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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th November 2008

It has now been confirmed that Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, in which a seance summons up the ghost of a novelist's first wife, who is determined to cause trouble for him and her replacement, with Christine Ebersole, Angela Lansbury, Rupert Everett and Simon Jones, directed by Michael Blakemore, will preview from February 26th at the Shubert Theatre. The design team will comprise scenery by Peter J Davison, costumes by Martin Pakledinaz and lighting by Brian MacDevitt. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler.

Greg Kotis's play with music The Truth About Santa, with Bill Coelius, Paul Urcioli, Nancy Walsh, Jeff Gurner, Clay Adams and Kotis's wife Ayun Halliday and children India and Milo, directed by John Clancy, will preview from December 3rd at the Kraine Theater, opening on December 6th. The show for adults claims to offer the truth about Santa Claus, how he really treats his elves, and his fractured relationship with Mrs Claus. The Kraine Theater is located at 85 East 4th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

It has now been confirmed that the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of the American tribal love-rock musical Hair, book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, music by Galt MacDermot, directed by Diane Paulus, with choreography by Karole Armitage, will preview from February 13th at the Al Hirschfield Theatre, opening on March 5th. The design team comprises scenery by Scott Pask, costumes by Michael McDonald, lighting by Michael Chybowski and sound by Acme Sound Partners.

Friendly Fire will stage Eugene O'Neill's A Touch Of The Poet, with Daniel J Travanti, Ellen Crawford, Tessa Klein, Steven Boyer, Richard Crawford, Antoinette La Vecchia, Peter Rogan, Timothy Smallwood, Ian Stuart and Richard B Watson, directed by Alex Lippard, previewing from December 2nd at the 14th Street Theater, opening on December 7th. A man fallen on hard times, who maintains a front from his earlier, more respectable life, is forced to confront reality. The 14th Street Theater is located at 344 East 14th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

The Red Bull Theater Company will stage Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women, adapted and directed by Jesse Berger, with Anthony Bagnetto, Jeff Biehl, Darcie Champagne, Geraint Wyn Davies, Jodi Epstein, Al Espinosa, Jacob Fishel, Jonathan Fried, Jennifer Ikeda, Lisa H Johanson, Marc LeVasseur, Roberta Maxwell, Kathryn Meisle, Alex Morf, Alison Ostergaard, Everett Quinton, Liv Rooth, John Douglas Thompson and Shannon Wicks, with choreography by Tracy Bersley, and fight choreography by Rick Sordelet, from December 9th at the Theater at St. Clements. The 17th century satire is a cautionary tale of three young people seduced and destroyed by lies, lust and treachery. The Theater at St Clements is located at 423 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The musical Enter Laughing, book by Joseph Stein, adapted from his play based on Carl Reiner's semi-autobiographical novel, music and lyrics by Stan Daniels, the story of an actor struggling to make his way in 1930s New York, directed by Stuart Ross, which recently completed a run at the York Theatre, will return from January 21st. It previously featured Josh Grisetti, Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, Paul Binotto, Ray DeMattis, Erick Devine, Betsy DiLellio, Janine LaManna, Gerry McIntyre, Robb Sapp, Emily Shoolin, Allison Spratt, and George S Irving. The York Theatre Company's Theatre at Saint Peter's is located in Citigroup Center on 54th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.

Urban Stages, in association with Sara Katz, will stage Joe Iconis's ReWrite, a musical triple bill comprising Nelson Rocks!, a college based story of a boy trying to sort his life out, Miss Marzipan, about the life changing preparation that goes into a high stakes dinner party, and The Process, the story of a musical theatre writer with writer's block, directed by John Simpkins, with choreography by Jennifer Werner, previewing from December 6th, opening on December 10th. The cast includes Nick Blaemire, Badia Farha, Lorinda Lisitza, Lauren Marcus, A J Shively and Jason Williams. Urban Stages is located at 259 West 30th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current Directors Company production of Dan Gordon's Irena's Vow, featuring Tovah Feldshuh as a woman forced to work as a housekeeper for a German general in Poland during World War II, who secretly cared for 12 Jewish refugees, may transfer to Broadway; that Neil Simon's related plays Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, coming of age comedies inspired by Simon's childhood, which share the same middle class Brooklyn home set, will be staged in rep together on Broadway next fall; and that 33 Variations, written and directed by Moises Kaufman, about a contemporary musicologist who sets out to discover the root of Beethoven's obsession with a trivial waltz, featuring Jane Fonda, will receive its premiere on Broadway next winter, produced by Tectonic Theatre Project. The Rumour Machine grinds on.