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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th June 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Fela!, the back catalogue biomusical about the African composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, directed and choreographed by Bill T Jones, book by Jones and Jim Lewis, who also provided additional lyrics, with Sahr Ngaujah and Lillias White, which played Off Broadway at 37 Arts last fall, will transfer to Broadway, previewing from October 20th at the Eugene O'Neil Theatre, with an official opening on November 23rd. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by Marina Draghici, lighting by Rob Wierzel, projections by Peter Negrini and sound by Rob Kaplowitz. The producers are Ruth and Steve Hendel and Roy Gabay.

The touring dance show Burn The Floor, directed and choreographed by Jason Gilkison, will play a Broadway season, previewing from July 25th at the Longacre Theatre, with an official opening on August 2nd. The show features 32 champion ballroom dancers, and encompasses everything from Viennese Waltz and Quickstep, through Tango, Samba, Mambo and Paso Doble, to Lindy Hop and Jive. The producers are Joe Watson, Richard Levi, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh in association with Dance Partner Inc/Harley Medcalf.

The Town Hall has announced its 3rd Summer Broadway Festival, conceived by Scott Siegel, a series of Monday night events featuring Broadway performers. The Award-Winning Music Of Broadway, on July 13th, with a host of Broadway stars, will celebrate music created on the Great White Way that won Tonys, Grammys and Oscars; Broadway's Rising Stars, on July 20th, will feature students from New York City's performing arts schools and programs, directed by Emily Skinner and Scott Coulter; and All Singin! All Dancin!, on July 27th, will feature a cast of Broadway regulars, directed by Siegel, interpreting musical theatre's greatest songs and dances. The Town Hall is located at 123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway.

On The Casting Couch: Jonny Lee Miller and Sienna Miller will star in Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie, opening at the American Airlines Theatre on October 22nd.

Marc Palmieri's Levittown, in which the members of a family try to come to terms with their past differences, when they gather for a wedding, with Susan Bennett, Tristan Colton, Curzon Dobell, Dane Knell, Todd Lawson, Tyler Pierce and Deborah Tranelli, directed by George Demas, will preview from July 8th at the Theatre at St Clement's, opening on July 13th. The producers are Theatre at St Clement's and Cliplight Theater. The Theatre at St Clement's is located at 423 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Actors' Fund of America's 9th annual Auction Of 1000 Stars is now live for interested parties to place bids on the host of theatrical memorabilia and once in a lifetime experiences on offer. Among the experiences are: meet Angela Lansbury and see her in Blithe Spirit; a behind the scenes tour for two to Desperate Housewives in Los Angeles; a private Shakespeare lesson with Lynn Redgrave; a guest spot on Seth Rudetsky's Radio Show; a behind the scenes tour for two to All My Children in New York; lunch for two with Alan Cumming; plus walk on roles in The Phantom Of The Opera and Mamma Mia!. The Actors' Fund is a non profit organization that provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals. Further information can be found on the Auction Of 1000 Stars web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Nicu's Spoon will stage Brian Dykstra's Hiding Behind Comets, a thriller that begins when a stranger walks into a bar run by twin brother and sister, with Oliver Conant, Rebecca Challis, David Tully and Kiran Maholtra, directed by John Trevellini, opening on July 8th. The Spoon Theater is located at 38 West 38th Street, 5th Floor, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

The 3rd summer rep season at Atlantic Stage 2 by PTP/NYC, formerly the Potomac Theatre Project, will comprise Therese Raquin, adapted by Neal Bell from the novel by Emile Zola, about a wife who murders he husband with the aid of her lover, but is then consumed by guilt, with Helen Jean Arthur, Scott Janes, Lily Balsen, Michael Kessler, Willie Orbison, Peter Schmitz, Stephanie Spencer and Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki, directed by Jim Petosa, previewing from June 30th, opening on July 6th; and the U.S. premiere of Howard Barker's The Europeans, a harrowing love story set in war ravaged Vienna after the Turkish invasion of the 1600s, with Megan Byrne, Antoinette LaVecchia, Valerie Leonard, Robert Emmet Lunney, Aidan Sullivan, Bill Army, Veracity Butcher, Xian Chiang-Waren, Samantha Collier, Judith Dry, Lauren Fondren, Rishabh Kashyap, Emily Kron, Brent Langdon, Jimmy Wong and Robert Zukerman, directed by Richard Romagnoli, previewing from July 2nd, opening on July 7th. Atlantic Stage 2 is located at 330 West 16th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Nilo Cruz's A Bicycle Country, the story of three Cubans, disillusioned with a crumbling revolution, who are driven to risk all by escaping on a raft, with Luca Pierucci, Lorraine Rodriguez and Francisco Solorzano, directed by Gil Ron, will preview from July 3rd at The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on July 8th. The producer is Ricardo Riethmuller. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Vital Theatre Company will stage Robin Hawdon's Perfect Wedding, a farce in which a bridegroom wakes up in the bridal suite on the morning of his wedding and finds a woman he doesn't recognise in bed beside him, directed by Teresa K Pond, at the Bleecker Street Theatre, opening on July 8th. Bleecker Street Theatre is located at 45 Bleecker Street, between Lafayette and Mott Streets.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current London production of the Jerry Herman musical La Cage Aux Folles, directed by Terry Johnson, with choreography by Lynne Page, which originated at the Menier Chocolate Factory, will transfer to Broadway next spring, with its original star Douglas Hodge, courtesy of Sonia Friedman Productions; that the recent London production of Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters, which tells the true story of a group of coal miners in the 1930s who invited a professor to give them art appreciation classes, and went on to become artists of note, directed by Max Roberts, which originated at the Live Theatre in Newcastle, will be Broadway bound next March; that a revised version of the Rodgers and Hart musical Babes In Arms (the original "my uncle's got a barn we could do the show right there" show) featuring Rosie O'Donnell, directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, will be Broadway bound next season; and that Manhattan Theatre Club has commissioned Alfred Uhry to adapt Apples & Oranges, Marie Brenner's memoir about her strained relationship with her brother, for the stage, to be directed by Lynne Meadow. The Rumour Machine grinds on.