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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th May 2008

The Roundabout Theatre Company will stage Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons, with Frank Langella, directed by Doug Hughes, previewing from September 12th at the American Airlines Theatre, with an official opening on October 7th. The play is an exploration of politics, religion and power, dramatising the clash between England's King Henry VIII and his chancellor Thomas More, over the disestablishment of the Catholic Church and the setting up of the Church of England. The design team comprises scenery by Santo Loquasto, costumes by Catherine Zuber and lighting by David Lander.

The York Theatre Company's 2008/2009 season will include the musicals Enter Laughing, book by Joseph Stein, adapted from his play based on Carl Reiner's semi-autobiographical novel, music and lyrics by Stan Daniels, the story of an actor struggling to make his way in 1930s New York, directed by Stuart Ross, from September 3rd; and Vaudeville Man!, a biomusical about the tap dancer Jack Donahue, book and lyrics by Jeff Hochhauser, based on Donahue's book Letters Of A Hoofer To His Ma, music and lyrics by Bob Johnston, with Shonn Wiley and Karen Murphy, directed and choreographed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, from November 7th.

Broken Watch Theatre Company will stage Edward Allan Baker's The Framer, with Craig Bockhorn, Suzanne DiDonna, David Fraioli, Lori Garrabrant, Matt Walton and Dared Wright, directed by Kevin Confoy, previewing from May 31st at the Michael Weller Theatre, opening on June 5th. The tragicomedy set in a picture frame shop in New England, where a dying man is working to leave his once abused wife some security, but is sidetracked by her brother. This will be Broken Watch's final production at the venue, as like a number of other Off Off Broadway spaces, the building management company is converting it to rent as offices. Michael Weller Theatre is located at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes will feature in Arthur Miller's All My Sons, directed by Simon McBurney, previewing from September 15th at a Broadway theatre yet to be announced, with an official opening on October 2nd. It tells the story of a man who sold defective airplane parts to the military, and deflected the blame to his business partner, but his complicity comes to light when his son plans to marry the partner's daughter. The design team will include scenery and costumes by Tom Pye. The producer is Erik Falkenstein.

The 2008/2009 City Center Encores! series, presenting great but less often performed American musicals in concert, will comprise: On The Town, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Leonard Bernstein, the adventures of three sailors on 24 hours leave in 1940s Manhattan, playing from November 19th to 23rd; Music In The Air, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, music by Jerome Kern, a romance set in Germany, about an ageing rural music teacher and his daughter's attempts to break into the theatre scene in the big city, playing from February 5th to 8th; and Finian's Rainbow, book by E Y Harburg and Fred Saidy, music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Harburg, which involves stolen Irish gold and a leprechaun, in the small Southern town of Rainbow Valley, in the mythical state of Missitucky, playing from March 26th to 29th. New York City Center is located 131 West 55th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

Barton Bishop's Still the River Runs, a dark comedy in which two brothers attempt to steal their father's body before the funeral, because they believe his spirit will be more at peace buried in the land of his old Florida hunting grounds, with Steve French and Jaron Farnham, directed by Matthew J Nichols, will play at Center Stage from June 19th. The producer is Zootopia Theatre Company. Center Stage is located at 48 West 21st Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

The 33rd annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Original Short Play Festival, Manhattan's oldest short play festival, will take place from July 15th to 20th, at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. 40 plays have been selected to be performed over the 6 evenings, before a panel of judges composed of playwrights, agents and Samuel French editorial staff, who will select 6 finalists to have their works licensed and published by Samuel French. Over 360 companies and schools from the U.S. and abroad have participated in the festival through the years, and 175 of the submitted plays have been published. The Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwright Horizon is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. Further information can be found on the Samuel French web site, via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of New York TheatreNet

Wide Eyed Productions is staging David Lindsay-Abaire's A Devil Inside, with Kristin Skye Hoffmann, Liz White, Sage Seals, Andrew Harriss, Lauren Bahlman and Jake Paque, directed by Justin Ness, at the Richmond Shepard Theatre from June 26th. It is a dark comedy about a man trying to find his father's murderer, with nothing to go on but the old man's severed feet (carefully preserved in a jar of formaldehyde by his mother). The Richmond Shepard Theatre is located at 309 East 26th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

A new edition of Forbidden Broadway, the legendary revue lampooning New York theatre, created and written as always by Gerard Alessandrini, entitled Forbidden Broadway Dances With The Stars!, directed by Phillip George with Alessandrini, will preview from June 28th at the 47th Street Theatre, located at 304 West 47th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Edward Miller's Make It So, with Althea Alexis, Beverly Bonner, Adam R Deremer, Leonard Dozier, Brian Karim, Milan Connor and Georgia Southern-Penn, directed by Sharon Fogarty, will play at the Theater for the New City from June 19th. In Memphis, the eldest in an estranged middle class Black family struggles to reunite his siblings in time for their father's funeral, despite his mother's vindictive and controlling behaviour. The producers are Making Light and Little Rascals Productions. The Theater for the New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.

Robert Attenweiler's All Kinds Of Shifty Villains, a comedy following a private detective as he winds his way through a dark and seedy underworld, filled with beautiful but manipulative women and lowlife villains, with Felipe Forero, Jeff Goldfisher, Jim Halloran and Jason Romas, directed by Rachel Klein, will play at the Kraine Theater from June 12th. The producer is Disgraced Productions. The Kraine Theater is located at 85 East 4th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Audax Theatre Group is staging Daniel Robert's Monsterface, with Sarah Grace Wilson, Erinn Ruth, Ted Schneider, Stuart Rudin, Jason Blaine, Davis Hall and Karen Lynn Gorney, directed by Alex Lippard, previewing on June 5th at the Irish Arts Center, opening on June 6th. It is the story of a husband taking his wife, who has suffered a mental breakdown, back to her childhood home in the hope of curing her and saving their marriage. The Irish Arts Center is located at 553 West 51st Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.