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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th June 2010

The New York Musical Theatre Festival has announced the titles of productions in its Next Link Project: Above Hell's Kitchen, book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Spottiswoode, a contemporary rock version of Don Giovanni; Cheer Wars, book and lyrics by Gordon Leary, music by Karlan Judd, Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 relocated to the world of cheerleading; Frog Kiss, book and lyrics by Charles Leipart, music by Eric Schorr, adapted from Stephen Mitchell's The Frog Prince; The Great Unknown, book by William Hauptman, music and lyrics by Jim Wann, about Civil War hero John Wesley Powell's expedition through the Grand Canyon; I Got Fired: A Semi-Autobiographical Sort-of-True Revenge Musical, book, music and lyrics by Keith Varney, the clue is in the title; Jay Alan Zimmerman's Incredibly Deaf Musical, book, music and lyrics by Jay Alan Zimmerman, a wild pop-rock-rap-dance-classical-disco-experimental-sign language-multimedia mash-up; The Kid Who Would Be Pope, book, music and lyrics by Tom Megan and Jack Megan, about a Catholic schoolboy who falls for his drama teacher; The Most Ridiculous Thing You Ever Hoid, book by Andy Seiler, Jim Beckerman and Fred Wemyss, music by Jim Beckerman, lyrics by Jim Beckerman and Andy Seiler, adapted from the Marx Brothers's radio series Flywheel, Shyster And Flywheel by Nat Perrin, Arthur Sheekman, George Oppenheimer and Tom McKnight; POPart: The Musical, book and lyrics by Daryl Lisa Fazio, music by Aaron McAllister, about a suburban girl's experiences at a big city art school; The Tenth Floor, book by Sara Cooper, music and lyrics by J Sebastian Fabal, an inmate in a juvenile detention facility struggles to come to terms with his present and his past; Tess, book, music and lyrics by Annie Pasqua, additional book, music and lyrics by Jenna Pasqua, adapted from Thomas Hardy's Tess Of The d'Urbervilles; and Things As They Are, book and lyrics by John Dietrich, music by Jonathan Comisar, a biomusical about the photographer Dorothea Lange. Further information can be found on the NYMF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Seeing Place Theater will stage Clifford Odets's Waiting For Lefty, with Joseph Mancuso, Margret Avery, David Arthur Bachrach, Steven Beckingham, Christoper Bischoff, Jon Dalin, John Gazzale, John Greenleaf, Norah Elise Johnson, Ned Lynch, Tyler Moss, Dothan Negrin, Gregory Jon Phelps, Adam Reich, Anna Marie Sell, Bonnie Singer, Nick Velkov, Brandon Walker and Jamie Watson, directed by Reesa Graham and Brandon Walker, at American Theatre of Actor's Sargent Theatre from June 9th. The play is inspired by the 1934 Taxi Strike, when a group of disgruntled cabbies fought for their rights during the Depression. The Sargent Theatre is located at 314 West 54th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

TheatreworksUSA's 22nd annual Free Summer Theatre Program will feature the 60 minute musical We The People: America Rocks!, book by Joe Iconis, songs by Brad Alexander and Kevin Del Aguila, Sam Forman and Eli Bolin, Tommy Newman, Ryan Scott Oliver, Adam Overett, Erik Weiner, Mark Weiner and Jordan Allen-Dutton, in which Founding Fathers Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin help a contemporary teenager to win her school election, playing daytime performances from July 8th at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. The cast comprises F Michael Haynie, Abe Goldfarb, Jamie LaVerdiere, Colin McAdoo and Badia Farha A limited number of free tickets will be available to individuals at the theatre each day one hour prior to show time, while summer camps, youth programs and other social service organizations can make reservations for groups of ten or more. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets.

On The Casting Couch: Zach Braff, Bobby Cannavale, Sutton Foster and Ari Graynor will form the cast of Paul Weitz's Trust, opening at Second Stage Theatre on August 12th.

The contemporary re-interpretation of the ballet Swan Lake, with a male swan chorus (as featured in the closing sequence of the movie Billy Elliot), directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, will play New York City Center from October 13th to November 7th. The joint British and American cast will comprise largely of dancers who have performed in the show before. The producers are New York City Center, Sadler's Wells Theatre London and Back Row Productions.

Transport Group will stage the musical See Rock City & Other Destinations, book and lyrics by Adam Mathias, music by Brad Alexander, a collection of short musicals set at various American tourist spots, each with characters struggling with their fears and expectations, directed by Jack Cummings III, previewing from July 17th at The Duke on 42nd Street, opening on July 25th. The cast will comprise Stanley Bahorek, Donna Lynne Champlin, Jonathan Hammond, Ryan Hilliard, Bryce Ryness and Sally Wilfert. The Duke on 42nd Street is located at 229 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The 40th annual Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Festival, presenting free performances at various locations around the Lincoln Center campus, will run from July 28th to August 15th. Performances, many of which are world premieres, will include: James Magnuson's No Snakes In This Grass, a landmark piece from the Civil Rights Movement retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, directed by Mical Whitaker; ETHEL Fair: The Songwriters, with the post-classical string quartet collaborating with Adam Schlesinger, Dayna Kurtz, Juana Molina and Tom Verlaine; Bang on a Can's Asphalt Orchestra, moving throughout the Lincoln Center campus, choreographed by Susan Marshall and Mark DeChiazza; Christine Southworth's Super Collider, performed by the Kronos Quartet and Gamelan Galak Tika; and Brian Brooks Moving Company with Motor. Further information can be found on the Lincoln Center web site, via the link from Major Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Prospect Theater Company will stage the musical With Glee, book, music and lyrics by John Gregor, with Christopher Davis Carlisle, Jason Edward Cook, Greg Horton, Erin Jerozal, Dan Lawler and Max Spitulnik, directed by Igor Goldin, previewing from July 10th at The Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on July 13th. The show portrays the trials of the freshman year of five wayward, isolated, awkward, teenage boys who are sent away to a boarding school in Maine. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Public Theater's current sellout rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which relocates U.S. President Andrew Jackson to the world of celebrity culture, may transfer to Broadway, courtesy of producer Jeffrey Richards; and that Roundabout Theatre Company may present Brief Encounter, the British Kneehigh Theatre Company's groundbreaking staging of David Lean's film based on the Noel Coward play Still Life, which explores betrayal and adultery through three separate love stories set in a railroad station, using music, dance and film projections, in September. The Rumour Machine grinds on.