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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th January 2010

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, production of Come Fly Away (originally called Come Fly With Me), a dance musical inspired by the songs of Frank Sinatra, featuring Sinatra's voice, backed by a live on stage band, which follows four couples over the course of one night falling in and out of love, created, directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp, will preview from March 1st at the Marquis Theatre, with an official opening on March 25th. Casting has not been announced, but previous principals Keith Roberts, John Selya, Karine Plantadit, Rika Okamoto, Holley Farmer, Matthew Dibble, Charlie Neshyba-Hodges and Laura Mead are expected to re-create their roles. The design team comprises scenery by James Youmans, costumes by Katherine Roth, lighting by Donald Holder, and sound by Peter McBoyle.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Berkeley Repertory Theater production of the musical American Idiot, based on the album of the same name, whose characters search for meaning in a chaotic world following 9/11, music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer, who also directs, with choreography by Steven Hoggett, will preview from March 24th at the St James Theatre, with an official opening on April 20th. Casting has not been announced, but previous principals John Gallagher Jr, Matt Caplan, Michael Esper, and Tony Vincent are expected to re-create their roles. The design team comprises scenery by Christine Jones, costumes by Andrea Lauer, lighting by Kevin Adams, video design by Darrel Maloney, and sound design by Brian Ronan. The producers are Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman.

Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray, in a new adaptation by Daniel Mitura, with Kaolin Bass, Christina Broccolini, Leif Huckman, Vayu O'Donnell, Wil Petre and Jade Rothman, directed by Henning Hegland, will preview from January 21st at the Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on January 25th. It is the story of a beautiful young man who sells his soul for eternal youth, so that his portrait ages as a result of his dissolute life, while he remains young. The producers are N.O.M.A.D.S. and Adam Blanshay. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

It has been confirmed that August Wilson's Fences, which tells of the struggle of a former Negro League baseball player who finds himself working as a garbage collector in 1950s Pitsburgh, with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, directed by Kenny Leon, will preview from April 14th at the Cort Theatre, with an official opening on April 26th. The play is part of Wilson's ten play cycle, chronicling the African-American experience in each decade of the 20th Century. The producers are Carol Shorenstein Hays and Scott Rudin.

Theater for the New City is inviting submissions of unproduced works from writers for The Dream Up Festival, an anthology of wide-ranging and original theatrical visions embracing drama, poetry, music and dance, running from August 8th to September 5th. The closing date for submissions is March 26th. Application forms and further information can be found on the TFNC web site, via the link from Off Broadway Theatre Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Sesame Street Live: When Elmo Grows Up, in which favourite characters from the television series consider what they want to be when they grow up as they prepare to stage a pageant, will play at the Theater at Madison Square Garden from February 4th to 16th. The producer is the Vee Corporation.

The premiere of Catherine Filloux's Dog And Wolf, about an attorney's quest in Eastern Europe for a refugee traumatized by the death of her family and the experience of mass graves, with Dale Soules, Nadia Bowers and John Daggett, directed by Jean Randich, will preview from February 5th at 59E59 Theaters, opening on February 9th. The producer is Watson Arts. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

The Barrow Group Theatre Company will stage Henrik Ibsen's Enemy Of The People, in a radical adaptation by Seth Barrish and K Lorrel Manning, who will also direct, with Edward Connors, Larry Mitchell, Katherine Neuman, Myles O'Connor, Clare Schmidt, Eliza Foss, Jeremy Folmer and Herbert Reubens, at the TBG Studio Theatre, opening on February 6th. It is the story of one man's struggle to do the right thing and speak the truth in the face of extreme social intolerance. The TBG Studio Theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Remy Auberjonois, Michael Countryman, David Furr, John Pankow, Charlotte Parry and David Pittu will feature in Bill Cain's Equivocation, opening at MTC at New York City Center on March 2nd; Valerie Harper will be joined by Brian Hutchison and Michael Mulheren in Matthew Lombardo's Looped, opening at the Lyceum Theatre on March 14th; and Megan Mullally and Patton Oswalt will be joined by Lili Taylor in Terrence McNally's Lips Together, Teeth Apart, opening at the American Airlines Theatre on April 29th.

Transport Group Theatre Company will stage Mart Crowley's The Boys In The Band, about a group of gay men who gather for birthday celebration, but spend the night airing their pleasures and miseries, with Jonathan Hammond, Christopher Innvar, Kevin Isola, Jon Levenson, Kevyn Morrow, Graham Rowat, Aaron Sharff, John Wellmann and Nick Westrate, directed by Jack Cummings III, previewing from February 12th, opening on February 19th, an 'environmental production' at 37 West 26th Street, 12th Floor, between 6th Avenue and Broadway.

The Rumour Machine says: that a musical adaptation of the 2003 movie Elf, about a human who is raised by elves, book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, is aiming for Broadway next Christmas, courtesy of Warner Brothers; and that the British National Theatre's current hit production of Alan Bennett's The Habit Of Art, reflecting on growing old, creativity and the ethics of biography, through an imagined meeting between Benjamin Britten and W H Auden, will transfer to Broadway, opening at the Broadhurst Theatre in the spring of next year, with Richard Griffiths, and possibly Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour. The Rumour Machine grinds on.