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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th April 2009

Roundabout Theatre Company will stage the New York premiere of Theresa Rebeck's The Understudy, which takes place backstage during the Broadway run of a long lost Kafka play, where 'the understudy is more than he's supposed to be, the star wants to be more than he is, and the stage manager just can't take any more', with Julie White, at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, in the fall. The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center is located at 111 West 46 Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The York Theatre Company's next Musicals In Mufti series of semi-staged performances will feature The Grand Tour, book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, adapted from the play Jacobowski And The Colonel by Franz Werfel, a comic tale featuring love triangles, mistaken identity and a wedding at sea in 1930s Europe, directed by Michael Montel, from May 29th to 31st; High Spirits, book, music and lyrics by Hugh Martin and Timothy Gray, adapted from the play Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, in which a seance summons up the ghost of a novelist's first wife, who is determined to cause trouble for him and her replacement, directed by Marc Bruni, from June 12th to 14th; and Knickerbocker Holiday, book and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, music by Kurt Weill, a madcap 'romantic-political-musical-comedy' set in New York City on the eve of the American Revolution, from June 26th to 28th. The York Theatre Company's Theatre at Saint Peter's is on 54th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.

The Vineyard Theatre has announced its 2009/2010 season, which will include A Boy And His Soul, written and performed by Colman Domingo, exploring the life experiences of a young African-American man in 1980s Philadelphia, propelled by the beat of classic soul music, directed by Tony Kelly, opening in September; and The Metal Children, written and directed by Adam Rapp, which follows the controversy created in a small town when a Young Adult novel about teenage pregnancy is banned, igniting heated emotions over abortion, religious beliefs and censorship, opening in the winter. The Developmental Lab Series, small scale work in progress productions will include The Scottsboro Boys, a musical about the 1930s Scottsboro Case, in which a group of innocent African American teenagers were unjustly accused of a heinous crime, book by David Thompson, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman; and The Typographer's Dream, which follows three lonely, intertwined souls navigating the existential boundaries of their jobs, selves and one another, directed by Anne Kauffman. The Vineyard is also working on a collaborative project with St Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn. The Vineyard Theatre is located at 108 East 15th Street, between 4th Avenue and Irving Place.

On The Casting Couch: Anne Hathaway will be joined by Audra McDonald, Raul Esparza, David Pittu, Michael Cumpsty, Hamish Linklater and Jay O Sanders in The Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night, playing from June 9th at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Historic Photos Of Broadway: New York Theater 1815-1970 by Leonard Jacobs, recently published by Turner Publishing, offers a fascinating commentary on a series of 240 previously unpublished photographs of shows garnered from the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Extremely wide ranging, it encompasses everything from long forgotten tragedians and comedians, to the lavish musicals of the Gershwins, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hammerstein and the Zeigfeld Follies, to the dramas of Eugene O'Neil, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee. The unparalleled look behind the scenes includes photographs of, amongst others, the Booths, the Barrymores, the Lunts, Sarah Bernhardt, George M Cohan, Ethel Merman, Marlon Brando, Carol Channing and Zero Mostel, and from a time when Times Square was farmland onwards, to include such theatres as the Lyceum, the Winter Garden and the Music Box.

The Paper Mill Playhouse's production of the musical The Full Monty, book by Terrence McNally, music and lyrics by David Yazbek, based on the 1997 movie about a group of out of work steelworkers who form a strip act in order to earn a living, will feature Elaine Stritch as the ex-vaudevillian rehearsal pianist, directed by Mark S Hoebee, with choreography by Denis Jones, playing from June 10th, the final production in the 2008/2009 season. Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, New Jersey.

Danny And Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical, which charts the rise of Danny Kaye from an undisciplined improvisational comic to an international film star, under the guidance of Sylvia Fine, his mentor, wife, and manager, featuring many of the songs with which Kay was associated, book and lyrics by Robert McElwaine, additional music by Bob Bain, with Brian Childers and Kimberly Faye Greenberg, directed by Pamela Hall, with choreography by Gene Castle, will preview from May 2nd at St Luke's Theatre, opening on May 13th. The producers are Hy Juter and Edmund Gaynes. St Luke's Theatre is located at 308 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The New York Theater Workshop's fall season will comprise Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's Aftermath, a new documentary play based on interviews with Iraqi civilians about their wartime experiences, directed by Blank, opening in September; and Rebecca Gilman's The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, adapted from Carson McCullers's novel, a timeless tale about the universal need for human connection, set in the South during the Great Depression, directed by Doug Hughes, opening in November, a co-production with the Acting Company. NYTW is located at 79 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

The musical Vanities, book by Jack Heifner, music and lyrics by David Kirshenbaum, adapted from Heifner's comedy charting the journey of three All-American girls as they mature from cheerleaders to sorority sisters to independent women, between the 1960s and the 1980s, with Lauren Kennedy, Sarah Stiles and Anneliese van der Pol, directed by Judith Ivey, with musical staging by Dan Knechtges, originally scheduled for Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, will now play Off Broadway, previewing from 30th June at Second Stage Theatre on 16th July. The producers are Junkyard Dog Productions and Bartner/Jenkins Entertainment. Second Stage Theatre is located at 307 West 43rd Street at 8th Avenue.