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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th September 2006

Kristin Chenoweth will star in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Apple Tree, directed by Gary Griffin, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, at Studio 54, which will begin previews on November 28th, with an official opening on December 14th. The three act show, with book, music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, is made up of three separate stories of star-crossed romantic relationships. The first is based on a Mark Twain telling of the Adam and Eve story, the second on Frank R Stockton's The Lady or the Tiger?, and the third is the Jules Feiffer inspired Passionella.

New York Theatre Workshop will present the Les Freres Corbusier musical A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, featuring kids playing Tom Cruise, John Travolta and others, at the company's 4th Street Theatre, from November 29th through January 7th. Alex Timbers conceived and directs the show, part avant-garde performance art, part children's theatre, with book, music and lyrics by Kyle Jarrow, 'based on the actual principles of Scientology and the seriously unbelievable life story of founder L. Ron Hubbard'.

Manhattan Theatre Club at New York City Center has revised its programme in Stage II. It will now present the American premiere David Greig's The American Pilot, in which an American pilot crash lands in a village in a war torn country, and the villagers have to decide whether to help him, murder him or use him as a pawn, directed by Lynne Meadow, previewing from November 2nd, and opening on November 21st. This will be followed by the previously announced world premiere of Charles Busch's Our Leading Lady, about the actress Laura Keene, as she prepares to perform at Ford's Theatre on the fateful night when Abraham Lincoln is in the audience, also directed by Meadow, previewing from February 22nd, and opening on March 15th. New York City Center is at 131 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The history and landmarks of Off Off Broadway will be commemorated by OFF Stage: The West Village Fragments, a unique, site specific, promenade event, which will take audiences around Greenwich Village, Thursdays to Sundays from September 21st to October 7th. Peculiar Works Project will present the two hour production that will feature a company of 50 actors and 14 directors, visiting 12 theatrical locations. At each stop, short scenes from major works that premiered there will be presented, plus other performances along the way. The event will start near the Jefferson Market Garden, 6th Avenue and West 9th Street, and end with a reception at Judson Memorial Church, Washington Square South. Among the stops will be the site or location of Caffe Cino, Provincetown Playhouse, Washington Square Methodist Church, Judson Memorial Church, Circle-in-the-Square (Downtown), Cherry Lane Theatre, Sheridan Square Playhouse, and Jefferson Market Garden (Women's House of Detention). Further information can be found on the PWP web site via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet

The Atlantic Theater Company's new season opens on October 3rd, with the New York premiere of Tina Howe's Birth And After Birth, a comic exploration of the joys and terrors of birth and parenthood, with Peter Benson, Jeff Binder, Kate Blumberg, Jordan Gelber and Maggie Kiley, directed by Christian Parker. The season will also include David Mamet's adaptation of Harley Granville Barker's The Voysey Inheritance, a play about how greed and moral evasions destroy a family, directed by David Warren; and the world premieres of Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song, exploring what happens when two ordinary people discover they hate what they have become, directed by Neil Pepe; and a musical, as yet untitled, book by Keith Bunin, music and lyrics by Patty Green, about the pursuit of love and family, and the geography of the American dream, directed by Michael Mayer. The Atlantic Theater Company is located at 336 West 20th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Patrick Page in the title role will be joined by John Cullum, Caitlin Belcik, Nicole Bocchi, Aaron Conley, James Du Chateau, Eamon Foley, Kaitlin Hopkins, Libby Jacobson, Caroline London, Michael McCormick, Malcolm Morano, Jan Neuberger, Heather Tepe, Price Waldman and Brynn Williams in Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, opening at the Hilton Theatre on November 8th.

The Irish Repertory Theatre's next production will be Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape, the story of a common man's search for belonging in a world controlled by the rich and powerful, with Kerry Bishe, Jason Denuszek, Gregory Derelian, Jerry Finnigan, Delphi Harrington, David Lansbury, Jon Levenson, Allen McCullough, Michael Mellamphy and Kevin O'Donnell, directed by Ciaran O'Reilly, previewing from September 29th, with an opening night on October 5th. In the studio there will be double bill of Irish one act plays, Fiona Walsh's Great American White Teeth, 'a true story about America, Ireland, Warren Beatty and glitter' about an escape from a small town to a big city, directed by Virginia Scott, and Conor McDermottroe's Swansong, a one man play about a lost soul looking for a place to belong, performed by Tim Ruddy, directed by David Sullivan, from October 11th. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan may star in a Roundabout Theatre Company production of Harold Pinter's Old Times at Studio 54 next year; and that Philip Seymour Hoffman will return to the Broadway stage with Elizabeth Marvel in Michael Weller's 50 Words, which centers around a tumultuous night in a modern couple's marriage, during the 2007/2008 season. The Rumour Machine grinds on.