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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th March 2013

The National Theatre Washington DC will stage the premiere of the musical If/Then, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, music by Tom Kitt, about a woman approaching 40 who moves to New York City to make a fresh start, with Idina Menzel, directed by Michael Greif, previewing from November 5th, with an official opening on November 24th, ahead of a Broadway transfer, previewing from March 4th, at a Nederlander Theatre yet to be announced, with an official opening on March 27th. The producer is David Stone.

The Metropolitan Opera's 2013/2014 season will include U.S. premiere of Two Boys, music by Nico Muhly, libretto by Craig Lucas, inspired by the true story of a teenager attempting to arrange his own murder via the internet, directed by Bartlett Sher; and new productions of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, with Piotr Beczala, directed by Deborah Warner; Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus, libretto by Douglas Carter Beane, with Susanna Phillips and Christopher Maltman, directed by Jeremy Sams; Verdi's Falstaff, with Ambrogio Maestri, directed by Robert Carsen; Jules Massenet's Werther, with Jonas Kaufmann and Elina Garanca, directed by Richard Eyre; and Borodin's Prince Igor, with Ildar Abdrazakov, directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov

Entertainment Events will stage the premiere of Cuff Me: The Fifty Shades Of Grey Musical Parody, an unauthorized parody of the publishing phenomenon Fifty Shades Of Grey, written by Bradford McMurran, Jeremiah Albers and Sean Michael Devereux of the improv group The Pushers, conceived by Tim Flaherty, who is also a contributing author, and director Sonya Carter, with Matthew Brian Bagley, Laurie Gardner, Alex Gonzalez and Tina Jensen, previewing from March 27th at the Actors Temple Theater, opening on May 5th. The Actors Temple Theater is located at 339 West 47th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Kellie Overbey, Quentin Mare and Renata Friedman will feature in Kara Manning's Sleeping Rough, opening at the Wild Project on April 11th; and Rocco Sisto, Stephanie Hayes, Alenka Kraigher, Nicolas Norena and David Skeist will feature in the premiere of Richard Foreman's Old-Fashioned Prostitutes (A True Romance), at the Public Theater from April 30th.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Theatre Company have announced that the 'reimagined' production of the musical The Phantom Of The Opera, book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart, with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, adapted from the novel Gaston Leroux, directed by Laurence Connor, with choreography by Scott Ambler, which is currently touring the UK, will open an American national tour at Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI in November. Since its debut the show has grossed more than $890m on Broadway, with a worldwide gross estimated at over $5.6bn.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival, which runs from July 8th to 28th, has announced the titles of 10 of the invited Next Link Project productions in this year's programme. These include: Crossing Swords, book, music, and lyrics by Joe Slabe, in which a boys school and a girl's school come together to present Cyrano de Bergerac, and three friends get more of an education than they bargained for; Mata Hari: Tigress At The City Gate, book and music by David Rhymer, lyrics by Blake Brooker and David Rhymer, ia one woman show in which the most notorious and misunderstood figure in World War I sets the record straight; Julian Po, book and lyrics by Andrew Barrett, music by Ira Antelis, based on the book La mort de monsieur Golouja by Branimir Scepanovic and the screenplay Julian Po by Alan Wade, a darkly comic tale in which a chance meeting has life changing repercussions; Mother Divine, book and lyrics by Laurel Klinger, music by Bill Evans, in which a recently deceased Harlem evangelist's wife plots revenge on her successor; and Gary Goldfarb, Master Escapist, book and lyrics by Omri Schein, music by James Olmstead, in which a boy's aim to win the heart of the hottest girl in school leads to him attempting Houdini's most dangerous feat, the Chinese Water Torture Cell Illusion. Further information can be found on the NYMF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Taconic Stage Company production of The Real (Desperate) Housewives Of Columbia County Musical, book, lyrics and direction by Carl Ritchie, music by Wayne Moore, spotlighting the culture clash between spoiled, egocentric 'weekender' women and their 'townie' counterparts in a rural community, with Constance Lopez, Meg Dooley, Diedre Bollinger and Cathy Lee-Visscher, will play at the Laurie Beechman Theatre from March 7th. The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located in the West Bank Cafe at 407 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Abingdon Theatre Company will stage Robert Brustein's The Last Will, about Richard Burbridge's attempts to coax William Shakespeare out of retirement in Stratford and back to the London stage, with Peter Cameron, Stephanie Haberle-Roth, Merritt Janson, Jeremiah Kissel, Christianna Nelson and David Wohl, directed by Austin Pendleton, previewing from April 5th, opening on April 17th. The Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey will stage the premiere of the musical Honeymoon In Vegas, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, book by Andrew Bergman adapted from his screenplay of the 1992 movie, in which a reluctant groom and enthusiastic bride find their marriage plans disrupted by a Vegas wise guy, directed by Garry Griffin, with choreography by Denis Jones, from September 23rd, in anticipation of a Broadway transfer in spring 2014; and that Cameron Mackintosh is aiming for a Broadway production of the Lionel Bart musical Oliver!, adapted from Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, featuring Samantha Barks, who was in the recent London production, and now has a higher profile thanks to his film of Les Miserables. The Rumour Machine grinds on.