Originally created 12/15/03

All Aboard! 'Twentieth Century' returns to Broadway

NEW YORK -- "Twentieth Century," the classic screwball comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, will find its way to Broadway in March in a new adaptation by Ken Ludwig, author of "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Moon Over Buffalo."

The Roundabout Theatre Company production will star Alec Baldwin as flamboyant impresario Oscar Jaffe and Anne Heche as his tempestuous leading lady, Lily Garland. The ever-battling twosome are reunited on a chaotic train journey from Chicago to New York aboard the Twentieth Century Limited. The director is Walter Bobbie.

"Twentieth Century," first seen on Broadway in 1930, is the next attraction at the Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre. An opening is set for March 28. Preview performances begin Feb. 27. Tickets go on sale Feb. 1 at the American Airlines box office, 227 W. 42nd St., online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or by calling Roundabout Ticket Services, 212-719-1300.

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Broadway ticket availability and capsule reviews of shows as of Dec. 8. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are available at the theaters' box offices for the shows listed. Details about how to obtain tickets appear at the end.

-"Aida." Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child stars through Jan. 25 in Elton John and Tim Rice's crowd-pleaser of a musical based on the ancient Egyptian love triangle. John's music may be the show's initial lure, but audiences will be wowed by designer Bob Crowley's spectacular sets and often outlandish costumes. Palace. Ticketmaster.

-"Anna in the Tropics." Cuban workers in a Florida cigar factory listen to a reading of Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina."' A lyrical, mystical play by Nilo Cruz. Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for drama. Royale. Telecharge.

-"Avenue Q." Love blossoms among the twentysomething set - a group that includes puppets - in this very funny, adult musical comedy that has transferred from off-Broadway. Golden. Telecharge.

-"Beauty and the Beast." For those who want a lavish, literal, live-action version of the delightful Disney animated feature, this is the ticket. Others may be content to rent the film. Lunt-Fontanne. Ticketmaster.

-"Cabaret." A blistering, high-concept revival of the Kander and Ebb musical set in pre-World War II Berlin. Still one of the most memorable musicals of the last four decades. A Roundabout Theatre Company production at Studio 54. Telecharge. Closes Jan. 4.

-"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Ashley Judd, Jason Patric and a marvelous Ned Beatty star in a languid revival of the Tennessee Williams classic. Music Box. Telecharge. Closes Feb. 22.

-"Chicago." A potent revival of the 1975 Bob Fosse musical with a sassy Kander and Ebb score. Broadway's longest running musical revival - and deservedly so. Ambassador. Telecharge.

-"42nd Street." Those tapping feet are back. A loud, relentless revival of one of the biggest musical hits of the 1980s. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Ticketmaster.

-"Golda's Balcony." A forceful Tovah Feldshuh is the legendary Israeli prime minister in a fascinating one-woman show written by William Gibson. Helen Hayes. Telecharge.

-"Gypsy." Bernadette Peters is the ultimate stage mother in a revival of the one of the best musicals Broadway has ever produced. Shubert. Telecharge.

-"Hairspray." The cult John Waters movie set in 1960s Baltimore has been turned into a hilarious, tuneful musical. Harvey Fierstein inherits the role of full-figured Edna Turnblad, played in the film by Divine. Kathy Brier plays perky teen Tracy Turnblad. Winner of eight 2003 Tony Awards, including best musical. Neil Simon. Ticketmaster. Difficult.

-"Henry IV." A stirring adaptation of both parts of Shakespeare's history play performed in one evening. The cast is superb. Richard Easton portrays the title character, Michael Hayden is Prince Hal and a magnificent Kevin Kline plays Falstaff. Vivian Beaumont. Telecharge. Closes Jan. 18. Difficult.

-"I Am My Own Wife." Jefferson Mays stars in Doug Wright's play about a German transvestite who survived both the Nazi and Communist regimes. Lyceum. Telecharge.

-"Little Shop of Horrors." The cheeky 1982 off-Broadway hit about a man-eating plant finds its way to Broadway in a spiffy, much larger production. Telecharge.

-"Mamma Mia!" The London musical sensation featuring the pop songs of ABBA makes it to Broadway. Die-hard ABBA fans will like it best; others may be puzzled. A special "Mamma Mia!" Telecharge number 212-563-5544.

-"Movin' Out." Songs by Billy Joel. Choreography by Twyla Tharp. A dance musical about good friends, taking them from the 1960s onward. The dancing is exuberant; the story less so. Richard Rodgers. Ticketmaster.

-"Never Gonna Dance." A new musical using old Jerome Kern songs. Choreography by Jerry Mitchell of "Hairspray" fame. Broadhurst. Telecharge.

-"Rent." Jonathan Larson's touching and now nostalgic look at struggling artists in New York's East Village. Loosely based on Puccini's opera "La Boheme." Nederlander. Ticketmaster.

-"Taboo." The 1980s London club scene. A new musical about Boy George, written by Boy George and starring Boy George, who does not play himself. That role belongs to Euan Morton who won acclaim for his performance in the London production. Plymouth. Telecharge.

-"Take Me Out." A gay baseball star comes out of the closet and the ramifications it has for his teammates. A play by Richard Greenberg. Winner of three 2003 Tonys, including best play. Walter Kerr. Telecharge. Closes Jan. 4.

-"The Boy From Oz." An appealing and hardworking Hugh Jackman stars as Australian entertainer Peter Allen in this pallid musical autobiography that uses Allen's original songs. Imperial. Telecharge.

-"The Caretaker." Harold Pinter's breakthrough drama, first seen on Broadway in 1961. This Roundabout Theatre Company revival stars Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan and Aidan Gillen. American Airlines. 212-719-1300. Closes Jan. 4.

-"The Lion King." Director Julie Taymor is a modern-day Merlin, creating a stage version of the Disney animated hit that makes you truly believe in the magic of theater. New Amsterdam. Ticketmaster. Difficult on weekends.

-"The Phantom of the Opera." The one with the chandelier. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House is the prime, Grade A example of big Brit musical excess. But all the lavishness does have a purpose in Harold Prince's intelligent production. Majestic. Telecharge.

-"The Producers." A riotous stage version of the Mel Brooks movie. The musical is even better than the film, which is saying something. St. James. A special "Producers" Telecharge number 212-239-5800. Difficult for performances Dec. 30-April 4, when Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick return to the show.

-"The Retreat From Moscow." Eileen Atkins, John Lithgow and Ben Chaplin star in a talky yet occasionally moving play by William Nicholson about the end of a marriage and its effect on the couple's son. Booth. Telecharge.

-"The Violet Hour." Richard Greenberg's odd yet imaginative new play about a fledging book publisher during the early days of the 20th century. Robert Sean Leonard stars. The newly restored Biltmore. Telecharge. Closes Dec. 21.

-"Thoroughly Modern Millie." Sutton Foster is the 1920s flapper in this bubbly stage reworking of the Julie Andrews movie musical. Delta Burke has joined the cast as the villainous Mrs. Meers. Marquis. Ticketmaster.

-"Urinetown: The Musical." The title - and maybe the subject matter - may be outrageous, but this musical spoof is a witty, wickedly entertaining show. Henry Miller. Telecharge. Closes Jan. 18.

-"Wicked." Kristin Chenoweth is the good witch, Idina Menzel the bad witch and Joel Grey the Wizard in an ambitious if problematic new musical based on the Oz novel by Gregory Maguire. Gershwin. Ticketmaster.

-"Wonderful Town." The fabulous Donna Murphy stars in a buoyant revival of the Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green musical based on "My Sister Eileen." Al Hirschfeld. Telecharge.

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The Telecharge number is 212-239-6200 unless otherwise indicated. There is a $6 service charge per ticket, plus a $2.50 handling fee per order.

Ticketmaster is 212-307-4100. There is a $6 service charge per ticket, plus a $3 handling fee per order.

All theaters owned by Jujamcyn - the St. James, Martin Beck, Virginia, Eugene O'Neill and the Walter Kerr - have a $1 surcharge per ticket for theater restoration. Shows that opened in Shubert theaters after Jan. 1, 2001, have a "facilities" surcharge for theater restoration: $1.25 per ticket.

Both Telecharge and Ticketmaster will provide information on specific seat locations. They also have toll-free numbers for theater ticket calls outside New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. For Telecharge call 800-432-7250; for Ticketmaster call 800-755-4000.

The League of American Theaters and Producers has a special telephone line called the Broadway Line for information on most Broadway shows (except "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast") and how to purchase tickets. Calls must be made on a touch-tone phone. The number is 1-888-BROADWAY. The line also will provide information on Broadway touring productions. Consumers in the New York tri-state area may call 212-302-4111.

The TKTS booth in Times Square at Broadway and 47th Street sells same-day discount tickets to Broadway, off-Broadway, music and dance productions. There is a $3 service charge per ticket. Cash or travelers checks only. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday evening performances, 3 p.m.-8 p.m.; matinees Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

The downtown TKTS booth is in the South Street Seaport at the corner of Front and John Streets. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Matinee tickets must be purchased at South Street Seaport the day before, meaning Wednesday matinee tickets are available Tuesday, Saturday matinee tickets are available Friday and Sunday matinee tickets are available Saturday.

Full-price tickets and information on Broadway and off-Broadway shows are available at the Broadway Ticket Center, located on the east side of Broadway between 46th Street and 47th Street. There is a $4.50 service charge per ticket.

For 24-hour information on theater, dance and music performances in New York's five boroughs, call the Theater Development Fund's New York City-On Stage, 212-768-1818.


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