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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st January 2007

The Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan's production of Christopher Durang's The Vietnamization of New Jersey (An American Tragedy), with Blanche Baker, Michael Cyril Creighton, Frank Deal, Susan Gross, James Duane Polk, Corey Sullivan and Nick Westrate, directed by Robert Saxner, will preview from January 11th at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row, opening on January 16th. The black farce is the story of the return of a Vietnam veteran and his native bride to the bosom of his 'idiosyncratic' family in New Jersey. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The world premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's Purity, with James Scruggs, Alexa Scott-Flaherty, Kate Benson, Albert Christmas, Daniel Manley, Spencer Scott Barros and Jenny Seastone Stern, directed by Yehuda Duenyas, will be at P.S. 122 January 6th to 23rd. A refined and prominent African-American English professor's life is turned upside down when a new, 'more black' professor is hired in his department, and challenges his authenticity, his marriage to a white woman and his entire way of life. P.S. 122 is located at 150 First Avenue at 9th Street.

Ensemble Studio Theatre will present Julie Fitzpatrick and Doug Anderson's RiddleLikeLove (with a side of ketchup), Fitzpatrick's one person show based on her childhood friendship with a girl who was hearing impaired, directed by Anderson, from January 4th to 29th. Every performance will include an ASL interpreter. The play is co-produced by Matt Lawler and the Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company. Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 West 52nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Great Small Works's The Rapture Project, looking at American religious fundamentalism, featuring performers, puppets and musicians, will play at the HERE Arts Center from January 4th to 21st. The show was created and performed by GSW members John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin and Jenny Romaine, plus the performers Shane Baker, Andrea Lomanto and Jessica Lorence, and features music composed and performed by Jessica Lurie. It was inspired by classic Sicilian puppet theatre's Orlando Furioso cycles, which performed the epic clash of Christians and Muslims in the 1800s. HERE Arts Center is located at 145 6th Avenue, at Dominick Street, between Spring and Broome Streets

Times Square Theatres: A New Century/A New Style, an exhibition by The Theatre Museum which looks at the architecture of 20th century Broadway theatres, will run from January 11th to March 7th at the Municipal Art Society, 457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street. Showcasing 12 theatres, it begins with the New Amsterdam, which brought Art Nouveau style to the district, travels to the 1930s, when Renaissance style was highly popular, examines Broadway's reaction to the romantic themes inspired by movie palaces, notes the hiatus caused by the Depression and World War II, registers the new Broadway, where modern design and technology merged, and then looks to the future for Times Square theatres, with historic restoration co-existing with cutting edge creativity. Further information can be found on The Theatre Museum web site via the link from Organisations & Information in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The inaugural production of The Cell Theatre Company will be Michael I Walker's Blackout, based on an original story by Walker and Kevin Quinn, with Kevin Mambo, Darnell Williams, Ryan Patrick Bachand, Teddy Bergman, Almeria Campbell and Kate Goehring, directed by Kira Simring, previewing from January 6th at the Kirk Theatre on Theatre Row, opening on January 11th. When the lights go out on New York City in the blackout of 2003, 6 strangers are thrown together on a street corner in Hell's Kitchen and quickly bond, but when the power is restored, they struggle to hold on to what they found in the dark. The Cell Theatre Company aims to create new plays with a vision to elevate social awareness in an evolving society.

Richard Nelson's Frank's Home, with Peter Weller, Harris Yulin, Chris Henry Coffey, Holley Fain, Mary Beth Fisher, Maggie Siff, Jeremy Strong and Jay Whittaker, directed by Robert Falls, previews from 13th January at Playwrights Horizons, opening on January 30th. It examines the personal life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the man who 'created a new architectural vocabulary, but couldn't create a home for himself and his family'. Presented in association with The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Spare Change Productions will present Michael Puzzo's The Dirty Talk, with Kevin Cristaldi and Sidney Williams as two men stranded in a hunting cabin during a storm, exploring what defines being a man and the value of intimacy, directed by Padraic Lillis, previewing from January 11th at Center Stage, opening on January 14th. Center Stage, is located at 48 West 21st Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

The Eleventh Hour Theater Company will stage Seamus Heaney's The Burial At Thebes, adapted from Sophocles's Antigone, directed by Alexander Harrington, with choreography by Claire Pavlich, from January 25th to February 12th at La MaMa. The company features Jessica Crandall, Frank Anderson, Louise Flory, John McCarthy, Janice Bishop and Liz Frost, with as chorus, Jason Adamo, Rebecca Austin, Judith F Bradshaw, Maija Lisa Currie, Sarah Ecton-Luttrell, Erik Gratton, Carrie Anne James, Christopher Keogh, Liz Sanders, Randi Sobol and Jason Weiss. The La MaMa E T C Theatre is located at 74A East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery.

The Rumour Machine says: that Make Me A Song: The Music Of William Finn, the hit revue of well and lesser known songs by Finn from last summer's Hartford TheaterWorks, featuring Sandy Binion, Joe Cassidy, Adam Heller, Sally Wilfert, and pianist John DiPinto, conceived and directed by Rob Ruggiero, is seeking a venue for an Off Broadway transfer in April; that Lone Star Love (or The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Texas), the cowboy musical inspired by William Shakespeare's play, conceived and adapted by John L Haber, music and lyrics by Jack Herrick, directed by Michael Bogdanov, an Off Broadway hit in 2005, is working towards a Broadway production this year; and that Lincoln Center Theater will stage the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, drawn from James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, directed by Bartlett Sher, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in spring 2008. The Rumour Machine grinds on.