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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th November 2006

Following its world premiere season at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, the musical comedy Curtains, the final collaboration of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, with book (adapted from the original idea by Peter Stone) and additional lyrics by Rupert Holmes, will preview from February 27th at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, with an official opening on March 22nd. David Hyde Pierce stars as a show tune loving detective, in the backstage murder mystery, set in Boston in 1959 during the pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical, 'Robbin' Hood', a Western version of the Sherwood Forest tale, where the leading lady is murdered on opening night. The entire company, including the creative team and producer are possible suspects, as the detective finds himself just as drawn toward making the show a hit, as he is in solving the murder. Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba, Jason Danieley, Jill Paice, Edward Hibbert, John Bolton, Michael X Martin, Michael McCormick, Noah Racey and Megan Sikora, will also reprise their performances, directed by Scott Ellis, with choreography by Rob Ashford. The producers are Roger Berlind, Roger Horchow, Daryl Roth, Jane Bergère, Ted Hartley and Center Theatre Group.

Kids' Night On Broadway, the annual event in which kids can attend a Broadway show for free if they come with a paying adult, will take place on January 30th and 31st. Tickets are now on sale for the 24 Broadway and Off Broadway shows that are participating. There will also be a Pre-Theater Fan Festival at Madame Tussauds on both days, intended to introduce kids to the theatre via activities such as dance lessons, a make up station and karaoke, with cast and crew members of Broadway shows participating. Certain theatre district restaurants will offer family friendly dinner discounts, and free entrees for each child accompanied by an adult who also purchase an entree. In addition, Broadway audience members receive a special souvenir Playbill written by local teenagers. Further information can be found on the Kids' Night web site via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Three plays by Israel Horovitz will go into production in the next few months. Lebensraum, in which a German chancellor invites six million Jews to relocate to Germany, with T Ryder Smith, Suli Holum and Ryan Young, directed by Jonathan Rest, will preview December 13th at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues, opening December 17th. The producer is Studio J Productions in association with Erika Feldman and Adam Fitzgerald. Israel Horovitz's New Shorts, the New York premiere of nine short plays, produced by the Barefoot Theatre Company, previews from January 17th at the 78th Street Theatre Lab, on Broadway at West 78th Street, opening on January 20th. The premiere of The Secret Of Mme. Bonnard's Bath will be the first production of the new producing wing of the New York Playwrights Lab, opening at Theatre Row in February.

Playwrights Melissa James Gibson, David Greenspan, Jessica Hagedorn, Julia Jordan, Lisa Kron, Lynn Nottage, Dael Orlandersmith and Adam Rapp are the first recipients of The Lucille Lortel Foundation fellowships. The biennial program will provide funding for theatre artists, continuing the legacy of Lucille Lortel's commitment to playwrights and the development of new plays. Each of the writers, who will receive $50,000, is being recognized for the excellence of their work, potential for continued artistic achievement, and strong commitment to working in the theatre. The panel that chose the recipients comprised David Henry Hwang, Paula Vogel, Robert Blacker, Anne Cattaneo, Kate Loewald, Neil Pepe and Tazewell Thompson. Further information can be found on the LLF web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

MCC Theater's next production will be the New York premiere of Courtney Baron's A Very Common Procedure, in which three New Yorkers, brought together by a horrific moment, must come to a confrontation in which faith, love and the truth are put to the test, directed by Michael Greif, previewing from January 31st at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, opening February 14th. The season will conclude with the world premiere of Neil LaBute's In A Dark, Dark House, a drama about 'a man and his complicated relationship with a complicated father', which will preview from May 16th, and open June 7th. The Lucille Lortel Theatre, is located at 121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets.

The 6th annual Arts & Leisure Weekend will take place January 5th to 7th, at The City University of New York's Graduate Center, located at 5th Avenue and 34th Street. The event, presented by the New York Times, is billed as an 'international celebration of the arts', which will include a wide range of activities, from interviews with celebrated artists to free admission at cultural institutions, including a special edition of the TimesTalks discussion panels. Among the actors, playwrights and directors taking part will be Martin Short, Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus, Renee Fleming, Ryan Murphy, Frank McCourt, Rufus Wainwright and Brian Williams.

Ensemble Studio Theatre will mark its 35th anniversary season with Project 35, a festival of 35 readings of new plays, which will last 35 days from November 10th to December 18th. Among the plays will be Romulus Linney's Masterbuilder Johnson, Jose Rivera's Massacre (Sing To Your Children), Keith Reddin's The Missionary Position and Frank D. Gilroy's The Lake. The readings will take place at Ensemble Studio Theatre at 549 West 52nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Further information can be found on the EST web site via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.