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Joan Marcus, Associated Press
Tony award-winner David Hyde Pierce stars in "Curtains."

It kills me sometimes — frequently actually — that we don't live closer to the Big Apple — the center of the theater universe. How many times must we hear about intimate cabaret performances? Or Kristin Chenoweth performing with the New York Philharmonic (May 20, by the way)? Or Audra McDonald singing at the New Jersey Performing Arts Complex ?(Yes. Jersey has a little bit of art, too). It kills me.

The only way to make it easier is the hope that some of these performances will be recorded for the rest of us. It seems we're in luck.

"Wicked": Over the years, I've learned that anything relating to the mega-hit Broadway musical should be listed first and in bold type. In fact, I might just start putting "Wicked" in bold throughout my column to boost the number of readers!

At any rate, the original Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West), Tony award-winning Idina Menzel, will perform a concert in Manhattan in April. See what I mean about wanting to live there? The concert will feature songs from Menzel's solo CD, "I Stand," and it will be recorded for future broadcast on PBS.

Not so lucky: The same is not true of an intimate cabaret concert scheduled for May 5 by two-time Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara. She starred in the gorgeous "Light in the Piazza" and played opposite the Harry Connick Jr. in "The Pajama Game."

Currently in "South Pacific," O'Hara has recorded her first solo CD, "Wonder of the World." She will be doing the concert to celebrate the release of her CD.

Speaking of "South Pacific": I'm delighted to report that the cast of the first Broadway revival of "South Pacific" will be heading into the recording studio on April 14. The CD is due in stores on May 27. I can't wait. I'm interested in anything O'Hara wants to sing!

Mr. Patinkin: OK, one person IS coming to Utah, Mandy Patinkin! The Emmy and Tony award-winning tenor will be performing at the Browning Center at Weber State University in Ogden on Thursday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, at $$20-$35, are on sale now, and you should call right away. (800-978-8457)

Curtains for "Curtains": The Broadway production of "Curtains" will close June 29. The Tony award-winning show opened on Broadway on March 22, 2007, and will have played 511 performances and 26 previews. With its all-star cast still intact, including Tony award-winner David Hyde Pierce, it's a wonderful show to put on your must-see list if you're heading back East.

Here's the silver lining: Rights will be available for amateur productions, meaning we might see this great musical in Salt Lake City.

"Shrek the Musical": In case you haven't heard, Broadway is gearing up for live stage version of the animated kids' flick. The cast list is now complete, and it looks like it might have potential.

Anytime I see the name Sutton Foster, I'm interested. Foster, the original "Thoroughly Modern Millie," will play Fiona. Brian d'Arcy James, the Tony-nominated actor who starred in "The Apple Tree," will play Shrek. John Tartaglia, who received the Tony nomination for "Avenue Q," will play Pinocchio. And Chester Gregory II, who was in the movie musical "Hairspray," will play Donkey.

"Wicked": Just wanted to make sure you were still with me.

Spring Tour: In September, the Tony award-winning "Spring Awakening" will begin its first national tour in San Francisco. So far, that's the closest it will come to Salt Lake City, but other cities will be added to the schedule. However, I wouldn't plan on the musical stopping in Salt Lake City any time soon. The edgy subject matter and often explicit lyrics make it too big of a gamble for our audiences. Maybe it's a good time for weekend getaway?

Marissa: Tony award-winner Marissa Jaret Winokur needs our help. This week on "Dancing With the Stars," she cried during rehearsal. She's terrified that's the footage they're going to show. Of COURSE that's the footage they're going to show! Let's help her out: 1-800-868-3409 vote, vote, vote!

Sir Webber: Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will be one of the mentors on "American Idol" this season. Fox has yet to announce when he'll appear, but when it happens contestants will sing Webber compositions. Stay tuned!

USF: The Utah Shakespearean Festival is pleased to announce, and I'm very pleased to hear, that festival favorite Brian Vaughn is returning! We missed him last year. He'll be starring opposite his real-life love, wife Melinda Pfundstein, in "Cyrano de Bergerac." Bravo USF for bringing him back!

Next Week: A Very Brady Musical? Wicked!

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