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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th April 2011

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Samuel L Jackson will star in Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, which imagines a meeting in a hotel room on the night before the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, in which he is forced to confront his past and the future of his people, directed by Kenny Leon, previewing from September 22nd at the Jacobs Theatre, with an official opening on October 13th. The producers are Jean Doumanian Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Frankel, Ted Snowdon, Bob Bartner, and Tom Wirtshafter.

The Pearl Theatre Company's 2011/2012 season at New York City Center Stage II will comprise Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano, one of the first major works of the 1950s Theatre of the Absurd, previewing from September 13th, opening on September 25th; William Shakespeare's Richard II, the historical tragedy examining issues of absolute power and a divine monarch unable to contain and control the forces of rebellion, previewing from November 8th, opening on November 20th; George Bernard Shaw's The Philanderer, which tells the story of a philosophizing philanderer who believes that only conventional people marry, but changes his mind when he meets his match in a 'new' woman, previewing from January 10th, opening on January 22nd; and Eugene O'Neill's A Moon For The Misbegotten, the story of a quick witted young woman, her scheming father, and their landlord, an alcoholic washed up actor, to whom she is attracted, previewing from March 6th opening on March 18th. The resident company of actors will be Jolly Abraham, Rachel Botchan, Robin Leslie Brown, Bradford Cover, Dominic Cuskern, Dan Daily, Robert Hock, Sean McNall, Carol Schultz, Edward Seamon and Lee Stark. New York City Center Stage II is located at West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The national tour of the Public Theater production of the American tribal love-rock musical Hair, book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, music by Galt MacDermot, directed by Diane Paulus, with choreography by Karole Armitage, will return to Broadway, playing a season at the St James Theatre, previewing from July 5th, with an official opening on July 13th, running until September 10th. The company will feature previous cast members Steel Burkhardt, Paris Remillard, Matt DeAngelis, Kaitlin Kiyan, Darius Nichols, Kacie Sheik and Phyre Hawkins. The design team comprises scenery by Scott Pask, costumes by Michael McDonald, lighting by Kevin Adams and sound by Acme Sound Partners

On The Casting Couch: Carey Mulligan will be joined by Chris Sarandon, Jason Butler Harner and Ben Rosenfield in Jenny Worton's stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Through A Glass Darkly, opening at New York Theatre Workshop on June 6th; and Tyne Daly and Sierra Boggess will be joined by Clinton Brandhagen, Jeremy Cohen, Alexandra Silber and Garrett Sorenson in Terrence McNally's Master Class, opening at the Friedman Theatre on July 7th.

This year's Radio City Christmas Spectacular will feature 6 new scenes, new state-of-the-art digital projection, and the world's largest flying indoor LED screen. The technology will envelop the audience in a starry-night sky for the Living Nativity. However, the show will retain all time favourite numbers such as New York at Christmas, where the Rockettes board a real double-decker Gray Line tour bus for a tour of Manhattan that culminates in Times Square with a live fireworks display.

Soho Think Tank, which until recently played at the Ohio Theatre in Soho, is to move to a new permanent space under the name Ohio West in The Archive Building in September. The 73 seater theatre is part of a Romanesque Revival style, red brick apartment building. The Archive Building is located at 145 Christopher Street, between Washington and Greenwich Streets.

The Penguin Rep Theatre's production of Angelo Parra's The Devil's Music: The Life And Blues Of Bessie Smith, an autobiographical revue about the blues singer, performed by Miche Braden, conceived and staged Joe Brancato, will open at St Luke's Theatre on June 5th. It is a co-production with Edmund Gaynes. St Luke's Theatre is located at 308 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

New York Theatre Workshop's 2011/2012 season will include The Select-The Sun Also Rises, based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway, in which young American ex-patriots cope with living in Europe after World War I, created by Elevator Repair Service, directed by John Collins; Lameece Issaq's Food And Fadwa, conceived and developed with Jacob Kader, about a Palestinian family trying balance its traditional culture with a need to celebrate love, joy and hope, directed by Shana Gold, a co-production with Noor Theatre; and Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's An Iliad, adapted from Homer's The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles, with Denis O'Hare and Stephen Spinella, directed by Lisa Peterson. New York Theatre Workshop is located at 79 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery.

Turtle Mountain Production Company will stage Bill Donnelly's The Tenant, in which an act of kindness by a New York couple in offering accommodation to a Korean immigrant woman has unforeseen consequences, with Vivian Chiu, Nancy P Corbo, Carson Lee and David Rothstadt, directed by Vincent J Balzano, previewing from April 29th at the Crown Theater at The Producers' Club Theaters, opening on May 2nd. The Producers' Club Theaters is located at 358 West 44th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.