News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd February 2009

Roundabout Theatre Company has announced two further productions in its 2009/2010 season: the 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie, book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, about an Elvis like rock star being inducted into the Army, and his agent-songwriter's plan to exploit the situation, directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom, scheduled for the fall; and Noel Coward's comedy Present Laughter, which depicts the chaotic home life of a 1930s West End 'matinee idol' actor (not unlike Coward himself who created the role), with Victor Garber, directed by Nicholas Martin, early next year.

Kids' Night On Broadway, the annual event in which young people from 6 to 18 years old can attend a Broadway or Off Broadway show for free if they come with a paying adult, has gone monthly. Beginning on 3rd and 4th February, it will take place on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of each month. Tickets are now on sale for 16 shows in February and March. There are a number of accompanying events, including restaurants offering kids dining for free, parking discounts, and a free pre-theatre parties. Further information, including a souvenir Playbill that can be downloaded, can be found on the Kids' Night web site via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Oberon Theatre Ensemble will stage William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, a romantic battle of wits between a mature couple, with Gabe Bettio, Walter Brandes, Jordan Brown, Mac Brydon, Don Castro, John Dewey, Brad Fryman, Jennifer Gawlik, Bill Green, Derric Harris, Lara Ianni, Jake Lacy, Adam Petherbridge, Lorenzo Scott, Philip Watt, Cotton Wright and Elizabeth Zins, directed by Mark Karafin, from February 12th; and American Rapture, a bill of short plays that explore the unique mixture of loneliness and hope that makes up the American Experience, comprising Alex Dinelaris's Spin Cycle, Juggling Jaqueline and Rain, and William Saroyan's Hello Out There, with Jane Cortney, Brad Fryman, Vince Gatton, William Laney, Dianna Martin, Donovan Patton, Laura Siner, Max Darwin, Christine Verleny and Stewart Walker directed by Dinelaris, from February 14th at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Nederlander Organization has acquired the rights to produce a Broadway stage musical based on Michael Jackson's 1982 14 minute Thriller video, a horror film spoof in which a young couple are out on a date, when the young man suddenly turns into a werewolf. The show will feature songs from both Jackson's Thriller and Off The Wall albums. No creative team members or production dates have been announced.

Actor-director David Cromer will again play the character of the Stage Manager when his acclaimed Chicago production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, the tale of two families in a small provincial town in the early 20th century, makes its New York City debut, previewing from February 17th at Barrow Street Theatre, opening on February 26th. The action takes place in, among and around the audience, and will require a complete redesign of the theatre space. It is presented by Jean Doumanian Productions and the Barrow Street Theatre. Barrow Street Theatre is located at 27 Barrow Street at 7th Avenue South.

The Midtown International Theatre Festival, which offers the chance for self-produced Off Off Broadway plays and musicals to be presented, is seeking submissions for its 10th season, from July 13th to August 2nd. The MITF presents more than 200 performances of 40-60 shows over a 3 week period each year, in 4 theatres on the same block of 36th Street, between 8th and 9th avenues. The basic deal is that MITF pays the theatre and marketing costs, and individual shows pay for everything else. Submissions must be received by February 6th. Further information and an application form can be found on the MITF web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Story Of 42nd Street: The Theatres, Shows, Characters And Scandals Of The World's Most Notorious Street, by Alexis Green and Mary C Henderson, recently published by Back Stage Books, is an amble down the "naughty, bawdy, gaudy" boulevard of broken dreams. A dazzling treasure trove of rarely seen photographs, combined with knowledgeable text, portrays the rise and fall and rise again, of the street that symbolises the Broadway experience. This book traces the path from the first theatre built in 1899, through the golden age in 1920s and 1930s, fuelled by Hollywood movies and Damon Runyon stories, when there were 12 theatres on one block, the war years, when every American soldier and sailor paid a call, the sad decay into the sleaze of peepshows of the 1980s, and the miraculous rehabilitation of the 1990s, when old theatres were restored and new ones built.

Hell's Kitchen The Musical, book, lyrics and music by Jon Montgomery with additional music by Toby Kasavan, directed by Jo-Ann Oakes, with choreography by Joe Barros, will play at the Hudson Guild Theater at the John Lovejoy Elliott Center from February 11th. The cast comprises Omar Edwards, Andrew Drost, Gabrielle Visser, Chris Farha, Jared Troilo, Aimee Corley, Joshua Antonucci, Leandra Ramm, Paul Luoma, Bridget Bailey, Kyle Kleibecker, Heidi Beckman, Alex Perrone, Marissa Parness, Mallory Taylor, Ross Boehringer, John Blackwell, Michael Briatico, Eddie Wardel, Danielle Ryan, Carina Scott, Allison Young and Lauren Kampf. Set in the notorious midtown west area of New York in the early 1960s, it is a kind of 'Guys and Dolls the next generation'. The John Lovejoy Elliott Center is located at 441 West 26th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Blood Type: Ragu, a one man show written and performed by Frank Ingrasciotta, about a family that emigrates back and forth from Sicily to America, will reopen the Actors' Playhouse, previewing from February 20th, opening on March 5th. The producer is Flying Machine Productions. The Actors' Playhouse is located at 100 7th Avenue South, between Bleecker and Christopher Streets.