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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th July 2011

Second Stage Theatre's 2011/2012 season will include the premiere of the multimedia musical The Blue Flower, book, music and lyrics by Jim Bauer, co-written and designed by Ruth Bauer, using video, dance and music to tell the story of four friends living through the Belle Epoque and World War I, directed by Will Pomerantz, opening in November; the premiere of Paul Weitz's Lonely, I'm Not, a comic journey that follows one man as he tries to put the many pieces of his life back together following a divorce and a nervous breakdown; and Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive, in which a series of driving lessons progresses from innocence to something much darker.

FringeNYC, the 15th annual New York International Fringe Festival, running from August 12th to 28th, will present the work of over 200 theatre companies from around the world, in 20 venues, with shows ranging from traditional comedies and dramas to musicals, performance art, dance, spoken word and multimedia works. Highlights will include: Anna & The Annadroids: Memoirs Of A Robot Girl, written, directed and performed by Anna Sullivan, music by Forest Christenson and David Morneau, video by Brent Haley and James Pryor, an original sci-fi graphic novel brought to life through ground and aerial dance, electronic music and interactive video; Dreamplay, written and directed by Joseph Jonah Therrien, adapted from the play by August Strindberg, using masks, puppets and Suzuki-based movement to create a psychedelic landscape of dream images; The Legend Of Julie Taymor, or The Musical That Killed Everybody!, book and lyrics by Travis Ferguson, music and lyrics by Dave Ogrin, directed and choreographed by Joe Barros, imagining the behind-the-scenes events in the making of the musical of Spider-Man; and Zombie Wedding, book and lyrics by R C Staab, music by Daniel Sturman, an '80s power pop musical comedy with a romantic Zombie twist. Further information can be found on the FringeNYC web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The New Group's 2011/2012 season at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row will comprise Erika Sheffer's Russian Transport, the tale of an immigrant couple in Brooklyn, their two assimilated teenagers and the upheaval caused when someone from the old country comes to stay, directed by Scott Elliott; Thomas Bradshaw's Burning, intersecting stories spanning two eras forming an epic tale of ambition and self-invention in the worlds of art and theatre, also directed by Elliott; and David Rabe's An Early History, set in a Midwestern town, where long term friendships and family loyalty are tested by the encroachment of the outside world, directed by Jo Bonney. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Director's Craft: A Handbook For The Theatre by Tony Award winning director Katie Mitchell, published by Routledge, is a practical guide to directing in theatre, and includes specific advice on every aspect of working with actors, designers, and the text. Written by one of the most adventurous directors working today, it is an essential item for the library of everyone involved in theatre, from the beginner to the experienced practitioner, providing detailed assistance with each aspect of the varied challenges facing all theatre directors, with startling clarity. Katie Mitchell shares and explains the key practical tools she uses to approach her work, addressing topics such as: the ideas that underpin a play's text; preparing improvisations, 12 Golden Rules for working with actors; managing the transition from rehearsal room to theatre; and analyzing your work after a run has ended. Each chapter concludes with a summary of its critical points, making this an ideal reference work for both directors and actors.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem, will stage a 90 minute version of William Shakespeare's history play Henry V, with Tyron D Jones, directed by Jenny Bennett, from August 5th at the Shabazz Center; and the premiere of Radha Blank's SEED, about a burnt out social worker and the client who re-inspires her, directed by Niegel Smith, from September 6th at the National Black Theatre, as part of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. The Shabazz Center is located at 3940 Broadway, at 165th Street; and National Black Theater is located at 2031 5th Avenue, between 125th and 126th Streets.

The Women's Project's 2011/2012 season at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons will comprise Kirsten Greenidge's Milk Like Sugar, about a 16 year old, inner-city girl's struggle between the pregnancy pact she made with her friends and her need to carve out a life beyond the only one she knows, directed by Rebecca Taichman, from October 13th, presented in association with Playwrights Horizons and the La Jolla Playhouse; Catherine Trieschmann's How The World Began, in which a former New York high school biology teacher creates a firestorm with an off-handed comment about the origins of the universe in her new job in rural Kansas, directed by Daniella Topol, from December 28th; and We Play For The Gods, a collaborative work aimed at connecting theatre history and current impulses, with playwrights Charity Ballard, Alexandra Collier, Andrea Kuchlewska, Dominique Morisseau, Kristen Palmer, Melisa Tien and Stefanie Zadravec, directors Tea Alagic, Jessi D Hill, Sarah Rasmussen, Mia Rovegno and Nicole A Watson, and producers Elizabeth R English, Manda Martin, Roberta Pereira and Stephanie Ybarra, in June. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

French-Canadian new circus company The 7 Fingers will perform Traces, which tells the stories of its members, directed by Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider, previewing from July 29th at Union Square Theatre, opening on August 8th. Union Square Theatre is located at 100 East 17th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues.

Pulse Ensemble Theatre will produce the 7th annual free open air Harlem Summer Shakespeare production in Riverbank State Park of As You Like It, directed by Alexa Kelly, playing Wednesdays through Sundays from July 21st to August 13th. The cast comprises Brian Richardson, Elliott Mayer, Jacob Heimer, Robert Dyckman, Sashan Yanique Finnikin, Shawn Williams, Max Rosmarin, Vincent Bagnall, Josh Odsess-Rubin, Bill Galarno, Joseph Raik, Stuart Rudin, Deaon Pressley, Stella Kammel, Iris McQuillan-Grace, Cherish Monique Duke and Emily McGowan. Riverbank State Park Amphitheatre is located at 145th Street and Riverside Drive, overlooking the Hudson River.