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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th June 2008

It has now been confirmed that an updated version of Ntozake Shange's play for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, in which a group of women reveal their lives, loves, hardships, and their discovery of strength and love, with India.Arie, directed by Shirley Jo Finney, with choreography by Hinton Battle, will begin previews on August 19th at the Circle In The Square Theatre, with an official opening on September 8th. The producers are Whoopi Goldberg and DreamTeam Entertainment Group.

Manhattan Theatre Club announced two further plays in its 2008/2009 season. Samson Raphaelson's Accent On Youth, with David Hyde Pierce, directed by Daniel Sullivan, will open at the Biltmore Theatre in April. It is a 1930s backstage comedy, in which a successful playwright is about to abandon his latest script, when his young secretary offers him new inspiration, and he stages the show on Broadway, only to learn that she is inspiring the show's young leading man as well. Itamar Moses's Back Back Back, which follows the turbulent careers of three very different teammates in baseball's steroid era, whose clubhouse secrets bring them under federal scrutiny, directed by Daniel Aukin, will premiere at New York City Center in the fall.

Fela!, a back catalogue biomusical about the African composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, directed and choreographed by Bill T Jones, book by Jones and Jim Lewis, who also provided additional lyrics, will preview from July 29th at 37 Arts, opening on September 4th. The cast will comprise Sahr Ngaujah, Abena Koomson, Anne Andre, Corey Baker, Calvin C Booker, Lauren Deveaux, Nicole Chantal DeWeever, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Aimee Graham, Talu Green, Karma Mayet Johnson, Ismael Kouyate, Maia McKinney, Marcus Phillips, Daniel Soto, Sparlha Swa, Jill M. Vallery and Iris Wilson. The producers are Ruth and Stephen Hendel and Roy Gabay. 37 Arts is located at 450 West 37th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Roundabout Theatre Company has added what it describes as 'a new interpretation' Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, about an independent and passionate wife suffocating in her life of domesticity, to its 2008/2009 season at the American Airlines Theatre.

The 22nd Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction, the outdoor fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will be held on September 21st, from 10am to 7pm, in Shubert Alley. It will feature stalls with a host of theatrical memorabilia donated by the theatrical community, a Celebrity Table where autographs or photos with stars from Broadway, Off Broadway and television can be purchased, and over a dozen one off theatrical experiences, such as house seats for a show plus a walkon part, visit with the star in their dressing room or dinner afterwards, a backstage tour, or chance to conduct the exit music in the orchestra pit, in the Live Auction at 4.30pm. Last year's Flea Market raised $559,810. Online and phone bids for the auction can be placed until September 20th. Shubert Alley is located between 44th and 45th Streets, at the side of the Shubert and Booth Theatres. Further information can be found on the BC/EFA web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

It has now been confirmed that the recent Primary Stages production of Horton Foote's Dividing The Estate, a dark comedy about a family that must confront its past as it prepares for its future, directed by Michael Wilson, will transfer to Broadway at the Booth Theatre, previewing from October 23rd, with an official opening on November 20th. The previous cast, including Elizabeth Ashley, Arthur French, Hallie Foote, Penny Fuller and Gerald McRaney, will reprise their performances, together with Devon Abner, James DeMarse, Pat Bowie, Virginia Kull, Maggie Lacey, Nicole Lowrance, Jenny Dare Paulin and Keiana Richard. The design team comprises scenery by Jeff Cowie, costumes by David C Woolard, lighting by Rui Rita, and original music and sound by John Gromada. The producers will be Lincoln Center Theater by arrangement with Primary Stages.

The 2008/2009 New York Theatre Workshop's 26th season will include the premiere of Michael Weller's Beast, a road adventure in which two Iraqi War veterans - mutilated but as patriotic as ever - on their way home from a military hospital, encounter their Commander-in-Chief and offer a surefire solution to all his problems, directed by Jo Bonney, from August 29th; Peter Brook's Centre for International Theatre Creations/Theatre des Bouffes du Nord production of The Grand Inquisitor, Marie-Helene Estienne's adaptation of the Inquisitor section of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, with Bruce Myers, from October 22nd; and the premiere of Naomi Wallace's Things Of Dry Hours, in which a black Sunday school teacher and Communist Party member in Depression-era Alabama faces trouble when a white factory worker on the run demands sanctuary, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, next spring; plus an inaugural Off Again series of concert versions of notable Off Broadway musicals. New York Theatre Workshop is located at 79 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery.

The musical The Marvellous Wonderettes, set at the 1958 Springfield High School prom, where the Wonderettes are four young girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts, featuring hit songs of the period, written and directed by Roger Bean, with choreography by Janet Miller, will preview from August 26th at the Westside Theatre, opening on September 14th. The producers are David Elzer, Peter Schneider and Marvellous Dreams NYC. The Westside Theatre is located at 407 West 43rd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that White Christmas, the stage adaptation of the 1954 film by David Ives and Paul Blake, featuring a score by Irving Berlin, which has been seen in San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, Toronto, Los Angeles and St. Paul, directed by Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Randy Skinner, may play a Broadway season this Christmas at the Marquis Theatre. The Rumour Machine grinds on.