- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

‘Essential’ reunion

Billboard.com

Although it’s unknown whether Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel have any plans to record new material, there will be a new release to coincide with the group’s reunion tour announced yesterday.

On Oct. 14, Columbia will release “The Essential Simon & Garfunkel,” a 32-track, two-disc retrospective. The set sports four live cuts as well as the pair’s 1975 reunion single, “My Little Town.”

Throughout December, PBS stations will air the famed 1981 special, “The Concert in Central Park,” the pair’s first major reunion concert after splitting for the better part of the ‘70s.

Simon & Garfunkel are expected to play about 40 dates in 35 major cities, working with local and regional promoters in each market. The trek will begin in mid-October and run through Christmas.

‘Shakespeare’ in D.C.

District-based lawyer and playwright Ken Ludwig, whose comedy “Shakespeare in Hollywood” opened its run at Arena Stage last week, has a rule of thumb about what’s funny: the older, the better.

He told The Washington Times that his idea of comedy includes Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” — not exactly slapstick fare — and that he thinks live theater has dropped the ball when it comes to humor.

“I know this sounds snotty, but who in America is living and writing really great comedies?” Mr. Ludwig said. “I don’t know the answer. The closest you can get is David Mamet, who is essentially tragic.”

TV sitcoms, he added, have cornered the market on light comedy, a role once played by Broadway.

“Do you know that 200 to 250 comedies opened on Broadway in a year for a period in the 1920s and ‘30s?” Mr. Ludwig asked. “What happened to them — to the need? The answer is that it is being supplied by sitcoms.”

Not if he has anything to say about it; the Tony Award-winning playwright says he’s out to reclaim laughs for live theater.

“I try to take the form further in ways you can’t see on TV and never could,” he said, “because you can make it so much more exciting and vital in the theater, where every night is different and it’s not just little images on a screen and canned laughter.”

Losing the magic

Reuters News Agency

Some Londoners do not want illusionist David Blaine to succeed in his bid to spend 44 days without food in a glass box suspended from a crane in the center of the capital.

Since the American showman began his stunt Friday he has been pelted with eggs, taunted with the smell of fish and chips and woken up by a man banging a drum.

Police said yesterday that officers had been called in to deal with one man who was throwing eggs at Mr. Blaine’s transparent box late Monday evening.

“The man was given a stern talking to, but he was not arrested,” a police spokesman said.

Mr. Blaine, a 30-year-old New Yorker, is used to drawing admiring crowds for his other feats in the United States, including being buried alive and encased in a block of ice.

However, newspapers said some Londoners were devising ways of breaking the American’s spirit, saying they were already bored with his latest challenge.

“We were watching him at home on TV and it was really dull, so we thought we would come down and liven things up. I wanted to wake him up,” impromptu drummer Shiraz Azam, 21, told London’s Evening Standard.

Spock on Hill

We’ve seen no signs of the Enterprise at area airports, but Leonard Nimoy and his wife, Susan, are scheduled to be on Capitol Hill today to celebrate the renovation of the Griffith Observatory, a planetarium in Los Angeles.

The event is slated to take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and staff reports and entertainment publications. Got a tip? E-mail [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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