Monday, November 14, 2011

2011 Steinberg Playwright "Mimi" Awards


For three years in a row, I have attended the cocktail hour portion of the Steinberg Playwright "Mimi" Awards, which recognize some playwright or other. Why just the cocktail hour? Why not stick around for the awards portion and the champagne toast at the end? I usually have to hightail it to some other show I need to review.


I arrived at the lobby of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre so early that I was practically the first one there. Wearing a red short sleeve collar shirt and carrying my bike helmet, I certainly stood out. But at least 15 minutes later, the place was packed. I noticed Paul Giamatti among the crowd, who was scheduled to present portions of plays of the honorees (Melissa James Gibson and Lisa d'Amour).

I didn't try to chat with him, but I did introduce myself to Lincoln Center Theater honcho Bernard Gersten, I tried to get a scoop out of him, and learned that Lincoln Center Theater will produce the Broadway mounting of "Clybourne Park" this spring.

I then spoke with Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis. But he warned me out front that he wasn't drunk enough to spill any gossip, as he had done two months ago at a premiere. On a whim, I asked whether the Public has considered doing a Sondheim musical in the park. His deadpan response was as follows: "No, Matt. None of us have ever thought of doing a musical by Stephen Sondheim in the park. You can quote me on that!" He then shared something I never knew: in the original draft of "Sunday in the Park with George," the modern-day park was going to be Central Park around the Delacorte Theatre. I bet the Public would do that version of "Sunday."

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