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PASSING STAGES by Louis Botto
FINANCIAL REPORT At the recent installation of of a honoring Irving Berlin at the Music Box Theatre, Kitty Carlisle (whose late husband Moss Hart co-authored with Berlin the famed As Thousands Cheer at this theatre) revealed that when her husband had his first hit the Music Box (Once in a Lifetime by Kaufman and Hart in 1930) and the playwright started to receive hefty royalty checks, he suggested that they change the name of the theatre to the Money Box.

SHOW TUNES AT SARDI'S Looking for an after-theatre spot that features the music of such Broadway composers as Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Richard Rodgers? Just take yourself to Sardi's Restaurant on Friday evenings at 10:30 in the Club Room, where The Joe Traina Quartet is enchanting guests with their ebullient show tunes.  There are also featured vocalists from Broadway shows (such as Karen Ziemba of Crazy for Your and Karen Mason of Sunset Boulevard) to entertain you.  There's no cover or minimum, and Sardi's supper menu is available. (For information: 212-221-8440.)

ODD UNDERSTUDIES In his entertaining book Nobody's Fool-The Portrait of Danny Kaye (Simon & Schuster), critic Martin Gottfried reveals the startling fact that when Mr. Kaye left the successful Broadway musical Let's Face It in 1943, his understudy succeeded him in the lead role. And guess who that was? None other than the late Jose Ferrer! Somehow, we can't imagine Ferrer filling Kaye's shoes in a Cole Porter musical. However, that's nothing compared to what happened when John Barrymore left the famous play The Jest on Broadway in 1920 due to illness. He was replaced by actress/playwright Gilda Varesi!

ABSOLUT AID Absolut Vodka is doing its part for AIDS. In 19982-1993, the firm commissioned artists to capture the spirit of their home states in lithographic prints for their "Absolut Statehood" campaign.

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One artist in each state plus the District of Columbia was asked by Absolut Vodka to create a work reflecting a personal vision of his or her state and including a visual reference to the product's package. These prints, signed and numbered by the artist, will be sold for $300 each at the International Vintage Poster Fair at the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan on April 1 and 2.  One hundred percent of the sales proceeds will go to the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. To date, the Absolut Vodka campaign has produced more that $1 million for DIFFA.  The semiannual Postage Fair is only Fair devoted exclusively to vintage advertising posters. (For information: 212-206-0499.)

JEKYLL & HYDE NEWS Ever since the musical Jekyll & Hyde by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse opened at Houston's Alley Theatre in 1990, we have received tons of letters asking when the show was coming to Broadway.  And no wonder. As the years have passed, three of its songs have become hits: "Someone Like You." "A New Life" and "This Is the Moment." In addition, Jekyll & Hyde songs have been used on countless TV sporting events, including the Superbowl, the World Series, the 1992 Winter Olympics and the recent World Cup Soccer Tournament in L.A.

The good news is that The Complete Work: Jekyll & Hyde-The Gothic Musical on the new imprint Atlantic Theatre is available on CD and cassette, featuring the acclaimed Australian actor Anthony Warlow in the title role, John Raitt as Sir Danvers Carew and Linda Eder as Lucy Harris.

Further good news: A new production of the musical was recently mounted by the Alley Theatre and Theatre Under the Stars and is currently playing at the Fifth Avenue Musical Theatre of Seattle, Wash., through March 19.  In June it embarks on a major-market, pre-Broad-way national tour starring Linda Eder.

FUN ON A SHOESTRING Have you ever longed to attend the dress rehearsal of a 

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Broadway musical, or tour the allegedly "haunted" Belasco Theatre in Manhattan, or chat with Broadway producers, or visit a firm that designs scenery for Broadway shows? Your dreams can come true by joining a unique organization called Adventure on a Shoestring, a 32-year-old club whose 2,000 members enjoy all these fascinating privileges, as well as nontheatrical adventures (visits to a Fifth Avenue mansion, taking lessons in flamenco dancing and Japanese sword fighting). Dues are $40 per person, with a $3 attendance fee per person for each event (and occasional additional fess for theatre and restaurant events). Call (212) 265-2663 or drop a card to Adventures on a Shoestring, 300 W. 53rd Street, NYC, NY 10019.

NANCY KELLY REMEMBERED The late Nancy Kelly, who passed away recently, won a Tony Award in 1995 as Best Actress of the season in Maxwell Anderson's thriller, The Bad Seed. She appeared in numerous other Broadway plays and in many films, but one aspect of her career was not mentioned in any of

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her obituaries. When she played Gertrude Lawrence's daughter in the hit 1937 play Susan and God, she and the famed British star achieved a memorable "first." A scene from the play was televised and shown at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. It was the first scene from a Broadway play to be shown on this medium.

ON THE BOULEVARD For the week ending Jan. 15, 1995, Sunset Boulevard took in $830,400.18, the fifth time the show has broken its own record.  This also set a new house record at the Minskoff Theatre. Meanwhile, the American Premiere Recording of the musical on Polydor has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Show Cast Album; the Canadian production of the musical will begin previews in Toronto in October; the German production will premier in Frankfurt in November; and Betty Buckley has returned to the role of Norma Desmond in London, following appendectomy surgery. Last, but not least, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Faye Dunaway have settled their legal difficulties out of court.

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Bring Your Lover!
ROB BECKER'S 
DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN
[[Image - cartoon of Rob Becker's as caveman net to chair and computer]]
An Affectionate Comedy About Men and Women.
Charge by Phone (212) CAVEMAN [[Image - Ticketmaster Logo]] (212) 307-4100
Group Sales (212) 398-8383
HELEN HAYES THEATRE 240 W. 44th Street
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