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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th January 2013

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the current American Repertory Theater Cambridge production of the musical Pippin, book by Roger O Hirson, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, which brings contemporary sensibilities to a coming of age story of self discovery, set in the court of Emperor Charlemagne, directed by Diane Paulus, with choreography by Chet Walker, after the original by Bob Fosse, will transfer to the Music Box Theatre, previewing from March 23rd, with an official opening on April 25th. Broadway casting has yet to be confirmed, but the company is currently headed by Matthew James Thomas, Patina Miller, Andrea Martin, Terrence Mann, Charlotte d'Amboise and Rachel Bay Jones. The design team comprises scenery by Scott Pask, costumes by Dominique Lemieux, lighting by Kenneth Posner, and sound by Clive Goodwin. The producers are Barry and Fran Weissler and Howard and Janet Kagan.

The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective will stage the musical Rags, book by Joseph Stein, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, a story of the immigrant community in the sweatshops of the lower East Side in the early years of the 20th century, with Anna Kirkland, directed by Steven Carl McCasland, Kenneth Kyle Martinez and Barnaby Edwards, opening at the Connelly Theatre on May 27th. The Connelly Theatre is located at 220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A and B.

The Fault Line Theatre production of From White Plains, written and directed by Michael Perlman, which explores the lives of four adult men who grapple with the effects of teenage bullying, with Craig Wesley Divino, Aaron Rossini, Jimmy King and Karl Gregory, will preview from February 8th at the Pershing Square Signature Center, opening on February 14th. The Pershing Square Signature Center is located at 480 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Marsha Stephanie Blake, Eisa Davis, Dashiell Eaves, Robert Hogan, Frank Harts, Jenny O'Hara, Carra Patterson, Amanda Quaid and Victor Williams will feature in Kirsten Greenidge's Luck Of The Irish, opening at the Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center on February 11th; and Tina Benko will perform Elfriede Jelinek's Jackie, opening at New York City Center Stage II on March 5th.

Wicked, the Stephen Schwartz-Winnie Holzman musical at the Gershwin Theatre, has out grossed every other Broadway production for the 9th consecutive year - the only musical in Broadway history to achieve that status. The Phantom Of The Opera was Broadway's highest grossing production for 8 years, but not consecutively: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997. Wicked also set a new Broadway record for the highest weekly gross with a box office take of $2,947,172 for the week ending December 30th.

Yangtze Repertory Theatre will stage The Empress Dowager, an epic spanning 40 years of the reign of the Manchu empress who ruled China from behind the throne, written and directed by Joanna Chan, with a cast of 28, in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles, at Theatre For A New City, from May 31st. Theatre For A New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre Row will include the Traverse Theatre Edinburgh production of Midsummer, a play with songs, written and directed by David Greig, with music by Gordon McIntyre, which tells the story of an ill matched couple in a crazy journey around Edinburgh over a weekend, with the original cast of Cora Bissett and Matthew Pidgeon, from January 9th; and the premiere of Michael Puzzo's Spirits Of Exit Eleven, a darkly comic tale of a ragtag crew of outcasts, struggling to keep their dignity intact and their livelihood afloat, at a rundown New Jersey strip club/pizza parlor, with Deborah Rayne, Michael Carlsen, Stephen Payne, Nicole Balsam and Shane Patrick Kearns, directed by Frank Licato, at the Lion Theatre from January 10th. Theatre Row is located at 420 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Theater For The New City will stage Barbara Kahn's Crossing Paths In Washington Square, about life among the diverse community of Greenwich Village in 1913, with Ben Davis, Sasha Diamond, Robert Gonzales Jr, Bob Homeyer, Noelle LuSane, Mali MacConnell, Steph Van Vlack and Fatma Yalcin, directed by Robert Gonzales Jr and Barbara Kahn, from January 17th. Theater For The New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current Lincoln Center Theater production of Christopher Durang's Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike, a satire that takes characters and themes from Chekhov and transports them to contemporary Pennsylvania, with Sigourney Weaver, Kristine Nielsen and David Hyde Pierce, directed by Nicholas Martin, may be Broadway bound; that Denzel Washington may return to Broadway in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun, the groundbreaking play about an aspiring black family, directed by Kenny Leon, in spring 2014, courtesy of producer Scott Rudin; that the New York Theatre Workshop production of the play with music Peter And The Starcatcher, by Rick Elice, music by Wayne Barker, adapted from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's 'prequel' to J M Barrie's Peter Pan, directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, with musical staging by Stephen Hoggett, which ends a Broadway run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on January 20th, will re-emerge Off Broadway at New World Stages in March; and that twice postponed musical Rebecca, adapted from the novel by Daphne du Maurier, in which a man brings his second wife to the house where the shadow of his first wife still remains, original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton, directed by Michael Blakemore and Francesca Zambello, with choreography by Graciela Daniele, will make another bid for Broadway before the end of this year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.