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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd December 2012

MCC Theater will stage the premiere of Neil LaBute's Reasons To Be Happy, in which former partners meet and wonder if they can make a go of it again, despite both being in new relationships with other people, previewing from May 16th at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, opening on June 2nd. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets.

The Wonderful Wizard Of Song: The Music Of Harold Arlen, a revue featuring songs by the composer who worked from the 1930s to the 1970s, conceived by Nigel Wright, Sam Arlen and George Bugatti, with George Bugatti, Marcus Goldhaber, Joe Shepherd and Antoinette Henry, directed and choreographed by Gene Castle, will preview from December 13th at St Luke's Theatre, opening on January 10th. The producers are Yellow Brick Productions in association with Shea Arender, Steven Colucci and Jerry Rosenberg. St Luke's Theatre is located at 308 West 46th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Tina Packer's Women Of Will, which explores Shakespeare's leading ladies, with Tina Packer and Nigel Gore, directed by Eric Tucker, will preview from January 27th at The Gym at Judson Memorial Church, opening on February 3rd. The Gym at Judson Memorial Church is located at 55 Washington Square South, at Thompson Street.

Inside The Lion King, an exhibition to mark the musical's 15th year on Broadway, is running at 1095 6th Avenue at 42nd Street, from 10am to 8pm, until December 16th. It features over 85 artefacts, from an 8in shadow puppet to a 17ft tall ostrich, including original design drawings and models, puppets, masks, costumes, character figures and set pieces, which have appeared in productions around the world, plus the show's Tony Award, In addition, touch screen tablet stations allow visitors to explore what inspired the creator's imaginations in crafting the artistic elements that appear in the show. Further information can be found on The Lion King web site via the link below right.

It has been confirmed that Ann, written and performed by Holland Taylor, a bioplay about late Texas Governor Ann Richards, directed by Benjamin Endsley Klein, will preview from February 18th at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, with an official opening on March 7th. The design team comprises scenery by Michael Fagin, costumes by Julie Weiss, lighting by Matthew Richards, projection by Zachary Borovay, and sound by Ken Huncovsky. It is a co-production by Lincoln Center Theater, Bob Boyett and Harriet Newman Leve, with Kevin Bailey as executive producer.

The next offerings in the York Theatre Company's NEO (New, Emerging, Outstanding) Reading Series of new musicals will comprise: Saint Ex, book and lyrics by Sean Barry, music by Jenny Giering, a biomusical about Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, with Alex Gemignani, Haley Bond, Charlie Brady, Amy Justman, Carl Kimbrough, Omar Lopez-Ceparo, Cass Morgan and Krysta Rodriguez, directed by Kent Nicholson, on December 17th; Gloryana, book, music and lyrics by Andrew Gerle, about a racial shooting that turns a small Mississippi town upside down, in January; Jasper In Deadland, book, music and lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver, a rock musical based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, in February; Big Red Sun, book and lyrics by John Jiler, music by Georgia Stitt, the story of a family of musicians as the world of popular music changed in the 1950s, in April; and Scheherezade, book and lyrics by Jason Grote, music by Marisa Michelson, a contemporary take on One Thousand And One Nights, in April. The York Theatre Company's Theatre at Saint Peter's is on 54th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.

PBS is to broadcast Shakespeare Uncovered, a 6 part series exploring William Shakespeare's plays, from January 25th. It will feature interviews with leading actors, directors and scholars who have worked on the plays, examine key elements of the tales, such as locations, and include clips from stage and film versions of the works, with specially staged excerpts filmed at Shakespeare's Globe in London. The series will comprise: Macbeth with Ethan Hawke; The Comedies with Joely Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave; Richard II with Derek Jacobi; Henry IV and Henry V with Jeremy Irons; Hamlet with David Tennant; and The Tempest with Trevor Nunn.

Unsung Musicals will stage The Fig Leaves Are Falling, book and lyrics by Allan Sherman, music by Albert Hague, a revue style satire of suburban life, love and infidelity in the swinging 60s, directed by Ben West, with choreography by Richard J Hines, at the Connelly Theatre from January 10th. The Connelly Theatre is located at 220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A and B.

Created and performed by Nalaga'at Theater, the professional deaf-blind acting company from Tel Aviv, Not By Bread Alone, which takes the audience on a tour of their inner world, as bread is kneaded, formed, and baked on stage, while storytellers convey their memories and dreams, mixing reality and fantasy, grandeur and ridicule, directed by Adina Tal, will play at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts from January 16th. The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is located at 566 LaGuardia Place, at Washington Square South.

The Rumour Machine says: that Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest, about a small town girl determined to win a local beauty contest as a way of escaping to a better life, with Amber Tamblyn, directed by Judith Ivey, is aiming for Broadway next spring, courtesy of producers HOP Theatricals and Larry Kaye; and that Global Creatures, the company behind Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular, is eying Foxwoods Theatre for the Broadway debut of its new show King Kong - Live On Stage, written by Craig Lucas, with music by Marius de Vries, directed by Daniel Kramer, in 2014 - but Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark isn't planning on leaving there anytime soon. The Rumour Machine grinds on.