On the heels of the announcement that The Miracle Worker will be closing early comes the news that another Broadway show, All About Me, will be shuttering on the same date, April 4. All About Me, the Broadway comedy and music show starring Dame Edna Everage and singer/pianist Michael Feinstein, was scheduled to run until July, but inadequate reviews and low ticket sales prompted the producers to close the show only a few weeks into its run. Written by the show’s stars along with playwright Christopher Durang, and directed by Casey Nicholaw (Jerry Zaks was originally scheduled to direct, but pulled out in order to work on The Addams Family), All About Me had lackluster word-of-mouth early during previews, the general feeling being that the pairing of these two very different types of performers didn’t make much sense. Feinstein is known primarily as an interpreter of the American songbook, while Dame Edna is a larger-than-life personality with a wicked sense of humor. It’s possible that they both would have fared better if, as was originally reported in the publicity stunt pulled prior to their show’s official announcement, they had each gone solo on Broadway.
The new Broadway show All About Me opens tonight at Henry Miller’s Theatre. The unusual hybrid show, which combines music and comedy, stars gladiola-loving comedienne Dame Edna Everage and singer/pianist Michael Feinstein, both of whom usually perform solo. Their duo show was first announced via a publicity stunt in which each performer had pretended to be bringing individual but similarly-titled shows to Broadway. However, it was subsequently revealed that they would actually be starring alongside one another in a piece written by playwright Christopher Durang. Dame Edna (aka Barry Humphries) has had two shows on Broadway previously, Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance in 2004, and 1999′s The Royal Tour, for which he/she won a Tony Award. Feinstein has previously appeared on Broadway in a handful of concert specials.
The great Dame Edna (otherwise known as Barry Humphries) has no equal. But now she has an understudy.
Auditions were held yesterday in New York to find an “honorary” understudy for the soon-to-open Broadway vehicle “All About Me.” (It starts previews on Monday, February 22 at Henry Miller’s Theater and opens Thursday, March 18.)
Actors (who of course came dressed as the Great Dame) performed a two-minute audition, including a monologue, performance piece, or dance movement. They were also asked to sing.
What were the criteria? Contestants were judged on costume, makeup, accent and “Dame-like demeanor.” You’d know it if you saw it.
Judges included the dame herself, as well as Michael Feinstein, who co-stars in the production, as well as several media bigwigs: Broadway critic Michael Riedel (The New York Post), entertainment writer Michael Musto (The Village Voice), and NY1’s Frank DiLella. The show was co-written by Humphries and Feinstein, along with playwright Christopher Durang (“Beyond Therapy”).
The Dame, the alter ego of comedian Barry Humphries, has to her credit performances for the royal family, television appearances, Broadway shows, books, and the adoration of fans worldwide. Her hometown, Melbourne, renamed a city street in her honor. She is known for her lilac hair and cat’s-eye glasses.
The winner of the contest—ta-da! was Scott Mason, who has worked professionally as a Dame Edna impersonator. He will receive a Playbill credit.
Dame Edna Everage has her Honorary Understudy, and his name is Scott Mason. The honor was bestowed upon Mason on Wednesday morning when he won a contest being held at Henry Miller’s Theatre, where Dame Edna’s new show All About Me is soon opening. Among the contest’s judges, which scored the participants on criteria such as make-up, costume, and accent, were Michael Musto and New York Post columnist Michael Riedel. Dame Edna herself (aka Barry Humphries) and All About Me co-star Michael Feinstein had their say as well, of course. Although he will receive a credit in the show’s Playbill, Scott Mason’s role as official understudy will be purely honorary (after all, there is only one Dame Edna Everage). However, Mason is no stranger to playing the good Dame – he has worked extensively as a professional Dame Edna impersonator.
All About Me, the forthcoming Broadway show featuring Dame Edna Everage and Michael Feinstein, is still a few months away from opening but has already re-located. Instead of playing the John Golden Theatre as originally announced, All About Me will instead take over Henry Miller’s Theatre. The Henry Miller’s is set to be vacated by current tenant Bye Bye Birdie, which recently announced that it will be closing in late January. This is an interesting development considering that it now appears that Roundabout Theatre Company, which acquired the theater as its third Broadway space, may actually be regularly renting it out to commercial productions to raise money for the company.
Following a lighthearted publicity stunt in which both artists announced separate upcoming Broadway shows with suspiciously similar titles, Australian drag comedian Dame Edna Everage (also known as Barry Humphries) and piano man/crooner Michael Feinstein (who has just released an album with Broadway actor/singer Cheyenne Jackson) have finally admitted that the new musical entertainment All About Me will be a joint theatrical effort between the two experienced and distinguished performers. Directed by Broadway veteran Jerry Zaks and written by playwright Christopher Durang, the show will begin performances on March 6, 2010, with an official Broadway opening on March 23. A theater has not yet been announced.