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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th December 2014

According to newspaper reports, the recent Williamstown Theatre Festival production of a revised version of the musical The Visit, book by Terrence McNally, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, adapted from the play by Friedrich Durrenmatt, about an oft-widowed millionairess determined to get revenge on every person from her hometown who did her wrong when she was a young girl, with Chita Rivera, directed by John Doyle, with choreography by Graciela Daniele, will open at a Shubert Theatre yet to be announced next spring.

The Manhattan Theatre Club production of The Lion, an autobiographical solo musical written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer, a story of love, loss, family loyalty, and the redemptive power of music, directed by Sean Daniels, will be remounted at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project, previewing from February 3rd, opening on February 8th. It will be presented by Eva Price. Culture Project is located at 45 Bleecker Street, at Lafayette Street

New York City Opera, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2013, has voted to recommend the sale of the New York City Opera name, related intellectual property and the New York City Opera Thrift Shop to NYCO Renaissance, a new and independent organisation. NYCO Renaissance intends to bring about the rebirth of New York City Opera under new leadership and return the company to Lincoln Center. Investment manager and former City Opera board member Roy G Niederhoffer, who has made a $1m+ pledge to the effort, will be chairman, and former City Opera board member Jeffrey Laikind will be president. NYCO Renaissance has already struck a memorandum of agreement with Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, for a 5 year contract for rates and conditions.

On The Casting Couch: Kate Baldwin will head the cast in the Andrew Lippa-Tom Greenwald musical John & Jen, opening at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row on March 3rd; Hamish Linklater, John Noble, Dale Soules, Henry Stram and Mickey Theis will feature in Doug Wright's Posterity, opening at the Linda Gross Theatre on March 15th; Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, Lisa Howard, Edward Hibbert, Steve Rosen, Sierra Boggess and David Burtka, will be joined by Montego Glover, Josh Grisetti, Michael X Martin, Anne L Nathan, Nick Spangler, Chip Zien, Farah Alvin, Gina Farrell and Mitch Greenberg in the Barbara Anselmi-Brian Hargrove musical It Shoulda Been You, opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 14th; and Michael Cerveris will be joined by original company members Beth Malone, Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, Joel Perez and Roberta Colindrez in the Jeanine Tesori-Lisa Kron musical Fun Home, opening at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 19th.

HAM: A Musical Memoir, a one person musical revue, written and performed by Sam Harris, based on his memoir HAM: Slices Of A Life, with music by Todd Schroeder, directed by Billy Porter, will preview from January 8th at Ars Nova, opening on January 12th. The producers are Susan Dietz and Elaine Krause. Ars Nova is located at 511 West 54th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Shakespeare in the Square, which aims to bring a new perspective to classic theatre, will stage William Shakespeare's The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet, with Elise Kibler, Constantine Malahias, Taylor Myers, Chris Dooly and Jack De Sanz, directed by Dan Hasse, using original Elizabethan staging practices, previewing from January 14th at the Gym at Judson, opening on January 18th. The Gym at Judson Memorial Church is located at 55 Washington Square South, at Thompson Street.

The Untold Stories Of Broadway: Tales From The World's Most Famous Theaters, Volume 2, by Ashley Tepper, recently published by Dress Circle Publishing, brings together some of Broadway's best backstage stories from its greatest theatres. From opening nights to closing nights, from secret passageways to ghostly encounters, and from Broadway debuts to landmark productions, Tepper has assembled stories from interviews with over 200 actors, directors, producers, stage hands, writers, musicians, company managers, dressers, designers, ushers, and door men who bring The Great White Way to life each night. The second in a series of books offers a behind the scenes view of the Barrymore, Circle in the Square, Criterion Center Stage Right, Gershwin, Nederlander, Palace, Shubert and Vivian Beaumont theatres, capturing a slice of Broadway's untold history.

The Rumour Machine says: that a new musical, Something Rotten, book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell, music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, set in Shakespeare's time, where two brothers, desperate to write a hit play of their own, end up inventing the musical, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, may be heading to the St James Theatre in the spring, courtesy of producer Kevin McCollum; that the current Broadway production of Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man, telling the story of a man disfigured by disease who rose from a Victorian travelling freak show to become the toast of London society, with Bradley Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola, directed by Scott Ellis, may be London bound; and that the current London production of Mischief Theatre's The Play That Goes Wrong, a comedy relating the tribulations of an amateur dramatic society producing a 1920s murder mystery, written by and featuring Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, alongside Charlie Russell, Dave Hearn, Greg Tannahill, Nancy Wallinger and Rob Falconer, directed by Mark Bell, is aiming for New York next summer, courtesy of producers Kenny Wax and Stage Presence. The Rumour Machine grinds on.