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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th January 2014

Holler If Ya Hear Me, a new musical based on the music and lyrics of late rapper Tupac Shakur, book by Todd Kreidler, an original story of two childhood friends and their families as they struggle to achieve their hopes and dreams in a Midwestern industrial city, directed by Kenny Leon, with choreography by Wayne Cilento, will preview from May 26th at the Palace Theatre, with an official opening on June 19th. The design team comprises scenery and video by David Gallo, costumes by Reggie Ray, lighting by Mike Baldassari, and sound by John Shivers and David Patridge. The producers are Afeni Shakur, Eric L Gold, Chunsoo Shin and Jessica Green.

The annual Broadway Backwards concert, which features male singers performing songs traditionally sung by women and women singing tunes written for men, directed and choreographed by Robert Bartley, with additional choreography by Amy Jones, will take place at the Al Hirschfeld Theater on March 24th. Last year the benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community, raised $347,060.

This year's Lincoln Center Festival of music, dance and theatre from 11 countries will run from July 7th to August 16th, across the Lincoln Center campus. Highlights will include: the Sydney Theatre Company production of Jean Genet's The Maids, featuring Cate Blanchett, Isabelle Huppert and Elizabeth Debicki, directed by Benedict Andrews; the Bolshoi Ballet, Opera, Orchestra and Chorus with Alexei Fadeyechev's production of Don Quixote, based on choreography by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky; Yuri Grigorovich's production of Swan Lake; Grigorovich's production of Spartacus, and a concert version of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride directed by Julia Pevzner; and the Heisei Nakamura-za Kabuki theatre company with Kaidan Chibusa No Enoki (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree).

Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical, a musical comedy revue, concept, lyrics and choreography by Ruthe Ponturo, based on her experiences while going through divorce from a Broadway producer, music by John Thomas Fischer, with Martin Landry, Erin Maguire, Dana Wilson, Gretchen Wylder and John Thomas Fischer, directed by Mark Waldrop, will preview from February 7th at the DR2 Theatre, opening February 18th. The producers are Rosemary Kalikow, Leslie Simpson, 3 Cats Productions and Dean A Carpenter. The DR2 Theatre is located at 103 East 15th Street at Union Square.

The top grossing shows on Broadway in 2013 were The Lion King taking almost $97m, with a record breaking Christmas week of $2.8m; Wicked (whose capacity was recently enlarged by 119 seats) taking $95.3m, with a Christmas week of $3.2m, the first show to top $3m in one week; and The Book Of Mormon, taking $90.4m. Also in Christmas week, Betrayal broke the weekly record for a play taking $1.4m.

The Cherry Lane Theatre will stage Ode To Joy, written and directed by Craig Lucas, the story of love, heartbreak, addiction and illness through the eyes of painter and her destructive relations with her two lovers, with Kathryn Erbe and Arliss Howard, previewing from February 12th, opening on February 27th. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.

Fault Line Theatre will stage the premieres of Crystal Finn's The Faire, tracing the lives of five Renaissance Faire performers in Northern California, with Jenny Seastone Stern, Rachel Christopher, Amanda Sykes, Kelsey Kurz and Grant R Krause, directed by Aaron Rossini, from February 7th at New York Theatre Workshop; and Beau Willimon's Breathing Time, a comedy about a brother and sister, and a husband and wife, over two days in New York City, directed by Aaron Rossini, from March 21st at Teatro IATI. New York Theatre Workshop is located at 83 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery; and Teatro IATI is located at 64 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

The British National Theatre production of Simon Stephens's adaptation of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, about a 15 year old boy on the autism spectrum, directed by Marianne Elliott, with movement by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, will transfer to Broadway, with an American cast, playing at the Barrymore Theatre from October. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by Bunny Christie, lighting by Paule Constable, video by Finn Ross, and sound by Ian Dickinson.

The Tank will stage the musical Greed, book, music, and lyrics by Michael Roberts, featuring exploits that range from the Ponzi scheme of 1910 to the subtle sales pitches of contemporary retirement planners and mortgage bundlers, with Julia Burrows, Neal Mayer, James Donegan and Stephanie D'Abruzzo, directed by Christopher Scott, at The Playroom Theater from January 17th. The Playroom Theater is located at 151 West 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.