shopping 09.8.06


Up to 70% off select furniture designs from everyone from Mackintosh to Starck at the Cassina, 155 E. 56th [Lex/3rd] 212.245.2121, warehouse sale, 9/15 from 1pm-8pm, 9/16 from 10am-6pm, 9/17 from 11am-5pm.

Wholesale prices and below at the sample sale from Fabrikant Designs, 1375 Bway [37th] Suite 503, 212.719.0747, on 9/12 and 9/13, 8:30am-5:30pm. Look for shawls, scarves, capes, wraps, and bags.

Up to 80% off retail on a huge range of children's designer clothes from over 60 designers for babies, boys & girls (newborn to size 14) at the Kidini sale in the Soho Dance Studio, 598 Bway [Houston] 6th Flr. 917.653.3643. 9/20-9/22 from 9:30am-7pm, 9/23 from 9:30am-1:30pm.

Up to 50% off furniture from Kreiss, 215 E. 58th [2nd/3rd] 212.593.2005, today and Saturday from 10-6, Sunday from 12-5.

Sample and stock sale of clothing accessories by Loro Piana, 317 W. 33rd [8th/9th] from 9/17-9/21, 9am-6:30pm.No try-ons, strollers, or kids under 12. CC only.

Up to 80% off at Paragon Sports, 867 Bway [18th] 212.255.8036, now thru 9/13.

At Showroom Seven, 498 7th [36th/37th] 212.643.4810, up to 70% off Erickson Meamon, Imitation of Christ, Orla Kiely, and much more. Now thru 9/17, weekdays and Saturdays from 10am-7pm. Photo ID required for entrance to building.

Up to 70% off on new and pre-owned watches at the Tourneau sale, 317 W. 33rd [8th/9th]. No strolls or kids under 12, no cash or checks. Photo ID needed. 9/9-9/14 from 9am-6:30pm.

By George Spelvin

So much for a quiet August. People camped out overnight to see Mother Meryl, and Usher proved a gusher at Chicago's box office. But the season really gets going this Sunday, September 10th — and not just because the Times is publishing its usual ginormous Fall Preview.

THIS SUNDAY, Part 1: Expect a big crowd at the annual free "Broadway on Broadway" concert in Times Square, hosted by Martin Short. In the years since the 9/11 attacks, I've found it reassuring that so many people continue to attend this event with the same on-with-the-show spirit that infused the city five years ago. Starting this Sunday at 11:30am, you can see performances from nearly all the current musicals as well as some of the splashy new ones that are on their way.

SCREEN TO STAGE: "So movies make good musicals?" "Well, they make musicals." That bit of dialogue from [title of show] — whose return engagement at the Vineyard has been extended through October 1 — reflects the feeling among some theater insiders that too many musicals today are based on films. But this trend shows no sign of slowing down, as musicals based on Mary Poppins, Legally Blonde and High Fidelity head to Broadway this season. Based on its very enjoyable group sales presentation last May, I can see Fidelity as the season's sleeper hit — if it can find an audience despite having no stars attached. Meanwhile, there are also many new musicals coming to Broadway that are not cinematic retreads:

· Curtains (with an eye on the Hirschfeld) is based on Peter Stone's "original concept";
· The Pirate Queen (coming to the Hilton) tells the real-life story of an Irish chieftain;
· The Times They Are A-Changin' (at the Atkinson) is inspired by Bob Dylan songs;
· Spring Awakening (at the O'Neill) is adapted from Frank Wedekind's controversial 1891 play; and
· Grey Gardens (at the Kerr)… um, well, yeah, the second act is based on a film, but obscure documentaries don't count.

STAGE TO SCREEN: Show biz traffic flows in the opposite direction, too. Advance screenings of the movie version of Dreamgirls (scheduled for a December release) have drawn raves. (You can read about it at this fan site.) Fans are also tracking the progress of Hairspray, now filming in Toronto, while Mamma Mia (produced by Tom Hanks) has begun pre-production. And it's not just musicals hitting your local cineplex. Check out the soon-to-open The History Boys (with the same original cast that's played it in London, on Broadway and on BBC radio), as well as Bug, in which original stage star Michael Shannon joins Ashley Judd and Harry Connick.

THIS SUNDAY, Part 2: The third annual NY Musical Theater Festival also begins this Sunday. This year's three-week showcase of 34 musicals includes a few titles that have been kicking around for years and years, but mostly NYMF offers very fresh material (some of which is being finished even as you read this sentence). This year's Festival is housed at some bigger (and frankly, nicer) venues than in the past, but tickets remain affordable at 20 bucks. For help figuring out what you might like to see, go to their handy "Taster's Menu." There are also 84 NYMF-related events happening around town, including screenings of classic musicals at the Museum of TV & Radio; they're showing rare kinescopes from the 1950s with telecasts of Annie Get Your Gun with Mary Martin and Wonderful Town with Rosalind Russell on September 16 and 17.

For another angle on the future of musical theater, look to the Metropolitan Opera, where new boss Peter Gelb has turned to directors like Richard Eyre, Nicholas Hytner, Jack O'Brien, Bartlett Sher and George C. Wolfe, as well as many veteran Broadway designers. Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald are slated to star in upcoming seasons, and the Met has commissioned new work from the likes of Adam Guettel, John Guare, Tony Kushner, Michael John LaChiusa, Craig Lucas and Jeanine Tesori. For a taste of what is to come, the Met is holding its first-ever Open House on Friday, September 22, where you can see the final dress rehearsal of Anthony Minghella's Olivier Award-winning new production of Madama Butterfly — for free.

THIS SUNDAY, Part 3: For those who prefer non-musical fare, there are lots of high-profile plays and players coming your way: Nathan Lane in Butley, Julianne Moore in The Vertical Hour, Cynthia Nixon in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Vanessa Redgrave in The Year of Magical Thinking , and Liev Schreiber in Talk Radio, just to name a few. But the season's major drama is Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center Theater, which goes on sale to the public this Sunday. Comprised of three separate but thematically-linked plays, Utopia is about the intertwined lives of a group of intellectuals in mid-19th century Russia and Europe. The trilogy will ultimately be performed by its cast of 44 actors in repertory, but if you're only up for seeing one of these evenings, I'd recommend the first, Voyage, which is a surprisingly accessible Chekhovian comedy. Tickets are tight — there aren't a lot of performances and LCT Members and AmEx Gold Cardholders have already had priority ordering.

OFF-OFF THE BEATEN PATH: 'Promenade staging,' in which the audience walks from scene to scene and the actors perform among them, is infrequently used. This fall brings a couple of rare chances to experience it first-hand:

· Sept 21 to Oct 7: Peculiar Works Project presents "OFF Stage: The West Village Fragments." On a journey through downtown Manhattan, you'll stop along the way to see excerpts from a dozen landmark Off-Off-Broadway plays performed by a cast of 50 at the actual sites where they were first produced.

· Oct 1-29: "Every Halloween, evangelical churches across America create haunted houses with real depictions of evil: high school cheerleaders getting abortions, gay men dying of AIDS, and children reading Harry Potter." Experience this bizarre phenomenon for yourself as the Obie-winning Les Frères Corbusier turns St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn into a Hell House.

THE POSTER'S THE THING: If you're looking to own a piece of theater history, look no further than the recently-relocated Triton Gallery, which has an extensive collection of posters from Broadway, off-Broadway, tours and more. Go to their shop at 630 Ninth Avenue or order online from their catalog which includes many rare collector's items (a $600 Moose Murders window card!) plus original artwork by James McMullan (best known for his LCT posters). London's National Theatre has also just launched its own poster-selling website, where you can order reprints of over 650 posters from their last fifty years in a range of sizes and prices.

CONGRATULATIONS to the softball team from The Producers which won the Broadway Show League's 2006 Show Tournament and to the Nederlander team which won the 2006 Organizational Tournament. The League, now in its 50th year, held its awards ceremony late last night, which should make for some happy-but-hung-over performances this evening.

JUST ASKING: Signature Theatre is presenting revivals of three August Wilson plays this season — Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running and King Hedley II. There's a new production of Fences in California, with Lawrence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, which New York producers are circling. Charles S. Dutton's theatrical tribute to Wilson this July at the O'Neill Center was such a hit there's been talk of a New York transfer. And it's conceivable that Wilson's final work, Radio Golf, will make it to Broadway at last, after several major regional productions. Still…how much August Wilson can New York audiences take in one year?

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