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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th August 2007

The 4th annual New York Musical Theatre Festival has announced the 16 productions comprising its Invited Works Series, which will join the previously announced 18 works in the Next Link Project, to be presented at various Off Broadway venues from September 17th to October 7th. Among those chosen are The Beastly Bombing, or A Terrible Tale Of Terrorists Tamed By The Tangles Of True Love, libretto by Julien Nitzberg, music by Roger Neill, a Gilbert and Sullivan style romantic operetta about white supremacists and Al Qaeda terrorists plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge; I See London, I See France - The Underwear Musical, book by Vid Guerrerio, music and lyrics by Jeremy Desmon, the story of a brainy fashion ad exec who is dumped for a bimbo on her 35th birthday, and finds herself falling in lust with the dim-but-smoldering poster boy for her agency's most salacious campaign; and The Kids Left, The Dog Died, What Next?, book, music and lyrics by Carole Lonner, about four baby boomers standing at life's crossroads, who find all of the choices equally appalling. The festival will also include panels and seminars featuring industry leaders, readings, concerts and cabaret performances. Further information can be found on the NYMF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

It is now confirmed that the new musical A Catered Affair, directed by John Doyle, based on Paddy Chayefsky's teleplay and the 1956 movie written by Gore Vidal, will open at The Walter Kerr Theatre, with previews from March 25th, ahead of an official opening on April 17th. The show, with book by Harvey Fierstein, and music and lyrics by John Bucchino, is set in the Bronx of 1953, as a couple decide whether to spend their life savings on their family business, or their only daughter's marriage with a lavish 'catered affair'. The cast is headed by Faith Prince, Tom Wopat, Harvey Fierstein, Matt Cavenaugh and Leslie Kritzer, with Philip Hoffman, Katie Klaus, Heather MacRae, Lori Wilner and Kristine Zbornik. It features scenic design by David Gallo, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt, projection design by Zachary Borovay and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier. The show will play a pre Broadway season at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, from September 20th. The producers are Jujamcyn Theaters, Jordan Roth, Harvey Entertainment/Ron Fierstein, Richie Jackson and Daryl Roth.

Prior to this, Chazz Palminteri will perform the semi-autobiographical solo show, A Bronx Tale, inspired the 1993 film of the same name, depicting a rough childhood on Bronx streets, populated by a cast of friends and enemies, directed by Jerry Zaks, previewing from October 4th at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with an official opening on October 25th. The producers are Go Productions and Jujamcyn Theaters.

The Babel Theatre Project will present Bekah Brunstetter's You May Go Now, in which ghosts from the past haunt a mother and daughter, shattering their idyllic, if odd, existence, with Justin Blanchard, Ginger Eckert, Melinda Helfrich and Ben Vershbow, directed by Geordie Broadwater, previewing from September 6th Upstairs at the 45th Street Theatre, opening on September 9th. 45th Street Theatre is located at 354 West 45th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Prospect Theater Company's 2007/2008 season will comprise three musical premieres, The Rockae, adapted from Euripides's The Bacchae, in which King Pentheus takes on the god of wine and dance and his frenzied female fans, music and lyrics by Peter Mills, book by Peter Mills and director Cara Reichel, opening on September 15th, at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues; The Blue Flower, a 'Dada-inspired romp through pre World War I Paris, the Great War, and Weimar Germany with the artist Max Baumann', book, music and lyrics by Jim Bauer; book and art direction by Ruth Bauer; directed by Will Pomerantz, opening in February at the West End Theatre in the Church of St Paul and St Andrew, 263 West 86th Street, between Broadway and West End Avenue; and Honour, adapted from William Shakespeare's As You Like It, relocating the action to feudal Japan, music and lyrics by Peter Mills, book by Peter Mills and director Cara Reichel, opening in April, at the Hudson Guild Theatre.

Hourglass Group will present the premiere of Kate Moira Ryan and Linda S Chapman's stage adaptation of Ann Bannon's 1950s and 1960s lesbian pulp novels The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, with David Greenspan, Carolyn Baeumler, Autumn Dornfeld, Marin Ireland and Anna Foss Wilson, directed by Leigh Silverman, previewing from September 27th at The Fourth Street Theatre, opening on October 1st. It tells the story of two former secret college lovers, who, having led disparate lives, find themselves entangled in the web of Beebo Brinker, 'a butch denizen of the bars with a soft spot for young lesbians fresh off the bus'. The Fourth Street Theatre is located at 83 East 4th Street, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue.

Boomerang Theatre Company will present three plays in repertory from September 6th to 30th, at CenterStage/NYC, 4th Floor, 48 West 21st Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. The plays are: Stoppard Goes Electric, a triple bill of short early works by Tom Stoppard, A Separate Peace, directed by Rachel Wood, Teeth, directed by Tim Errickson, and Another Moon Called Earth, directed by Christopher Thomasson, with Richard Brundage, Mac Brydon, Bill Green, Shauna Kelly, Kate Ross, Sara Thigpen and Christopher Yeatts; the New York premiere of the original London version of J B Priestley's time play Dangerous Corner, in which a chance remark at a party sets off a series of revelations, with Anthony Bertram, Catherine McNelis, David Nelson, Karen Sternberg, Barbara Drum Sullivan, Chris Thorn and Jaime West, directed by Philip Emeott; and the world premiere of Larry Kirwan's The Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own, about the family of an NYPD officer who died on 9/11, who continue to struggle with their grief and rage, with Connie Barron, Kevin Collins, Doc Dougherty and Aurora Nessly, directed by Cailin Heffernan.

The Invisible City Theatre Company will present the New York premiere of Burgess Clark's Purple Hearts, with Ryan Serhant, Dan Patrick Brady, Anneka Fagundes, Rebecca White, Cecilla Frontero and Kevin T Collins, directed by David Epstein, from September 5th at the Gene Frankel Theatre. The play is based on the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, when for as long as three weeks afterwards, sailors survived trapped aboard the sunken battleship U.S.S. West Virginia, at the bottom of the sea waiting to be rescued. The Gene Frankel Theatre is located at 24 Bond Street, between Lafayette Street and The Bowery.