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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th March 2009

Memphis, a rock musical based on a concept by George W George, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music and lyrics by David Bryan, directed by Christopher Ashley, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, will open at a Broadway theatre yet to be announced in the fall. It tells the fictionalized life story of a white radio disc jockey growing up in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1950's, with a passion for black music, who falls in love with a black singer. The show has played at the La Jolla Playhouse and 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle in the last year. The Broadway design team will include scenery by David Gallo, costumes by Paul Tazewell and lighting by Howell Binkley. The producers are Junkyard Dog Productions and Barbara and Buddy Freitag in association with Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, Demos Bizar Entertainment and Dancap Productions.

Primary Stages 2009/2010 25th anniversary season at 59E59 Theaters will comprise Cusi Cram's A Lifetime Burning, a comedy in which a rich girl publishes an imagined 'memoir' of her life of poverty, and is found out, which threatens her relationship with her sister, from July 28th; Charlayne Woodard's Night Watcher, an autobiographical one woman play weaving together stories of the ways she has mentored the children in her life, from September 22nd; and Lucinda Coxon's Happy Now?, a dark comedy about a woman struggling to balance personal freedom with family life, fidelity and a demanding job, from January 26th. The final production in the current season will be the world premiere of Tina Howe's Chasing Manet, a comedy about two seniors plotting their escape from a nursing home, with Jane Alexander, Lynn Cohen, Vanessa Aspillaga, Jack Gilpin, Julie Halston, David Margulies and Rob Riley, directed by Michael Wilson, from March 24th. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre Row will include Mark Dunn's Bellles, a play in two acts and forty five phone calls, about sisters who live in six different U.S. cities and communicate solely by phone, with Laura Faith, Ashton Heyl, Rebecca Lovett, Kristi McCarson, Christina Shipp and Kelly Strandemo, directed by Marisa Viola, at The Lion, from March 19th, produced by Heiress Productions; and Andrew Muir's Gaugleprixtown, about two childhood friends who are reunited decades later, when they are reminded of unspeakable acts and buried secrets, directed by David F Chapman, at The Kirk, also from March 19th, produced by Studio 42. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Luigi Creatore's Flamingo Court, a triple bill of comedies set in an senior citizen apartment complex in South Florida, with Alex Bond, Diane J Findlay, Tim Jerome, Lucy Martin, Herb Rubens and Gordon Stanley, directed by Steven Yuhasz, will return New World Stages, where it played last year, from April 18th. The producers are Theater 21 and Carolyn Rossi Copeland. New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

King David, a one person musical retelling the biblical story of King David, written by David Sanborn and Ellen Sanborn, directed by Ellen Sanborn, will receive its New York premiere on April 9th at the Promise Theater. David Sanborn impersonates the voices of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Connery, James Stewart, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Robert DeNiro, Antonio Banderas, Gene Kelly, Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey and others to depict key characters in the epic Biblical tale, using a script taken word for word from a translation of Hebrew Scriptures. Promise Theater is located at 316 East 91st Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Ensemble Studio Theatre will stage Deborah Zoe Laufer's End Days, the story of a 16 year old with a dysfunctional family and a friend who is a teenage Elvis impersonator trying to make sense of the world, with Molly Ephraim, Dane DeHaan, Peter Friedman, Deidre O'Connell and Paco Tolson, directed by Lisa Peterson, previewing from March 25th, opening on March 30th. The Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 West 52nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

The children's musical Night Of The Fallen Butterfly, a journey of self discover for a group of assorted insects, book by Zachary Friedman, music and lyrics by Dan Kitrosser, with additional material by Evan Greene, featuring Sheira Feuerstein, Zachary Friedman, Evan Greene and Dan Kitrosser, will play on Sundays at the Bleecker Street Theatre from 15th March. The producers are Stella Cartaino and Dan Kitrosser. The Bleecker Street Theatre is located at 45 Bleecker Street, between Lafayette and Mott Streets.

The Rumour Machine says: that that work is under way on musical adaptations of three iconic films: Ghost, with book by Bruce Joel Rubin adapted from his screenplay, and music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, to be directed by Matthew Warchus, aiming to open in the London in 2010; Sleepless In Seattle, with book by Jeff Arch, who wrote the original story and co-wrote the screenplay, and music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, to be directed by Joel Zwick, which is aiming for Broadway, also in 2010; and The Thomas Crown Affair, book by Warren Brown, and music and lyrics by Michael Feinstein. The Rumour Machine grinds on.