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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th July 2010

Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy, with James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave, directed by David Esbjornson, will preview from October 7th at the Golden Theatre, with an official opening October 25th. The play charts the relationship that develops when the son of a widowed 72 year old Jewish woman living in midcentury Atlanta, hires an African American man as her chauffeur. The producers are Jed Bernstein and Adam Zotovich.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival has announced the titles of the 11 invited productions in this year's programme. These include: Shine! The Horatio Alger Musical, book by Richard Seff, music by Roger Dean Anderson, lyrics by Lee Goldsmith, the story of penniless bootblack's rise to budding entrepreneur with a little bit of luck, a little bit of charm, and a lot of hard work; Show Choir! - The Musical, book, music and lyrics by Donald Garverick and Mark McDaniels, exposing the highs and lows of celebrity as a small town high school show choir rises to big time showbiz success; Trails, book by Christy Hall, music by Jeff Thomson, lyrics by Jordan Mann, in which two friends reconnect after 10 years and set out to fulfil a childhood promise to hike the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end; Trav'lin, book by Allan Shapiro and Gary Holmes, music and lyrics by J C Johnson and friends, a look at the romantic travails of 3 couples learning about love in 1930's Harlem; Vote For Me: A Musical Debate, book, music and lyrics by Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola, a musicalised contemporary Presidential debate, where the audience picks the winner; and Without You, book by Anthony Rapp, based on his memoir about the early days of Rent, including the untimely passing of Jonathan Larson, and the illness and death of his mother, with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson. Further information can be found on the NYMF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

It has been confirmed that Elf - The Musical, book by Bob Martin and Tom Meehan, music by Matthew Sklar, music by Chad Beguelin, adapted from the 2003 movie about an oversized elf raised in the North Pole who arrives in New York to find his true identity, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, will preview from November 2nd at the Hirschfeld Theatre, with an official opening on November 10th, playing until January 2nd. The producers are Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures in association with Unique Features.

On The Casting Couch: Elizabeth Ashley and Brian Murray will be joined by Zachary Booth, Natalia Payne, Stephen Payne and Preston Sadleir in Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I, opening at Playwrights Horizons on September 12th; Linus Roache and Heather Burns will star in Will Eno's Middletown, at the Vineyard Theatre from October 6th; and David Duchovny will head the cast of Neil LaBute's The Break Of Noon, opening at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in November.

Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop will co-produce the musical The Shaggs: The Philosophy Of The World, book and lyrics by Joy Gregory, music and lyrics by Gunnar Madsen, from a story by Gregory, Madsen and director John Langs, opening at Playwrights Horizons next spring. Set in the 1970s, it tells the story of a father who is convinced that he can achieve fame and fortune by turning his three talentless daughters into rock stars.

The first production in the Mint Theater Company's 2010/2011 season will be the U.S. premiere of Teresa Deevy's Wife To James Whelan, with Rosie Benton, Janie Brookshire, Shawn Fagan, Jon Fletcher, Jeremy S Holm, Thomas Matthew Kelley, Aidan Redmond and Liv Rooth, directed by Jonathan Bank, previewing from July 29th, opening on August 23rd. It charts the life of an ambitious man, and his encounters with three women, each of whom might become is wife, but possibly none will make him happy. The Mint Theatre is located at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Sex In Mommyville, a musical feminist comedy about the misadventures of a neurotic, guilt-ridden, health-conscious, sex-starved Manhattan mom trying to please her high maintenance children, her lawyer husband, and her Russian parents who live upstairs, written and performed by Anna Fishbeyn, directed by Sande Shurin, will preview from 18th August at The Flea Theatre, opening on 20th August. The Flea Theatre is located at 41 White Street, between Church Street and Broadway.

Redd Tale Theatre will stage a repertoire comprising Pierre Marivaux's 18th century comedy, The Triumph Of Love, with a cross-dressing princess, mistaken identity and misplaced desires, given a science fiction twist, adapted and directed by Will LeVasseur, with Virginia Bartholomew, Tom Cleary, Robert Dyckman, Cameran Hebb, Lynn Kenny, Brad Lewandowski and James Stewart; and William Shakespeare's Macbeth, the bloody tale of ambition, with Morgan Auld, Virginia Bartholomew, Elyse Beyer, M J Brackin, Michael Komala, Sam Laakso, Brad Lewandowski, Jodi Mara, Collin McConnell, Jack Nicolaus, Maria Silverman, Melissa Smith and James Stewart, also directed by Will LeVasseur, from 5th August at Nicu's Spoon Theatre. Nicu's Spoon Theatre is located at 38 West 38th Street, 5th Floor, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Following their appearance in February, The Flying Karamazov Brothers (Paul Magid, Mark Ettinger, Rod Kimball and Stephen Bent), will return to the Minetta Lane Theatre, with their new vaudeville show 4PLAY, a blend of music, comedy, dance, theatre and juggling, written and directed by Paul Magid, with choreography by Doug Elkins, previewing from July 22nd, opening on August 9th. The audience is invited to bring objects to the theatre for the Karamazovs to keep airborne. The Minetta Lane Theatre is located at 18 Minetta Lane, between 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street.

The Rumour Machine says: that Liev Schreiber may star in a Broadway revival of Jason Miller's That Championship Season, about a reunion of a high school basketball coach and members of the team that he guided to the state championship 20 years earlier, directed by Gregory Mosher; and that the forthcoming Abbey Theatre, Dublin production of Henrik Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, in a new version by Frank McGuinness, about a man disgraced following a fraud scandal and imprisonment, and the ramifications it has on his family, with Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan and Fiona Shaw, directed by James Macdonald, will transfer to New York in January. The Rumour Machine grinds on.