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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th April 2007

The Mint Theater Company will stage St John Hankin's The Return Of The Prodigal, with Bradford Cover, Tandy Cronyn, Leah Curney, Robin Haynes, Roderick Hill, Richard Kline, Kate Levy, W Alan Nebelthau, Cecelia Riddett and Margot White, directed by Jonathan Bank, previewing from May 23rd, opening on June 6th. It is the story of son of a wealthy manufacturer, a charming loser who, having been packed off to Australia to make his fortune (which he singly failed to do) returns home destitute. The Mint Theater is located at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Happy End, the 'melodrama with songs', book and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, music by Kurt Weill, adapted by Village Voice theatre critic Michael Feingold, directed by David Fuller, with choreography by Judith Jarosz, will open at Theater Ten Ten on April 28th. Although it premiered in Berlin, it is set in the Chicago underworld of 1919, where a Salvation Army girl falls for a gangster (sound familiar?). The cast includes Lorinda Lisitza, Joey Piscopo, Greg Horton, David Tillistrand, Cristiane Young, Tim McDonough, Judith Jarosz, Tim Morton, David Arthur Bachrach, Allen Hale, Aaron Diehl, Michael C. O'Day, Sandy York, Megan Loomis and Elizabeth Fye. Theater Ten Ten is located at 1010 Park Avenue, between 84th and 85th Streets.

The second production in Symphony Space's Summer Stock On Broadway will be the world premiere of David Epstein's Surface To Air, directed by James Naughton, previewing from July 11th in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, opening on July 18th. It tells the story of a family forced to confront long repressed emotions, when the remains of their son are identified 30 years after his plane was shot down in Vietnam. Symphony Space is located on Broadway at 95th Street.

This year's Live Design Broadway Master Classes in Lighting, Projection and Sound, will be held between May 15th and 20th. As always, a veritable who's who in Broadway lighting design, led by doyenne Jules Fisher, and including Peggy Eisenhauer, Beverly Emmons, Clifton Taylor, Howell Binkley, Christopher Akerlind, Brian MacDevitt, Kevin Adams and Vivien Leone make up the Lighting faculty. Award winning projection designer Wendall K Harrington heads up the Projection team, with Willie Williams, Zachary Borovay, Michael Clark, Jan Hartley, Rodd McLaughlin, Paul Vershbow and Howard Werner. Abe Jacob, the godfather of contemporary theatre sound design, leads the Sound faculty, with Jonathan Deans, Tom Clark, Todd Meier, Dominic Sack, Brian Ronan and John Taylor. In addition to the keynote speakers, programmes include visits to Spring Awakening and The Pirate Queen, a discussion with the design teams, and in depth analysis of the productions, plus a manufacturers showcase. Full details can be found on the Live Design web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Greek Persona Theatre Company production of Clytemnestra's Tears, written and directed by Avra Sidiropoulou, performed by Themis Bazaka, will play a season at La Mama E.T.C. from May 17th to June 3rd. In a new retelling of the legend of the House of Atreus, Clytemnestra relives the tragic moments of her life, her daughter's sacrifice, the separation from her children, and the murder of her husband, and confronts the Furies. It will be presented in Greek with English supertitles. La MaMa E.T.C. First Floor Theatre is located at 74A East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery.

Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight, with Brian Murray, Laura Odeh, David Staller, Laoisa Sexton and Patricia O'Connell, directed by Charlotte Moore, will preview from May 9th at the Irish Repertory Theatre, opening on May 17th. The classic psychological thriller, set in Victorian London, is about a wealthy woman being manipulated by her husband in order to steal her fortune. This will be followed by Tom Crean - Antarctic Explorer, written and performed by Aidan Dooley, telling the true story of one of the few men to serve with both Scott and Shackleton, and survive three expeditions to the Antarctic. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that John Doyle will direct a production of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along, about a trio of friends who drift apart as they pursue their different ideas of success, in the 2008/2009 season, but as yet it is undecided whether it will open first in London or on Broadway; and that the London production of Chekhov's The Seagull in a new translation by Christopher Hampton which just ended its run at the Royal Court Theatre, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Mackenzie Crook, Katherine Parkinson and Chiwetel Eijiofor, directed by Ian Rickson, may come to Broadway next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.