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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd October 2006

Kristin Chenoweth, who returns to Broadway in December, in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of The Apple Tree at Studio 54, will make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera on January 19th, with Kristin Chenoweth: Live At The Met. She will be backed by a 12 piece orchestra and dancers, directed by Kathleen Marshall, with musical direction by Andrew Lippa. Chenoweth will be back on the Met stage in March 2010 in a production of John Corigliano's The Ghosts Of Versailles, libretto by William M Hoffman, suggested by a Beaumarchais play, an 'opera within an opera', set just after the French Revolution, which features the ghosts of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and Beaumarchais himself as a character.

TheatreworksUSA's new season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre begins with Bathsheba Doran's new adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, with Christian Campbell, Kathleen Chalfant, Kenneth Boys, Kristen Bush, Emily Donahoe, John Joseph Gallagher and Paul Niebanck, directed by Will Pomerantz, previewing from November 8th, and opening on November 16th. It is the story a young orphan who rises through London's society thanks to an anonymous benefactor, and his relationships with a wealthy woman and her haughty adopted daughter. The remainder of the season comprises two new musicals: Henry And Mudge, book and lyrics by Kait Kerrigan, music and lyrics by Brian Lowdermilk, based on the boy and dog heroes of Cynthia Rylant's picture books, directed by Peter Flynn, with choreography by Devanand Janki, from 13th December; and Anne Of Green Gables, book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer, music by Nancy Ford, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery's children's classic about an orphan who goes to live on a farm, directed by Tyler Marchant, from 21st March. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets.

The current New York Theatre Workshop season continues with premieres of Kaos, conceived and directed by Martha Clarke, text by Frank Pugliese and Giovanni Papotto, using dance, live music, text and visual imagery to retell four Luigi Pirandello stories, portraying people in mystical situations in turn of the century Sicily, opening on November 10th; Alan Ball's All That I Will Ever Be, a tale of cultural imperialism and the eternal search for belonging, seen through the eyes of two young men in Los Angeles, one a restless native, one an enigmatic immigrant from the Middle East, with Peter Macdissi, Austin Lysy, Stuart Margolin and Patch Darragh, directed by Jo Bonney, opening on January 17th; and 24 Hours Are Not A Day, written and directed by Rene Pollesch, exploring the consequences of globalization on our public and private lives, opening in April. New York Theatre Workshop is located at 79 East Fourth Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

The holiday themed musical Striking 12, performed by the pop trio GrooveLily - Gene Lewin, Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda - book and lyrics by Milburn, Vigoda and Rachel Sheinkin, and music by Vigoda, directed by Ted Sperling, previews at the Daryl Roth Theatre from November 6th, opening on November 12th. The grown-up bedtime story tells of a grumpy overworked New Yorker who resolves to spend New Year's Eve alone in his apartment, when an unexpected visitor brings some much needed cheer. The producer is Nancy Nagel Gibbs. The Daryl Roth Theatre is located at 101 East 15th Street between Union Square and Irving Place.

The Primary Stages season will continue with the New York premiere of the musical Adrift In Macao, book and lyrics by Christopher Durang, and music by Peter Melnick, a film noir parody with five characters stranded in a Casablanca like locale in the Far East, with Rachel deBenedet, Jennie Eisenhower, Michael M Malone, David McDonald, Orville Mendoza, Michele Ragusa and Michael Rupert, directed by Sheryl Kaller, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, starting on 23rd January, a Philadelphia Theatre Company production; and the world premiere of Terence McNally's Deuce, with Marian Seldes, about two retired women tennis players who were partners in a championship doubles team, starting on 23rd March. Primary Stages is at 59 East 59th Street. Between Park and Madison Avenues.

Justin Chatwin, Michael Cullen, Elizabeth Marvel and Reed Birney will feature in the premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Dark Matters, directed by Trip Cullman, previewing from November 10th at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, opening November 20th. A woman disappears, and then returns talking of otherworldly beings, but is she lying, or are dark forces at work, threatening to destroy a rural family already on the brink of coming apart? The final play in the season will be the premiere of Lucy Thurber's Stay, about a young writer who discovers an angel, directed by Jackson Gay, opening in March. Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is located at 224 Waverly Place, between West 11th Street and Perry Street.

The Rumour Machine says: Boyd Gaines is in talks to star in a Broadway transfer of the recent London production of R C Sheriff's World War I drama Journey's End, directed by David Grindley, early next year; that Eric Idle is working with his Spamalot partner composer John Du Prez on an adaptation of Handel's The Messiah, to be called Not The Messiah, which will bear a more than passing resemblance to the Monty Python film The Life Of Brian, for a possible premiere in Toronto next June, meanwhile, they are also working on another musical comedy venture for the stage; and that Robert Redford may return to the Broadway stage after an absence of 40 years, in the London National Theatre production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons, directed by Howard Davies. The Rumour Machine grinds on.