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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd August 2009

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre has announced the shows in its 21st Festival of New Musicals, featuring staged readings of 8 new works, to be held on October 19th and 20th. All the shows submitted for inclusion must be sponsored by NAMT member theatres or producers. They include: Band Geeks!, book by Tommy Newman and Gordon Greenberg, music by Mark Allen, Gaby Alter and Tommy Newman, lyrics by Gaby Alter and Tommy Newman, a high-stepping tribute to high school marching bands and misfits everywhere; Factory Girls, book, music and lyrics by Creighton Irons and Sean Mahoney, in which a young woman fights the 'soulless corporation' at the dawn of the American Industrial Revolution; Iron Curtain, book by Susan DiLallo, music by Stephen Weiner, lyrics by Peter Mills, a farce about two songwriters kidnapped by the KGB, brought to Moscow, and forced to 'fix' a Communist Propaganda musical in the 1950s; and Ripper, book, music and lyrics by Duane Nelsen, a Victorian thriller involving a Music Hall illusionist and a reporter following the trail of a murderer. Since 1989 the festival has presented over 225 musicals and 330 writers, and 80% have found subsequent productions as a direct result of the festival, including Tony Award winners The Drowsy Chaperone and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Further information can be found on the NAMT web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Catherine Wolf will perform her new one woman show, On Becoming, a voyage, through songs and stories, of growing up surrounded by her very colorful, famous and talented family of musicians and broadcasters, directed by Jack Gindi, from September 23rd to 26th at the Cherry Lane Theatre. The producer is The Colleagues Theatre Company. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.

On The Casting Couch: Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz will be joined by Julian Acosta, Gaius Charles, Jessica Chastain, Liza Colon-Zayas, Saidah Arrika Ekulona and LeRoy McClain in William Shakespeare's Othello, opening at the NYU Skirball Center on September 27th; Jude Law will be joined by the entire London/Elsinore cast, including Ron Cook, Geraldine James, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kevin R McNally in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, opening at the Broadhurst Theatre on October 6th; Chad Kimball, Montego Glover, J Bernard Calloway, James Monroe Iglehart, Cass Morgan, Derrick Baskin and Michael McGrath will head the cast of the Joe DiPietro-David Bryan musical Memphis, opening at the Shubert Theatre on October 19th; and David Alan Grier, James Spader, Richard Thomas and Kerry Washington will feature in David Mamet's Race, opening at the Barrymore Theatre on December 6th.

The 2009/2010 season at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on the Greenwich Village campus of New York University will also include the world premieres of a Japanese musical, Talk Like Singing, book, lyrics and direction by Koki Mitani, music by Yasuharu Konishi, telling the story of a man who can only communicate through singing, but is unhappy when he is 'cured' by a psychologist, with Shingo Katori, from November 12th; and FINN, a multi media performance based on the Celtic legend of Finn McCool, staged by the avant-garde theatre company Mabou Mines, from March 4th. The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is located at 566 LaGuardia Place, at Washington Square South.

Gorilla Repertory Theatre Company will stage free performances of Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt, in a new translation/adaptation by Laura Lynn MacDonald, an epic journey in search of fame and fortune, directed by Christopher Carter Sanderson, on Thursdays and Saturdays at 8pm, from August 6th to 29th at Summit Rock in Central Park (near 85th Street and Central Park West); and William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the story of power, politics and honour, directed by Stephen Fried, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, from August 7th to 30th, at the lawn below the New Leaf Cafe parking area in Fort Tryon Park. The company comprises Roger Grunwald, Neville Braithwaite, Ken Hailey, Caitlin Johnston, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Gustavo Obregon, Heather Lee Rogers, Nalini Sharma, Josh Silverman and Frances You Sanderson.

Performance Space 122 has added further events to its fall season, including the multidisciplinary festival Avant-Garde-Arama! featuring experimental performances in theatre, dance, music, performance art and multimedia on September 18th and 19th; 31 Down performing the world premiere of The Assember Dilator, a 'multi-media meltdown of science fiction, focused on the development of x-ray vision and its consequences, obvious and unknown', from October 8th; Morgan Thorson's Heaven, in which performers undertake choral singing and movement derived from religious ritual, from October 25th; and LeeSaar The Company with Prima, a dance piece in which four women and one man explore a world of pure sensations and energy, from November 19th. PS 122 is located 150 1st Avenue at East 9th Street.

Daniel Talbott's Slipping, about a boy who moves to an Iowa suburb, after the violent death of his father in San Francisco, and forms a relationship with a boy at his new school, with MacLeod Andrews, Adam Driver, Meg Gibson and Seth Numrich, directed by Kirsten Kelly, will open at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater on August 4th. The producers are Piece by Piece Productions and Rising Phoenix Repertory. Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is located at 224 Waverly Place, between West 11th and Perry Streets.

The Rumour Machine says: that Irving Berlin's White Christmas, the stage adaptation of the 1954 film, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, and book by David Ives and Paul Blake, from the screenplay by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Randy Skinner, will return to the Marquis Theatre for a second Christmas season in November; and that Liev Schreiber will star in a Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, directed by Gregory Mosher, opening on Broadway next spring. The Rumour Machine grinds on.