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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th May 2014

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Royal Court Theatre London's production of Jez Butterworth's The River, set in a remote cabin on the cliffs on a moonless night, with Hugh Jackman, Cush Jumbo and Laura Donnelly, directed by Ian Rickson, will preview from October 31st at the Circle in the Square Theatre, with an official opening on November 16th. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by Ultz, lighting by Charles Balfour, and sound by Ian Dickinson. The producer is Sonia Friedman Productions.

It has been confirmed that the musical On The Town, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Leonard Bernstein, based on an idea by Jerome Robbins, the story of 3 sailors on 1 day leave in New York in 1944, directed by John Rando, with choreography by Joshua Bergasse, will preview from September 20th at the Lyric Theatre (currently the Foxwoods Theatre), with an official opening on October 20th. The design team comprises scenery by Beowulf Boritt, costumes by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Jason Lyons, and sound by Kai Harada. The producers are Howard and Janet Kagan.

Mint Theater Company will stage Jules Romains's Donogoo, translated and directed by Gus Kaikkonen, in which two men unwittingly set in motion a stock market swindle of global proportions, driving people to seek their fortune in a place that doesn't exist, with Ross Bickell, Mitch Greenberg, George Morfogen, Jay Patterson, Paul Pontrelli, Dave Quay, Douglas Rees, James Riordan, Megan Robinson, Kraig Swartz, Scott Thomas, Brian Thomas Vaughan and Vladimir Versailles playing 66 characters between them, previewing from June 3rd, opening on June 23rd. The Mint Theater is located at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Stars In The Alley, a free outdoor concert featuring the casts of over 20 Broadway current and forthcoming shows, accompanied by a live orchestra, presented by The Broadway League, will take place in Shubert Alley on May 21st at 11am. Shubert Alley is located between 44th and 45th Streets, alongside the Shubert and Booth Theatres.

The 19th annual free Lower East Side Festival of the Arts will bring together over 100 performing arts organisations based in the neighbourhood at Theater for the New City on Memorial Day Weekend, May 23rd to 25th. Events will encompass theatre, music, dance, puppetry, comedy, poetry, aerialists, performance art, film, video and fine art. On May 24th the festival offers a day long block party featuring performances and a community arts fair with food and crafts vendors. Theater for the New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets. Further information can be found on the TNC web site, via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Ego Actus will stage Duncan Pflaster's The Tragedy Of Dandelion, in which a princess dresses as a boy in order to escape her rapist and would-be husband, along the way falling in love with another princess, and meeting nuns, soldiers, and clowns, written in iambic pentameter and full of Shakespearean tropes and double entendres, with 29 male and female characters played by 10 women, directed by Joan Kane, at Urban Stages from May 22nd. Urban Stages is located at 259 West 30th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The Pearl Theatre Company's 2014/2015 season will comprise Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, a story of unrequited love, dogged perseverance, and the strength of the human spirit, directed by Hal Brooks, from September 9th; George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara, about a Salvation Army member who becomes disillusioned when the organisation accepts money from her father, an arms manufacturer, directed by David Staller, from November 4th, a co-production with Gingold Theatrical Group; William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, in which suspicion destroys a royal marriage, but redemption is finally found (and then there's the bear), directed by Michael Sexton, from February 10th; and Moliere's Don Juan, the tale of a serial adulterer, directed by Hal Brooks, from May 5th. The Pearl Theatre Company is located at 555 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Valerie Redd's The Short Life Of Trouble, relocating the story of Hamlet to 1930 rural Mississippi, blending Shakespeare's original text, William Faulkner quotes, and live bluegrass and gospel music, with John C Egan, Gregory Isaac, Sheila Joon, Suzy Kohane, Michael Markham, Joseph Mitchell Parks, Valerie Redd, Brendan Spieth and Andy Talen, directed by Eric Powell Holm, will receive its premiere from June 5th at the Access Theater. The producers are Wandering Bark Theatre Company, Lunar Energy Productions, and Jack Sharkey. Access Theatre is located at 380 Broadway at White Street.

Boomerang Theatre Company will stage free performances of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the tale of lovers and lunatics, fairies and factotums, directed by John Greenleaf, in Central Park, at 69th Street and Central Park West, on Saturdays and Sundays from June 21st to July 20th; and Love's Labour's Lost, in which a king and his companions foreswear the company of women for three years in order to immerse themselves in study - and fail, directed by Cailin Heffernan, in Bryant Park, Thursdays to Saturdays from August 14th to 30th.

The Rumour Machine says: that the recent Public Theater production of the musical Fun Home, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, music by Jeanine Tesori, adapted from Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir about her relationship with her father in the family funeral home, which featured Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Roberta Colindrez, Beth Malone and Alexandra Socha, directed by Sam Gold, with choreography by David Neumann, is aiming for Broadway next spring, courtesy of producers including Kristin Caskey and Mike Isaacson. The Rumour Machine grinds on.