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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st August 2006

The 15th annual Broadway on Broadway event, the free outdoor concert in Times Square celebrating the start of the new Broadway season, will be held at 11.30am on September 10th. Martin Short, currently in Fame Becomes Me, will host the event, which will feature performances from almost every musical currently running on Broadway, as well as a few of the shows scheduled for the upcoming season. There will be performances from the casts of Avenue Q, Beauty And The Beast, The Color Purple, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Producers, Rent, Spamalot, Tarzan, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Wedding Singer and Wicked, plus the soon to open productions of Company, Les Miserables, High Fidelity, Spring Awakening, Grey Gardens, Jay Johnson: The Two and Only and The Times They Are A-Changin'. The event is presented by the League of American Theaters and Producers. Further information can be found on the Broadway On Broadway web site via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Liev Schreiber will star in Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio, directed by Robert Falls, opening at the Longacre Theatre in February. It will feature scenic design by Mark Wendland, lighting design by Christopher Akerlind, costume design by Laura Bauer and sound design by Richard Woodbury. The play tells the story of an acid-tongued, late-night talk show host whose program is about to be picked up for national syndication. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Jam Theatricals.

The fall Broadway Close Up series at Merkin Concert Hall will comprise: David Zippel, hosted by Sean Hartley, with the Tony winning lyricist presenting and discussing his work, performed by Debbie Gravitte, Judy Kaye, Andrew Halliday, Jenny Fellner, Lindsay Mendez, Anne Letscher and Becky Gulsvig, directed by John Znidarsic, with Chris Marlowe as music director, on September 25th; Ambivalent Broadway: David Yazbek, hosted by Michael Cerveris, also with the Tony nominated composer and lyricist presenting and discussing his work, performed by Sherie Rene Scott, Sean Altman and the GrooveBarbers, with Marco Paguia as the music director, on October 30th; and Bound for Broadway VII, hosted by Liz Callaway, featuring songs from new musicals, on November 27th. Further information can be found on the Merkin Concert Hall web site via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Annie Golden and Eartha Kitt will star with Candy Buckley, Robert DuSold, Allen Fitzpatrick, Ken Jennings and Marcus Neville in the musical Mimi Le Duck, directed by Thomas Caruso, with musical staging by Matt West, opening at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, on October 31st. The latest show from the New York International Fringe Festival to graduate to a commercial production has book and lyrics by Diana Hansen-Young, and music by Brian Feinstein. The somewhat whimsical show is the story of a Mormon housewife who leaves her husband to find herself in Paris - where she actually finds an array of bohemian types familiar from previous American musicals set in the city.

The Classic Stage Company's 39th season launches on September 17th at 136 East 13th Street with Shakespeare's Richard II, starring Michael Cumpsty and a cast that includes Jon DeVries, George Morfogen, Graham Winton, Doan Ly, David Greenspan, Jesse Pennington, Craig Baldwin, Ellen Parker and Bernarda De Paula, directed by artistic director Brian Kulick. It features scenic design by Tom Gleeson, lighting design by Brian H Scott, costume design by Oana Botez-Ban, and sound design by Jorge Muelle. The historical tragedy examines issues of absolute power and a divine monarch unable to contain and control the forces of rebellion. The production will play alongside the CTC's Open Rehearsal Series, focusing on Edward II, the story of another deposed king, written by Shakespeare's contemporary (and rival) Christopher Marlowe. The company of Richard II will work with director Kulick on September 24th, October 1st and October 8th, exploring a different act each week. Further information can be found on the Classic Stage Company web site via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park production of the musical Company, book by George Furth, and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, directed by John Doyle, in his trademark style using actor /musicians, will open at the Barrymore Theatre on November 29th, with previews from October 30th. The cast comprises Raul Esparza, Keith Buterbaugh, Matt Castle, Robert Cunningham, Angel Desai, Kelly Jeanne Grant, Kristin Huffman, Amy Justman, Heather Laws, Leenya Rideout, Fred Rose, Bruce Sabath, Elizabeth Stanley and Barbara Walsh. It features musical direction and orchestrations by Mary-Mitchell Campbell, set design by David Gallo, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, and lighting design by Thomas C Hase. The groundbreaking musical presents a look at love and commitment in contemporary New York, with a portrayal of five married couples, as seen through the eyes of their mutual friend, a bachelor evaluating the pros and cons of wedded life. The producers are The Routh/ Frankel/Viertel/Baruch Group and the Ambassador Theatre Group, Tulchin/Bartner, Darren Bagert and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

The Chicago improvisation team TJ and Dave (aka TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi), are launching a series of regular Thursday to Sunday late night dates at the Barrow Street Theatre, on September 14th, and then from November 2nd on the first week of each month. TJ and Dave, who call their form of improv 'insta-plays' - they create full plays with many characters on the spot each night - have been regulars at the ImprovOlympic Cabaret in Chicago for the past few years. They are presented by Scott Morfee and Tom Wirtshafter. Further information can be found on the Barrow Street Theatre web site via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Audra McDonald may star in the upcoming New York premiere of the John Adams's opera Doctor Atomic at the Metroplitan Opera during the 2008-09 season; and that Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman, the bookwriting team from the musical Jersey Boys, are working on a musical adaptation of the 1950 film Father Of The Bride, plus they have already completed another show Turn Of The Century, an original story, which Tommy Tune will direct. The Rumour Machine grinds on.