American Graffiti

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Indy Lifestyle Online
That resounding thud New Yorkers will hear next week is the final curtain coming down on Paul Simon's much-hyped $11m musical The Capeman. Concluding its troubled run after only two months and 68 performances, it's being called the biggest flop in Broadway history. (It's been a harsh winter on the Great White Way: January saw the demise of money-losers like Side Show, a multi-million- dollar musical about Siamese twins, and Neil Simon's new one, Proposals.) Nine years in the making, The Capeman suffered a few highly publicised setbacks before opening night; choreographer and Broadway neophyte Mark Morris remains the director of record, but theatre veteran Jerry Zaks was called in for last-minute doctoring in early January, and the opening was put back by nearly a month. While generally complimentary of Simon's salsa-based score, critics savaged the show (the New York Times perceptively termed it a "mortally wounded animal"). The Capeman has also been attracting controversy for its subject matter - it's based on the life of Salvador Agron, a young Hell's Kitchen gang member who stabbed two teenagers to death in 1959. Victims'-rights organisations have periodically assembled outside the theatre, clutching signs that proclaimed, "Our loss is $imon's Gain" - not true at all, as it turned out.

On the subject of theatrical debacles, Quentin Tarantino, strikingly terrible actor and singularly shameless individual, is taking to the stage in a revival of a play called Wait Until Dark (the basis of a 1967 film with Audrey Hepburn). Co-starring Marisa Tomei, it opened recently in Boston, and so far, critics have been almost unanimous in their disapproval of the production and, in particular, of Tarantino, who plays - God help us - a psycho killer. "Giggles rather than gasps," said the Boston Herald. "Excruciating," complained the Boston Globe, which described the Tarantino method thus: "straightforward recitation in which his hands do more acting than any other part of his body." With this kind of buzz, there could be picketers forming by the time the production arrives in New York next week.

On the subject of would-be actors who should hang on to their day jobs, Christopher Darden, best known as assistant prosecutor in the OJ trial, appeared last week in a TV movie, fatally titled Crimes of Passion: One Hot Summer Night. In a variation on a suspiciously familiar scenario, Darden played a detective investigating the murder of a sports tycoon; the prime suspects were his widow and her lover. Just how bad was it? New York's Daily News called it the "murder-mystery version of Showgirls", and said, "compared to Darden, Elizabeth Berkley is Meryl Streep".

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