News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd January 2012

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the current Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum Los Angeles's production of Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park, a black comedy charting how change overtakes a neighborhood, along with attitudes, inhabitants and property values, between 1958 and 2008, directed by Pam MacKinnon, will transfer to the Walter Kerr Theatre, opening on April 12th. The production features the original cast of the 2010 premiere Playwrights Horizons production, including Crystal A Dickinson, Brendan Griffin, Damon Gupton, Christina Kirk, Annie Parisse, Jeremy Shamos and Frank Wood, who are expected to make the move to Broadway. The design team comprises scenery by Daniel Ostling, costumes by Ilona Somogyi, lighting by Allen Lee Hughes, and sound by John Gromada.

It has been confirmed that last year's New York Theatre Workshop production of the play with music Peter And The Starcatcher, by Rick Elice, music by Wayne Barker, adapted from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's 'prequel' to J M Barrie's Peter Pan, with a company of 12 portraying 50 characters, directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, with musical staging by Stephen Hoggett, will preview from March 28th at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, with an official opening on April 15th. Casting has yet to be confirmed. The design team comprises scenery by Donyale Werle, costumes by Paloma Young, lighting by Jeff Croiter, and sound design by Darron L West. It will be presented by Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Greg Schaffert, Eva Price and Tom Smedes.

Marvell Repertory Theatre's 2012 season at the TGB Theatre will comprise Arthur Schnitzler's Professor Bernhardi, translated by G J Weinberger, in which a man is made to suffer from the reaction to his ethical, humane decision to ease a dying girl's suffering, with Sam L Tsoutsouvas, Chris Kipiniak and Geddeth Smith, previewing from January 31st, opening on February 5th; the musical The Threepenny Opera, book and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, music by Kurt Weill, English version by Michael Feingold, based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, but set in the underworld of Weimar era cabaret, with Ariela Morgenstern, Angus Hepburn, Joy Franz, Emma Rosenthal and Matt Faucher, previewing from February 6th, opening on February 12th; Sholem Asch's God Of Vengeance, a classic Yiddish family melodrama, translated by Joseph C Landis, from October 2nd; Eugene O'Neill's Exorcism, about a man reborn after surviving a suicide attempt, from October 2nd; and Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening, the 1891 expressionist play about the sexual stirrings of young people in a world where parents, ministers and teachers create an atmosphere of shame, silence and ignorance, from October 8th. The company will also stage the premiere of Dianna Russell and Lenny Leibowitz's Night Games in the summer. The TBG Theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

It has been confirmed that Eric Simonson's Magic/Bird, chronicling the intertwined life stories of basketball heroes 'Magic' Johnson and Larry Bird, with Kevin Daniels, Tug Coker, Deirdre O'Connell, Peter Scolari, Rob Ray Manning Jr and Francois Battiste, directed by Thomas Kail, will preview from March 21st at the Longacre Theatre, with an official opening on April 11th. The design team comprises scenery by David Korins, costumes by Paul Tazwell, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Nevin Steinberg, and projection by Wendall K. Harrington. The producers are Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo.

Last year's Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 production of Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles, about a nonagenarian and her grandson, who is grieving for his best friend, directed by Daniel Aukin, will be remounted at the Mitzi E Newhouse Theater, with original cast of Mary Louise Wilson, Gabriel Ebert, Greta Lee and Zoe Winters, from March 15th.

Eugene O'Neill's Beyond The Horizon, set on a farm in Massachusetts where two brothers fall in love with the same woman, with Rod Brogan, Patricia Conolly, Lucas Hall, Jonathan Judge-Russo, Aimee Laurence, Joanna Leister, Wrenn Schmidt, David Sitler and John Thomas Wait, directed by Ciaran OReilly, will preview from February 15th at the Irish Repertory Theatre, opening on February 26th. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Jeremy Jordan, John Dossett, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser and Andrew Keenan-Bolger will all reprise their roles from the Paper Milll Playhouse production of the musical Newsies, opening at the Nederlander Theatre on March 29th.

A documentary chronicling the backstage drama surrounding the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark may find its way into cinemas. Flmmaker Jacob Cohl, the son of one of the lead producers of the show, was given access to film footage spanning the first day of rehearsals to the long-awaited opening. Originally intended as promotional video for the production, it soon became clear that all of the turmoil that unfolded during the rehearsal and lengthy preview period could make a backstage-drama documentary. Whether it sees the light of day will depend upon the rulings of the current law suits. In her suit against the producers, Julie Taymor, the show's original director, is seeking to bar the producers from using any footage of her. In their countersuit, the producers claim her attempt to stop the documentary, apparently because she is fearful that it may portray her in an unflattering light, is a prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment.

The musical Sally And Tom (The American Way), book and lyrics by Fred Newman, music by Annie Roboff, about the 25 year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemmings, directed by Gabrielle L Kurlander, will open at the Castillo Theatre, on February 17th. The Castillo Theatre is located at 543 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.