News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th September 2006

The Broadway transfer of the Atlantic Theater Company production of the musical Spring Awakening will retain the entire youth ensemble, Skylar Astin, Lilli Cooper, John Gallagher Jr, Gideon Glick, Jonathan Groff, Brian Johnson, Lea Michele, Lauren Pritchard, Phoebe Strole, Jonathan B Wright and Remy Zaken - the two adult performers have yet to be announced. The show is adapted from Frank Wedekind's 1891 expressionist play, about the sexual stirrings of young people in a world where parents, ministers and teachers create an atmosphere of shame, silence and ignorance. It has book and lyrics by Steven Sater, and music by Duncan Sheik, directed by Michael Mayer, with choreography by Bill T Jones, begins previews at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on November 17th, with an official opening on December 10th. The producers are Ira Pittelman, Tom Hulce, Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel.

The National Theatre of Greece will return to New York City Center with Aeschylus's The Persians, directed by and starring Lydia Koniordou, from September 16th to 20th. The oldest known play in Western civilization, it was written in 480 B.C., to celebrate the defeat of the armies of King Xerxes in the sea battle of Salamis, and is set in the Persian capital, where the despotic Queen Atossa waits for news of the king's campaign against the Greeks. The performances will be in Greek with English supertitles.

The new musical The Pirate Queen will launch 'castcom', a daily online video diary of the production process, on the show's web site on 12th September, as it makes its pre Broadway debut in Chicago on October 3rd. A preview, featuring scenes from rehearsals, is already available. The show, based on 'Grania-She King of the Irish Seas' by Morgan Llywelyn, is the story of a real life female Irish chieftan and pirate, in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. It has book and lyrics by Alain Boublil, with lyrics co-written by John Dempsey, and book and music by Claude-Michel Schonberg. The cast is led by Stephanie J Block, Hadley Fraser, Linda Balgord, Marcus Chait, Jeff McCarthy and William Youmans, the director is Frank Galati, and the choreographer is Mark Dendy, with fight direction by J Steven White. The show begins Broadway previews at Hilton Theatre on February 23rd, with an official opening on March 22nd. The producers are Moya Doherty and John McColgan. The Pirate Queen web site can be found via the link from Shows in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

A new musical How To Save The World And Find True Love In 90 Minutes, with Michael McEachran, Anika Larsen, Nicole Ruth Snelson, Stephen Bienskie, Natalie Joy Johnson and Kevin Smith Kirkwood, directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, will open at New World Stages at 340 West 50th Street, on November 12th. The show, with book and lyrics by Jonathan Karp and music by Seth Weinstein, premiered in the New York International Fringe Festival in 2004. Set at the United Nations, it involves a cowardly bookshop clerk, a sexy diplomat and an idealistic slacker who confront their deepest fears when an office romance leads to an international crisis.

The company for the Broadway transfer of the Playwrights Horizons musical Grey Gardens, will see originals Christine Ebersole, Mary Louise Wilson, John McMartin, Bob Stillman, Matt Cavenaugh, Michael Potts, and Sarah Hyland, joined by Erin Davie and Kelsey Fowler. It is directed by Michael Greif, with musical staging by Jeff Calhoun. The show is inspired by the 1975 documentary film about the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, living in a crumbling mansion in East Hampton, with the first act flashing back to the grander days of their youth in 1941. The book is by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie. Previews begin at the Walter Kerr Theatre on October 3rd, with an official opening on November 2nd. The producers are East of Doheny, Randall L. Wreghitt/Mort Swinsky, Michael Alden and Edwin W. Schloss.

Meanwhile the new season at Playwrights Horizons, at 416 West 42nd Street, comprises New York or world premieres of: Tanya Barfield's Blue Door, in which a mathematician in crisis loses his grip on reality and is visited by the ghosts of his ancestors, a two hander featuring Reg E Cathey and Andre Holland, directed by Leigh Silverman, opening on September 28th; the musical Floyd And Clea Under The Western Sky, book and lyrics by David Cale, music and lyrics by Jonathan Kreisberg and David Cale, about the unlikely friendship and musical partnership of a burnt out former country-western singer and 20 year old feral beauty with an electrifying voice, directed by Joe Calarco, opening November 10th; Adam Rapp's Essential Self-Defense, in which a disgruntled misfit's job as an attack dummy in a women's self-defense class leads to a motley assortment of poets, butchers, and punk librarians preparing to battle the darkness on the edge of town, directed by Carolyn Cantor, opening on March 15th; and A R Gurney's Crazy Mary, about a visit by a mother and son to their cousin in an asylum who barely speaks, in order to gain access to a family inheritance, with Sigourney Weaver, directed by Jim Simpson, opening on May 11th.

The 25th season at the Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th Street, opens on November 7th with Anne Washburn's The Internationalist, about a young businessman who embarks on a surreal journey when working in an Eastern European country where he does not speak the language and his colleagues have strange ideas and habits, with Zak Orth and Annie Parisse, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. The remainder of the season will include: J M Barrie's Mary Rose, the story of a girl who might be a ghost, directed by Tina Landau; and a members only developmental Lab Production of The Agony And The Agony, written by and featuring Nicky Silver, about a desperate writer's ultimate revenge, directed by Terry Kinney.