In New York last week, I caught up with three theater muck-a-mucks with Chicago connections: director Gary Griffin, performer Andre De Shields and actor/writer Charles Busch.
At this very moment Griffin is enjoying a two-week holiday in Costa Rica, and he's earned it, having had two Chicago productions running at the same time, "As You Like It" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (through March 6) and "The Mikado" at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He also found time for a concert staging of "Lost in the Stars" for New York's City Center Encores! Series, with which Griffin has been associated for some years. I saw "Lost in the Stars," the 1948 musical by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson based on Alan Paton's novel, "Cry, the Beloved Country." The musical adaptation is a simply-told but deeply affecting tale of South Africa at the time Apartheid was becoming official government policy in the late 1940's. Its tale of two fathers, black and white, who bridge the racial divide through mutual grief, remains profoundly moving. It may be Weill's most richly melodic score and it was beautifully sung (only the black characters sing), played and staged at City Center. As soon as he returns from Costa Rica, Griffin heads to Canada for his third season with the Stratford Festival, where he'll stage a lavish production of "Camelot" (April 16-Oct. 30).
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