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Thursday, March 14, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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What's Up

New `Phantom' Comes To 5Th Avenue Theatre

A new take on a very old story, a musical based on a popular film, and a pair of old favorites are slotted for the 1991-'92 subscription series of the 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Company.

Executive director Frank Young recently announced that the 5th Avenue's third season will begin in October with its sole brand-new offering: ``Phantom.'' No, not the ``Phantom of the Opera'' composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber or the Ken Hill operetta of the same title - but yes, it's based on the same ghoul-loves-diva novel penned by Gaston Leroux. This version has a libretto by Arthur Kopit, and music and lyrics from Maury Yeston. It opened successfully in Houston in January 1990, and comes here with New York City Opera baritone Richard White in the lead.

Next on the season roster is the somewhat obscure ``Here's Love,'' a 1963 musical based on the film ``Miracle on 34th Street'' and written by Meredith (``Music Man'') Willson. The 5th Avenue bills it as a lavish Christmas spectacular, with a cast of 72. Completing the series are the Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim classic ``West Side Story'' and the Lerner and Loewe Gold Rush musical, ``Paint Your Wagon.'' (Exact performance dates and cast lists are still being ironed out. And given the vagaries of the road, ticket-holders should be prepared for changes in the lineup.)

Without an overpowering attraction like this spring's ``Les Miserables,'' can the 5th Avenue maintain its 1990-'91 roster of nearly 23,000 subscribers? Time will tell, but Young does note that current patrons had ``input'' into which shows were scheduled. For more information on subscriptions, which range in price from $32 to $129, call 625-1900.

THEATER REPAIRS

The 285-seat theater in the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center is about to get a much-needed makeover. Thanks to a new $250,000 grant from the federal Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program, the city-run, central Seattle facility will finally have its roof replaced, new windows and waterproofing, a new sound and lighting system and a spiffy interior paint job. According to Sheree Sparks, the Assistant Recreation Coordinator at Langston Hughes, the repairs should begin in mid-April and take about six months. During that time the theater, which houses the Seattle Madrona Youth Theatre and classes and other community events, will be closed to the public. The Langston Hughes Center is also slated for $618,000 worth of structural renovations funded by the city's 1.2.3 Bond issue, targeted to bring the building up to city earthquake codes.

INTERACTIVE ACTING

Intiman Theatre associate artistic director Susan Fenichell wants playwrights and audiences to ``step out of their stereotypical roles and niches and think in unexpected ways.'' To that end, she is instituting a play-development series called Intiman Off-Center. The format is designed for maximum audience input. Each new script selected will be granted six public performances, followed by discussions between author, actors and audience. Revisions may be made throughout the run, and viewers are urged to return a second time to see how the play is progressing. For more details about Intiman Off-Center, call 626-0782.

Published Clarification Date: 03/21/91 - The 5Th Avenue Musical Theatre Company Generally Produces Its Own Shows, Rather Than Hosting Touring Ones Like The Current ``Les Miserables.'' This Article On The Company's New Season May Have Given The Impression That Other Productions Also Are Road Shows.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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