Blackmun! Burger! Broadway?
Does Broadway think it's not getting enough Washington wonks to shell out for a night of theater? Because a New York production company is putting together a show that seems niche-marketed to us -- a play about the life of the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun.
No, really. The Weissberger Theater Group -- the muscle behind Tony winners "Side Man" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" -- has optioned the stage rights to New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse 's'05 bio "Becoming Justice Blackmun."
Sound like a snoozer? Not to producer Jay Harris, who was captivated by the epic saga of Blackmun and the late Chief Justice Warren Burger, fast friends from childhood whose differences on key issues before the court left them barely speaking by the end. He commissioned playwright Lee Blessing, who is expected to turn in a script within weeks; it could be staged within a year or two. The project was first reported in The Hill newspaper.
But before you start wondering which role goes to Matthew Broderick and which to Nathan Lane: Says Greenhouse, "We're not talking 'Harry Blackmun: The Musical.' It would be an intimate, character-driven drama." Think "Copenhagen," or "Inherit the Wind."
"There's a desire for those kinds of plays," says Harris, a lawyer. "It's gotta be good, though."
And if it hits big, of course, there could be a movie. We asked L.A. casting agent Lisa Beach who might have the gravitas for the roles -- she suggested Sean Penn, Liev Schrieber, Hugh Laurie and William H. Macy, among others. "And then age 'em up, I'd assume."
HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?
· Martin Sheen carrying his own bags and standing in line at the United Airlines counter at Dulles on Wednesday afternoon. It's gotta stink not being president anymore! Unclear what the star of "West Wing" and "The Departed" was doing in town; his rep noted that he has a lot of pals here and enjoys the occasional protest rally.
· Expecting: Pop-classical prodigy Charlotte Church-- wait a minute, that cute little Welsh girl who sings "Ave Maria" and stuff like that? Huh, turns out she's 21 now. Time flies. She confirmed on her Web site yesterday that she is preggers; the dad is her rugby-star boyfriend, Gavin Henson, 25.
It's an Early Spring for the Movie Crews
Spring is almost here, so it's time for everyone's favorite migratory creature to return to D.C. -- the Hollywood film crew.
Creeping into town right now for a day or two of shooting: Matt Damon for "The Bourne Ultimatum," along with previous "Bourne" co-stars Joan Allen and Tom Gallop (though not Julia Stiles). We're told director Paul Greengrass will likely be capturing them in iconic Official Washington scenes around the Mall and the Ellipse. (As for your next questions: No, don't know where he's staying, wouldn't tell you if we did. Anyway, ladies, he's married ! But if you happen to run into him -- email@example.com.)
Next up, at the end of the month: local filming for the sequel to the Nic Cage-in-the-Archives thriller "National Treasure." And in June, Steve Carell's movie version of "Get Smart."
THIS JUST IN . . .
· The Kennedy Center has its Honors and its Mark Twain Prize; the Shakespeare Theatre has its Will Awards; and now the Library of Congress has struck on another way to keep the pipeline of A-list entertainers flowing to D.C. Yesterday it announced the creation of the annual Gershwin Prize for Popular Song -- and the first recipient, who will be honored at a concert gala May 23, will be Paul Simon. The whole shebang will air on PBS in June.
THIS JUST IN . . .