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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th October 2008

Soul Of Shaolin, a spectacular with a cast of 33, combining dance, acrobatics and martial arts, centering on a boy raised by monks to become a Shaolin kung fu master, will preview from January 13th at the Marquis Theatre, with an official opening on January 15th, playing until January 31st. The producer is China on Broadway, a partnership between Nederlander Worldwide and the Eastern Shanghai Cultural Film and Television Group.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem's 10th anniversary 2009 season will include: Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, directed by Christopher McElroen, opening at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse Theater in February; Supreme Jealous Divine, Alfred Preisser and Randy Weiner's loose adaptation of Moliere's Tartuffe, set during the apex of the Harlem Renaissance, directed by Preisser, opening at Theatre Row in May; and Paul Carter Harrison's The Great MacDaddy, an episodic journey following a prohibition era bootlegger, also directed by Preisser, opening in October. Further information can be found on the CToH web site, via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

A new chamber musical, The Black Monk, book, lyrics and music by Wendy Kesselman, inspired by Anton Chekhov's story about an artist torn between his family and the mysterious monk of the title, with Austin Pendleton, Scott Robertson, Elon Rutberg and Sarah Ziegler, directed by Kevin Newbury, will preview from November 25th at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on December 4th. The producer is South Ark Stage. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Blue Hill Troupe will open its 85th season with the musical Into The Woods, book by James Lapine, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, with Patricia Berg, Tracy Bidleman, Bob Bushnell, Jim Busterud, Meredith Clark, Jennifer Dorre, Rachel Gahan, Geoff Gaebe, Douglas Kiddie, Ken Kiernan, Sarah Kimball, Matt Levine, Kevin Murray, Alison Plotkin, Abigail Shuppy, Amanda Smith, John C Taylor and Suzanne R Taylor, directed by Andy Sandberg, playing at Dicapo Opera Theatre from November 7th. The show imagines 'what happened next' to a group of fairy tale characters - including Rapunzel, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Jack of beanstalk fame - and weaves the result into an adult story of self-discovery. The group donates its net proceeds to charity and has so far disbursed over $3m. The Dicapo Opera Theatre is located at 184 East 76th Street, between 3rd and Lexington Avenues.

The upcoming production of David Mamet's American Buffalo, with John Leguizamo, Cedric Kyles (aka Cedric the Entertainer) and Haley Joel Osment, directed by Robert Falls, previewing from October 31st at the Belasco Theatre, with an official opening on November 17th, is offering a peek into the creative process. A series of online postings reveal what actually happens backstage, in and out of rehearsal, including interviews with the cast, producers, and other members of the production's creative team, with new material added each day. These can be accessed from the show's web site, via the link from Shows, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Boomerang Theatre Company's 10th anniversary season, presented in rotating repertory, will comprise Tennessee Williams's Summer And Smoke, set in Mississippi in 1916, the story of the daughter of a minister whose youthful passion is rekindled by the return of a neighbour's prodigal son, directed by Cailin Heffernan, from November 13th; the world premiere of Colin McKenna's Parking Lot Lonely Heart, about a man whose $1m compensation is not enough to keep his drug abusing daughter off the streets, directed by Philip Emeott, from November 15th; and Eric Overmyer's Native Speech, in which a futuristic DJ gets increasingly dark visions, directed by Christopher Thomasson, from November 20th. Performances are at CenterStage/NY, located 48 West 21st Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Billy Goda's Dust, a thriller about a battle of wills between a high powered executive and a street smart ex-con, with Hunter Foster, Richard Masur, Laura E Campbell, Curtis McClarin and John Schiappa, directed by Scott Zigler, will preview from November 18th at Westside Theatre, opening on December 4th. The producers are Roger Alan Gindi and Cassidy Productions. The Westside Theatre is located 407 West 43rd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The 8th annual The 24 Hour Plays On Broadway will take place at the American Airlines Theatre on Sunday November 17th. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Saturday November 16th, and form teams to write and rehearse six short plays to be performed 24 hours later. Those involved will include actors Aasif Mandvi, Elizabeth Berkley, David Cross, Hugh Dancy, Rachel Dratch, Michael Ealy, Mamie Gummer, Peter Hermann, Justin Long, Anthony Mackie, Julianna Marguiles, Diane Neal, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie Perez, Kim Raver, Horatio Sans, Annabella Sciorra, Liev Schreiber, Brittany Snow, Julia Stiles, Maura Tierney and Alicia Witt; playwrights Terrence McNally, Beau Willimon and Ben Karlin; and directors Peter Ellenstein, Thomas Kail and Josie Rourke. Since its inception, The 24 Hour Plays have involved more than 100 writers, 1,000 actors, and 300 new short plays have been produced. Further information can be found on The 24 Hour Plays web site, via the link from Festivals & Events, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Flea Theater will stage the American premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's Dawn, the story of a father's redemption and reconciliation - with a twist, featuring Gerry Bamman, Laura Esterman, Irene Walsh, Drew Hildebrand, Kate Benson and Jenny Seastone Stern, directed by Jim Simpson, previewing from November 9th, opening on November 16th. The Flea Theater is located at 41 White Street, between Broadway and Church Street.