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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd May 2011

The Public Theater's 2011/2012 season will comprise The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs, created and performed by Mike Daisey, a personal take on America's most mysterious technology icon, directed by Jean-Michele Gregory, from October 11th; William Shakespeare's King Lear, with Sam Waterston, directed by James Macdonald, from October 18th; Gob Squad's Kitchen (You've Never Had It So Good), devised and performed by Gob Squad, reconstructing Andy Warhol's films in the quest to illuminate the past for a new generation, from January 19th; the premiere of Nathan Englander's The Twenty Seventh Man, adapted from his short story about a group of writers in a Soviet prison camp, directed by Barry Edelstein, from February 21st; the premiere of the musical February House, book by Seth Bockley, music and lyrics by Gabriel Kahane, set in a Brooklyn boarding house in the 1940s whose residents include Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, W H Auden and Gypsy Rose Lee, directed by Davis McCallum, opening in May; and David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, a comedy about a Midwesterner's business trip to China where learns how much he doesn't understand, directed by Leigh Silverman.

The Public Lab season will include the premiere of Sweet And Sad, written and directed by Richard Nelson, with Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O Sanders and J Smith-Cameron, exploring what a family has lost since the 9/11 attacks, and what they remember, opening on September 11th; William Shakespeare's Love's Labors Lost, directed by Karin Coonrod, from October 18th; William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, with Jay O Sanders, directed by Michael Sexton, from November 29th; and the premiere of the musical The Total Bent, book and lyrics by Stew, music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, about a black gospel prodigy from down south and a white music producer from South London who meet in a recording studio, directed by Joanna Settle, from February 14th.

The recent Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago/Arena Stage, Washington production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, the iconic darkly comic play detailing the breakdown of the 23 year marriage of a combative couple during a 'quiet evening with friends', with Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Carrie Coon and Madison Dirks, directed by Pam MacKinnon, will be remounted on Broadway, opening at a Shubert theatre yet to be announced, on October 13th 2012, 50 years to the date after the play's original Broadway opening. The design team comprises scenery by Todd Rosenthal, costumes by Nan Cibula-Jenkins, lighting by Allen Lee Hughes and sound by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen. It will be presented by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Susan Quint Gallin and Mary Lu Roffe in association with Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

On The Casting Couch: Julian Ovenden, Jill Paice, Max von Essen, Matt Cavenaugh, Simon Jones, Rebecca Luker and Michael Siberry will head the cast of the Thomas Meehan-Peter Stone-Maury Yeston musical Death Takes A Holiday, opening at the Laura Pels Theatre on July 14th

3Graces Theater Company will stage Arlene Hutton's As It Is In Heaven, about the upheaval caused when the utopian existence of an 1830's Shaker community is threatened by the arrival of 'newcomers' claiming to see angels, with Margot Avery, Kathleen Bishop, Rachel Cantor, Carla Cantrelle, Kelli Lynn Harrison, Annie McGovern, Kate Kearney Patch, Megan Tusing and Dewanda Wise, directed by Ludovica Villar-Hauser; in rep with the premiere of At The Corner Of Faith And Reason, a double bill about faith, comprising Craig Pospisil's Dissonance, directed by Jim Elliot and Sharyn Rothstein's Parent Teacher, directed by Kel Haney, at the Cherry Lane Studio from May 20th. The Cherry Lane Studio is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.

Showtime: A History Of Broadway Musicals by Larry Stemple, recently published by W W Norton & Co, traces the growth of musicals from minstrel shows and burlesques, through the golden age of Show Boat and Oklahoma, to such groundbreaking works as Company and Rent. Stempel describes the Broadway stage with vivid accounts of both the performers and the creators of the music, lyrics and stories, of shows both beloved and less well known. In addition, Stempel illuminates the wider world of musical theatre as a living genre shaped by the forces of American history and culture. He reveals not only how musicals entertain their audiences but also how they serve as barometers of social concerns and bearers of cultural values. This book is the culmination of decades of painstaking research on a genre whose forms have changed over the course of two centuries. In covering the expansive subject before him, Stempel combines this material with deft and insightful analysis. The result is nothing short of the most comprehensive, authoritative history of the Broadway musical yet published.

Flux Theatre will stage Ellen McLaughlin's Ajax In Iraq, a combination of Sophocles's tragedy Ajax and the Iraq War, following the parallel narratives of the ancient Greek military hero Ajax and a female American soldier, both undone by the betrayal of a commanding officer, with Matthew Archambault, Tiffany Clementi, Sol Crespo, Joshua Koopman, Mike Mihm, Stephen Conrad Moore, Lori E Parquet, Anna Rahn, Christina Shipp, Raushanah Simmons, Chudney Sykes and Chinaza Uche, directed by August Schulenberg, previewing on June 3rd at the Flamboyan Theater, opening on June 4th. The Flamboyan Theater is located at the Clemente Solo Velez Cultural & Educational Center, 107 Suffolk Street at Rivington Street.

Make Music New York will hold its 5th festival of over 1,000 free concerts, featuring music of all genres and styles, in parks and streets throughout the five boroughs of New York City on June 21st, the summer solstice, from 11am to 10pm. The festival is modelled on France's Fete de la Musique, first held in 1982 in Paris, and an annual event throughout the country ever since. The idea has been picked up in various cities around the world, including London, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney. In New York community groups, Business Improvement Districts, and hundreds of individual artists, both amateurs and professionals, have already signed on to produce free concerts on sidewalks, parks, closed streets and community gardens. Further information about taking part or attending an event can be found on the MMNY web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.