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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th May 2014

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Roundabout Theatre Company will stage the musical On The Twentieth Century, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Cy Coleman, adapted from Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 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, with Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher, directed by Scott Ellis, with choreography by Warren Carlyle, previewing from February 12th at the American Airlines Theatre, with an official opening on March 12th. The design team includes scenery by David Rockwell, costumes by William Ivey Long, and lighting by Donald Holder.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, in which the existence of upper-middle-class suburbanites is disrupted by the arrival of their daughter, whose marriage has collapsed, an alcoholic sister, and lifelong family friends, with Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban, Clare Higgins and Martha Plimpton, directed by Pam MacKinnon, will preview from October 20th at the Golden Theatre, with an official opening on November 20th. The design team comprises scenery by Santo Loquasto, costumes by Ann Roth, and lighting by Brian MacDevitt. The producer is Scott Rudin.

The Amoralists will stage the premiere of The Gyre, two plays in repertoire at Walkerspace, comprising Derek Ahonen's The Qualification Of Douglas Evans, a surrealistic exploration of the pleasures and pains of addiction, with Derek Ahonen, Penny Bittone, Mandy Nicole Moore, Agatha Nowicki, Samantha Strelitz, Kelley Swindall and Barbara Weetman, directed by James Kautz, previewing from June 26th, opening on July 15th, and Mark Roberts's Enter At Forest Lawn, a darkly comic peek inside the not-so-funny world of network television, with David Lanson, Sarah Lemp, Matthew Pilieci, Mark Roberts and Anna Stromberg, directed by Jay Stull, previewing from June 27th, opening on July 14th. Walkerspace is located at 46 Walker Street between Broadway and Church Street.

On The Casting Couch: Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston will be joined by Richard Coyle, Scarlett Strallen, Tom Godwin, Edward Harrison, Dylan Clark Marshall and Zachary Spicer in the Manchester England International Festival production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, opening at the Park Avenue Armory on June 5th.

The A Red Orchid Theatre Chicago's production of Brett Neveu's The Opponent, a look at the world of boxing from the perspective of small time gym owner/trainer and a young up-and-coming fighter, with Kamal Angelo Bolden and Guy Van Swearingen, directed by Karen Kessler, with fight direction by John Tovar, will play at 59E59 Theaters from July 31st. It is presented in partnership with Bisno Productions. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

The Shakespeare Forum will stage William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice, the 'pound of flesh' and 'quality of mercy' play, with Dominic Comperatore, Joseph J Menino, Francis Mateo, Hannah Goalstone, John Smiley, Zach Libresco, Imani Jade Powers, Sarah Hankins, Lash Dooley, Michael Moreno, Bill Coyne and Gabriel Lawrence, directed by Andrew Borthwick-Leslie and Sybille Bruun, previewing from May 22nd at The Gym at Judson, opening on May 29th. The Gym at Judson Memorial Church is located at 55 Washington Square South, at Thompson Street.

The Good And The True, a piece of verbatim theatre by Lucie Kolouchova, Tomas Hrbek, Daniel Hrbek and Brian Daniels, made from the testimonies of athlete Milos Dobry and actress Hana Pravda who endured the challenges of being born Jewish in 1920s Europe, with Saul Reichlin and Isobel Pravda, directed by Daniel Hrbek, will preview from July 24th at the DR2 Theatre, opening on July 31st. The DR2 Theatre is located at 103 East 15th Street at Union Square

The Moose Hall Theatre Company's 15th Inwood Shakespeare Festival will present free outdoor performances of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, about an aging magician and his daughter stranded on a desert island, directed by Ted Minos, from June 4th to 21st; and Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, depicting the struggle of a man whose friends and neighbours are turning into rhinoceroses, directed by Ted Minos, from July 16th to August 2nd; plus a programme of concert performances. The productions will be performed Wednesdays to Saturdays in Inwood Hill Park Peninsula, entrances at West 218th Street and Indian Road, and Isham Street and Seaman Avenue.

The final production in New York Theatre Workshop's 2014/2015 season will be David Greig's The Events, which follows one survivor's search for compassion, peace, and understanding in the wake of unthinkable violence, directed by Ramin Gray, in February. New York Theatre Workshop is located at 79 East 4th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that producer Cameron Mackintosh, recently revealed as Britain's first theatre billionaire, plans to bring the new London production of the Alain Boublil-Claude-Michel Schonberg-Richard Maltby Jr musical Miss Saigon, relocating the story of Madam Butterfly to the Vietnam War, which includes a new song, directed by Laurence Connor, with original choreography by Bob Avian restaged by Geoffrey Garratt, to Broadway next year; and that School Of Rock, a musical adaptation of the 2003 film about a musician who pretends to be a substitute teacher and transforms his students into a rock band, with new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is aiming to premiere on Broadway because U.S. child labor laws are not as strict as those in London. The Rumour Machine grinds on.