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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th November 2010

It has been confirmed that Cirque du Soleil will stage Zarkana, a new show at Radio City Music Hall created especially for the venue, written and directed by François Girard, music by Nick Littlemore, with choreography by Elena Kolyadenko and Debra Brown, featuring cast of 71 international artists, beginning performances on June 9th and playing until September 4th. In an abandoned theatre a magician who has lost his love, and with her his magic, begs the Gods for her return, and is plunged into a world inhabited by surreal creatures. The creative team, under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberte, will include creative direction by Line Tremblay, scenery and props by Stephane Roy, costumes by Alan Hranitelj, lighting by Alain Lortie, images by Raymond St-Jean and sound by Steven Dubuc.

This show will displace the Tony Awards Ceremony from its usual home, so the 65th event will, for the first time, take place at The Beacon Theatre on June 12th, broadcast live on CBS from 8pm. The Tony Awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League. The Beacon Theatre is located at 2124 Broadway between 74th and 75th Streets.

It has been confirmed that Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo, a darkly comic tale narrated by a tiger held captive in the Baghdad Zoo, played by Robin Williams, following the intertwined lives of two American marines and an Iraqi gardener as they search through the rubble of war for friendship, redemption and a toilet seat made of gold, directed by Moises Kaufman, will preview from March 11th at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, with an official opening on March 31st. The producers are Robyn Goodman, Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Center Theatre Group.

Theatre For The New City is to stage the musical Dollface, book by B J Sebring, music by David Forman and Rob Hyman, lyrics by David Forman, about a teacher in 1950s Queens, whose deluded aspiration to become a television comedienne leads to romance, danger and intrigue, with Linda Shell and David Tass Rodriguez, directed by David Forman and B J Sebring, from December 23rd. Theatre For The New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.

Matt Pelfrey's An Impending Rupture Of The Belly, about a man's desire to fortify his house in preparation for both a new baby and the apocalypse he is convinced is just around the corner, with Nick Paglino, Gregory Konow, Lawrence Jansen, Ryan O'Callaghan and Deanna McGovern, directed by Joe Tantalo, will preview on November 17th at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on November 18th. The producer is The Godlight Theatre Company. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton, Jessica Hecht and Peter Sarsgaard will head the cast of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters opening at the Classic Stage Company Theatre from January 12th; Olympia Dukakis will be joined by Curtis Billings, Elisa Bocanegra, Edward Hibbert, Maggie Lacey and Darren Pettie in Tennessee Williams's The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, opening at the Laura Pels Theatre on January 30th; and Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat and Kerry Butler will head the cast of the Terrence McNally-Scott Wittman-Marc Shaiman musical Catch Me If You Can, opening at the Neil Simon Theatre on April 10th.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, George L Aiken's adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's tale of the inhumanity of slavery and a pair of young lovers' attempts to escape it (which features in the ballet in The King And I) with Richard Waits, Alex Marshall-Brown, Rick Delaney, Marcie Hendersen, Helen Highfield, J M McDonough, George Lee Miles, Lisa Riegel, Dan Snow and Peter Tedeschi, directed by Alex Roe, currently previewing at the Metropolitan Playhouse, will open on November 19th. The Metropolitan Playhouse is located at 220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A and B.

The Abingdon Theatre Company is to stage Joel Fields's How I Fell In Love, a romantic comedy in which two lost souls discover that their individual stories are more intertwined than they could have imagined, and start to question the meaning of fate, friendship, and true love, directed by Jules Ochoa, previewing from January 21st at June Havoc Theatre, opening on January 30th. The June Havoc Theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Rachel Bonds's Michael & Edie, about a boy and a girl who meet in a mysterious, mixed-up bookstore, where they bury themselves amongst stacks of books in an attempt to flee from the rest of their lives, with Jocelyn Kuritsky, Gabel Eiben, Matthew Micucci and Jacob Wilhelmi, directed by Robert Saenz de Viteri, will open at the Access Theatre on 3rd December. The producer is The Greenpoint Division. The Access Theatre is located at 380 Broadway, 4th floor, between Walker and White Streets.

The U.S. premiere of Jonas Hassen Khemiri's Invasion, a subversive comedy about identity and politics, and the way they are mixed up, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, directed by Erica Schmidt, will play at Walkerspace from February 9th. The producer is The Play Company. Walkerspace is located at 46 Walker Street, between Church Street and Broadway.

Axis Company will stage the 9th season of its holiday family show Seven In One Blow, or The Brave Little Kid, in which the child hero meets various colourful characters and learns a number of life lessons, with Marc Palmieri, Regina Betancourt, Lynn Mancinelli, Jim Sterling, Brian Barnhart, George Demas, Britt Genelin, Spencer Aste, Edgar Oliver and Laurie Kilmartin, directed by Randy Sharp, opening on December 3rd. The Axis Theatre is located at 1 Sheridan Square, between West 4th Street and Washington Place.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Royal Court Theatre London production of Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, a comic picture of contemporary rural England, will transfer to Broadway in the spring, with original stars Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook, directed by Ian Rickson; and that Rosie O'Donnell wants to play Miss Hannigan in the 2010 revival of the Thomas Meehan-Charles Strouse-Martin Charnin musical Annie. The Rumour Machine grinds on.