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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th May 2010

The Public Theater will present free staged concert performances of Paul Simon's musical The Capeman, book by Derek Walcott, directed by Diane Paulus, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park on August 14th, 15th and 16th. The show tells the true life story of a Puerto Rican gang member who murdered two teenagers in the late 1950s, and became a born again Christian and wrote poetry about his former life while in prison.

It has been confirmed that Unchain My Heart - The Ray Charles Musical, a biomusical about the composer and performer, book by Suzan-Lori Parks, score by Ray Charles, with Brandon Victor Dixon, Nikki Renée Daniels, Harrison White and Tasha Taylor, directed by Sheldon Epps, with choreography by Kenneth L Roberson, will preview from October 8th at the Barrymore Theatre, with an official opening on November 7th. The design team will comprise scenery by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Donald Holder, and sound by Carl Casella. The producer is Stuart Benjamin.

The Roundabout Theatre Company has announced productions in its 2010/2011 season, which will include, at the American Airlines Theatre: George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession, in which a prim young woman is shocked to find that her upbringing has been paid for by her mother's profits from prostitution, with Cherry Jones, directed by Doug Hughes, from September 3rd; and the previously mentioned Stratford Shakespeare Festival production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest, characterised by Wilde as 'a trivial comedy for serious people', about mistaken and assumed identities, directed by Brian Bedford, who also plays Lady Bracknell, previewing from December 20th, opening on January 13th; at the Laura Pels Theatre: Julia Cho's The Language Archive, about a language expert who doesn't understand the language of love, directed by Mark Brokaw, previewing from September 24th, opening on October 17th; Tennessee Williams's The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore, a dreamlike play that is a meditation on life and death, with Olympia Dukakis, directed by Michael Wilson, from January 7th; and at Black Box Theatre: Kimberly Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still, a comedy about a young woman who finds her expectation of instant success following her graduation unfulfilled, directed by Sam Gold, previewing from September 10th, opening on October 3rd.

Peccadillo Theater Company will stage Lillian Hellman's Another Part Of The Forest, a prequel to The Little Foxes, with Sherman Howard, Elizabeth Norment, Matthew Floyd Miller, Stephanie Wright Thompson, Ben Curtis, Kendall Rileigh, Christopher Kelly, Ryah Nixon, Christopher Lukas, Perri Gaffney, Anthony Wills Jr and Oliver Buckingham, directed by Dan Wackerman, previewing from June 3rd at the Theatre at St Clement's, opening on June 7th. Set in the American South in the 1880s, it tells the story of the rise to prominence of a wealthy, ruthless, immoral and dysfunctional family. The Theatre at St Clement's is located at 423 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

According to the Broadway League's report Broadway's Economic Contribution to New York City 2008/29009, the full economic impact of spending by Broadway production companies, theatre operators and those visitors drawn to the city by Broadway theatre, contributed $9.8bn to the New York economy. This comprises spending by producers to mount and run productions; spending by theatre owners to maintain and renovate venues; and ancillary purchases by visitors who said that Broadway was an important reason in their coming to the city. 82% of Broadway's tickets are purchased by theatergoers from outside New York City. The contribution of Broadway tourists amounted to $7.7bn, shows contributed $2bn, and theatres $51m. Broadway supports 84,400 jobs and generates $477.7m in New York City taxes.

Manhattan Theatre Club has announced the opening productions in its 2010/2011 season. On Broadway at the Friedman Theatre: the previously mentioned British Live Theatre Newcastle production of Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters, which tells the true story of a group of Ashington coal miners in the 1930s who invited a professor to give them art appreciation classes, directed by Max Roberts, with the original cast, comprising Christopher Connel, Michael Hodgson, Ian Kelly, Brian Lonsdale, Lisa McGrillis, Deka Walmsley, David Whitaker and Phillippa Wilson, will preview from September 14th, opening on September 30th; David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People, exploring the struggles, shifting loyalties and unshakeable hopes that come with having next to nothing in America, directed by Daniel Sullivan, will preview from February 8th, opening on March 3rd. Off Broadway at New York City Center Stage I: Alfred Uhry's Carl's Sister, adapted from Apples And Oranges, Marie Brenner's memoir about her strained, heartwarming and funny relationship with her brother, directed by Lynne Meadow; and Beau Willimon's Spirit Control, a chilling and mesmerizing look at how we navigate a crisis, and the demons that haunt us long after, directed by Doug Hughes.

It has been confirmed that Eric Simonson's Lombardi, about the legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi, adapted from David Maraniss's biography When Pride Still Mattered, with Dan Lauria, Judith Light, Keith Nobbs, Bill Dawes, Robert Christopher Riley and Chris Sullivan, directed by Thomas Kail, will preview from September 23rd at the Circle in the Square Theatre, with an official opening on October 21st. The creative team will comprise scenery by David Korins, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley, projections by Zach Borovay and sound by Acme Sound Partners/Nevin Steinberg. The producers are the National Football League, with Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser.

The 11th annual Midtown International Theatre Festival, which runs from July 12th to August 1st, has announced the list of 29 productions that will feature. The MITF will present more than 200 performances of the shows in 5 theatres, encompassing fully staged performances, world premieres, revivals, staged readings, solo shows, multimedia presentations and talkbacks. Among the shows selected are: James V O'Connor's Literary Disruption, in which trust and ideals collide with the deceit of a predatory stranger in the world of academia; the musical Lovers, book, music and lyrics by Christopher Massimine, exploring the darker side of a relationship spanning a couple's journey from idealistic beginnings to cruel realities; Robin Pond's Prevailing Wins, looking at the politics of relationships, the competitive nature of social status, and the innate human desire to get even; Scott Brooks's Screenplay, about a down on his luck screen writer who strikes a deal with a Hollywood producer that could destroy them both; and Duncan Pflaster's The Starship Astrov, a play written in the style of Anton Chekov set on a starship in the year 3047. Further information can be found on the MITF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current London production of the musical Sister Act, adapted from the 1992 movie about a disco singer fleeing the mob, who is given protective custody in a convent, is aiming for a Broadway transfer next spring; and that Antonio Banderas may star in a Broadway revival of Kander and Ebb's musical Zorba, adapted from the novel and movie about an American who inherits a mine in Crete, in fall 2011. The Rumour Machine grinds on.