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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th September 2008

It has now been confirmed that the musical West Side Story, which relocates story of Romeo And Juliet to Hell's Kitchen in 1950s New York, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, directed by Arthur Laurents, will preview from February 23rd at the Palace Theatre, with an official opening on March 19th. The production will feature Jerome Robbins's original choreography re-created by Joey McKneely, but will be radically different in tone, selectively weaving Spanish throughout both the book and songs, to give the characters greater authenticity. It will play a pre Broadway season at The National Theatre in Washington, DC, from December 15th to January 17th. The producers are Kevin McCollum, James Nederlander Jr and Jeffrey Seller, with Terry Allen Kramer, Freddy DeMann, Roy Furman, Robyn Goodman/Walter Grossman, Sandy Jacobs, Hal Luftig, Roy Miller and Broadway Across America.

Independent filmmaker Lawrence Page has purchased and refurbished the Actors' Playhouse theatre, and plans to present his own productions there for 20 percent of the year, leasing it out for the rest of the time. Page is currently filming a reality TV show in which two 5 person groups have the opportunity to write, produce and star in their own play, which will be presented at the Actors' Playhouse for a 3 week run. The group whose play is attended by the largest audience will split a $5,000 cash prize. The Actors' Playhouse is located at 100 7th Avenue South, between Bleecker and Christopher Streets.

The musical Glimpses Of The Moon, adapted from the novel by Edith Wharton, book and lyrics by Tajlei Levis, music by John Mercurio, directed by Marc Bruni, with choreography by Denis Jones, will return to the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room on Monday nights from October 20th, with an official opening on November 3rd. The Jazz Age New York set story features a couple of poor friends, who devise a plan to get married and live off the wedding gifts while they help each other find millionaire partners, which goes wrong when they fall in love. In addition to the resident cast of Autumn Hurlbert, Chris Peluso, Jane Blass, Laura Jordan, Daren Kelly and Glenn Peters, each performance will feature a special guest star from the world of cabaret. The producer is Sharon Carr Associates. The Algonquin Hotel is located at 59 West 44th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Among the upcoming events at the Museum of the City of New York will be Wicked: From Page To Stage, in which bookwriter Winnie Holzman, composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, and producer Marc Platt, will discuss the process of adapting Gregory Maguire's novel to create the blockbuster stage musical, with Time Out New York drama critic David Cote, on October 28th. The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 5th Avenue at 104th Street.

Carnegie Hall's participation in the city wide festival Bernstein: The Best Of All Possible Worlds, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Leonard Bernstein's birth, and the 50th anniversary of his appointment as music director of the New York Philharmonic, will include: The Bernstein Songbook, featuring Lillias White and Christiane Noll with The New York Pops Orchestra on October 17th; Standard Time With Michael Feinstein, in which the vocalist and pianist will explore Bernstein's song output on October 22nd; Bernstein's Mass, featuring Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Morgan State University Choir and Brooklyn Youth Chorus on October 24th; and the New York Philharmonic performing Bernstein's music for the concert hall, theatre and film, including two West Side Story suites on November 14th.

The current exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is Focus On The '70s: The Fabulous Photography Of Kenn Duncan, running until October 25th. Duncan was a principal photographer for the entertainment magazine After Dark and for Dance Magazine, which chronicled the world of dance and choreography. In addition, he photographed Broadway shows, including Hair, Applause, The Elephant Man, and Sophisticated Ladies, and published three volumes of his own photographs: Red Shoes, Nudes, and More Nudes. This retrospective of his 20 year career includes his iconic images of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Angela Lansbury, Rudolf Nureyev and Bette Midler, as well as selections from his nudes and his work with hundreds of celebrities. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

An updated version of Political Idol, spoofing the upcoming presidential election with sketches and songs, based on the parodies of Marc Emory, book and lyrics co-authored by Robert Yarnall, with Enga Davis, Frank Harts, Lara Buck, Joseph DiSalle and Robert Yarnall, directed by Julie Blanciak will preview from 30th September at the Triad Theatre, opening on October 14th. The producer is Freedom Toast. The Triad Theatre is located at 158 West 72nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.