News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th May 2010

The big hitters in this year's Tony Awards are led by Fela! with 11 nominations, including Musical, Actor Musical (Leading) - Sahr Ngaujah, and both Director Musical and Choreographer - Bill T Jones; La Cage Aux Folles also with 11, including Musical Revival, Actor Musical (Leading) - Douglas Hodge and Kelsey Grammer, Director Musical - Terry Johnson and Choreography - Lynne Page; Fences with 10, including Play Revival, Actor Play (Leading) - Denzel Washington, Actress Play (Leading) - Viola Davis, and Director Play - Kenny Leon; Memphis, with 8, including Musical, Actor Musical (Leading) - Chad Kimball, Actress Musical (Leading) - Montego Glover, and Director Musical - Christopher Ashley; and Ragtime with 7, including Musical Revival, Actress Musical (Leading) - Christiane Noll, and Director Musical - Marcia Milgrom. The winners will be announced at the 64th Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall on 13th June. The full list of nominees, and further information about the live webcast of the event, can be found on the Tony Awards web site, via the link from Organisations section of New York TheatreNet

The Manhattan Theatre Club production of Donald Margulies's Time Stands Still, about war a journalist and a photographer, whose injuries force them to return home to a more conventional life, directed by Daniel Sullivan, which played at the Samuel J Friedman Theatre earlier this year, will be restaged at a Shubert theatre yet to be announced, previewing from September 23rd. Eric Bogosian, Brian D'Arcy James, Laura Linney will reprise their performances, but Alicia Silverstone is unavailable due to previous commitments. The design team comprises scenery by John Lee Beatty, costumes by Rita Ryack, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski, and sound by Darron L West. The producers are Manhattan Theatre Club Productions, Nelle Nugent, Bud Martin, Ted Snowden, and Wendy Federman.

The 2010/2011 City Center Encores! series, presenting great but less often performed American musicals in concert, will comprise: Bells Are Ringing, book and music by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Jule Styne, in which a lonely girl who runs an answering service falls for a client she has met only by voice, playing from November 18th to 21st; Lost In The Stars, book and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, music by Kurt Weill, based on Alan Paton's novel Cry, The Beloved Country, about a black Anglican priest from rural Natal, who is searching for his son in the city of Johannesburg, playing from February 3rd to 6th; and Where's Charley?, book by George Abbott, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, adapted from Brandon Thomas's Charley's Aunt, the farce revolving around the delayed arrival of a chaperone in the form of an aged aunt from Brazil 'where the nuts come from', playing from March 17th to 20th. New York City Center is located 131 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Spider-Man has a comic book rival in making the leap from page to stage. Batman Live, conceived as a spectacular arena show for family audiences, written by Alan Burnett, produced by Nick Grace Management and Water Lane Productions, is aiming to debut next spring.

Theatreland: A Journey Through The Heart Of London's Theatre by Paul Ibell, published by Continuium Books, covers the period from Shakespeare's Bankside playhouses to today's West End, exploring both the history and current state of the London stage. Although the book celebrates London's artistic achievements of the past, it also emphasises that theatre is an art form that can only survive and flourish through fresh talent, new work and constant reinterpretation of old classics. In entertaining and engaging chapters on themes, personalities and trends, it reflects the co-existence between past and present that is such a feature of London's theatre world. It also shows how actors and producers, playwrights and publicists, theatre historians and modern architects, choreographers, critics and customers all played their part in creating and shaping this cityscape, and describes how the 21st century theatre industry continues to develop and change.

The Pearl Theatre Company's 2010/1011 season at New York City Center Stage II will include Michael Frayn's The Sneeze, four one act comedies adapted from short stories by Anton Chekhov, directed by J R Sullivan, from September 16th; Henrik Ibsen's Rosmersholm, in a new version by Mike Poulton, charting the struggle between freedom and the cruelty of conscience in an age of political division, as an aristocrat's brother in law plants doubts in his and his lover's minds, leading to a tragic conclusion, directed by Elinor Renfield, from November 12th; Moliere's The Misanthrope, translated by Richard Wilbur, in which a man drowning in a social whirl of flattery, seeks to secure the affections of the spoiled and feckless love of his life, directed by Joseph Hanreddy, from January 14th; and the New York premiere of David Davalos's Wittenberg, set at Wittenberg University circa 1517, where Doctor Faustus and Reverend Martin Luther, vie for the allegiance of their star pupil, Prince Hamlet, who can't decide on a major, directed by J R Sullivan, from March 11th. New York City Center Stage II is located at West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Make Music New York will hold its 4th annual festival of free concerts, featuring music of all genres and styles, in parks and streets throughout the five boroughs of New York City on June 21st, the summer solstice. The festival is modelled on France's Fete de la Musique, first held in 1982 in Paris, and an annual event throughout the country ever since. The idea has been picked up in various cities around the world, including London, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney. Last year 900 concerts featuring over 4,000 musicians, both amateur and professional were held on sidewalks, parks, closed streets and community gardens of New York. The Mass Appeal project will feature hundreds of musicians banding together to perform pieces written for a single type of instrument. Further information can be found on the MMNY web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Second Stage Theatre's 2010/2011 season will include Arthur Kopit's Wings, about a former aeroplane wing walker who suffers and overcomes a stroke and speech disorder, directed by John Doyle, opening in October; Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, in which two childhood friends find that their lives keep intersecting at bizarre intervals, directed by Scott Ellis, opening in January; and Lynn Nottage's By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, charting a 70 year journey of an African-American maid and budding actress, and her relationship with her boss, a white Hollywood star desperately trying to hold on to her career, opening in April.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park production of Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice, featuring Al Pacino, directed by Daniel Sullivan, may transfer to Broadway following its season at the Delacorte Theater this summer, courtesy of producer Jeffrey Richards; and that the London Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, with Rachel Weisz reprising her award winning performance, directed by Rob Ashford, may be Broadway bound next spring. The Rumour Machine grinds on.