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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st June 2009

It has now been confirmed that the productions of Neil Simon's coming of age comedies inspired by his childhood, which share the same middle class Brooklyn home set, Brighton Beach Memoirs opening on October 25th and Broadway Bound, opening on December 10th, with Laurie Metcalf, Dennis Boutsikaris, Santino Fontana, Jessica Hecht, Josh Grisetti, Allan Miller, Noah Robbins, and Alexandra Socha, directed by David Cromer, will play in repertoire at the Nederlander Theatre. The design team comprises scenery by John Lee Beatty, costumes by Jane Greenwood, and lighting by Brian MacDevitt. The producers are Emanuel Azenberg and Ira Pittelman

Broadway In Bryant Park, the free outdoor performances by company members from Broadway and Off Broadway musicals, will return for an 8th season from July 9th to August 10th, on Thursdays from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Companies involved will include the current shows The Phantom Of The Opera, Stomp, Avenue Q, In The Heights, The Little Mermaid, 9 To 5, The Toxic Avenger, Mary Poppins, Rock Of Ages, Next To Normal, Chicago, Naked Boys Singing!, Jersey Boys, Shrek, Wicked, The Lion King, The Marvellous Wonderettes, Billy Elliot, South Pacific, Mamma Mia!, Altar Boyz, plus upcoming shows Pure Country, Vanities and Burn The Floor. Bryant Park is located behind the New York Public Library on 6th Avenue, between 40th and 42nd Streets.

It has now been confirmed that the musical Memphis, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music and lyrics by David Bryan, directed by Christopher Ashley, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, will preview from September 23rd at the Shubert Theatre, with an official opening on October 19th. It tells the fictionalized life story of a white radio disc jockey growing up in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1950's, with a passion for black music, who falls in love with a black singer. The design team will include scenery by David Gallo, costumes by Paul Tazewell, and lighting by Howell Binkley. The producers are Junkyard Dog Productions and Barbara and Buddy Freitag in association with Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, Demos Bizar Entertainment and Dancap Productions.

13P (Thirteen Playwrights, Inc) will stage Lucy Thurber's Monstrosity, 'a dark, epic tale of singing teenage fascists, magic, war and love', with Carlo Alban, Frank De Julio, J D Goldblatt, Andy Grotelueschen, Ben Hollandsworth, D J Mendel, Cristin Milioti, Robert Saietta, Samantha Soule, Kristina Valada-Viars, Michael Warner and The Teen Army of Ten, directed by Lear deBessonet, opening at the Connelly Theatre on July 9th. The Connelly Theatre is located at 220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A and B.

Soho Think Tank's 16th annual Ice Factory Festival, at The Ohio Theatre from July 8th to August 15th, will include six New York premieres from emerging and established theatre companies: A Wonderland, written and directed by Eamonn Farrell, music by William Antoniou, a contemporary middle aged take on Lewis Carroll's Alice story, by Anonymous Ensemble; Casey Wimpee's Lavaman, a hardcore punk rock mini-epic of friendship, repression and brutality, with video animation, directed by Matthew Hancock, by Aztec Economy; an adult version of Babes In Toyland, based on Glen MacDonough's original 1903 Broadway script, with David Greenspan, directed by Michael Levinton and Jose Zayas, by The Little Lord Fauntleroys; Reconstruction, conceived and created by Josh Fox and the WOW ensemble, in which a town destroyed by foreclosures, evictions and other calamities rebuilds itself from the ground up, by International WOW; Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant, in which Miss Conni Convergence and her theatre ensemble prepare and serve both entertainment and a meal; and Space//Space, two brothers travelling through the expansive galactic abyss navigating their awkward fraternal bond and their love affairs with passing voices in the ether, directed by Mallory Catlett, by Banana Bag & Bodice. The Ohio Theatre is located at 66 Wooster Street, between Spring and Broome Streets.

MCC Theater's 2009/2010 Off Broadway season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre will include the world premiere of Alexander Dinelaris's Still Life, about a photographer who suddenly stops working at the pinnacle of her career, directed by Will Frears, from September 16th; the American premiere of Alexi Kaye Campbell's The Pride, a love triangle, replete with conflicting loyalties and passions, jumping from 1958 to the present, directed by Joe Mantello, from January 27th; and Beth Henley's Family Week, in which a woman engages in 'family therapy' with her mother, daughter and sister, where long dormant traumas collide with recent tragedies, directed by Jonathan Demme, from April 7th. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets.

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre will stage Imelda, a biomusical of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, book by Sachi Oyama, music by Nathan Wang and lyrics by Aaron Coleman, with Jaygee Macapugay, Liz Casasola, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Brian Jose, Alan Ariano, Angelica-Lee Aspiras, Billy Bustamante, Leanne Cabrera, Sacha Iskra, Loresa Lanceta, Jonelle Margallo and Romney Piamonte, directed by Tim Dang, previewing from September 22nd at Julia Miles Theatre, opening on September 30th. The Julia Miles Theatre is located at 424 West 55th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

This year's CityParks Theatre Festival offers over 75 free performances taking place throughout 21 parks in New York City's five boroughs from July 21st to August 15th. Highlights include Theater in a Box: Essential Shakespeare production of I Dream A Little Dream, all the twists and turns of Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream packed into a little over an hour, performed by the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Continuum Company; Chisa Hutchinson's Dirt Rich, about a group of urban pre-teens who find money buried beneath their playground, directed by Kristin Horton; Jessica Care Moore's God Is Not An American, a fusion of poetry, video and live music, exploring the concept of God, race, the war in Iraq, genocide, and other social and political issues, directed by Aku Kadog; Dancing vs The Rat Experiment, a dance theatre installation piece by Witness Relocation; Alfonso Carcamo's Decomposition, charting the treachery and friendship of two Mexican men from different sides of the track, directed by Tamilla Woodard; and Chautauqua!, combining the history of American popular art and entertainment, the culture of commerce and the commerce of culture, by National Theater of the USA. Further information can be found on the CityParks Festivals web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.