For Broadway theater, the new millennium has started on a note of musical diminuendo. With the demise of Cats, the soon-to-be-missing Miss Saigon and the lack of any new hits from Andrew Lloyd Webber or the Les Miz team in years, the era of the Brit-generated mega-musical seems all but over. Happily, straight plays seem to be filling the gap. Demanding dramas like Michael Frayn's Copenhagen have become unlikely Broadway hits, while the Manhattan Theatre Club, an off-Broadway stalwart, successfully transferred two strong works, Proof and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, to the main drag this fall. With regional theaters...

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