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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st March 2008

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the musical Glory Days, book by James Gardiner, music and lyrics by Nick Blaemire, with Steven Booth, Andrew C Call, Adam Halpin and Jesse J P Johnson, directed by Eric Schaeffer, which premiered in January at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, will transfer to the Circle In The Square Theatre, previewing from April 22nd, with an official opening on May 6th. The contemporary coming of age story tells of four high school friends who reunite a year after graduation, and discover how dramatically their lives have grown apart. The design team comprises scenery by James Kronzer, costumes by Sasha Ludwig-Siegel, lighting by Mark Lanks and sound by Peter Hylenski. The producers are John O'Boyle, Ricky Stevens, Richard E. Leopold and Lizzie Leopold, and Max Productions in association with Signature Theatre.

The world premiere of Deb Margolin's This Is The Mercy Of Eternity, with Lisa Kron, Curzon Dobell, Khris Lewin and Claire Siebers, directed by Marc Stuart Weitz, previews April 21st at the West End Theatre, opening on April 22nd. It comprises four short works: When They Quiet Down I Start, about a harried bus driver plagued by noisy suicide bombers; Clarisse And Larmon, in which a couple examines the unusual final remains of their son, killed in Iraq; The Rich Silk Of It, imagining the final moments of a young woman before she is murdered by her ex-fiance; and Time Is the Mercy of Eternity, in which a woman refuses to leave the home furnishings section of a department store she claims she owns. It is a co-production by Six Figures Theatre Company and Purple Man Theater Company. West End Theatre is located at 263 West 86th Street, between Broadway and West End Avenue.

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 or about July 15th at a Broadway theatre yet to be determined, with an official opening on or about August 2nd. The producers are Whoopi Goldberg and DreamTeam Entertainment Group.

On The Casting Couch: Brian d'Arcy James and Chester Gregory II will lead the cast, together with John Tartaglia and the previously mentioned Sutton Foster, Christopher Sieber and Kecia Lewis-Evans, in Shrek: The Musical, opening at the Broadway Theatre, on December 14th.

A musical version of Charles Dickens's A Tale Of Two Cities, book, music and lyrics by Jill Santoriello, which had a try out at Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida last fall, directed by Michael Donald Edwards, with choreography by Warren Carlyle, will preview from August 19th at the Hirschfeld Theatre, with an official opening on September 18th. Casting has yet to be confirmed. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, it is a story of injustice, vengeance and the redemptive power of love. It features scenery design by Tony Walton, costumes by David Zinn, lighting by Richard Pilbrow and sound by Carl Casella and Domonic Sack. The producers are Barbra Russell and Ron Sharpe, Bernard Brogan, Sharon A Fordham, Theatre Associates/David Sonnenberg, The Monagle Group, Fanok Entertainment, Mary Laminack, Gasperino Entertainment, Vincent Russell, William Broderick, Harry Casey and David Bryant.

The final production in Prospect Theater Company's current season will be the musical Honor, book and music by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, lyrics by Mills, directed by Reichel, with Alan Ariano, Eymard Cabling, Ariel Estrada, Ali Ewoldt, Steven Eng, Christine Toy Johnson, Brian Jose, Ming Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Doan MacKenzie, Mel Maghuyop, Diane V Phelan, Romney Piamonte, Vincent Rodriguez and David Shih, which will play at the Hudson Guild Theatre, from April 19th. The show relocates to feudal Japan the story of William Shakespeare's As You Like It (the comedy in which the heroine, dressed as a man, tests the faithfulness of her intended, who has been banished to a forest). The Hudson Guild Theatre is located at 441 West 26th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest, possibly joined by Katie Holmes, will star in a Broadway production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons, to be directed by British actor/director Simon McBurney, in the fall; that American lyricist Glenn Slater will provide the lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera, for which Lloyd Webber has the book credit - it is no longer directly adapted from Frederick Forsyth's novel The Phantom Of Manhattan, although it does include a storyline in which the Phantom, who has slipped away to New York and set up a fairground world in Coney Island, organises a concert for Christine, accompanied by her son, who is a musical genius, just like the Phantom - which Jack O'Brien will direct, possibly in the fall of 2009; and that Bricktop - Queen Of The Night, a biomusical about the Ada 'Bricktop' Smith, the 1920s cabaret performer who was the toast of Paris, which will incorporate standards and original numbers, book and lyrics by Chuck Steffan, music by Ron Abel, is aiming for Broadway next year, after a tryout in Chicago, produced by Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Lambert and Jonas Neilson. The Rumour Machine grinds on.