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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st January 2011

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Garson Kanin's Born Yesterday, a comedy about the dumb blonde girlfriend of a corrupt businessman, and a reporter who is hired to smarten her up, with Nina Arianda and Jim Belushi, directed by Doug Hughes, will preview from March 31st at the Cort Theatre, with an official opening on April 24th. The producers are Philip Morgaman, Frankie J Grande, Anne and Vincent Caruso and James P MacGilvray.

Roundabout Theatre Company has announced a 17 week extension of Oscar Wilde's 'trivial comedy for serious people' The Importance Of Being Earnest, directed by and featuring Brian Bedford, at the American Airlines Theatre. As a result, the next scheduled production, the new musical The People In The Picture, book and lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart, music by Mike Stoller and Artie Butler, about three generations of Jewish women in contemporary New York and their conflicting responses to their European past, with Donna Murphy, directed by Leonard Foglia, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, will now be staged at Studio 54, still previewing from April 1st, with an official opening on April 28th. The design team comprises scenery by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Ann Hould-Ward lighting by Howell Binkley, projections by Elaine J McCarthy, and sound by Dan Moses Schreier.

Meanwhile, Roundabout Theatre Company will stage the premiere of Death Takes A Holiday, book by Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, adapted from Alberto Casella's play, set post World War I in a villa in Italy, where Death falls in love with a beautiful woman, and for the first time experiences the joys and heartbreaks of life, directed by Doug Hughes, previewing from June 10th at the Laura Pels Theatre, opening on July 14th. The Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre is located at 111 West 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Baby It's You!, a musical about a New Jersey housewife who discovered and produced the 1960s pop group The Shirelles, book by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, with songs from the Shirelles back catalogue, with Beth Leavel, Christina Sajous, Erica Ash, Kyra DaCosta and Crystal Starr Knighton, directed by Sheldon Epps and Floyd Mutrux, with choreography by Birgitte Mutrux, will preview from March 26th at the Broadhurst Theatre, with an official opening in April 27th. The design team comprises scenery by Anna Louizos, costumes by Lizz Wolf, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Carl Casella, and projection design by Jason H Thompson. The producers are Warner Bros, Theatre Ventures, American Pop Anthology and Richard Perry.

The British theatre company Punchdrunk will stage its immersive film noir style Sleep No More, inspired by William Shakespeare's Macbeth, directed by Felix Barrett, co-directed and choreographed by Maxin Doyle, in the former McKittrick Hotel and nightclub in Chelsea, from March 7th. Theatergoers will be free explore the dark environment, where scenes, tableaux and scenarios play out, conjuring the world and themes of Shakespeare's play. It is presented by Randy Weiner for Emursive, Arthur Karpati and Jonathan Hochwald. The location is 530 West 27th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Blessed Unrest will stage Sophie Treadwell's Machinal, the expressionist drama about women's financial dependence on men, and one woman's attempt to break free, with Zenzele Cooper, Eunjee Lee, Nurit Monacelli, Sophie Nimmannit, Celli Pitt, Darrell Stokes, Laura Wickens and Jason Winfield, directed by Damen Scranton, at the Interart Theatre, opening on February 19th. The Interart Theatre is located at 500 West 52nd Street, 2nd floor, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Reed Birney, Josh Caras, Matt Dellapina, Jake O'Connor, Jessica Rothenberg, Kristie Dale Sanders and Alexandra Socha will feature in David West Read's The Dream Of The Burning Boy, opening in the Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre on March 20th; and Varla Jean Merman, Leslie Jordan, Jim Newman, Jenn Collela, Savannah Wise and Kyle Dean Massey will feature in Willard Beckham's musical Lucky Guy, opening at the Little Shubert Theatre on May 19th.

Wide Eyed Productions will stage A Girl Wrote It, a quadruple bill of dark, dangerous, and humorous plays by female authors, comprising Elizabeth Birkenmeier's Plight Of The Apothecary, in which sexually ambivalent siblings explore the limits of their post apocalyptic reality, with Andrew Harriss, Sean Hefferon, Melissa Johnson, Mike Komala and Kirsta Peterson, directed by Justin Ness; Lisa Ferber's The Return Of Toodles Von Flooz, a film noir style barroom morality tale, with Colin McFadden, Brianne Mai and Lisa Mamazza, directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann; Lynda Green's Clementine, in which a police standoff is fertile ground for spiritual healing, with Becky Sterling Rygg, William Reid and Eric Whitten, directed by Jerrod Bogard; and Kris Montgomery's Selection, about a world where only those with a high I.Q. can reproduce, with Tom Carmen, Mim Granahan, Lucy McRae, Anthony Mead and Allison Moody, directed by Tim Butterfield, at The Red Room Theatre from February 3rd. The Red Room Theatre is located at 85 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

Rosalind Productions and The Platform Group will stage John Patrick Shanley's Savage In Limbo, a comedy in which three former grade school classmates find themselves at a rundown Bronx bar trying to figure out how to change their mostly empty lives, with Kendall Rileigh, Abigail Rose Solomon, Fabio Taliercio, Shara Ashley Zeiger and Maxwell Zener, directed by Brian Tom O'Connor, at The Drilling Company Theatre, opening on February 11th. The Drilling Company Theatre is located at 236 West 78th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

The Rumour Machine says: that Adrian Noble will direct the stage version of David Seidler's A King's Speech, written before the movie but so far unproduced, either on Broadway or in London in the fall; and that a musical adaptation of Howard Richardson and William Berney's play Dark Of The Moon, a dark, supernatural tragedy about a young witch boy who longs to become human after falling in love with a mortal girl, with book by Richard Alfieri, directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, is aiming for Broadway in 2012. The Rumour Machine grinds on.