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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th February 2008

It has now been confirmed that Shrek: The Musical, book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Jeanine Tesori, directed by Jason Moore, with choreography by Josh Prince, will preview from November 8th at the Broadway Theatre, with an official opening on December 14th. The show has been adapted from the story and characters in William Steig's children's book and the first animated film, about a young ogre who finds the ogre of his dreams when he leaves home to see the world. It will feature Sutton Foster, Christopher Sieber and Kecia Lewis-Evans, although casting for Shrek and Donkey has yet to be announced. Designs will include set and costumes by Tim Hatley and lighting by Hugh Vanstone. The producers are DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions.

The York Theatre Company will spotlight the talents of new musical theatre writers with its NEO Spotlight Concert series, featuring Adam Gwon and Timothy Huang on March 3rd, Amanda Green on March 10th, Joe Iconis on April 21st, and Robert Bartley and Daniel Whitman on May 12th. Meanwhile the company's free Musical Conversations series, hosted by John Kenrick, will continue with MGM's Freed Unit: The Musical Makers on March 4th, The Wizard of Oz: Production #1060 on March 18th; and In Person With Marge Champion on April 1st. The York Theatre Company's Theatre at Saint Peter's is on 54th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.

TACT - The Actors Company Theatre is to stage Tennessee Williams's The Eccentricities Of A Nightingale, with Mary Bacon, Todd Gearhart, Larry Keith, Darrie Lawrence, Nora Chester, Cynthia Darlow, Francesca Di Mauro, Greg McFadden, James Prendergast and Scott Schafer, directed by Jenn Thompson, previewing from April 27th at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on May 5th. The play is a 'revisiting' by Williams of Summer And Smoke, set in the South just before World War I, in which a sensitive and lonely young woman, hemmed in by her stern minister father and deranged mother, makes a final desperate attempt to win the man of her choice. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Atlantic Theater Company's recent world premiere of Almost An Evening, a triple bill of plays by Ethan Coen, directed by Neil Pepe, will transfer to The Bleecker Street Theatre from March 20th. The bill comprises Waiting, in which 'someone waits somewhere for quite some time', Four Benches, a voyage of self-discovery that takes a British intelligence agent to steam baths and park benches, and Debate, in which cosmic questions are asked but not much is learned. Original cast members F Murray Abraham and Mark Linn-Baker, are expected to continue. The transfer will be produced by Atlantic Theater Company and Art Meets Commerce. The Bleecker Street Theatre is located at 45 Bleecker Street, between Lafayette and Mott Street.

Tom Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a play set in a Soviet mental asylum that requires the participation of a full symphony orchestra, playing a score by Andre Previn, will be performed at The Town Hall on March 14th. The Boston University InCite Arts Festival production features Jason McDowell-Green, Alex Mickiewicz and 47 musicians, directed by Jim Petosa, and conducted by Neal Hampton. The Town Hall is located on West 43rd Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue.

The winners have been announced of the Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theatre, which provides financial support for productions or staged readings by nonprofit theatres in New York. They are Kirsten A Guenther and Ryan Scott Oliver's Alive At Ten, about a high school teacher, housewife and murderess with ambitions for TV stardom, who will stop at nothing to achieve her dreams; Aaron Jafferis and Ian Williams's Kingdom, the story of two men who face the complexities of choices and struggles in a world of drug dealing and gang warfare; and Brad Alexander and Adam Mathias's See Rock City & Other Destinations, a collection of short musicals set at various American tourist spots, each with characters struggling with their fears and expectations. Applications for next year's awards may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 633 West 155th Street, NY 10032. The deadline for applications is November 1st. Further information and an online application form can be found on AAAL web site via the link from Organisations, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Victor Bumbalo's Questa, in which a young man attempts to relieve his guilt and a mother's suffering, following a gay bashing that resulted in murder, with Krista Amigone, Dana Benningfield, Jason Alan Griffin, John Haggerty, Jeremiah Maestas, G Alverez Reid, and Danny Wildman, directed by Jeffrey Corrick, currently previewing at the Wings Theatre, will open on March 1st. The Wings Theatre is located at 154 Christopher Street, between Washington and Greenwich Streets.

The Exchange will stage The Scariest, an evening of four new horror plays, with Rebecca Brooksher, Angel Desai, Andy Grotelueschen, Jesse Hooker, Mandy Siegfried and Joaquin Torres, directed by Ari Edelson and Meredith McDonough, previewing from 2nd March at the Green Room, opening on 6th March. The bill comprises Mark Schultz's Monkey's Paw, a take on the W W Jacobs classic about the downside of being granted three wishes; Laura Schellhardt's Apothecary's Daughter, adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne's tale of love and death; Kristin Newbom's Revelations, a contemporary interpretation of the last book of the Bible, about what happens when your personal life invades your work; and Gary Sunshine's Names Of Foods, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Story Of A Mother, exploring to what depths do we go to save our own, not knowing what the future may hold. The Green Room is located at The Theatres at 45 Bleecker, at the corner of Bleecker Street and Lafayette Street.

The Rumour Machine says: that Roundabout Theatre Company may stage the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along, inspired by the play by George S Kaufman and Moss Hart, about friendship, loyalty and making art, which tells the story going backwards in time, directed by James Lapine, during its 2009/2010 season. The Rumour Machine grinds on.