Monday, June 11, 2007

Douglas Carter Beane, Playwright and Screenwriter

JULY 12th, 2007 & MAY 13, 2008

The "culturally with-it" Evelyn Gibbons emailed me this morning and told me of a local resident who was profiled in Sunday's Citizens' Voice for his nomination for Best Play at the 2007 Tony Awards. His name is Douglas Carter Beane, and he has lived in both the Wilkes-Barre and Tunkhannock areas of Pennsylvania.

According to the article "Tony Nominee Recalls Summers at Lake Carey," (published in the Sunday Voice on Sunday, June 10th, 2007, page A5), Douglas Carter Beane was born spent part of his childhood in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and at a summer cottage on Lake Carey in Wyoming County.

However, in another interview, this one with Oasis Magazine, Beane confirms he was actually born in Wilkes-Barre--in General Hospital, to be precise.

Beane was nominated for a 2007 Tony Award for Best Play for The Little Dog Laughed, starring Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!, Dead Man On Campus) and Julie White (who won a Best Actress Tony Award for her role). The Little Dog Laughed tells the story of an up-and-coming Hollywood actor whose budding homosexuality potentially threatens his career. The play ran for 122 performances at Broadway's Colt Theatre in New York City.

Beane also wrote the screenplay for the 1995 comedy To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar; the film starred Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo as three transvestives whose car breaks down in a small town on their way to a drag queen beauty contest in Los Angeles.

Beane's most recent work was writing the book for Broadway's upcoming musical Xanadu, based on the 1980 film starring Olivia Newton-John as a muse who inspires an aspiring artist to create a rollerdisco. In previews now (in fact, I have a ticket for this upcoming Sunday's preview), Xanadu on Broadway is scheduled to officially open June 26th, 2007 at the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York City. To watch a short video of rehearsals for the show, featuring Douglas Carter Beane, click here.

Beane also serves as Writer/Artistic Director of the Drama Dept., a non-profit theater collective of actors, writers, directors, designers and stage managers--its rouster of members includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Peter Gallagher and Patricia Clarkson.

Douglas Carter Beane was also profiled in this past Sunday's Times-Tribune. The article titled, "Playwright With Local Ties Nominated for Tony Award," can be read online by clicking here.

To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar is available to borrow on both DVD and VHS from libraries throughout the Lackawanna County Library System. To place a hold on the DVD, click here; to reserve the VHS, click here.

Much thanks to Evelyn Gibbons for this reference.

UPDATED 6/18/07 I attended a preview of Xanadu yesterday afternoon in New York City - and it was FANTASTIC!!!! If you're familiar with the 1980 film version of Xanadu, you'll be happily surprised that Beane only kept the songs and characters, and wrote a funny-as-heck musical comedy in place of the original film script. In addition, the Helen Hayes Theatre is a smaller Broadway theater, so every seat has a GREAT view of the stage. In additon, the theatre also offers a limited number of ON-STAGE SEATING available at the box office.

Unfortunately Douglas Carter Beane wasn't in attendence at Sunday's show, but I did have the pleasure of meeting cast members Kerry Butler (who played Kira, originated in the film version by Olivia Newton-John), Mary Testa (who plays a new character not in the original film, a muse named Melpomene) and the wonderful Jackie Hoffman (who plays another new Muse character, Calliope)--Hoffman was kind enough to pose for a picture with me and even humorously jibed me with a "YOU IDIOT!!!!" when a shaking-and-nervous me had a problem accessing the camera on my cellphone (click here to see it). I told all three actors that I hope Xanadu will be a HUGE hit.

SOME XANANEWS: The official opening date for Xanadu has been changed from from June 26th, 2007 to July 10th, 2007 due to an foot injury by lead actor James Carpinello - he has been replaced by Cheyenne Jackson.

Douglas Carter Beane was profiled in yesterday's New York Times in an article titled "Returning to Broadway on Celestial Roller Skates." The full article can be read online by clicking here. In addition, he also narrates the article in a slideshow of photos from Xanadu exclusively on the New York Times website. You can access the slideshow by clicking here. In addition, to view another rehearsal video for Xanadu, click here.

In summary---if you happen to be in NYC, have 90 minutes (with no intermission) to kill, and want to have a really great time - not to mention see a really fun piece of theatre by an alumni of this area, check out Xanadu on Broadway!

UPDATED AGAIN JULY 12TH, 2007: Xanadu had its offical opening Tuesday, July 11th and received a rave review in Wednesday's New York Times. To read the review, click here.

UPDATED May 13th, 2008: Congratulations to Douglas for earning a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical for Xanadu. For more info, click here.

Also, to see the infamous "You Idiot!" photo of me and Jackie Hoffman described above, it's posted on the offical Xanadu photo blog. Click here to see it (I look like a deer crossed in the headlights, but Jackie looks awesome!).

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