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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st November 2010

Roundabout Theatre Company in association with Tracy Aron will stage a new musical The People In The Picture, book and lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart, music by Mike Stoller and Artie Butler, about three generations of Jewish women in contemporary New York and their conflicting responses to their European past, with Donna Murphy, directed by Leonard Foglia, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, previewing from April 1st at the American Airlines Theatre, with an official opening on April 28th. The design team comprises scenery by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward lighting by Howell Binkley, projections by Elaine J McCarthy, and sound by Dan Moses Schreier.

DreamWorks Theatricals and Broadway Across America are to produce Madagascar Live, a stage musical adaptation of the animated animal films, book by Kevin Del Aguila, music and lyrics by Joel Someillan and George Noriega, directed by Gip Hoppe, with choreography by Jenn Rapp, opening a 70 city tour in January, playing Radio City Music Hall from April 15th to 24th. The design team comprises scenery by David Gallo, costumes by Gregg Barnes, lighting by Mike Baldassari, and sound by Walter Trarbach.

David Hay's A Perfect Future, which explores whether people can be married and truly love each other when their political persuasions are diametrically opposed, will receive its premiere, directed by Wilson Milam, from February 4th at the Cherry Lane Theater. The producer is Andy Sandberg. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.

Stephen Sondheim's Finishing the Hat: The Collected Lyrics Of Stephen Sondheim With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines And Anecdotes, recently published by Virgin Books, is exactly what it says on the cover. The book combines the lyrics from Sondheim's shows from Saturday Night in 1954 to Merrily We Roll Along in 1981, with personal reflections and stories about their creation and production. Sondheim discusses his relationship with his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and his collaborations with legends such as Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers and Hal Prince. His anecdotes are rich with history, personal insights, and intimate details, in addition to which, there is a wealth of background material, with manuscript pages, first night telegrams, typescripts and pencil notes all reproduced. Throughout the book, Sondheim analyses his work and dissects his own songs, as well as offering candid views on the work of others. Brilliant, poignant, scathing, and funny, it gives an unparalleled insight into the craft of theatre songwriting.

LAByrinth Theater Company will stage the premiere of Melissa Ross's Thinner Than Water, in which a dying, debt ridden, gambling addicted man and his three squabbling estranged children, find family in unexpected places, directed by Mimi O'Donnell, previewing from February 8th at the Cherry Pit Theatre, opening on February 13th. The Cherry Pit Theatre is located at 155 Bank Street, between Washington and West Streets.

Golf: The Musical, book, music and lyrics by Michael Roberts, a revue that celebrates the love of the sport from top pros to the very amateur, with Christopher Sutton, Lyn Philistine, Tom Gamblin and Brian Runbeck, directed and choreographed by Christopher Scott, will preview from November 20th at the Midtown Theatre, opening on December 6th. The producer is Eric Krebs. The Midtown Theatre is located at 163 West 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The 10th annual The 24 Hour Plays On Broadway will take place at the American Airlines Theatre on Monday November 15th. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Sunday November 14th, and form teams to write and rehearse six short plays to be performed 24 hours later. Those involved will include actors Claire Daines, Sarah Silverman, Elijah Wood, Anthony Mackie, America Ferrera, Leslie Bibb, Guillermo Diaz, Rachel Dratch, Gaby Hoffman, Christopher Meloni, Diane Neal, Rosie Perez, Kyra Sedgwick, Fisher Stevens, Julia Stiles, Tracie Thoms, Michael Kenneth Williams and Alicia Witt; and playwrights Kristoffer Diaz, Rajiv Joseph, Lynn Nottage and Theresa Rebeck. Since its inception, The 24 Hour Plays have involved more than 100 writers, 1,000 actors, and 300 new short plays have been produced. Further information can be found on The 24 Hour Plays web site, via the link from Festivals & Events, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Gap in the Wall Productions will stage Guy Fredrick Glass's The Last Castrato, with Joseph Hill, Frank Anderson, Bethe B Austin, Abe Goldfarb, Doug Kreeger, Melissa Miller, Jacob Pinion, Jonathan Tindle and Liam Torres, directed by John Henry Davis, previewing from November 12th at the Connelly Theater, opening on November 16th. Set in the Vatican at the beginning of the 20th century, it tells the story of Alessandro Moreschi, the only member of his line to preserve his voice for the newly invented phonograph. The Connelly Theater is located at 220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A and B.

The Rumour Machine says: that the recently announced London production of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour, in which a disgruntled student in a girl's school in the 1930s claims that the two headmistresses are lovers, starring Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss directed by Ian Rickson, will transfer to Broadway next fall, courtesy of producers are Sonia Friedman and Scott Landis; and that the musical Leap Of Faith, book by Janus Cercone with Glenn Slater, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, adapted from the movie about a fraudulent travelling preacher who falls for a waitress and decides to mend his ways, which recently received its premiere Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, with Raul Esparza and Brooke Shields, is aiming for Broadway in the fall of next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.