The Reich Stuff

A fine line always exists in the theater between the playwright's intention and the director's conceptualization of that intention. Perhaps director Garrisan could have shown less-graphic pictures than the ones stipulated by Linney in his script, or not shown any examples of concentration camp horror at all, banking instead on her audiences' familiarity with images of the Holocaust. In that case, the show would not have been overpowered by the footage and would have focused instead on the eerily charismatic figure of Goering. Given the existing script, however, Garrisan didn't have the latitude to make this choice. It's a Catch-22: Linney, it would seem, has not written a sufficiently in-depth account of Goering or of the forces that made him who he was to allow the script to stand on its own.

Stage Whispers
This month, South Florida honors two American theater greats. On Friday, February 23, at 7:30, before the opening-night performance of the musical comedy The Pajama Game, Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables pays tribute to the musical's author, the late George Abbott. The theater will unveil a 24-inch bronze bust of the playwright, created by Cuban-born sculptor Manuel Carbonell, which will remain on display in the Playhouse's lobby at the Miracle Theatre. Abbott's widow, Joy Abbott, who resides in Miami, will be on hand for the dedication. Call 444-9293 for details.

The versatile Abbott -- writer, director, producer, actor, famed script doctor, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and seven Tony awards -- enjoyed an 80-year career working on more than 124 shows, including Damn Yankees, Fiorello, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Along the way he mentored another theater luminary, Hal Prince, who is scheduled to be feted on Monday, February 26, at 7:30 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. At the opening of the Broward Center five years ago, Abbott received the first Muse Award for distinguished service in the arts. This time around, Joy Abbott will present Prince with the second Muse Award. Then Broadway leading lady Elaine Stritch (the revival of Show Boat, the original Company) will host a show featuring Broadway veterans Theodore Bikel, Kevin Gray, Debbie Shapiro Gravitte, Michael Maguire, Kenneth Nichols, and the four men in the baseball chorus of Damn Yankees, who'll serenade the guest of honor with "You Gotta Have Heart." The tribute also includes songs from Prince shows such as West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Follies, Zorba, A Little Night Music, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Evita. Tickets are available for the show only, or for the show plus post-theater gala with Prince and performers. Call 463-0899 for details.

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