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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th June 2009

It has now been confirmed that the revised version of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of Tracy Letts's Superior Donuts, a comedy about life in a run down uptown Chicago donut shop, which originally featured Michael McKean, directed by Tina Landau, will preview from September 16th at the Music Box Theatre, with an official opening on October 1st. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jean Doumanian, Steve Traxler and Jerry Frankel.

FringeNYC, the 13th annual New York International Fringe Festival, running from August 14th to 30th, will present the work of over 200 theatre companies from around the world, in 20 venues, with shows ranging from traditional comedies and dramas to musicals, performance art, dance, spoken word and multimedia works. Highlights will include: Harrison David Rivers's And She Said, He Said, I Said Yes, post breakup, three women attempt to make sense of their lives, directed by Eric Louie and Anika Chapin; Frank Christopher's Flutterbies, a drama set around a day in history when spirits abound and souls collide, directed by Lea DeLaria; Camp Wanatachi, book, lyrics and direction by Natalie Weiss, music by Natalie Weiss, Conrad Winslow and Travis Stewart, in which two 13 year old girls fall in love at Christian summer camp; Laura Schellhardt's The K Of D, An Urban Legend, a summertime ghost story about a small town girl with a lethal skill, directed by Braden Abraham; I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL!, by Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg, with additional music by Mike Gillespie, a cat journeys through the alternate universe of the Internet in pursuit of his one true love: a 'cheezburger', based on cult website ICanHasCheezburger.com, directed by Karina Bennett; and Becca Hackett and Katherine Randle's Series 6.2: Paint On Canvas, armed with words and paint, two artists engage in a playful battle on a life-sized canvas, directed by Ilana Becker. Further information can be found on the FringeNYC web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Report Of My Death, a one person show about Mark Twain, based on originally censored and posthumously published Twain letters, stories, notebooks and historical artifacts, written and directed by Adam Klasfeld, performed by Michael Graves, will receive its world premiere on the Lilac Steamship at Pier 40 in Lower Manhattan from July 22nd. The producer is One Armed Man. Pier 40 is located at Houston Street on the West Side Highway.

On The Casting Couch: Evan Rachel Wood and Alan Cumming will head the cast of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, which will now begin previews at the Hilton Theatre on February 25th, more than a month later than originally planned. Casting for the title role, and a new official opening date, have yet to be announced.

Delia Ephron's Love, Loss, And What I Wore, adapted from Ilene Beckerman's book of the same name, about clothes and the memories they trigger, directed by Karen Carpenter, will preview from September 21st at the Westside Theater, opening on October 1st. A rotating cast of stage and screen actors will perform the work, beginning with Tyne Daly, Kristin Chenoweth, Rosie O'Donnell Mary Louise Wilson, Rita Wilson and Samantha Bee. The producer is Daryl Roth. The Westside Theatre is located at 407 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The New Island Festival will be presented on Governor's Island, between lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, on the weekends of September 10th to 13th and 17th to 20th. It will be part of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage into New York Harbour and up the river that now bears his name. The festival will celebrate the work of Dutch artists (as Hudson was commissioned by the Dutch), with over 100 performers taking part. Events will include the U.S. debut of a stage production from Toneelgroep Amsterdam, TUIG's towering outdoor spectacle Salto Vitale, and the U.S. premiere of Silent Disco, in which participants gather to dance while wearing headphones. The Festival is co-presented by the New York Theatre Workshop, The Joyce Theater and The Figment Festival. Further information can be found on the NIF web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Off Broadway Alliance, the organization of Off Broadway producers, general managers, venue owners, press agents and marketing consultants, (not to be confused with the League of Off Broadway Theatres and Producers), has announced that 5.47m tickets were sold Off Broadway during the 2007/2008 season, resulting in an estimated $173.02m in receipts. It estimates that the citywide economic impact was $461.3m. The figures were calculated based on a compilation of box office data provided by various Off Broadway ticketing agencies, producers and theatre managers for the period September 1st 2007 to August 31st 2008. They include data from many but not all commercial and not for profit Off Broadway productions in theatres with between 199 and 500 seats, plus smaller theatres that are significant in traffic, including Theater Row. It does not include data from non Equity engagements.

Atlantic Theater Company announced the first productions in its 2009/2010 season. A double bill by David Mamet, comprising the New York premiere of Keep Your Pantheon, a farce that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of an acting troupe in ancient Rome, and the world premiere of School, a comic discourse on recycling, poster design and the transmission of information, directed by Neil Pepe, will play from September 9th; and the U.S. premiere of Sam Shepard's Ages Of The Moon, in which two friends, reunited by mutual desperation, find 50 years of love, friendship and rivalry are put to the test, directed by Jimmy Fay, will play from January 9th, both at the Linda Gross Theater. The world premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's Oohrah!, a comedy set in a town that is home to a military base, directed by Evan Cabnet, will play from September 1st at Atlantic Stage 2. The Linda Gross Theater is located at 336 West 20th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, and Atlantic Stage 2 is located at 330 West 16th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that Neil LaBute's Fat Pig, a caustic comedy about how a man reacts to his friends' horror when he dates an overweight woman, possibly featuring Ashton Kutcher, directed by Jo Bonney, will be Broadway bound in the fall; that Transport Group Theatre Company will stage Mart Crowley's The Boys In The Band, about a group of gay men who gather for birthday celebration, but spend the night airing their pleasures and miseries, directed by Jack Cummings III, Off Broadway in October; and that Irving Berlin's White Christmas, the stage adaptation of the 1954 film, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, and book by David Ives and Paul Blake, from the screenplay by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Randy Skinner, will return to Broadway for a second Christmas season in November. The Rumour Machine grinds on.