Ward Morehouse III seems to have found a regular nemesis in the new theatre weekly InTheater.

Several months ago, the publication ran a lengthy piece in which writer David Barbour took Morehouse to task for sloppy and irresponsible reportage. And, last week, on InTheater's new website at www.intheater.com, columnist Ken Mandelbaum all but accused Ward of the high crime of rumour theft.

Calling Morehouse "notoriously bumbling," Mandelbaum insinuated that the Post writer raided Mandelbaum's site for fodder for his Friday column. As evidence, Mandelbaum cited an item about Angela Lansbury's starring in a new musical version of Durrenmaut's "The Visit," which appeared in Mandelbaum's "Minute by Minute" column before showing up in Morehouse's pages. Mandelbaum, who is very vocal in his protection of scoops, also implicated rival web-site Playbill-on-Line.

(Incidently, Mandelbaum also charged Morehouse with stealing a March 3 item about the Tovah Feldshuh showcase "Tallulah's Party" changing venue from the now-closed Homefront. That may be, but Back Stage reported on the shift a full two weeks before. Maybe Morehouse stole it from us. Who knows? What's more, who cares?)

Texas Gun Play

If you think the need for private rehearsal space is serious in New York, listen to this Texas tale:

Actor Katherine Catmull and director Ken Webster were rehearsing Nicky Silver's "The Food Chain" at their Austin home with other actors, preparing for Mid-March performances at Hyde Park Theatre.

Seems it was a yelling, gun-waving scene. Seems the alarmed neighbors saw through unshaded French doors. Seems 15 cops descended.

Catmull told The Austin Chronicle, "They separated me and Ken for a pretty tough questioning." Then, seeing that the play truly was the thing, the semi-amused protectors departed. Catmull, Webster and their neighbors followed with a Neil Simonesque scene of trying to out-apologize each other.

Drama Desk Nominations at the Friars

Get ready for awards season. Announcements are beginning to be made about the numerous accolades to be bestowed at the end of the season. The nominees for the Drama Desk Awards will be announced on Mon., April 27 at 10 am at the Friars Club. Comedian Freddie Roman, Dean of the Friars, will introduce the event which will be covered live by New York-1 News. The list of nominees will be read by two of last year's DD winners, Robert Cuccioli ("Jekyll & Hyde") and Lillias White ("The Life"). The awards themselves will be presented on Sun., May 17 at 9 pm at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse. The ceremony will also be televised by New York-1.

--Roger Armbrust, David Sheward, and Robert Simonso

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