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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th July 2014

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre has announced the shows in its 26th Festival of New Musicals, featuring staged readings of 8 new works, to be held at New World Stages on October 23rd and 24th. All the shows submitted for inclusion must be sponsored by NAMT member theatres or producers. They include: Beautiful Poison, book by Duane Poole, music by Brendan Milburn, lyrics by Valerie Vigoda, a steamy, contemporary New Orleans thriller adapted from Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter; Cubamor, book and lyrics by James D Sasser, music and lyrics by Charles Vincent Burwell, a story of two couples who fall in love across the American-Cuban political, historical and social divide; The Noteworthy Life Of Howard Barnes, book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond, music by Michael Kooman, about a perfectly average man whose life becomes a musical; and String, book by Sarah Hammond, music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, in which a workaholic Greek goddess gets tangled up with a security guard in the basement of the tallest building in the world. Since 1989 the festival has presented over 288 musicals and 510 writers, and 75% have found subsequent productions as a direct result of the festival, including Tony Award winners The Drowsy Chaperone and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Further information can be found on the NAMT web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Lincoln Center Theater will stage Nick Jones's Verite, about a stay-at-home mom and struggling writer offered a deal for her memoir, as long as she makes her life exciting enough to publish, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, previewing from January 31st at the Claire Tow Theater, opening on February 18th; and Bathsheba Doran's The Mystery Of Love And Sex, the story of four individuals whose lives remain inextricably intertwined over time, directed by Sam Gold, previewing from February 5th at the Mitzi E Newhouse Theater, opening on March 2nd.

Playwrights Horizons will stage Bruce Norris's The Qualms, about the attempts of a newly married couple to join a group of friends who gather to eat, drink, do drugs, and partner-swap, directed by Pam MacKinnon, from May 22nd. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Forthcoming productions at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row will include the premiere of Walter Anderson's Almost Home, in which a Marine returning to the Bronx in the mid '60s finds long-held secrets test his family's strength, directed by Michael Parva, previewing from September 12th, opening on September 18th, produced by The Directors Company; and Wiesenthal, a bioplay about the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, written by and featuring Tom Dugan, directed by Jenny Sullivan, previewing from October 24th, opening on November 5th, produced by Daryl Roth and Karyl Lynn Burns. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch at The Pershing Square Signature Center: Trae Harris, Rachel Nicks, Emily Skeggs and Samantha Soule will feature in Naomi Wallace's And I And Silence, opening on August 25th; and Kelly AuCoin, Jon DeVries, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Rebecca Henderson, Marc Kudisch, Jenn Lyon, Lizbeth Mackay, David McElwee, Ismenia Mendes and Will Pullen will feature in A R Gurney's The Wayside Motor Inn, opening on September 4th.

Manhattan Theatre Club and Ars Nova will stage the premiere of Sharyn Rothstein's By The Water, in which a couple on Staten Island are determined to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, but when their sons arrive to help them, past betrayals come to the surface, directed by Hal Brooks, previewing from November 4th at The Studio at Stage II at New York City Center, opening on November 18th. New York City Center is located 131 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The musical Soul Doctor, about the real-life unconventional rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, his passion for pop music and relationship with singer Nina Simone, book and direction by Daniel Wise, music by Shlomo Carlebach, lyrics by David Schechter, with choreography by Benoit-Swan Pouffer, will preview from November 25th at the Actors Temple Theatre, opening on December 15th. The Actors Temple Theater is located at 339 West 47th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

TP&co will stage William Shakespeare's Macbeth, with the action of the bloody tale of ambition relocated to the era of Prohibition in the 1920s, directed by Christian Amato, from September 5th at The Players Theatre. The Players Theatre is located at 115 Macdougal Street, at Minetta Lane.

Ivy Theatre will stage Micheline Auger's Donkey Punch, about two female friends, one who is uninhibited but into monogamy, while the other who is uptight starts dating a pornographer, with Stephen Stout, Cleo Gray, Lauren Dortch Crozier and Michael Drew, directed by Audrey Alford, previewing from July 25th at SoHo Playhouse, opening on August 1st. SoHo Playhouse is located at 15 Vandam Street, between 6th and Varrick Streets.

The Rumour Machine says: that the recently closed John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts's production of a revised version of the musical Side Show, book and lyrics by Bill Russell, music by Henry Krieger, telling the true story of conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton who became stage stars during the Depression, with a cast headed by Erin Davie, Emily Padgett, Matthew Hydzik, Ryan Silverman and Manoel Felciano, directed by Bill Condon, with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, is aiming for a Broadway transfer in the fall, courtesy of producer Darren Bagert; and that a jukebox musical featuring the back catalogue of Stax Records, book by Matthew Benjamin, is being developed by Concord Music Group and producer Stuart Benjamin, with a spring 2016 Broadway debut in mind. The Rumour Machine grinds on.