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November 18, the day before The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie opened in megaplexes nationwide, Broadway witnessed a more rarified U.S. premiere. Democracy, the new historical drama MA05ac8.jpgby Tony Awardwinning playwright Michael Frayn (of Copenhagen fame), opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. James Naughton 67, above right (who has won Tonys himself for the musicals City of Angels and Chicago), stars as the charismatic West German chancellor Willy Brandt. From 1969 to 1974, Brandt tried to unify Germany under democracy, but was brought down not only by booze, women, and depression, but by the politically devastating revelation that his personal aide, Gnter Guillaume, played by Richard Thomas, was an East German mole. After many months of serving the theatrical equivalent of half-thawed TV dinners, declared Ben Brantley, writing for the New York Times, Broadway has finally delivered a juicy gourmets banquet of a play. Other critics proved less hungry, dismissing the play as a snob hit.





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