Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Black Cat Has More Than One Life

Black Cat Has More Than One Life

Despite those cat fights you might have read about this morning in Michael Riedel's column (New York Post), an all-African American version of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof gained a second life and is apparently moving toward a fall Broadway berth, according to Playbill.

After Riedel's column appeared this morning -- all but saying it was over due to "'inexperienced, inept and insane' producing" that resulted in planned star Forest Whitaker and director Kenny Leon withdrawing from the project -- The Playgoer argued forcefully that any attempt at such a production "seems like a classic case of something August Wilson once decried as fake black theatre."

Later this afternoon, producer Stephen Byrd's pronouncement appeared on indicating that the show must -- and will -- go on. While Leon is out, Debbie Allen (pictured) is in at the helm, while her sister Phylicia Rashad will portray Big Mamma. In lieu of Whitaker, Byrd is hoping to lure Danny Glover to play Big Daddy; screen star Thandie Newton would take on Maggie. According to Byrd, Blair Underwood and LL Cool J are being discussed for the pivotal role of Brick. Certainly an all-star cast, but not necessarily one chock full of stage veterans (save for Rashad and Glover).

While critics were quick to remind us of the scant seven years that have passed since the last A Moon For The Misbegotten revival, I can only imagine how catty they might become over a new Cat On A Hot Tin Roof incarnation, coming a mere three years after the last "all-star" revival hit the Great White Way.

One does wonder what Messrs. Wilson and Williams would have thought.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 12 April, 2007, Blogger Sarah B. Roberts said...

Blair Underwood is at least comparable to Paul Newman's looks, but Anthony Mackie has the acting chops for Brick. I caught him in McReele and was blown away. If Phylicia Rashad decided to read the yellow pages on the sidewalk, I'd buy a ticket.

At 12 April, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah, I think Blair Underwood could smolder in just about anything he's in.

At 15 April, 2007, Blogger Cameron Kelsall said...

Unfortunately, Underwood (a solid film actor) has no stage presence whatsoever, as was evidenced with his performance in the Encores staging of Purlie. He's boring on stage. I agree with sarahb that Mackie would be the best choice--he's one of the most exciting young actors working in theatre today--but I doubt he's high profile enough for this production. The producers are looking for stars, whether they're right for the roles or not.

At 17 April, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Cameron, Thanks for sharing. That's disappointing to hear (I didn't see the Encores! staging of Purlie).


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