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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st May 2010

It has been confirmed that David Herson's La Bete, a Moliere style comedy pitting the head of the royal court sponsored theatre troupe against a foppish, frivolous street entertainer in 17th century France, featuring Joanna Lumley, Mark Rylance and David Hyde Pierce, with Stephen Ouimette, Lisa Joyce, Greta Lee, Robert Lonsdale, Michael Milligan, Liza Sadovy, Sally Wingert, Deanne Lorette and Steve Routman, directed by Matthew Warchus, will preview from September 23rd at the Music Box Theatre, with an official opening on October 14th. This follows a premiere season in the West End of London. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by Mark Thompson, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, and sound by Simon Baker. The producers are Sonia Friedman Productions and Scott Landis, Roger Berlind, Robert Bartner and Roy Furman/Norman Tulchin, Bob Boyett/Tim Levy, Roy Furman, Max Cooper, Philip Morgaman/Frankie J Grande and Bud Martin.

The Classic Stage Company has announced its 2010/2011 season, which will include Sarah Ruhl's Orlando, adapted from Virginia Woolf's novel about an Elizabethan nobleman who becomes a woman and lives for 300 years, directed by Rebecca Taichman, opening in September; Anton Chekov's Three Sisters, in which three siblings living in a rural dacha yearn for the city life in Moscow, with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Mamie Gummer and Josh Hamilton, directed by Austin Pendleton, opening in January; Double Falsehood, an Elizabethan play now believed to be by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, based on Don Quixote, directed by Brian Kulick, opening in March; David Ives School For Lies, inspired by Moliere's The Misanthrope, in which a man drowning in a social whirl of flattery, seeks to secure the affections of the spoiled and feckless love of his life, directed by Walter Bobbie, opening in April; and Unnatural Acts, written and directed by Tony Speciale, based on real events at Harvard University, opening in June.

It has been confirmed that David Mamet's A Life In The Theatre, a two hander, tracing the relationship of a veteran actor and an aspiring newcomer who share a dressing room in a tatty regional theatre, with Patrick Stewart, directed by Neil Pepe, will preview from September 17th at the Schoenfeld Theatre, with an official opening yet to be announced. Stewart played the same role in a London production in 2005. The design team will comprise scenery by Santo Loquasto, costumes by Laura Bauer, and lighting by Kenneth Posner. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler.

On The Casting Couch: John Glover, Mark Nelson, Amy Aquino, Noah Robbins and Bill Brochtrup will star in Jonathan Tolins's Secrets Of The Trade opening at 59E59 Theaters on August 10th.

Dietrich & Chevalier: The Musical, book by Jerry Mayer, exploring the friendship between performers Marlene Dietrich and Maurice Chevalier with songs they made famous, featuring Robert Cuccioli, Jodi Stevens and Donald Corren, directed by Pamela Hall, with musical staging by Gene Castle, will preview from June 5th at St Luke's Theatre, opening on June 20th. St Luke's Theatre is located at 308 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The New Victory Theater has announced its 2010/2011 season of acclaimed family friendly shows from around the world, which will include Gotham Chamber Opera and Tectonic Theater Project with the premiere of Puss In Boots, (El gato con botas), directed by Moises Kaufman; Imago Theatre with ZooZoo, combining acrobatics, fantastic costumes and innovative imagery in a series of whimsical vignettes; the Catalyst Theatre production Nevermore: The Imaginary Life And Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe, exploring the events that shaped Poe's career; The Handsome Little Devils with Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama, a neo-vaudevillian pastiche; Mayumana with Momentum, a fusion of physical prowess and infectious rhythms and beats; Susanna Hamnett performing Nearly Lear, a one person play relating the story of King Lear by the Fool; Jamie Adkins performing Circus INcognitus, a one person play about a man who has something to say, but can't quite get it out; the Birmingham Stage Company production of David Almond's Skellig, the story of a troubled child who finds a mysterious man-owl-angel in the garage when his family moves into a run down house; and the Theatre-Rites production Mischief, a kaleidoscopic playland where discovery and fun reign supreme. The New Victory Theatre is located at 209 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The Broadway League has announced that Broadway shows grossed a record breaking $1.02bn during the 2009/2010 theatre season, up from $943.3m in 2008/2009, with 11.89m paid attendances, compared to 12.15m the previous year. In 2009/2010 there were 39 new productions, comprising 11 new musicals, 14 new plays, 6 musical revivals and 8 play revivals.

The 10th annual Broadway Barks fundraising event, with artists from Broadway shows taking part, will be held in Shubert Alley on July 10th from 3.30pm, produced by Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS. Co-hosted by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, the dog and cat adopt-a-thon benefits New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies, and includes celebrity presentations of pets from animal shelters throughout the city. Bernadette Peters, will sign her new book Stella Is A Star written with illustrator Liz Murphy, which includes a CD featuring her performing an original song that she has also written, proceeds from which will go to the charity. Shubert Alley is located alongside the Shubert and Booth Theatres between 44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway and 8th Avenue.

The New Group's 2010/2011 season at Theatre Row will include Tommy Nohilly's Blood From A Stone, a dark comedy work that centers on a troubled working class family in New Britain, Connecticut, directed by Scott Elliott, in the fall; Wallace Shawn's Marie And Bruce, about a couple's marital strife, directed by Scott Elliott, in the new year; and One-Arm, adapted and directed by Moises Kaufman from an unproduced screenplay by Tennessee Williams adapted from his short story about a boxer turned hustler on death row, a co-production with Tectonic Theater Project, next spring. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Michele Willens's Family Dinner, with Lily Corvo, Rick Desloge, Patrick Riviere, Mary Ellen Ashley, Daniel Pollack, Marshall Pailet, Mary McGloin, Tommy McKieran, Nancy Nagrant and William Broderick, directed by Jamibeth Margolis, will preview from June 17th at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on June 21st. Act I presents a typical suburban Southern California family dinner in 1963, while Act II presents the remains of the same family 40 years later in New York City.