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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th May 2007

Manhattan Theatre Club has announced its 2007/2008 season. On Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre: the New York premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, about two half sisters whose mother's death leaves them in possession of a rare stamp collection; and Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, set at the Top Girls Employment Agency in London in the early 1980s, telling the story of the ambitious new head of the firm, directed by James MacDonald. Off Broadway at City Center: the world premiere of Adam Bock's The Receptionist, with Jayne Houdyshell, directed by Joe Mantello; and the American premiere of Abbie Spallen's Pumpgirl, a black comedy set in a rundown gas station in the badlands of Armagh on the boarder between the two Irelands.

The cult concert musical Hedwig And the Angry Inch, the story of an obscure and tortured German-American transsexual rock singer, book by John Cameron Mitchell, and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, will open in October at the Zipper Theatre at 336 West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. The producers are Zach Lezberg, Quantum NY, LLC, Brian Blattman, Colours Productions and Sanctuary Productions

The New Group (naked) will stage its third 'modest scale' repertory season from 14th to June 3rd at Theatre Row. The productions will be Robert Tenges's Strangers Knocking, in which a young girl's emerging sexuality throws into relief the strains in her parents' marriage, with Julie Halston, John Pankow, Talia Balsam, Stella Maeve and Michael Stahl-David, directed by Marie Masters; and Heather Lynn MacDonald's Expats, set in post Soviet Union Moscow, where American twenty somethings are trying to make their mark in Russia's emerging marketplace, with Reiko Aylesworth, James Badge Dale, Jesse Hooker, Jay Klaitz, Matthew Rauch, Taylor Wilcox and Natalia Zvereva, directed by Ari Edelson. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenue.

La MaMa E.T.C. will present All Her Faces, A Portrait Of Dusty Springfield, written and directed by Anthony Inneo, with choreography by Greg Daniels, featuring Steve Bartosik, Sandra Caldwell, Lauren Echo, Amy Lou Fox, Sean Jenness, Isabel Santiago and Louis Tucci, in its second floor Club from June 1st to 10th. The 'concert theatre piece' will feature 20 songs associated with the legendary 1960s singer. La MaMa E.T.C. is located at 74A East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

Just when you thought you'd seen it all dept: If you're green, or look like a donkey, then step this way - a career on Broadway beckons. DreamWorks Animation and Neal Street Productions have been unable to cast two leading roles in the upcoming reading of the new Broadway bound musical Shrek. Jason Moore will direct the July 23rd to August 3rd reading of the show, based on a William Steig children's book, which features music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay Abaire. Those interested in auditioning should video themselves singing one song live, and send it on a DVD, with a headshot and contact information to DreamWorks Animation, I Want to Be Shrek, PO Box 2693, New York, NY 10108 by May 18th.

New York Theatre Workshop will stage Horizon, written by and featuring Rinde Eckert, with David Barlow and Howard Swain, directed by David Schweizer, previewing from June 1st, opening June 5th. It is about a theologian and teacher of ethics at a seminary, working all night on his last lecture, remembering conversations and talking with ghosts. New York Theatre Workshop is located at 79 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

A new musical, Sessions, book, music and lyrics by Albert Tapper, with Bertilla Baker, Amy Bodnar, Al Bundonis, David Patrick Ford, Scott Richard Foster, Jim Madden, Kelli Maguire, Trisha Rapier, Matthew Shepard and Ed Reynolds Young, directed by Steven Petrillo, will preview from May 30th at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, at Playwright's Horizons, opening on June 10th. The show tells the stories of a therapist and his patients. The producers are Algonquin Theater Productions and Ten Grand Productions. Playwright's Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Playwright's Horizon's 2007/2008 season will include the premiere of Saved, a musical based on the satirical movie about kids in a Christian high school, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman and book and lyrics by John Dempsey and Rinne Groff, directed by Gary Griffin, next spring. The story concerns teens struggling to find their place in a world colored by their commitment to Christian faith. It will be produced by arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical. Performances.

The New York premiere of Carol Lynn Pearson's Facing East, featuring Charles Lynn Frost, Jayne Luke and Jay Perry, directed by Jerry Rapier, will preview from May 25th at Atlantic Stage 2, opening on May 29th. A Mormon couple dealing with the suicide of their gay son encounter his partner for the first time. The producers are Plan-B Theatre and Bruce Wayne Bastian. Atlantic Stage 2 is located at 330 West 16th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

SeaChange: Reversing The Tide, written and performed by Lisa Harrow and Roger Payne, contemplating man's position in the complex web of life on earth, combining the knowledge of science with the wisdom of poetry, will play at Cherry Lane Theatre from 24th May to 7th June. The show includes the writing of Shakespeare, Shelley, Robert Frost, Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, and Mary Oliver. The producer is Redshift Productions. Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, off 7th Avenue, below Bleecker Street.

The Rumour Machine says: that a Spiderman musical is in the pipeline, featuring a score by U2's Bono and the Edge, and Julie Taymor directing, with a reading planned for this summer; that the current London production of John Buchan's 1920's British spy story The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow, directed by Maria Aitken, in which 4 actors play more than 150 characters, will be heading to Broadway following a run at the Huntington Theatre Company in October; and that the Roundabout Theatre Company may revive its Tony Award winning production of John Kander and Fred Ebb's Cabaret, directed by Sam Mendes, once again starring Alan Cumming, at its former home, Studio 54, next summer. The Rumour Machine grinds on.