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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd March 2009

Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark, the new musical about the Marvel comic book hero, book by Julie Taymor and Glen Berger, music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge, directed by Julie Taymor, with choreography by Daniel Ezralow, has confirmed its Broadway debut, previewing from January 16th next year at the Hilton Theatre, with an official opening on February 18th. It will be the most expensive Broadway show ever produced, with a budget of $31.3m. The design team comprises scenery by George Tsypin, costumes by Eiko Ishioka, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Jonathan Deans. The producers are Hello Entertainment/David Garfinkle, Martin McCallum, Marvel Entertainment/David Maisel, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Jeremiah Harris, in association with Omneity Entertainment/Richard Weinberg, the Mayerson/Gould/Hauser/Tysoe Group, Patricia Lambrecht and Jam Theatricals/S2BN Entertainment.

Theatregoers will be able to move more freely through Times Square from May, thanks to an experimental plan called Green Light For Manhattan. This will pedestrianise Broadway between 42nd Street and 47th Street, with traffic diverted to 7th Avenue, which will be widened with an extra lane. Cross streets will continue to be open. Always busy, the area becomes very congested in the period before curtain up of Broadway shows. The scheme will run from Memorial Day weekend until the end of the year, and if successful, will be made permanent. A similar scheme will be introduced in Herald Square.

Following an 80 city U.S. tour, Robin Williams will return to Broadway in his one man show Weapons Of Self-Destruction, playing at the Neil Simon Theatre from April 28th to May 3rd. The show will be presented by James L Nederlander and Ron Delsener.

The Production Company will stage the U.S. premiere of Patricia Cornelius's Love, about three young people who have already had their youth wrung out of them by abuse, but are held together by love in all its distorted and mutated forms, with Bronwen Coleman, Erin Maya Darke and Ken Matthews, directed by Mark Armstrong, at Center Stage, from March 20th. Center Stage is located at 48 West 21st Street, 4th Floor, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Musical theatre practitioners involved on Metropolitan Opera's 2009/2010 season will include Paulo Szot in Shostakovich's The Nose; Bartlett Sher directing Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann; Richard Eyre directing Bizet's Carmen; and Mary Zimmerman directing Rossini's Armida, choreographed by Graciela Daniele.

40 Years Of Firsts: Dance Theatre Of Harlem at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, is a multi-media exhibition that celebrates the accomplishments of the Dance Theatre Of Harlem, the first classical dance company to feature Black performers, on the 40th anniversary of its founding. Starting from humble beginnings in the basement of the Church of the Master, to being praised as an internationally celebrated ballet company, professional school and for its education-community outreach programs, Dance Theatre of Harlem has lasted through challenges, success and controversy, earning a secure and well deserved place in ballet history. Remaining deeply rooted in the Balanchine tradition, Dance Theatre of Harlem extended the vocabulary and forged a neo-classical style all its own, with an eclecticism that became its strength. The exhibition runs until May 9th. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

The Addams Family, a new musical with an original story featuring the macabre characters created by illustrator Charles Addams, book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, directed and designed by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, with choreography Sergio Trujillo, will begin previews on March 5th next year at a Broadway theatre to be announced, with an official opening on April 8th. The producers are Elephant Eye Theatrical (Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Productions) and Roy Furman. The show will play a pre Broadway season at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre in Chicago, opening on November 13th.

Deirdre O'Connor's Jailbait, in which two 15 year old girls spending a night at a Boston club posing as college students, cross paths with two thirty-something men, with Kelly AuCoin, Peter O'Connor, Natalia Payne and Wrenn Schmidt, directed by Suzanne Agins, will be the inaugural production at the Cherry Lane Theatre's new 90 seat venue, the Cherry Pit, previewing from March 19th, opening on March 25th. The Cherry Pit (formerly the Bank Street Theatre) is located at 155 Bank Street, between Washington and West Streets.

On The Casting Couch: David Hyde Pierce, Lisa Banes, Mary Catherine Garrison and Byron Jennings will be joined by Rosie Benton, David Furr and Charles Kimbrough in Samson Raphaelson's Accent On Youth, opening at the Samuel J Friedman Theater on April 29th

BOO-Arts Productions will stage George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession, the confrontation that takes place when a daughter finds out that her mother's fortune and social position was derived from prostitution, with Joy Franz, David Palmer Brown, Ashton Crosby, James Dutton, Joseph Franchini and Carrie Kozolowski, directed by Kathleen O'Neill, previewing from April 1st at Manhattan Theatre Source, opening on April 2nd. Manhattan Theatre Source is located at 177 MacDougal Street, between West 8th Street and Washington Square North.