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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th June 2009

New York TheatreNet: The big winners in this year's Broadway Tony Awards were the British imports, with Billy Elliot taking 10 awards, including Best Musical, David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish - Best Actor Musical, Stephen Daldry - Best Director Musical and Peter Darling - Best Choreography; God Of Carnage with 3, Best Play, Marcia Gay Harden - Best Actress Play and Matthew Warchus - Best Director Play; and The Norman Conquests with Best Play Revival. Next To Normal took 3 awards, including Alice Ripley - Best Actress Musical and Best Score; with other shows winning 1 each, including Angela Lansbury - Best Actress Play - Blithe Spirit. The full list of winners can be found on the Tony Awards web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

With 34,265 performances, of 2,098 shows (465 of which will be free), in 265 venues, involving 18,901 performers, from 60 countries, the 63rd Edinburgh Festival Fringe, running from 7th to 31st August, is once again bigger than ever, retaining its position as the world's largest arts festival. Some of the wackier events will include Another Heartbreaking But Ultimately Life-Affirming Show About Death, which sends its audience on a variety of Edinburgh based challenges; David Leddy's Susurrus, an audio drama based on A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Botanical Gardens; Mikhail Tank's Soul Photography, presented through online video streaming; and Foot-Washing For The Sole, in which Adrian Howell washes and massages the feet of his audience in a one to one conversational encounter; plus the musicals The Great British Soap Opera and Chomp: A Zombie Musical. Further information and online booking can be found on the Edinburgh Fringe web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at the Royal Court Theatre will include the previously mentioned Chichester Festival Theatre production of Lucy Prebble's Enron, based on the scandal surrounding the fraudulent activities of American energy company, with Peter Caulfield, Amanda Drew, Tom Godwin, Tom Goodman-Hill, Tim Pigott-Smith, Orion Lee, Eleanor Matsuura and Samuel West, directed by Rupert Goold, opening on 22nd September; and the premiere of Michael Wynne's The Priory, a comedy exposing the cracks in the seemingly perfect lives of a group of successful thirtysomething friends at a New Year's Eve party at a country retreat, directed by Jeremy Herrin, opening on 26th November.

The Theatre Royal York will stage a production of E Nesbitt's The Railway Children, adapted by Mike Kenny, directed by Damian Cruden, at the National Rail Museum in York, with afternoon and early evening performances from 23rd July to 5th September. The audience will sit on platforms on either side of a railway track, and the star will be Stirling Single, a real 60 tonne steam locomotive.

The autumn season at Birmingham Repertory Theatre will include the return of the musical Cabaret, book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, adapted from Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories, set in the cabarets of 1930's Germany, with Wayne Sleep, directed by Rufus Norris, opening on 7th September; Ayub Khan Din's East Is East, a kind of Asian Fiddler On The Roof set in 1970s Salford, directed by Iqbal Khan, opening on 29th September; the Chichester Festival Theatre production of John Steinbeck's The Grapes Of Wrath, the Depression Era tale of a family that leaves its Oklahoma home in search of a new life in California, adapted by Frank Galati, directed by Jonathan Church, from 20th October; Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, adapted by Bryony Lavery, music and lyrics by Jason Carr, directed by Nikolai Foster, opening on 1st December; plus, in The Drum, the premieres of Dennis Kelly's Orphans, directed by Roxana Silbert, a co-production with the Traverse Theatre Company and Paines Plough; a new play as yet untitled by Edward Bond; and Samantha Ellis's Cling To Me Like Ivy.

Future productions at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court will include Nigel Planer's Death Of Long Pig, set in Tahiti, about the writer Robert Louis Stevenson and artist Paul Gauguin's different attitudes to their approaching deaths, with Amanda Boxer, Nicole Dayes, Colm Gormley, Sean Murray and Anthony Ofoegbu, directed by Alexander Summers, opening on 9th July; the musical State Fair, book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, which relates a family's adventures at the Iowa State Fair in 1946, directed by Thom Southerland, with choreography by Sally Brooks, opening on 6th August; George Bernard Shaw's Too True To Be Good, where the characters find that getting everything they ever wanted isn't everything, directed by Sarah Norman, opening on 3rd September; Iain Heggie's The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer, a contemporary comedy set in the Glasgow of 1780, directed by Liz Carruthers, opening on 1st October; and the musical Little Fish, book, music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, inspired by the short stories of Deborah Eisenberg, about a girl learning to survive in New York City, and the characters she meets while doing so, directed by Adam Lenson, opening on 29th October.

The autumn season at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith will include the premiere of Simon Stephens's Punk Rock, exposing the dislocation, disjunction and violence simmering under the surface of a group of articulate, aspirational young people, directed by Sarah Frankcom, opening on 8th September; Trevor Griffiths's Comedians, about a group of would be stand-ups learning the craft, with Matthew Kelly, David Dawson and Mark Benton, directed by Sean Holmes, opening on 14th October; Jack And The Beanstalk, by Richard Bean, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, directed by Steve Marmion, opening on 30th November; Anton Chekov's Three Sisters, in which the siblings on a provincial estate yearn for the bright lights of Moscow, directed by Sean Holmes, opening on 25th January, a co-production with Filter; and the premiere of Ghost Stories, by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, three tales of the occult, directed by Dyson, Nyman and Sean Holmes, opening on 1st March.

Theatre Delicatessen, the company committed to performing in new and unusual spaces, will stage a site specific production of Pedal Pusher, combining docu-drama, devised performance and physical theatre, drawing on interviews, archive footage and news reports, to tell the true story of three cyclists battling to become the champion of the Tour de France, directed by Roland Smith, in a disused and gutted space below Cavendish Gate, 295 Regent Street, from 14th July to 1st August.

The summer season at New End Theatre in Hampstead will include Charles Dyer's Rattle Of A Simple Man, in which a provincial middle aged man in London for a football match, is drawn to the bright lights of Soho, and meets a working girl, with Huw Higginson and Hannah Waterman, directed by Ian Dickens, from 23rd June; and Jordan Herskowitz performing his autobiographical one man show Jordy Pordy: Taking The Bull By The Horn, about growing up in a Jewish family in Texas, opening on 9th July.