News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th July 2008

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Royal Court Theatre London's acclaimed production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, in a new translation by Christopher Hampton, featuring original cast members Kristin Scott Thomas, Mackenzie Crook, Art Malik, Carey Mulligan, Pearce Quigley, Peter Wight, Christopher Patrick Nolan and Mary Rose, joined by Peter Sarsgaard and Zoe Kazan, directed by Ian Rickson, will preview from September 16th at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with an official opening on October 1st. The play relates the romantic entanglements and regrets of a group of actors, writers and artists gathered on a Russian estate. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Peter Mumford, and sound by Ian Dickinson. The production will play a limited run of 14 weeks through December 21st. The producers are Sonia Friedman Productions, Bob Boyett, Robert G Bartner, Dede Harris, Fox Theatricals, Dena Hammerstein, Sharon Karmazin, Olympus Theatricals, Spring Sirkin, Tara Smith, Mort Swinsky, Karl Sydow, The Weinstein Company, Falkenstein/deRoy and Jay & Cindy Gutterman.

Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere production of To Be Or Not To Be, Nick Whitby's stage adaptation of the 1942 dark comedy movie, with Craig Bierko, Jan Maxwell, Peter Benson, Steve Kazee, Michael McCarty, Kristine Nielsen, Brandon Perler, Rocco Sisto and Marina Squerciati, directed by Casey Nicholaw, will preview from September 11th, the Biltmore Theatre, with an official opening on October 2nd. The movie, screenplay by Edwin Justus Mayer (based on a story by Melchior Lengyel), tells the story of a couple running a theatre in Warsaw in 1939 at the time of the German occupation, who outwit the regime with their theatrical skills. The design team comprises scenery by Anna Louizos, costumes by Gregg Barnes, lighting by Howell Binkley and sound by Darron L West.

Godlight Theatre Company will stage a workshop production of Basketball Diaries, adapted by Matt Pelfrey from Jim Carroll's autobiographical book, with Aaron Paternoster, Katherine Boynton, Deanna McGovern, Alex Pappas, Nick Paglino, John Porto, Mike Roche, Michael Shimkin, Arthur Solomon and Sam Whitten, directed by Joe Tantalo, at 59E59 Theaters from July 15th to 27th. The book chronicles the life and times of a New York basketball player, who experiments with drugs, and becomes a poet and rock singer, reflecting the while the turbulent events of the 1960s as they unfold. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

Dirty Dancing, with Josef Brown, from the original Australian and London productions, Amanda Leigh Cobb and Britta Lazenga, directed by James Powell, with choreography by Kate Champion, will open a prospective pre-Broadway season at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago on September 28th. The 'play with music' adapted from the 1987 film by screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, is the story of a romance between a rich visitor and a working class dance instructor in an upmarket American holiday camp in the 1960s. The design team comprises scenery by Stephen Brimson Lewis, costumes by Jennifer Irwin, lighting by Tim Mitchell, sound by Bobby Aitken and video and projection by Jon Driscoll. The producers are Jacobsen Entertainment, in association with Lionsgate and Magic Hour Productions.

Hattie. . .What I Need You To Know, written and performed by Vickilyn Reynolds, a dramatic musical journey through the life of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actor to win an Academy Award, for her performance in Gone With The Wind, directed by Reginald D Brown, will play at the National Black Theater, Inc, from August 6th. It will be presented by American Legacy Magazine and produced by 3-G Entertainment. National Black Theater, Inc is located at 2031-33 National Black Theatre Way on 5th Avenue, between 126th and 127th Streets.

On The Casting Couch: James Barbour, Brandi Burkhardt, Aaron Lazar, Craig Bennett, Kevin Earley, Gregg Edelman, Michael Hayward-Jones, Mackenzie Mauzy, Katherine McGrath, Les Minski, Natalie Toro and Nick Wyman will head the cast of A Tale Of Two Cities, opening at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on September 18th.

Spiegelworld, the Belgium originated 'spiegeltent' (a portable performance venue with mirrors lining the interior walls) will return to Pier 17 on the East River, for a third season from August 6th to November 2nd. The previous acro-burlesque show Absinthe, will be back with new acts, playing in tandem with the world premiere of a cirque show Desir, directed by Wayne Harrison, with choreography by John 'Cha Cha' O'Connell, and performances by Ute Lemper, Justin Bond, Martha Wainwright and Lance Horne. In addition, there will be a new venue, The Deluxe, which will host The Gazillionaire's Late Nite Lounge featuring other music and live entertainment acts. The producer is Ross Mollison. Spiegelworld will be located at the Fulton Fish Market, Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport under the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Essentials are currently staging Perfect Harmony, written and directed by Andrew Grosso, with Dana Acheson, Clayton Apgar, Sean, Dugan, Ben Huber, Vayu O'Donnell, Scott Janes, Amy Rutberg, Kathy Searle, Margie Stokley and Nisi Sturgis, at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row. It tells the story of a year in the life of a high school a capella group, and their female classmates, as they compete in the national championship. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

An updated version of Political Idol, spoofing the upcoming presidential election with sketches and songs, based on the parodies of Marc Emory, book and lyrics co-authored by Robert Yarnall, with Frank Harts, Lara Buck, Joseph DiSalle and Robert Yarnall, directed by Julie Blanciak will play at the Triad Theatre from July 23rd. The Triad Theatreis located at 158 West 72nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

Horse Trade Theater Group and No Tea Productions will stage Jeff Sproul's The Artistical Process Of Mark And Andy, with Alicia Barnatchez, Sabrina Farhi, Jeremy Mather, Timothy Mather, Dana Rossi, Matt Sears, Jeff Sproul, and D Robert Wolcheck, directed by Lindsey Moore, at Under St Marks from 24th July. It is a comedy about two friends who attempt to create their dream video project, bravely leaving behind notions of humility, the desire to learn, and talent. Under St Marks is located at 94 St. Marks Place, between 1st Avenue and Avenue A.