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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th July 2009

An expanded version of the recent City Center Encores! production of the musical Finian's Rainbow, book by E Y Harburg and Fred Saidy, music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Harburg, with Kate Baldwin, Jim Norton, Christopher Fitzgerald and Chuck Cooper, directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, will preview from October 8th at St James Theatre, with an official opening on October 29th. The story involves stolen Irish gold and a leprechaun, in the small Southern town of Rainbow Valley, in the mythical state of Missitucky. The producers are David Richenthal and Jack Viertel.

Morris Panych's Vigil, a comedy in which a man reflects on the dysfunctions of his childhood and family, while his long lost, dying aunt refuses to complete the process as fast as he would wish, with Helen Stenborg, directed by Stephen DiMenna, will play from September 20th at an Off Broadway theatre to be announced. The producers are Angelo Fraboni and Daryl Roth.

Epic Theatre Ensemble is to stage the world premiere of Russell Davis's Mahida's Extra Key To Heaven, with Michele Pawk, Roxanna Hope, Arian Moayed and James Wallert, directed by Will Pomerantz, playing from September 16th at Signature Theatre's Peter Norton Space. It is a poetic love story about crossing human and political borders in a time of unyielding violence. Signature Theatre is located at 555 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. ETE's 2009/2010 season will also include the New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play, an exploration of the timeless intersection of religion, art, and politics, directed by Mark Wing-Davey, at the Irondale Center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, next spring. The play examines community festivals staging the life and death of Christ in three times and places: Queen Elizabeth I's England, Hitler's Germany and 1980s South Dakota

The next production at the Irish Repertory Theatre will be Conal Creedon's double bill After Luke, examining the greed-driven frenzy of the property market in Ireland's recent boom, and When I Was God, about a father's heartbreaking expectations for his son in sports, with Gary Gregg, Colin Lane and Michael Mellamphy, directed by Tim Ruddy, previewing from July 29th, opening on August 6th. South Ark Stage and kef productions will stage the world premiere of Michael Puzzo's Lyric Is Waiting, exploring a young couple's struggle to understand a passion that will either lead to salvation or untimely destruction, with Lori Prince, Kelly McAndrew, Brit Whittle and Joseph Masi, directed by Adam Fitzgerald, previewing from July 30th in the studio at the Irish Repertory Theatre, opening on August 2nd. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Orielle Creative Company will stage the premiere of George O Brome's ...Another Man's Poison, with Leland Gantt, Penelope Lowder, James Edward Shippy, Steve Greenstein, Toni Stanton and Dennis Hearn, directed by Passion Hansome, opening on August 12th at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons. Set in the 1970s, it reveals the dilemma of a struggling comedian, who gets the opportunity of his own network television show, which threatens to reveal the secrets of his personal life. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Michael McKean, Jon Michael Hill, Yasen Peyankov, James Vincent Meredith, Jane Alderman, Kate Buddeke, Cliff Chamberlain, Michael Garvey and Robert Maffia, from the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production, will reprise their roles in Tracy Letts's Superior Donuts, previewing from September 16th at the Music Box Theatre, opening on October 1st.

The Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company will stage an all female production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the story of power, politics and honour, featuring Kathleen Boder, Heather Folkvord, Ellie Gramer, Kat Hermes, Arielle Leverett, Katherine Mayberry and Sarah Stark, directed by Alisha Huber, at the Kraine Theatre, from August 13th to 16th. It is a co-production with Horse Trade Theatre. The Kraine Theatre is located at 85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

The Columbine Project, written and directed by Paul Anthony Storiale, with Artie Ahr, Evan Enslow, Justin Mortelliti, Bradley Michael and Rya Meyers, Stacy Allen, Will Barker, Alex Bica, Kelli Joan Bennett, Jesse Kove, Kelly McCracken, Derek Meeker, Bree Pavey, Karen Praxel, Morgan Roberts, Sara Swain, Stephanie Weyant and Marquerite Wiseman, will preview from July 27th at The Actors Temple Theatre, opening on August 9th. The docudrama examines what went through the minds of students, including the killers, involved in the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, with material derived from journals and information volunteered by survivors of the incident. The producers are David and Pamela Burrus in association with Bree Pavey and Jessimeg Productions. The Actors Temple Theatre is located at 339 West 47th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the British National Theatre's production of Michael Morpurgo's War Horse, which tells the story of a boy who goes to the battlefield in World War One to rescue his horse, featuring a 3 man operated life size puppet horse, courtesy of the South African puppet company Handspring, and a cast of over 30 performers, directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, will transfer to New York in 2011, providing a suitable venue can be found; and that Jerry Springer, who recently completed a run as Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago in London, may reprise his performance on Broadway next month, and on dates with the national touring company in the fall. The Rumour Machine grinds on.