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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th October 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the current British sellout Chichester Festival Theatre/Royal Court Theatre production of Lucy Prebble's Enron, based on the scandal surrounding the fraudulent activities of the U.S. energy company, directed by Rupert Goold, will preview from April 8th at a Shubert theatre to be announced, with an official opening April 27th. It will feature a new all American cast. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by Anthony Ward, lighting by Mark Henderson, video and projection by Jon Driscoll, and sound by Adam Cork. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Matthew Byam Shaw, Act Productions, Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions and the Shubert Organization.

The Roundabout Theatre Company will stage a new revue, Sondheim On Sondheim, featuring the songs of Stephen Sondheim, punctuated with interview footage of the songwriter discussing his work, conceived and directed by James Lapine, with Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Michael Arden and Leslie Kritzer, previewing from March 19th at Studio 54, with an official opening on April 22nd. The design tem comprises scenery by Beowulf Boritt, costumes by Susan Hilferty, lighting by Ken Billington, projections by Peter Flaherty and sound by Dan Moses Schreier.

On The Casting Couch: James Clow, Mara Davi, Melissa Errico, Tony Yazbeck, David Ogden Stiers and Ruth Williamson will star in Irving Berlin's White Christmas, at the Marquis Theatre from November 13th; and Hugh Dancy, Andrea Riseborough and Ben Whishaw will feature in Alexi Kaye Campbell's The Pride, opening at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on February 16th.

Theatre Communications Group's 5th annual Free Night Of Theatre Celebration will take place in Union Square on October 15th from 12noon until 6pm. The square will be transformed into a theatrical street fair with a stage, booths, art installations, make up demonstrations, a fashion show featuring items from the Theatre Development Fund's Costume Collection, and performances - both scheduled and spontaneous - as well as guest speakers including theatre artists and local politicians (there had to be a catch). The Free Night of Theatre scheme was introduced to raise awareness of America's not-for-profit theatres and attract new audiences. This year more than 75,000 tickets will be available at 700 theatres nationwide. Over 5,000 free tickets free will be offered at performances in nearly 100 theatres throughout New York City between October 8th and November 1st. Further information can be found on the Free Night Of Theatre web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan's Lost Places Of Leisure by David Freeland, recently published by New York University Press, uncovers some of the forgotten but still visible treasures of New York's offbeat, and sometimes seamier, underside. In 'the city that never sleeps' both native New Yorkers and tourists have played hard in ever changing ways for centuries. However, Manhattan's fast pace of change means that many of the beautifully constructed and incredibly ornate buildings that housed their entertainments have disappeared, and with them a rich history. Now, with David Freeland as a guide, it is possible to uncover skeletons of New York's lost monuments to its nightlife. With a keen eye for architectural detail, Freeland opens doors, climbs onto rooftops, and gazes down alleyways to reveal the remaining hidden gems of 19th and 20th century entertainment industry. From the Atlantic Garden German beer hall in present day Chinatown, to the city's first motion picture studio - Union Square's American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - to the Lincoln Theater in Harlem, Freeland situates each building within its historical and social context, bringing to life an old New York that took its diversions seriously.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre Row will include: the world premiere of Victor L Cahn's Embraceable Me, which offers two views on the journey of unlikely friends along many detours and byways, with Keira Naughton and Scott Barrow, directed by Eric Parness, previewing from October 23rd at the Kirk Theatre, opening on October 28th, produced by Rachel Reiner Productions; and Leon Pownall's one man play Do Not Go Gentle, in which the poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, finding himself in Purgatory, reflects on the influences in his life that brought him there, performed by Geraint Wyn Davies, directed by Leon Pownall and Dean Gabourie, previewing from November 19th at the Clurman Theatre, opening on November 22nd, produced by MRK Productions. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The 9th annual The 24 Hour Plays On Broadway will take place at the American Airlines Theatre on Sunday November 9th. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Saturday November 8th, and form teams to write and rehearse six short plays to be performed 24 hours later. Those involved will include actors Amber Tamblyn, David Cross, Elijah Wood and Rosie Perez; and playwrights Warren Leight, David Lindsay-Abaire and Nathan Jackson. Since its inception, The 24 Hour Plays have involved more than 100 writers, 1,000 actors, and 300 new short plays have been produced. Further information can be found on The 24 Hour Plays web site, via the link from Festivals & Events, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.