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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th August 2010

It has been confirmed that Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark, the long delayed new musical about the Marvel comic book hero, book by Julie Taymor and Glen Berger, music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge, will feature Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano and Patrick Page, directed by Julie Taymor, with choreography by Daniel Ezralow, previewing from 14th November at the newly renamed Foxwoods Theatre (formerly the Hilton Theatre) with an official opening on 21st December. The design tem comprises scenery by George Tsypin, costumes by Eiko Ishioka, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Jonathan Deans. The producers are Michael Cohl, Jeremiah J Harris, Hello Entertainment/David Garfinkle, Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

David Foley's Nance O'Neil, which examines the relationship between the actress Nance O'Neil and the infamous Lizzie Borden, directed by Gary Shrader, will preview from September 8th at the Access Theatre, opening on September 11th. The producer is the Blue Coyte Theater Company. The Access Theatre is located at 380 Broadway, 4th floor, between Walker and White Streets.

The Swiss comic visual theatre group Mummenschanz, featuring founding performers Bernie Schurch and Floriana Frassetto, with Raffaella Mattioli and Pietro Montandon, will play at The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts from December 20th to January 8th. The company's distinctive wordless show uses everyday objects, to create characters and stories - a kind of 'Swiss Family Blue Man'. The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is located at 566 LaGuardia Place, at Washington Square South.

Ed Stevens's Viewer Discretion Advised, a contemporary psychological thriller that probes how far people will go to prove themselves to one another, with Carson Alexander, Bob D'Haene and Katelin Wilcox, directed by Cynthia Dillon, will open at the Kraine Theatre on September 9th. The Kraine Theatre is located at 85 East 4th Street, between The Bowery and 2nd Avenue.

On The Casting Couch: Matt Letscher, Betty Gilpin, John Horton, Jayne Houdyshell and Heidi Schreck will form the cast of Julia Cho's The Language Archive, opening at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre on October 17th; Jan Maxwell, Teagle F Bougere, Beth Dixon, January LaVoy, Anne L Nathan and Michael Warner will comprise the cast of Arthur Kopit's Wings, opening at Second Stage Theatre on October 24th; and Beth Leavel, Mark Jacoby, George Wendt, Matthew Gumley, Valerie Wright, Michael McCormick and Michael Mandell will feature in the Bob Martin-Thomas Meehan-Matthew Sklar-Chad Beguelin musical Elf - The Musical, opening at the Hirschfeld Theatre on November 14th.

Axis Company will stage Down There, written and directed by Randy Sharp, examining the motivations behind the gruesome torture and murder of a 16 year old girl in Indiana in 1965, with Laurie Kilmartin, Jim Sterling, George Demas, Britt Genelin, David Crabb, Brian Barnhart, Regina Betancourt and Lynn Mancinelli, previewing from September 9th, opening on September 18th. The Axis Theatre is located at 1 Sheridan Square, between West 4th Street and Washington Place.

Lincoln Center will show a series of 'Live In HD' free screenings of Metropolitan Opera productions in front of the Metropolitan Opera, with 3,100 seats available for each performance. The series will comprise Puccini's Tosca on August 28th, Mozart's The Magic Flute on August 29th, Srauss's Der Rosenkavalier on August 30th, Adams's Doctor Atomic on August 31st, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann on September 1st, Puccini's La Boheme on September 2nd, Humperdinck's Hansel And Gretel on September 3rd, Puccini's Turandot on September 4th, Verdi's Aida on September 5th, and Bizet's Carmen on September 6th.

The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller by Jeff Cohen, based on Christopher Stokes's story of what might have happened to the Rockefeller heir, who disappeared in Papua, New Guinea, in 1961, with David Brown Jr, Shannon Dorsey, Tracy Jack, David King, Daniel Morgan Shelley and Aaron Strand, directed by Alfred Preisser, will preview from September 10th at the West End Theatre, opening on September 12th. The producer is Dog Run Rep. The West End Theatre is located at 263 West 86th Street, at West End Avenue.

Black Nativity Now, a contemporary holiday gospel pageant set inside a showbiz church in Times Square, written by Alfred Preisser (who also directs) and Tracy Jack (who also choreographs), will play at the Theatre at St Clement's from December 3rd to January 2nd. The producers are Christopher McElroen and Jeffrey Glaser. Theatre at St. Clement's is located at 423 West 46th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Scene It!, New York, a competition to foster new writing in musical theatre will feature scenes and songs from 8 new musicals, in a final to be hosted by Adam Sank, at the Jerry Orbach Theatre at the Snapple Theater Center on September 23rd. The shows chosen are The New Musical; Goin' South; What If...?; Fellow; The Man In The Iron Mask; Pigeons: A Musical Fable Of New York; More To Love; and Dammit Danielle. The writers will all receive constructive criticism from Broadway insiders, and the winner will receive a cash grant to assist in staging a full scale production. The Snapple Theater Center is located at 210 West 50th Street at Broadway.

Manhattan Theatre Club will stage Matthew Lopez's The Whipping Man, about a Confederate Jewish solider and his Jewish former slaves, directed by Doug Hughes, previewing from January 13th, opening on February 1st. Manhattan Theatre Club Stage 1 at New York City Center is located 131 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that Brendan Fraser will make his Broadway debut with Denis O'Hare and Jennifer Coolidge in the Simon Bent's Elling, adapted from the novel by Ingvar Ambjornsen about a dysfunctional couple trying to convince their social worker that they have reassimilated back into society, directed by Doug Hughes at the Barrymore Theatre this fall; that a stage version of the television series Glee adapted by creator Ryan Murphy may be Broadway bound next season; and that D Tucker Smith's The Great Game, which explores explore cultural and social changes in the British Empire of the 1870s through a romantic adventure, directed by Sheryl Kaller, is aiming for Broadway in the 2011/2012 season, courtesy of producers Randall L Wreghitt and Jana Robbins. The Rumour Machine grinds on.