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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd December 2013

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the recent American Repertory Theater production of Robert Schenkkan's All The Way, telling the story of the first whirlwind year of Lyndon B Johnson's presidency, with Bryan Cranston, Michael McKean and Brandon J Dirden, directed by Bill Rauch, will preview from February 10th at the Neil Simon Theatre, with an official opening on March 6th. The design team comprises scenery by Christopher Acebo, costumes by Deborah M Dryden, lighting by Jane Cox, sound by Paul James Prendergast, and projections by Shawn Sagady. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Louise Gund

It's Official! As previously forecast here, John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men, the classic tale set in the Great Depression of two itinerant farm workers who buy a small farm of their own, but find the ensuing hardship tests their friendship to its limits, with James Franco and Chris O'Dowd, directed by Anna D Shapiro, will preview from March 19th at the Longacre Theatre, with an official opening on April 16th. The producers are David Binder, Kate Lear, Darren Bagert, Adam Zotovich, Barbara Whitman and Latitude Link, with 101 Productions as executive producer.

The Lincoln Center Festival and the Park Avenue Armory will co-present the Houston Grand Opera production of The Passenger, music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, libretto by Aleksandr Medvedev, based on the novel by Zofia Posmysz about a couple on a cruise liner in the 1950s who believe they see an erstwhile Auschwitz prisoner, with Michelle Breedt, Joseph Kaiser, Melody Moore, Morgan Smith, Kelly Kaduce and Kathryn Day, directed by David Pountney, at the Park Avenue Armory from July 10th to 13th. Performances will be preceded by concerts of Mieczyslaw Weinberg's other works by the ARC Ensemble, eight senior faculty members from The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. The Park Avenue Armory is located at 643 Park Avenue, between East 66th and 67th Streets.

On The Casting Couch: Brian F O'Byrne and Debra Messing will be joined by John Aylward and Dearbhla Molloy in John Patrick Shanley's Outside Mullingar, opening at the Samuel J Friedman Theatre, on January 23rd.

The winter season at 59E59 Theaters will include Jon Fosse's I Am The Wind, translated by Simon Stephens, in which two men set to sea in a small boat, where they must confront each other, themselves, and the inexorable mystery of fate, with James Patrick Nelson and Jonathan Tindle, directed by Paul Takacs, from January 9th, produced by The Shop; Mary Kathryn Nagle's Miss Lead, looking at the impact on a community many years after the local mine closed its operation, with Claire Burke, Dylan Carusona, Brett Hecksher, Tyree Giroux, Michelle Honaker, Dawn Jamieson, Stuart Luth, Nancy McDoniel, Tanis Parenteau and Elizabeth Rolston, directed by Madeline Sayet, from January 16th, produced by AMERINDA; Beertown, written and produced by dog & pony dc, which explores the tenuous relationship between individuals and community, with Wyckham Avery, Max Freedman, Rachel Grossman, Melanie Harker, Colin Hovde, Elaine Yuko Qualter, J Argyl Plath, Jon Reynolds and Yasmin Tuazon, directed by Rachel Grossman, from January 26th; and The Woodsman, created by James Ortiz from the forgotten writings of L Frank Baum, utilizing Bunraku puppetry and song, with James Ortiz, Eliza Simpson, Devin Dunne Cannon, Will Gallacher. Amanda Adele Lederer, Ben Bass, Aaron McDaniel, Meghan St Thomas and Edward W Hardy, directed by James Ortiz and Claire Karpen Pettry, from January 30th, produced by Strangemen & Co. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

Queen Of The Night, an interactive entertainment experience combining circus, spectacle, dance, music, food and fashion, loosely adapted from Mozart's The Magic Flute, with Katherine Crockett and Steve Cuiffo leading a company of 30, directed by Christine Jones, with circus direction by Shana Carroll, and choreography by Lorin Latarro, will play at the Diamond Horseshoe supper club in the Paramount Hotel from 31st December. The producers are Nathan Koch and Jennie Willink. The Paramount Hotel is located at 235 W 46th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The Storm Theatre Company will stage Jean Anhouilh's Antigone, a retelling of Sophocles's tragedy in which the laws of the gods, are pitted against the laws of men, when Antigone is not allowed to bury her apparently traitorous brother, directed by Peter Dobbins, from January 10th. The Storm Theatre is located at 405 West 114th Street, at Morningside Drive.

Horse Trade Theater Group will present RadioTheatre's live, audio-theatre production of Dan Bianchi adaptation of Frank Capra's Meet John Doe, set in the Depression, where in order to sell papers, a reporter's fraudulent story turns a tramp into a national hero and makes him a pawn of wealthy businessmen who wishes to create a third political party and take over the country, at the Kraine Theater from 13th December. The Kraine Theater is located at 85 East 4th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

The Midtown International Theatre Festival, which offers the chance for self-produced Off Off Broadway plays and musicals to be presented, is seeking submissions for its 15th season, running from July 14th to August 10th next year. The MITF presents more than 200 performances of 40-60 shows each year in 4 theatres on the same block of 36th Street, between 8th and 9th avenues. The basic deal is that MITF pays the theatre and marketing costs, and individual shows pay for everything else. Submissions must be received by January 27th. Further information and an application form can be found on the MITF web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.