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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th November 2013

The premiere of Greg Edwards's Craving For Travel, a comedy in which rival travel agents and former spouses are vying for their industry's most prestigious honor, with 2 actors playing 30 characters, co-written and directed by Andy Sandberg, will preview from January 9th at the Peter J Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons, with an official opening January 22nd. The producer is Jim Strong. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The 44th season of the 92nd Street Y's Lyrics & Lyricists series, featuring the songs of a particular writer or era, will comprise: Going Hollywood: MGM Musicals, with Renee Elise Goldsberry, Rob McClure, Megan Sikora and Rachel York, hosted by Kathleen Marshall, January 11th-13th; Sweepin' The Clouds Away: Boom, Bust And High Spirits, featuring music from the Great Depression, with Christine Andreas, Erin Dilly, Jason Graae and Karen Ziemba, hosted by Vince Giordano, February 22nd-24th; Getting To Know You: Rodgers & Hammerstein, with Rebecca Luker, hosted by Ted Chapin, April 5th-7th; Ziegfeld Girl: The Many Faces Of Fanny Brice, with Capathia Jenkins, Leslie Kritzer, Faith Prince and Clarke Thorell, hosted by Ted Sperling, May 3rd-5th; and Panning For Gold: Great Songs From Flop Shows, with Brent Barrett and Christiane Noll, hosted by David Zippel, May 31st-June 2nd. Concerts are in the Kaufmann Concert Hall, at the 92nd Street Y, which is located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

On The Casting Couch: Andy Karl and Margo Seibert will be joined by Terence Archie, Dakin Matthews and Danny Mastrogiorgio in the Thomas Meehan-Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical Rocky, opening at the Winter Garden Theatre on March 13th; and Nina Arianda and Kathleen Chalfant will head the cast in the premiere of David Grimm's Tales From Red Vienna, opening at New York City Center Stage I on March 18th.

Stageworks Media will stage Cynthia von Buhler's Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Brothers Booth, an immersive theatre experience about the legends of the rival brother actors John Wilkes and Edwin Booth, featuring live jazz, moonshine and burlesque, directed by Wes Grantom, playing on the first Saturday of the month at The Players Club (the former home of Edwin Booth who founded the Players Club) from March 1st. The Players Club is located at 16 Gramercy Park South, on East 20th Street, between Park Avenue and Irving Place.

In Anything Goes: A History Of American Musical Theatre, recently published by OUP USA, Ethan Mordden takes an entirely fresh look at the musical, from The Beggar's Opera to Wicked. Looking at the Star Comic, the Sweetheart Heroine, the war between musical comedy and operetta, the rise of the sexy story in the 1920s, the wedding of ballet and hoofing in the 1930s, the Oklahoma! and Carousel musical play in the 1940s, the Novelty Star in the 1950s, and other developments, Mordden takes the reader from George Gershwin to Ethel Merman to Jerome Robbins to the director-choreographer and the offbeat contemporary show. In his trademark style that is at once scholarly, witty, and conversational, Mordden emphasizes not only the writing of musicals but the performing of them, taking the reader virtually into the theatre to experience what a great show is like, whether Victor Herbert's The Red Mill or Stephen Sondheim's Follies. From ballad opera and burlesque to the sometimes indescribable titles of today, this book tells where the musical came from and where it has been heading ever since. A special feature is the extremely detailed discographical essay, a guide for aficionado and student alike in exploring the recorded archives.

To meet audience demand for more choice and flexibility, the productions of Cinderella, Mamma Mia! and The Phantom Of The Opera will break with the normal Broadway custom and practice to offer matinees on Thursdays from April 3rd. London's West End has had a long tradition of matinees on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in addition to Wednesdays.

Forthcoming productions at Theater For The New City will include Shakespeare And Elizabeth I: The Reality Show, a musical about love, war, espionage and creative genius, written and performed by Phoebe Legere, directed and performed by David Zen Mansley, with Rhys Tivey, Haley Sullivan, Michael La porta, Janette Johnston and Ben Reno, choreographed by Catherine Turocy, from November 29th; Two Alone Too Together, written and performed by Peter Welch, a dark comedy that pits two emotionally wounded men against each other in a psychological minefield of their own creation, with Dan Kelly, directed by Jonathan Weber, from December 5th; and Welcome Home Sonny T, written and directed by William Electric Black, in which a black minister, haunted by the ghosts of his struggles as a 60's radical, faces his own impotence to restore order in his community, with Richard Prior Jr, Verna Hampton, Brandon Melette, Kadeem Harris, Nestor Carillo, Brittany Benson and Levern Williams, from December 5th. Theater For The New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that a revised version of the Alan Jay Lerner-Frederick Loewe musical Gigi, adapted from the novel by Colette about the romance that develops between a wealthy playboy and a young courtesan, with a new book by Heidi Thomas, directed by Eric Schaeffer, will open at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington in January, with a Broadway transfer in mind, courtesy of producer Jenna Segal. The Rumour Machine grinds on.