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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th January 2008

Broadway Artists Alliance Master Classes, which provide professional training in musical theatre arts for young artists, by providing an opportunity to study with current Broadway artists and directors, has announced the next series of events. These will be: Wicked - January 19th, Spring Awakening - January 21st, The Little Mermaid - March 24th, Hairspray - April 13th, Monty Python's Spamalot - May 4th, and Young Frankenstein - June 23rd. Further information can be found on the BAA web site via the link from in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Vital Theatre Company will stage the musical A (Tooth) Fairy Tale, book by Ben Winters, music and lyrics by Rick Hip-flores, with Jarusha Ariel, Chris Braca, Holly Buczek, Jordan Hamessley, Erik Hogan, John Magalhaes and Kristina Teschner, directed by Linda Key, at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre from January 19th. When the Tooth Fairy, in need of a vacation, swaps places with a young boy, nothing goes exactly as planned as adventures ensue across the Upper West Side of Manhattan and throughout New York City. The McGinn/Cazale Theater is located at 2162 Broadway, at 76th Street.

Mark Schultz's Deathbed, with Ross Bickell, Charlotte Booker, Emily Donahoe, Clifton Guterman, Ryan King, Brandon Miller, Patricia Randell, Christa Scott-Reed and Jonathan Walker, directed by Wendy C. Goldberg, will preview from January 21st at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, opening on 31st January. The play 'paints a landscape of longing and desperation as its characters struggle to come to terms with loss and suffering'.

Widows, adapted by Ariel Dorfman from his novel about disappeared people in a totalitarian regime, directed by Hal Brooks, will receive its New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters, previewing from January 10th, opening on January 18th. The cast will comprise Ching Valdes-Aran, Josh Alexander, Mark Alhadeff, Veronica Cruz, Sam Dingman, Sarah Nina Hayon, Mercedes Herrero, Guiesseppe Jones, Ana Cruz Kayne, Ephraim Lopez, Melissa Miller, Sean J Moran, Gita Reddy, James Saba, Anca Suiu, Joaquin Torres and Audrey Lynn Weston and Yan Xi. 59E59 Theaters are (unsurprisingly) located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Dianne Wiest will be joined by Alan Cumming in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, opening at Classic Stage Company's theatre on March 13th.

The 2008 season of the 92nd Street Y's performing arts events, lectures, readings and concerts will include Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara speaking about their enduring relationship and careers with Scott Blakeman on January 15th; Kathleen Turner discussing her life and memoir Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts On My Life, Love, And Leading Roles with Gloria Feldt on February 14th; Jim Dale taking part in the Poetry Center's children's reading series on February 16th; Paul Simon on February 20th; Robert Klein, Eddy Friedfeld and Richard Zoglin looking back at stand-up comedy from the 1970s on March 20th; choreographer Doug Varone discussing his life and work with Deborah Jowitt on April 6th; a discussion of the life and legacy of Yiddish theatre playwright Jacob Gordin and the golden age of the Yiddish theatre on April 8th; Alan Alda sharing his love of classical music as part of Chamber Music at the Y on April 29th and 30th; and Tony Kushner saluting children's author Maurice Sendak on May 12th. The 92nd Street Y is located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

Abi Morgan's Tender, which takes place in a city full of chance encounters and questions how much faith can be put in other people, with Betsey Aidem, Noel Joseph Allain, Aylsia Reiner, John Rothman, Sarah Megan Thomas and Jeffrey Woodard, directed by Kevin O'Rourke, will preview from January 19th at the Michael Weller Theatre, opening on January 23rd. The producer is Thirteenth Night Theatre. The Michael Weller Theatre is located at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Roundtable Ensemble will stage Chris Kipiniak's The Save The World, with Craig Bridger, Charrisa Chamorro, Christine Corpuz, Noshir Dalal, Kelly Hutchinson, Danielle Skraastad and Jonathan Woodward, directed by Michael Barakiva, previewing from January 17th at the American Theatre of Actors, opening on January 19th. A story of sin, sacrifice, and salvation, as seven super heroes, who combine incredible powers with human failings, risk becoming threats themselves to the good they have sworn to uphold, while they fight to protect the earth from a series of seemingly unrelated disasters. The American Theatre of Actors is located at 314 West 54th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Playwright and actress Sibyl Kempson and musician Mike Iveson are collaborating on Crime Or Emergency, which distils Kempson's 11 person play into a rapturous, desperate and harried duet, for which John Collins is directorial consultant, for free performances at Soho Rep, from January 11th to 13th. Soho Rep is located at 46 Walker Street, between Broadway and Church Street.

The Rumour Machine says: that Gore Vidal has completed an unfinished Tennessee Williams play, Masks Outrageous And Austere, about a billionaires, her gay husband, and her young male lover, which may be staged on Broadway next spring, starring Cybill Shepherd, directed by Peter Bogdanovich; that Arthur Laurents will direct a radically different contemporary production of the Arthur Laurents-Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical West Side Story on Broadway next year; and that Jack O'Brien will direct Phantom In Manhattan, Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera, adapted from Frederick Forsyth's novel The Phantom Of Manhattan, in which the Phantom has slipped away to New York and has set up a fairground world in Coney Island, which will debut in 2009. The Rumour Machine grinds on.