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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th March 2012

Roundabout Theatre Company's 2012/2013 season will include the musical The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, book, music and lyrics by Rupert Holmes, adapted from Charles Dickens's final unfinished murder mystery novel, performed as in a Victorian British Music Hall, with the audience voting on 'whodunnit', featuring Chita Rivera, directed by Scott Ellis, in the fall at Studio 54; William Inge's Picnic, about the disruptive effect of the arrival of a handsome and dangerous stranger in small town America, directed by Sam Gold, next winter at the American Airlines Theatre; and the premiere of Steven Levenson's The Unavoidable Disappearance Of Tom Durnin, in which a man who has 'done the time for his white-collar crime' tries to reconnect with his family, directed by Scott Ellis, at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Center for Theatre.

David Harrower's A Slow Air, two interconnected monologues from characters living in the village where the 2007 Glasgow Airport terrorist attack was planned, with Susan Vidler and Lewis Howden, will preview from April 4th at 59E59 Theaters, opening on April 12th. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

The Pearl Theatre Company, which for the last 3 years has been performing at New York City Center Stage II, will relocate to the Signature Theatre Company's former home at 555 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues from next fall. The company has taken a 20 year lease on the property, and has begun a $3m fundraising campaign to pay for renovation and re-equipment.

The 2012/2013 season at the Paper Mill Playhouse will include the musical A Chorus Line, book by James Kirkwood Jr and Nicholas Dante, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, set during the ensemble auditions for a Broadway show, from October 3rd; the musical The Sound Of Music, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, music by Richard Rodgers, based on the book by Maria Von Trapp, about her experiences as a novice nun falling in love with a widowed naval captain and his children in 1930s Austria, from November 23rd; Ken Ludwig's farce Lend Me A Tenor, about the backstage panic involved in getting an opera superstar on stage in the 1930s, from February 13th; the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, based on the 1967 film about a girl from Kansas who arrives in 1920s New York to start a new life, book by Dick Scanlan and Richard Morris, music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Dick Scanlan, from April 10th; and Disney's The Little Mermaid, book by Doug Wright, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater and Howard Ashman, based on the 1989 animated film of the Hans Christian Andersen story about a mermaid who falls in love with a human, from May 29th. The Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, New Jersey.

A jazz blues musical The City Club, book by Glenn M Stewart, music and lyrics by James Compton, Tony Demeur and Tim Brown, about a passionate but naive jazz club owner who tries to create the ultimate club in a dark city full of corruption and prejudice, directed by Mitchell Maxwell, with choreography by Lorin Latarro, will preview from April 3rd at the Minetta Lane Theatre, opening on April 23rd. The producer is The City Club Development. The Minetta Lane Theatre is located at 18 Minetta Lane, between 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street.

The British Royal Shakespeare Company production of the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda, book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, about a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers, directed by Matthew Warchus, with choreography by Peter Darling, which is currently playing in London, will be restaged on Broadway next spring.

The Metropolitan Opera has announced its 2012/2013 season, which will include new productions of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, directed by Bartlett Sher; Thomas Ades's The Tempest, directed by Robert Lepage; Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, directed by David Alden; Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, directed by David McVicar; Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by Michael Mayer; Wagner's Parsifal, directed by Francois Girard; and Handel's Giulio Cesare, directed by David McVicar; plus 21 revivals. The 7th season of The Met: Live in HD series will feature 12 live transmissions, beginning October 13th with L'Elisir d'Amore.

Yangtze Repertory Theater of America will stage The Circle Of Chalk, adapted and directed by Joanna Chan from Li QianFu's 13th century play into a multilingual play with arias in the style of Cantonese Opera, with lyrics and choreography by Chen ShaoMei, previewing from May 3rd at Theater for the New City, opening on May 5th. The story, which was the inspiration for Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, recounts a celebrated court case of Judge Bao of the Song Dynasty, a magistrate who stood above the corruption of his time and is still revered throughout the Chinese speaking world for his wisdom and fairmindedness. It will feature Denver Chiu in the onnagata (female character played by a man) leading role and Bill Angst. The play will be performed in English, Mandarin and Cantonese with Chinese and English supertitles. Theater for the New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.

The Rumour Machine says: that Stephen Sondheim is working on a new musical with playwright David Ives, although the subject is unknown; that David Zippell has adapted Oscar Wilde's British Victorian comedy of manners The Importance Of Being Earnest, into a contemporary New York City/Long Island setting; and that Disney will try out a prospective Broadway stage adaptation of The Jungle Book, book and direction by Mary Zimmerman, in the 2012/2013 season at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. The Rumour Machine grinds on.