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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th February 2014

The Public Theater's 2014 Shakespeare in the Park season at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park will comprise Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, the middle aged rom com, with Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater, directed by Jack O'Brien, from June 3rd; and King Lear, a study of age and rage, with John Lithgow, directed by Daniel Sullivan, from July 22nd. The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is accessible via 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and 5th Avenue.

It has been confirmed that the new musical The Last Ship, book by Brian Yorkey and John Logan, music and lyrics by Sting, incorporating biographical elements from Sting's life in his boyhood home in the ship building town of Wallsend, England, as the shipyards face closure, with Michael Esper, Rachel Tucker, Jimmy Nail, Aaron Lazar, Sally Ann Triplett, Collin Kelly-Sordelet and Fred Applegate, directed by Joe Mantello, with choreography by Steven Hoggett, will preview from September 30th at the Neil Simon Theatre, with an official opening on October 26th. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by David Zinn, lighting by Christopher Akerlind, and sound by Brian Ronan. The producers are Jeffrey Seller, Kathryn Schenker, Kevin McCollum, Sander Jacobs, James L Nederlander, Roy Furman, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.

Ars Nova's 2014 season will include the premieres of Vinny DePonto and Josh Koenigsberg's Charlatan, about an indelibly charming conman, directed by Andrew Neisler, from March 18th; and Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen's Jacuzzi, set in a Colorado ski resort, where the lifestyles of the rich visitors clash with those of the poor residents, directed by Oliver Butler, from October 1st.

The Brits Off Broadway Festival at 59E59 Theaters from April 1st to June 29th will feature Traverse Theatre Company Edinburgh double bill about women who defy convention, comprising Sabrina Mahfouz's Clean and Douglas Maxwell's A Respectable Widow Takes To Vulgarity, directed by Orla O'Loughlin; Hannah Patterson's Playing With Grown Ups, examining what an adult woman wants from life, directed by Hannah Eidinow; the Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough productions written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, Time Of My Life, set at a family gathering in honour of a woman's birthday, Arrivals & Departures, about an anti-terrorist operation that goes wrong ; and Farcicals: A Double Bill Of Frivolous Comedies, comprising Chloe With Love and The Kidderminster Affair, playing in repertoire; and Jessica Walker's Pat Kirkwood Is Angry, a one person show about a Second World War musical stage star, directed by Lee Blakeley. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Barbara Andres will be joined by Barbara Barrie, Alice Cannon, Lynn Cohen, Rita Gardner, Heather MacRae, Marni Nixon, Letty Serra, Dale Soules and Phyllis Somerville in John Van Druten's I Remember Mama, opening at The Gym at Judson Memorial Church on April 1st; Ewan McGregor will be joined by Maggie Gyllenhaal in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, opening at the American Airlines Theatre on October 30th; and Andrea Martin will head the cast of Michael Frayn's Noises Off, opening at the American Airlines Theatre in January.

The restored landmark statues of Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia, Marilyn Miller as Sunny, Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy, and Rosa Ponselle as Norma, have been returned to their alcoves in the facade of the former Miller Shoes building, still bearing the slogan The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear, on 46th Street at the corner of Broadway. Originally executed by Alexander Calder in 1929, the statues had undergone a four month conservation and restoration at Conservation Solutions in Maryland.

The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre production of Vit Horejs's Don Juan, or Wages Of Debauchery, a straight forward retelling of the Don Juan story in a not un-family friendly manner, with some Czech folk singing and a few operatic arias, will play at Jan Hus Neighborhood House from April 10th. Jan Hus Neighborhood House is located at 351 East 74th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

The Onomatopoeia Theatre Company's 2014 season at the Gene Frankel Theatre will comprise Titus Maccius Plautus's Pseudolus, adapted and directed by Thomas R Gordon, in which a slave has to use her wits to win the girl her master loves, with Miranda Webster, Alex Levitt, Sarah Hegarty, Matthew K Davis and Madison Byles, from February 27th; William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a tale of lovers and lunatics, from August 7th; and William Shakespeare's Antony And Cleopatra, in which an empire is sacrificed for passion, from November 13th. The Gene Frankel Theatre is located at 24 Bond Street, between Lafayette Street and Bowery.

The Rumour Machine says: that Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher will star in the Cy Coleman-Betty Comden-Adolph Green musical On The Twentieth Century, adapted from the Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur 1932 comedy set aboard the luxury train en route from Chicago to New York, as a Broadway producer tries to convince a famous movie actress to sign a contract with him, in an effort to revive his failing career, directed by Scott Ellis. The Rumour Machine grinds on.