Leonard Fleischer's course on the golden age of Broadway musicals shares two things with a hit Broadway show: rave reviews and a high recidivism rate. This fall's discussions about Chicago, Annie, and A Chorus Line promise to be every bit as spirited as those he led for Fiddler on the Roof and Man of La Mancha. Students tend to know the material inside out. "There are a lot of sidetracks," Fleischer admits. "Of course, when I play the music, they shut up."
"The Golden Age of Broadway Musicals: The Seventies," ten sessions, Wednesdays beginning October 7, 1 to 2:20 p.m.; $165. Marymount Manhattan College, 221 East 71st Street (517-0564).
OPEN THE POD BAY DOOR, HAL
The cult of Stanley Kubrick continues apace, despite the fact that he hasn't released a film since 1987's Full Metal Jacket. That will change later this year when the long-awaited Eyes Wide Shut finally opens. In the meantime, Vincent LoBrutto will be conducting an investigation of the man and his work. LoBrutto has just published a biography of Kubrick, and his course will take students through all the films. "In the book, I say he's arguably the greatest living film director," says LoBrutto. "But I think he really is the greatest."
"Stanley Kubrick: A Study," twelve sessions, Tuesdays beginning September 15, 7 to 9:40 p.m.; $350, plus $65 audiovisual fee. School of Visual Arts, 209 East 23rd Street (592-2011).
A BELIEVER'S ART
A cult figure of an entirely different sort is C. S. Lewis, author of the children's classics "The Chronicles of Narnia" as well as numerous books and essays on Christianity (he was also the subject of the recent film Shadowlands). This year marks the centenary of Lewis's birth, and James Como is teaching a course that should suit Lewis neophytes and diehards alike. A cuny professor and founding member of the C. S. Lewis Society, Como recently completed a book on Lewis. "Having slaved over this book, I'm going to afford myself the luxury of being more subjective than in the past," Como jokes. For students, that means the refreshing experience of hearing an unabashed fan discuss, among other things, "six ways Lewis was simply wrong."
"A Providential Voice: C. S. Lewis 100 Years Later," five sessions, Mondays beginning September 21, 7 to 8:30 p.m.; $15. Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, 7 West 55th Street (247-0490).
Interest in spirituality, particularly the Eastern varieties, has been rising faster than the Dow lately, so it's not surprising that people want to learn more about the philosophies underlying it all. John Major, who is teaching a course in Chinese philosophy and religion at the China Institute, tries hard to tailor his decidedly academic subject to a broader audience. "What you try to do," says Major, who taught at Dartmouth for thirteen years, "is achieve clarity on the real essentials and hope students will go away with a satisfied air that you have done something pleasant and useful." He treats all three major Eastern isms -- Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism -- and according to former student Paula Thomson, "he has a scholar's view, yet he keeps it simple." Not that he's above the occasional bit of shtick. "The conventional Chinese idea of the universe is that Heaven is round and the earth is square, and I go through a little astronomical exercise to show that in a sense that's true," he says. "That gets people's attention."
"The Way of Chinese Thought," five sessions, Wednesdays beginning September 30, 7?8:30 p.m.; $150. China Institute, 125 East 65th Street (744-8181).
Thanks to the Met, art lovers can eavesdrop this fall on three interviews with artists by Times art critic Michael Kimmelman. He will be discussing other artists' work with Elizabeth Murray, Richard Tuttle, and Chuck Close, but he expects their answers to reveal a great deal about themselves. "If you ask a direct question, there's sometimes a kind of deer-in-the-headlights reaction," Kimmelman says. "But essentially, anytime they talk about other art they are talking about their own work, their own preoccupations."
"Talking With Artists in the Met: Elizabeth Murray, Richard Tuttle, and Chuck Close Talk With Michael Kimmelman," three sessions, Tuesdays beginning October 6, 8 p.m.; $50. Metropolitan Museum of Art (570-3949).