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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd August 2011

It has been confirmed that the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Seminar, a dark comedy about world famous novelist giving a seminar to four young writers, with Alan Rickman, Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater, directed by Sam Gold, will preview from October 27th at the Golden Theatre, with an official opening on November 20th. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by David Zinn, lighting by Ben Stanton, and sound by John Gromada. The producers are Jeffrey Finn, Jill Furman and Smuggler Films.

The Prospect Theater Company's 2011/2012 season will comprise the musicals Iron Curtain, book by Susan DiLallo, music by Stephen Weiner, lyrics by Peter Mills, set in the 1950s, when an unsuccessful songwriting duo are kidnapped by the KGB and forced to fix the world's worst communist propaganda musical, directed by Cara Reichel, with choreography by Christine O'Grady, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center from November 5th; a revised version of Myths And Hymns, a song cycle based on Greek myth and lyrics found in an antique hymnal, music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, additional lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, new narrative and direction by Elizabeth Lucas, at the West End Theatre from January 28th; and a revised version of Nymph Errant, book by Romney Brent, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, based on the novel by James Laver, new book by Rob Urbinati, following the unlikely adventures of young woman as she enters the world and seeks her true passion, directed by Davis McCallum, at a venue yet to be announced from July 7th. The Baruch Performing Arts Center is located at 55 Lexington Avenue, entrance on 25th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues; and the West End Theatre is located at 263 West 86 Street, at West End Avenue.

The London production of Peter Quilter's End Of The Rainbow, a play with music about the last days of Judy Garland, with Tracie Bennett, directed by Terry Johnson, will preview from March 19th at a Shubert theatre yet to be announced, with an official opening on April 3rd. The producers are Lee Dean, Laurence Myers, Jenny Topper and Joey Parnes.

On The Casting Couch: Betsy Aidem, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Reed Birney, Christine Lahti, Shane McRae, Cotter Smith and Katherine Waterstonwill feature in Adam Rapp's Dreams Of Flying Dreams Of Falling, opening at the Classic Stage Company on October 4th; Hunter Parrish will be joined by Telly Leung, Uzo Aduba, Nick Blaemire and Morgan James in Stephen Schwartz's musical Godspell, opening at the Circle in the Square Theatre on November 7th; and Nina Arianda will be joined by Hugh Dancy in David Ives's Venus In Fur, opening at the Samuel J Friedman Theatre on November 8th.

Rachel Reiner Productions will stage the world premiere of Victor L Cahn's Dally With The Devil, in which two officials from opposing campaigns compete to use a powerful blogger to influence the outcome of a Senatorial election, with Elizabeth A Davis, Elizabeth Norment and Erika Rolfsrud, directed by Eric Parness, previewing from September 10th at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on September 14th. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Stephen Belber's Tape, examining questions of motive, memory, truth and perception, as 3 high school friends meet up again after many years, with Don DiPaolo, Neil Holland and Therese Plaehn, directed by Sam Helfrich, will preview from September 9th at the June Havoc Theatre, opening on September 13th. The producers are Knife Edge Productions and Swinestars Productions. The June Havoc Theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The bi-annual program 20at20, in which Off Broadway shows will offer $20 tickets at the box office starting 20 minutes before show time, will return from September 6th to 18th. There are 35 participating shows ranging from Awesome 80s Prom to VOCA People. Some shows will accept cash only for these tickets. Real enthusiasts who see 7 shows can receive a free dinner. Further information can be found at the 20at20 web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Sound Of Musicals by Ruth Leon, recently published by Oberon Books, is a slim but authoritative volume, examining musical theatre on both sides of the Atlantic. The book gives a succinct account of the handful of 20th century musicals that in Leon's well informed opinion changed the genre forever. It offers light hearted informative essays focussing on the composers, lyricists and directors of pioneering productions, with behind the scenes anecdotes to create a fascinating insight into the world of musical theatre. A stylish little book with something for any theatre enthusiast or professional.

Spica 8 Productions will stage James Haigney's The Woman Standing On The Moon, in which, while filming a documentary on extremism in America, the director is drawn into a labyrinth of complex relationships, with James Patrick Earley, Taylor Flowers, Christa Kimlicko Jones, Steven Laing, Sarah Saunders and Diana Stahl, directed by Benard Cummings, previewing at the 30th Street Theatre on September 15th, opening on September 16th. The 30th Street Theatre is located at Urban Stages, 259 West 30 Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The Lapsburgh Layover, an event performed by the residents of an isolated community designed to entertain and inform passengers while their international flight refuels, created and performed by Justin Jain, Dave Johnson, Leah Walton and Bradley K Wrenn, developed and directed by Oliver Butler, will preview from August 31st at Ars Nova, opening on September 12th. The producer is The Berserker Residents. Ars Nova is located at 511 West 54th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that Philip William McKinley, 'creative consultant/saviour' of Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark will direct The Bible: The Beginning, a musical arena spectacular version of the Old Testament, book by Shaun McKenna, music by Michael Levine, Matt Rollings and Ryan Beveridge, lyrics by Maribeth Derry on a national tour in 2012 or 2013. The Rumour Machine grinds on.