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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th April 2012

The Vineyard Theatre's Developmental Lab production of the musical The Landing, book and lyrics by Greg Pierce, music by John Kander, a 4 handed musical in 3 acts, telling 3 different stories of people confronting what it means to get what they want, with Julia Murney, David Hyde Pierce and Paul Anthony Stewart, directed by Walter Bobbie, will play from May 15th to June 3rd. The Vineyard Theatre is located at 108 East 15th Street, between Union Square East and Irving Place.

The Broadway League has announced that The Lion King is now the highest grossing show in Broadway history, recording a cumulative total of $854m at the box office as of Sunday April 8th, overtaking The Phantom Of The Opera, which had taken $853m to the same date. The Lion King has been running on Broadway for less than 15 years, while The Phantom Of The Opera has been playing for more than 24, but it has a higher average ticket price and is in a slightly larger theatre. The Phantom Of The Opera is the longest running show in Broadway history, having played more than 10,065 performances, and also leads in total Broadway tickets sold, with 14.8m, while The Lion King only recently crossed the 10m mark.

Tom Dudzick's Miracle On South Division Street, a comedy about family, faith and adjusting to life's surprises, with Peggy Cosgrave, Andrea Maulella, Rusty Ross and Liz Zazzi, directed by Joe Brancato, will preview from April 25th at St Luke's Theatre, opening on May 13th. The producers are Penguin Rep Theatre and Morton Wolkowitz. St Luke's Theatre is located at 308 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Al Hirschfeld, Characterist, an exhibition of drawings by the legendary show business artist ranging from 1937 to 2000, many of which have never been exhibited before, is on show in the Hall of Fame Dining Room at the Society of Illustrators until June 2nd. The drawings showcase Al Hirschfeld's remarkable talent for capturing the character of his subjects, while simultaneously providing valuable visual documentation of the world of performance. Noted performers featured include Groucho Marx, Ed Wynn, the Lunts, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Helen Hayes, Jennifer Jones, Burgess Meredith, Nancy Walker, Ruth Gordon, George Segal, Zoe Caldwell, Tim Curry and Fran Leibowitz. The Society of Illustrators is located at 128 East 63rd Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues.

Soho Rep will stage Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, in a new version by Annie Baker, a story of unrequited love, dogged perseverance, and the strength of the human spirit, with Michael Shannon, Maria Dizzia, Peter Friedman, Reed Birney, Georgia Engel, Matthew Maher, Paul Thureen, Rebecca Schull and Merritt Wever, directed by Sam Gold, from June 7th. Soho Rep is located at 46 Walker Street, between Church Street and Broadway.

On The Casting Couch: Anthony Arkin, Heather Burns, Tate Donovan, Kevin Geer, Josh Hamilton and David Pittu will head the cast of Kenneth Lonergan's Medieval Play, opening at the Pershing Square Signature Center on June 7th.

Theater for the New City will celebrate its 25th anniversary by staging 155 First Avenue (The Epic Adventures Of The Theater For The New Synzgy), a whimsical and mythic play by Tony Armour, with songs by Peter Dizozza, dramatising events form the company's chequered history, with Jennifer Koller, Douglas Stone, John-Andrew Morrison, Anna Marie Sell, Chris Zorker, Jack Luceno and Dain Alexandra, directed by George Ferencz, from May 3rd. Theater for the New City is located at 155 1st Avenue at 10th Street.

This year's Live Design Master Classes will be held between 18th and 24th May. Abe Jacob, the godfather of contemporary theatre sound design, leads the Broadway Sound Master Classes, from 18th to 20th, with Mick Potter, Jill B C DuBoff, Kai Harada, Nevin Steinberg, Ken Travis, Shannon Slaton, Bob McCarthy and John Taylor. A veritable who's who in Broadway lighting design, led by doyenne Jules Fisher, including Peggy Eisenhauer, Beverly Emmons, Wendall Harrington, Don Holder, Peter Kaczorowski, Clifton Taylor and Jennifer Tipton make up the faculty of the Lighting Master Classes, from 22nd to 24th. The Projection Master Class, led by Zachary Borovay, with a faculty that will include Peter Negrini, Sven Ortel and Jeff Sugg, will be held on 21st. In addition to the keynote speakers, programmes include a visit to a Broadway musical, complete with a backstage tour, a discussion with the design team, and in depth analysis of the production, 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.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre Row will include The Sensational Josephine Baker, a musical portrait of the Jazz Age legend, written and performed by Cheryl Howard, music by Loren Van Brenk, directed by Ian Streicher, previewing from June 19th at the Beckett Theatre, opening on June 26th, an Emerging Artists Theatre production; and a revised version of the musical Nymph Errant, book by Romney Brent, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, based on the novel by James Laver, new book by Rob Urbinati, following the unlikely adventures of young woman as she enters the world and seeks her true passion, directed by Will Pomerantz, at the Clurman Theatre from July 7th, a Prospect Theatre Company production. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that Tom Hanks may make his Broadway debut in the premiere of Nora Ephron's Stories About McAlary, a bioplay about the prize winning newspaper columnist Mike McAlary; and that Tennessee Williams's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof may make a swift return to Broadway with Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner. The Rumour Machine grinds on.