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New Broadway Series Will Be a Mixed Bag

Stage: Center's 1996-97 season will include everything from revivals of classics to the newer 'Smokey Joe's Cafe.'


The 1996-97 Broadway Series that will be announced today by the Orange County Performing Arts Center has been designed to offer something for everyone--the classic, the commercial and the chestnut.

From a celebrated British-produced revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel," which will open the six-show subscription season, to Andrew Lloyd Webber's grandiose "Sunset Boulevard," which will close it, the nationally touring productions largely comprise a profile of what has been seen of late on Broadway.

Also set for the season are Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," a Des McAnuff-ied revival that originated in 1994 at the La Jolla Playhouse and is still on Broadway; the Leiber and Stoller retro-rock musical revue, "Smokey Joe's Cafe," also still on Broadway; and a new revival of "Applause," the 1970 Charles Strouse musicalization of "All About Eve," said by center officials to be on its way to Broadway.

The season also will include a revival of "Funny Girl," the 1964 Jule Styne musical (but not with Barbra Streisand, who made the original a hit, and herself a mega-star in it).

Casting for "Funny Girl," "Sunset Boulevard" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe" has not been announced. Stefanie Powers (of TV's "Hart to Hart") will star in "Applause." Ralph Macchio (of "Karate Kid" movie fame) will star in "How to Succeed." Patrick Wilson (who toured in the national production of "Miss Saigon") and Sarah Uriarte (who was in "Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway) will star in "Carousel."

Except for "Sunset Boulevard," which has been booked for a monthlong run, each show is scheduled for eight performances. The season:

* Sept. 10-15: "Carousel" (music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein).

* Oct. 29-Nov. 3: "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Bilbert).

* Dec. 31-Jan. 5: "Applause" (music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green).

* Feb. 18-23: "Funny Girl" (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, book by Isobel Lennart).

* July 22-27, 1997: "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller" (music and lyrics by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

* Aug. 23-Sept. 22, 1997: "Sunset Boulevard" (music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton).

The Orange County Performing Arts Center is at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Information: (714) 556-2787.

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