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Much ado about nothing on


With New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's highly touted campaign to clean up 42nd Street a fait accompli, the striptease has moved to Broadway, as binocular-toting audiences queue up outside the Cort Theatre for a show that has become famous for a nanosecond of nudity by screen star Nicole Kidman.

Kidman's decision to appear naked has brought almost unprecedented media exposure: The actress appeared on the Dec. 14 cover of Newsweek (under the headline "Hot Ticket: Nicole Kidman bares all"), the cover of The New York Observer and in reviews and write-ups from the New York Times' Style section and Entertainment Weekly to the London Telegraph, whose critic, Charles Spencer, rather notoriously dubbed her performance "pure theatrical Viagra."

Incidental in much of the coverage (or uncoverage) is the content of the play, David Hare's freestyle adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's classic, circular exploration of sexual relations, "La Ronde."

"I think the whole thing is hilarious," says Michael Wilson, artistic director of the Hartford Stage in Connecticut. "It's so sensational. It's so about what it is and not about what the theater is.

"People can be titillated while they're getting their culture."

Pub Date: 12/29/98

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