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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd January 2012

It has been confirmed that Gore Vidal's The Best Man, a play about power, ambition, political secrets, and ruthlessness in the race for the presidency, with James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, John Larroquette, Eric McCormack, Michael McKean and Jefferson Mays, directed by Michael Wilson, will preview from March 6th at the Schoenfeld Theatre, with an official opening on April 1st. The design team comprises scenery by Derek McLane, costumes by Ann Roth and lighting by Kenneth Posner. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Michael B Rothfeld and Darren Bagert.

The Sydney Theatre Company's production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, in a version by Andrew Upton, a story of unrequited love, dogged perseverance, and the strength of the human spirit, with Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving, directed by Tamas Ascher, will play at New York City Center from July 19th to 28th as part of the Lincoln Center Festival.

Roundabout Theatre Company will stage Simon Gray's The Common Pursuit, the story of a group of Cambridge undergraduate friends who launch a literary publication, but, as the years go by, find it hard to stay true to the ideals of their youth, directed by Moises Kaufman, previewing from May 4th at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, opening on May 24th. The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre is located at 111 West 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

The Mad Ones will stage Marc Bovino and Joe Curnutte's Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History Of The Robot War, combining 1950s radio drama, vintage country music and Soviet science, in a sci-fi extravaganza, co-conceived and directed by Lila Neugebauer, with Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Stephanie Wright Thompson and Michael Dalto, at The New Ohio Theatre from January 5th. The New Ohio Theatre is located at 154 Christopher Street, between Greenwich and Washington Streets.

On The Casting Couch: Bob Stillman, Linda Balgord, Anika Larsen, Lucas Steele, Ally Bonino, Matthew Farcher and Donell Foreman will feature in Adam Guettel's song cycle Myths And Hymns, at the West End Theatre from January 31st; Paul Nolan Josh Young, Chilina Kennedy, Tom Hewitt, Bruce Dow, Marcus Nance and Aaron Walpole will head the cast of the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar, opening at the Neil Simon Theatre on March 22nd; and Bebe Neuwirth will be joined by Christina Ricci in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, at the Classic Stage Company from March 28th.

Creation Production Company will stage Matthew Maguire's Instinct, in which four cohabiting epidemiologists race against time as they fight to contain a potentially devastating viral outbreak, while trying to keep their relationships from unravelling, with Kim Blair, Maggie Bofill, Amirh Vann Rosario and Jeffrey Withers, directed by Michael Kimmel, previewing from January 13th at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on January 18th. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The winter season at 59E59 Theaters will include: Nick Starr's One Thousand Blinks, a dark sci-fi comedy about sleep deprivation, long distance phone calls gone terribly wrong, and the sacrifices we make to be productive, with Estelle Bajou, Mark Cajigao, Rachel Cornish, and Drew Hirshfield, directed by Malinda Sorci, from January 12th, produced theNEST; Joel Drake Johnson's The Fall To Earth, in which the search for a lost son uncovers tragic truths about him, and his family, with Amelia Campbell, Deborah Hedwall and Jolie Curtsinger, directed by Joe Brancato, from January 13th, an InProximity Theatre Company production; the musical Lovesick, or Things That Don't Happen, book by Lia Romeo, music and lyrics by Tony Biancosino, a collection of modern love songs and stories set on the most dreaded day of the year: Valentine's Day, conceived and directed by Michole Biancosino, from February 3rd, a Project Y Theatre Company production; and Jack Canfora's Poetic License, in which the comfortable life of a professor of literature in a renowned university is threatened by home truths, directed by Evan Bergman, from February 9th, produced by the Directors Company in association with New Jersey Repertory Company. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

The premiere of Frank Strausser's Psycho Therapy, a comedy in which an ex-boyfriend steps in for a reluctant fiancee in a couples therapy session, with Jeffrey Carlson, Angelica Page, Jan Leslie Harding and Laurence Lau, directed by Alex Lippard, will preview from January 19th at the Cherry Lane Theatre, opening on January 29th. The producers are Barbara Ligeti and Wishing Well Productions. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.

The bi-annual program 20at20 will return from January 18th to February 6th, in which Off Broadway shows will offer $20 tickets at the box office starting 20 minutes before show time. There are 35 participating shows range from Awesome 80s Prom to Traces. Some shows will accept cash only for these tickets. Real enthusiasts who see 7 shows can receive a free dinner. Further information can be found at the 20at20 web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Robert Askins's Hand To God, a comedy about a possessed fundamentalist Christian ministry puppet, with Steve Boyer, Geneva Carr, Bobby Moreno, Megan Hill and Scott Sowers, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, will return to the Ensemble Studio Theatre in the week of February 20th. The Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 West 52nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Charles Busch's Judith Of Bethulia, a comic take on the 1914 silent Hollywood Biblical epic, directed by Carl Andress, will premiere from March 30th at the Theater for the New City. The Theater for the New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between East 9th and 10th Streets.