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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th May 2007

Tom Rowan's The Second Tosca with Rachel deBenedet, Vivian Reed, Jeremy Beck, Tug Coker, Eve Gigliotti, Mark Light-Orr, Melissa Picarello and Carrington Vilmont, directed by Kevin Newbury, will receive its world premiere at the 45th Street Theater, previewing from June 8th, and opening on June 13th. The backstage comedy takes place during rehearsals for the opera, and includes a rising star, her rivalrous brother, the controlling maestro who wants to marry her, a diva with a dog, an assistant with a dream, and a meddling singing ghost. The 45th Street Theater is located at 354 West 45th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The new Off Broadway musical In The Heights, book and lyrics by Quiara Alegria Hudes, music by Lin-Manuel Miranda - a mix of hip-hop, salsa and merengue - directed by Thomas Kail, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, will end its current run at 37 Arts, on July 15th, with a Broadway transfer in mind for next season. The creative team will then set about reshaping the piece for the Great White Way. The show follows two days in the life of the Latino community in the Washington Heights neighborhood. The Producers are Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller and Jill Furman.

My First Time, a collection of confessional stories about first sexual experiences, related by a cast of 4, compiled by writer/director/producer Ken Davenport, will preview from July 12th at New World Stages. The material is drawn from a web site that allows people to anonymously share their own true stories, which over the last 10 years has accrued over 40,000 submissions. New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues

NBC is to present the first ever television special showcasing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a one hour program to be shown in December, hosted by Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, celebrating the show's 75th anniversary. It will include both new scenes, featuring state of the art special effects introduced in the anniversary production, directed and choreographed by Linda Haberman, together with traditional classics, such as the famous Radio City Rockettes 'Parade of the Wooden Soldiers' and the Living Nativity.

Manhattan Theatre Club has added a further production to its 2007/2008 season at City Center next spring. The world premiere of The Starry Messenger, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, will feature Matthew Broderick as a forty-something married man working at the Hayden Planetarium, who meets a young single mother, and begins to reassess both his relationship with his wife and his career.

The Last Year In the Life Of The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr, As Devised By Waterwell: A Rock Operetta is the snappy title of a musical with a score by Lauren Cregor, directed by Tom Ridgely, which will preview from June 21st at the Barrow Street Theatre, opening on July 7th. The cast will include Hanna Cheek, Rodney Gardiner, Arian Moayed, Tom Ridgely and Kevin Townley. The show draws on speeches, writings and interviews to give an account of King as he barnstormed the country. Waterwell is dedicated to the collaborative creation of new works for the theatre. The Barrow Street Theatre is located at 27 Barrow Street at 7th Avenue South.

Theater by the Blind will present John Belluso's The Rules Of Charity, with George Ashiotis, Brian Bielawski, Hollis Hamilton, Gregg Mozgala, Pamela Sabaugh and Nicholas Viselli, directed by Ike Schambelan, opening the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row on June 10th. A man with cerebral palsy who is confined to his wheelchair, relies on his daughter to care for him, but when romance enters her life she wants to move out, and conflicts escalate. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Gotham Stage Company production of Randall David Cook's Fate's Imagination, with Donna Mitchell, Elizabeth Norment and Jed Orlemann, directed by Hayley Finn, will open at the Players Theatre on 31st May. The personal and the political collide in a sexual drama, when a woman is infatuated with a man half her age, but her mother is determined not to let a family scandal derail her bid for President. The Player's Theatre is located at 115 MacDougal Street, between West 3rd Street and Minetta Lane.

Gauguin/Savage Light, George Fischoff's biomusical about the French painter and sculptor Paul Gauguin, with Dominic Scaglione Jr, Kaylin Lee Clinton and Adam Wright, accompanied by Fischoff, will play at the 25 seater Roy Arias Mini Theater from June 12th to July 8th. Scenic decor will consist entirely of reproductions of Gauguin's art. The Roy Arias Mini Theater is located at Times Square Arts Center 300 West 43rd Street, Suite 507, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Keen Company has announced its 2007/2008 season at the Clurman Theater at Theatre Row. It comprises A R Gurney's The Dining Room, which dissects 20th Century family life, through birthday parties, holidays, breakfasts, affairs, and every other form of American familial relations, directed by Jonathan Silverstein, opening on September 7th; the world premiere of David Hay's The Maddening Truth, a portrait of the later life of the writer Martha Gelhorn, and her attempt to write a luminous novel, directed by Carl Forsman, opening on January 15th; and the world premiere of Michael Roland Murphy's The Conscientious Objector, which draws on historical record to examine Dr Martin Luther King Jr's part in the anti Vietnam War movement, opening on 26th February. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the London Donmar Warehouse production of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart, about the rival claims to the English throne of Elizabeth I and Mary Quuen of Scots, is Broadway bound - subject to the availability of director Phyllida Lloyd and actresses Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter; and that the hopefully now stable Paper Mill Playhouse will present the musical Happy Days, based on the 1970s television sitcom set in the 1950s, with book by its original creator-producer Garry Marshall, and score by Paul Williams, as the first show of its 2007/2008 season. The Rumour Machine grinds on.