Reprinted from yesterday's late edition.
Since the National's opening of "Otherwise Engaged" director Harold Pinter has been in England staging a revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." Now the actor-playwright-director everyone's been wanting to meet is back on E Street taking out whatever improvements the cast has been inspired to make. Tom Courtenay and company end their run today and take off for their New York bow at the Plymouth Theather Wednesday night.
With far more to do, Ellis Rabb has taken over the staging of "Caesar and Cleopatra," also departing tonight for a New York opening in mid-February. Rabb is "improving" the Ming Cho Lee setting, is inserting Shaw's "preferred" Prologue Number One and hoping to be ready to open at the Palace on the 15th.
"Travesties" continues at the Eisenhower through Feb. 12, from which it moves to Boston, leaving the theater dark until the 28th, when "Annie" takes over after a few preview performances the end of the previous week. This one, adapted from the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip, is a musical with book by Thomas Meehan, a score by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, also credited with the direction though the billing reads: "The Mike Nochols production of."
"Grease," with 2,030 performances now ranks 9th in the Broadway-run hit list and will return Tuesday night to the National for its third visit. (A fourth local run was at Shady Grove.) Producers Kenneth Waissman and Maxine Fox made their bow with this one, of which not much was expected. But it seems a zillion people went to high school in the '50s and want to live it all over again. Among the early leads who've left for wider fields are TV's Fonzi, John Trevolta of "Welcome Back Kotter," Adrienne Barbeau, "Maude's" daughter, and Barry Bostwick of "The Robber Bridegroom." The E street run is for two weeks.