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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th January 2011

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Matthew Lombardo's High, in which a nun counseling at a drug recovery centre finds herself questioning her faith, with Kathleen Turner, Stephen Kunken and Evan Jonigkeit, directed by Rob Ruggiero, will preview from March 25th at the Booth Theatre, with an official opening on April 19th. The design team comprises scenery by David Gallo, costumes by Jess Goldstein, lighting by John Lasiter, and sound by Vincent Olivieri. The producers are Leonard Soloway, Chase Mishkin, Terry Schnuck, Ann Cady Scott, Timothy J Hampton, James and Catherine Berges, The Shubert Organization and The Repertory Theatre of St Louis.

On The Square Productions will stage Rob Benson's In Your Image, in which two sons pick over the remnants of their late father's life, to decide what can be salvaged and what can be thrown away, with Rob Benson, Roger Clary and John Michalski, directed by Deborah Wolfson, from February 10th at 59E59 Theaters. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Abe Burrows's Cactus Flower, based on the French comedy by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy, about a man who invents a wife so that he doesn't have to marry his girlfriend, but then has to hire a surrogate when the girlfriend demands to meet her, directed by Michael Bush, will preview from February 24th at the Westside Theatre Upstairs, opening on March 10th. The cast comprises Maxwell Caulfield, Lois Robbins, Anthony Reimer, John Herrera, Robin Skye and Jeremy Bobb. The producers are Daryl Roth Productions and Stonehill Productions. The Westside Theatre Upstairs is located at 407 West 43rd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Richard Thomas will be joined by Max Casella, Reg E Cathey and Mark Nelson in William Shakespeare's Timon Of Athens, at the Public Theater from February 15th; and Karen Olivo, Daniel Breaker, Stephanie J Block, Kimberly Hebert Gregory and Kevin Isola will feature in Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, opening at Second Stage Theatre on May 9th.

Primary Stages has announced its 2011/2012 season, which will comprise the premiere of Charles Busch's Olive And The Bitter Herb, about an actress who sees a ghost in the mirror in her rundown apartment, which provokes the interest of her neighbours, from July 26th; In Mother Words, a comedy celebrating the family, conceived by Susan R Rose and Joan Stein, written by Leslie Ayvazian, David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece Issaq, Lisa Loomer, Michele Lowe, Marco Pennette, Lisa Ramirez, Theresa Rebeck, Luanne Rice, Annie Weisman and Cheryl L West, directed by Lisa Peterson, from September 20th; the premiere of Kate Fodor's Rx, a comedy about romance in the age of prescription drugs, from January 20th; and Willy Holtzman's The Morini Strad, about a violinist and a violin maker she hires to restore and sell her instrument, directed by Casey Childs, from March 20th.

Putting It On: The West End by Michael Codron and Alan Strachan, recently published by Duckworth Overlook, tells the story of probably the most important commercial West End producer of plays in post war British theatre. Michael Codron produced works by almost every major British dramatist of the period, including Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett, Michael Frayn, Simon Gray, David Hare, Joe Orton, John Mortimer, Harold Pinter and Patrick Marber. Codron's CV reads like a concise history of the post war stage, and the book examines the sea-changes in the commercial sector and the rise of the subsidised theatre. It also reveals what it was like working with the greatest actors of that time, including Alec Guiness, John Gielgud, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Richard Briers, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg. The book provides a fascinating insight into the victorious ups and hair-raising downs of producing, and an extraordinary career, dramatic in every sense of the word, which is unlikely to be paralleled.

The Play Company will stage the U.S. premiere of Swedish writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri's Invasion!, which uses wit and theatricality to talk about serious racial and cultural divisions in society, with Francis Benhamou, Andrew Guilarte, Bobby Moreno and Debargo Sanyal, directed by Erica Schmidt, previewing from February 9th at Walkerspace, opening on February 21st. Walkerspace is located at 46 Walker Street, between Church Street and Broadway.

David Maldonado and Ari Maniel Cruz's 'Spanglish' comedic play with music La Barberia (The Barbershop), in which the proprietor of a Washington Heights barbershop gets a multi-million dollar offer to sell his building, and faces the toughest decision of his life, with Manny Perez, Mateo Gomez, Ruperto Vanderpool, Modesto Lacen, Sunilda Caraballo, Ivan Camilo, Graciany Miranda, Juan Carlos Diaz and Emme Bonilla, directed by Waddys Jacquez, will preview from February 3rd at New World Stages, opening on February 17th. New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Thomas Kilroy's My Scandalous Life, set during World War II, as Lord Alfred Douglas looks back on his relationships with Oscar Wilde, his dying wife, and his only son, with Des Keogh and Fiana Toibin, directed by John Going, will preview from February 2nd at the Irish Repertory Theatre, opening on February 5th. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current Lincoln Center Theater production of Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, the family drama that takes place over the course of a Christmas Eve, with a former matinee idol turned politician, his screenwriter wife and their novelist daughter, with Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin, Stacy Keach, Thomas Sadoski and Elizabeth Marvel, directed by Joe Mantello, will transfer to a Broadway theatre in the fall; that Harry Connick Jr may be returning to Broadway in Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane's musical On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, directed by Michael Mayer, also in the fall courtesy of producer Ira Pittelman; and that the 2006 London production of the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita, with Elena Roger reprising her performance in the title role, joined by Ricky Martin, directed by Michael Grandage, choreographed by Rob Ashford, will be remounted on Broadway in April 2012, courtesy of producers Hal Luftig and Scott Sanders. The Rumour Machine grinds on.