What's happening on the stage
A Real Grabber
The ghost of Carrie is reaching out from beyond the grave. In addition to next year’s big-screen sequel to the 1976 movie, interest in the notorious 1988 Broadway musical flop (which starred Betty Buckley and featured teens singing ”Out for Blood” while slaughtering a pig) is heating up. New York drag performer Varla Jean Merman (the alter ego of six-foot-two-inch Jeff Roberson) has been performing numbers from the show in various downtown venues; on Halloween, in fact, he was joined by Buckley herself for a mini-Carrie concert at the Bottom Line. And a website devoted to the show earnestly asks the question ”What went wrong?” Here’s an even more disturbing question: Could a revival be far behind? ”The show has some really underappreciated music,” says Buckley. ”I think it could be revisited in any number of ways, large in scope as before or Varla’s way.”
Leonardo DiCaprio made headlines when he got high — literally — during a performance of Off Broadway’s De La Guarda (formerly Villa Villa), in which members of the troupe swoop down on cables and pick standing audience members off their feet. But he’s not the only famous face who’s gotten carried away during the hit Argentinean import. Other faces in the crowd have included Drew Barrymore, David Schwimmer, Jewel, and Cameron Diaz, who also took flight (like Leo, she was returned to earth unscathed). Madonna, on the other hand, remained grounded on the sidelines. ”In this kind of show everybody has access to you, and she probably preferred not to have that,” says Amo Gulinello, the show’s self-proclaimed ”fly guy” who scopes out willing celebrities. ”Cameron Diaz was by far my favorite,” he says. ”She was right there in the middle, having a great time and taking part like everyone else.”
Broadway’s Rent features a cross-dresser in a Mrs. Santa suit, but perhaps it’s not the ideal holiday theater outing for kids. Other options include A Christmas Carol, starring Roger Daltrey as Scrooge; Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular; New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker; Grimm Tales; Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby; and Fool Moon, starring master clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner.