News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th February 2008

The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park festival at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park this summer will comprise Hamlet, with Michael Stuhlbarg and Richard Easton, directed by Oskar Eustis, playing from 27th May to 29th June - the play's first appearance in Central Park since 1975, when when Sam Waterston played the title role; and the hippy 'tribal love rock' musical Hair, book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, music by Galt MacDermot, with Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson, directed by Diane Paulus, from 22nd July to 17th August. At its year round home the Public Theater will stage the world premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis's Little Flower Of East Orange, an inter-generational ghost story set in an upper Manhattan charity hospital, with Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Canavan, Liza Colón-Zayas, Arthur French, Gillian Jacobs, Ajay Naidu, Michael Shannon, Sidney Williams, and David Zayas, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, previewing from March 18th, opening on April 6th. It is presented in association with LAByrinth Theater Company. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street, between Astor Place and East 4th Street.

Paul Simon's short lived Broadway musical The Capeman will make a return to New York in the form of Songs From The Capeman at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theatre from April 1st to 6th. The concerts will feature Simon and original cast members Claudette Sierra, Ray De La Paz and Obie Bermudez, backed by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, with guest performances from Little Anthony and The Imperials, and others. Simon wrote 36 songs in a doo-wop, gospel and Latin flavoured score for the show, which tells the true life story of Salvador Agron, a Puerto Rican gang member who murdered two teenagers in the late 1950s, then underwent a conversion as a poet while in prison.

Forthcoming shows at Theater for the New City will include: the American premiere of Carla Cantrelle's Looking Up, a unique combination of traditional theatre and aerial performance, telling of the love affair between a trapeze artist and a frustrated bartender, performed by Carla Cantrelle and Bryant Mason, directed by Giovanna Sardelli, previewing from February 16th, opening on February 18th; the world premiere of The Ghosts Of 14th Street, written and directed by Barbara Kahn, set in New York in 1908, when 14th Street was the entertainment district, following the stories of the performers in the theatres, vaudevilles and film studios, from March 6th; Sex! Drugs! & Ukeleles!, a romantic musical comedy of the future, book and lyrics by Uke Jackson, music by Terry Waldo, previewing from March 6th, opening March 13th; and Rebecca Schull's On Naked Soil - Imagining Anna Akhmatova, a biographical play about the Russian poet, with Schull in the title role, directed by Susan Einhorn, from April 12th. The Theater for the New City is located at 155 1st Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.

An exhibition entitled Setting The Stage: Scenic Designs By Donald Oenslager will run at the Museum of the City of New York from February 14th to May 4th. It will feature 20 designs by Oenslager from the 1930s, including models and examples from his work on Girl Crazy, Red, Hot, And Blue!, My Sister Eileen, You Can't Take It With You, and Margin For Error. Known for his emphasis on symbolism and the interpretative use of lighting, Oenslager helped to reform American scenic design. The museum has a continuing display called Performance, which is an exploration of the link between New York and theatre, through costumes, photographs, props, and other original materials. The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue, at 103rd Street.

A new musical, 27 Rue de Fleurus, book and lyrics by Ted Sod with additional lyrics and music by Lisa Koch, with Sarah Chalfy, Susan Haefner, Barbara Rosenblat, Cheryl Stern and Emily Zacharias, directed by Frances Hill, with choreography by Jessica Hayden, will preview from March 1st at Urban Stages, opening on March 6th. It tells the story of the life and words of Gertrude Stein from the point of view of her companion Alice B Toklas. Urban Stages is located at 259 West 30th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Debra Ehrhardt will perform her one person show Jamaica, Farewell, about her journey from revolution torn Jamaica to start a new life in America, previewing at SoHo Playhouse from February 22nd, opening on March 3rd. The producer is Darren Lee Cole. The SoHo Playhouse is located 15 Van Dam Street, between 6th Avenue and Varrick Street.

Forthcoming productions at the Flea Theatre include Beau Willimon's Lower Ninth, about two men stranded on a roof after a terrible storm, who must battle heat, hunger and their pasts as they struggle to survive, with Gaius Charles, Gbenga Akkinagbe and James McDaniel, directed by Daniel Goldstein, previewing from February 14th, opening on February 28th; and the premiere of a double bill about New Yorkers looking for happiness, comprising Tommy Smith's The Break-Up and Ken Urban's The Happy Sad, with members of the resident acting ensemble The Bats, Felipe Bonilla, Havilah Brewster, Jane Elliot, Pete Forester, Tom Lipinski, Stephen O'Reilly, John Russo, Annie Scott and Ronald Washington, directed by Sherri Kronfeld, previewing from March 6th, opening on March 22nd. The Flea Theater is located at 41 White Street, between Broadway and Church Street.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will celebrate the donation of the Katharine Hepburn Papers to its collection, with a series of free 'Remembering Kate' events, beginning on February 19th at 6pm, with Zoe Caldwell and Sam Waterston reading from the Hepburn Papers, and reminiscing about their late friend. Future events in the series will include contributions by Anthony Harvey, Katharine Houghton and Charlotte Moore, Dick Cavett and Marian Seldes. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.