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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th October 2010

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the musical Sister Act, adapted from the film about a disco singer fleeing the mob, who is given protective custody in a convent, where she clashes with the Mother Superior, but revolutionises the choir, book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, directed by Jerry Zaks, replacing the London director Peter Schneider, but retaining choreographer Anthony van Laast, will preview from March 24th at the Broadway Theatre, with an official opening on April 20th.

Douglas Carter Beane is reportedly in negotiations to revise the book. The also retained original design team comprises scenery by Klara Zieglerova, costumes by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Natasha Katz and sound by Mick Potter. The producers are Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment.

Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company will stage Stephen Jeffreys's The Libertine, about a notorious Restoration rake who falls earnestly in love with an aspiring actress, with Joseph W Rodriguez, Libby Arnold, Eric Doss, Patricia Duran, Tom O'Keefe, Ross Hurwitz, Jessica Love, Claire Warden and Harry Oram, directed by Eric Tucker, previewing from November 5th at the Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on November 8th. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Nadia Alexander, Dagmara Dominczyk, Gibson Frazier, Christina Kirk and Adam Rothenberg will feature in Heidi Schreck's There Are No More Big Secrets, opening at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater on November 14th; Steven Boyer, Jarlath Conroy, John Patrick Dougherty, Stephen Ellis, Richard Poe, Kristen Schaal, Jeremy Strong and Christopher Evan Welch will comprise the cast of Nick Jones's The Coward, opening at the Duke on 42nd Street on November 22nd; and Sutton Foster will be joined by Joel Grey in Cole Porter's Anything Goes, opening at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on April 7th.

Ground Up Productions will stage the premiere of Michael I Walker's Letter From Algeria, about the relationship that develops between an aging wealthy expatriate American in Belgium and three students, with Rufus Collins, Amanda Jane Cooper, Patrick Murney and J D Taylor, directed by Adam Fitzgerald, at the Abingdon Theatre from October 29th. The Abingdon Theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The 7th annual Broadway Unplugged concert, created and hosted by Scott Siegel, with Broadway artists performing without microphones, will be staged at The Town Hall on November 15th. The event will feature American musical theatre songs performed by around 20 artists, including Stephanie J Block, Quentin Earl Darrington, Marc Kudisch, William Michals, Jeffry and Erin Denman, Max von Essen, Ron Raines and James Barbour. The Town Hall is located 123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway.

MCC Theater is to stage a revised version of the musical Carrie, book by Lawrence D Cohen, music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, adapted from the Stephen King novel and subsequent movie, reconceived on a smaller scale with about half of the original score replaced, directed by Stafford Arima, as part of its 2011/2012 season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. It is the story of a shy teenage girl, raised by a fanatic Christian fundamentalist mother in a small Maine town, who discovers she has telekinetic powers, which she uses them to take revenge on the classmates who have taunted and humiliated her.

The office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that a $100m fund has been designated for the performing arts center to be constructed at the World Trade Center. Gehry Partners designed the building, which will include a 1,000 seater main theatre, a smaller secondary performing space, as well as rehearsal spaces, classrooms and administrative offices, plus an outdoor plaza and public cafe. The Joyce Theater, which is a receiving house for dance, is planned to be the prime tenant. The money is part of a larger federal fund that will aid in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan, including improvements to transportation hubs, the East River Waterfront Esplanade and Piers Project and upgrades to Water Street.

The Irish Repertory Theatre will stage Conor McPherson's St Nicholas, a modern day Gothic tale about a theatre critic, a beautiful actress and a coven of vampires, with John Martello, directed by Alex Dmitriev, previewing from October 15th in its studio, opening on October 20th. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Manhattan Children's Theatre will stage the premiere of Lula Belle In Search Of Santa, written and directed by Chris Alonzo, the story of a rambunctious little girl who takes it upon herself to save the world when Santa Claus goes missing, opening on November 13th. Manhattan Children's Theatre is located at 52 White Street, between Broadway and Church Street.