News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th December 2006

R C Sherriff's groundbreaking 1929 anti war play Journey's End, starring Hugh Dancy, Boyd Gaines, Jefferson Mays, Stark Sands, John Ahlin, Nick Berg Barnes, John Behlmann, Justin Blanchard, Kieran Campion, John Curless and Richard Poe, directed by David Grindley, will preview from February 8th at the Belasco Theatre, with an official opening on February 22nd. Set in the trenches of the First World War, it is the story of a new arrival among a group of British officers preparing their men for a raid on the enemy, who is shocked to find the effect the experience has had on his former friend. Grindley directed the long running 75th anniversary production seen in London in 2004. The producer is Boyett Ostar Productions.

Michael Gutenplan's magic show Extraordinary Deceptions - A Magical Holiday Extravaganza will return to the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues, from December 19th to 30th. This revised version of the show, which previously played at Theatre Row in the fall, will include the mysterious appearance of champagne and Christmas trees, in addition to an audience member sawed in half.

Vanessa Redgrave will perform Joan Didion's monologue The Year Of Magical Thinking, based on her book of the same name, reliving the night that her husband died of a heart attack, as her daughter lay ill in a coma, directed by David Hare, which will preview from March 6th at the Booth Theatre, with an official opening on March 29th. The producers are Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, Daryl Roth, Debra Black and The Shubert Organization.

P.S. 122, is to host two simultaneous world premieres next month. Claire Danes and Ariel Flavin will appear in Tamar Ragoff's performance piece Edith & Jenny, exploring lifelong friendship, from January 26 to February 4th. The multimedia dance piece incorporates footage from Danes's and Flavin's film debuts (playing characters called Edith and Jenny) in 1988, when both actresses were 11 years old. Meanwhile, Julie Atlas Muz will perform Divine Comedy Of An Exquisite Corpse, including post-mortem dance, ballet, mime, endurance exercises, burlesque and jazz, from January 27th to February 11th. Muz will 'purposefully create the worst dance ever in hope that audiences will cheer at her tragic death'. P.S. 122 is located at 150 1st Avenue at East 9th Street.

Dule Hill will star in Amiri Baraka's Dutchman, the classic race drama in which a white woman seduces a naive, bourgeois, black man on a train with terrifying results, directed by Bill Duke, playing at Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, off 7th Avenue below Bleeker Street, from January 16th to February 10th.

Elizabeth L Wollman's The Theater Will Rock: A History Of The Rock Musical, From Hair To Hedwig, recently published by University of Michigan Press, is a 288 page tome that does precisely what it says on the cover. Wollman, a former editor for Playbill Magazine, traces the use of rock music in musical theatre from the mid 1950s - when rock'n'roll numbers were unsuccessfully injected into The Ziegfeld Follies Of 1957 and the Bert Lahr-Nancy Walker revue The Girls Against The Boys - to the end of the century. The book includes analyses of both the notorious flop rock musicals, such as Dude, The House Of Leather, The Legend Of Johnny Pot and Saturday Night Fever, as well as those that triumphed, including Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent, The Who's Tommy and Hedwig And The Angry Inch.

The season at The Flea Theater will continue with the Music-Theatre Group workshops of the musicals Golden Motors, book and lyrics by Wendy S Walters, music by Derek Bermel, directed by Kelly Robinson, and The Rose Project, exploring the larger themes of the Tokyo Rose Story, conceived and directed by Sonoko Kawahara, music by Deirdre Murray and text by Susan Wheeler, in January; and the New York premiere of Charles Mee's Limonade Tous Les Jours, about an older man and a younger woman embarking on a doomed affair in Paris, directed by Jim Simpson, opening on March 8th. The Flea Theater is at 41 White Street, between Broadway and Church Street.

The Kaufman Center's 2007 Broadway Playhouse series in the Merkin Concert Hall, presented by Sean Hartley, will spotlight the work of Charles Strouse, Irving Berlin and Rodgers and Hammerstein. The family friendly series, geared for elementary school children, includes sing-alongs, interactive games and audience participation as well as a mini-musical. The events, held on Sundays at 11am, are: January 7th - Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King And I, February 4th - Charles Strouse's Annie, and March 11th - Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. The Merkin Concert Hall is located at 129 West 67th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

The Public Theater's Under The Radar festival, featuring contemporary, adventurous and independent new work from around the world, will run from January 17th to 28th. Highlights will include Daniel MacIvor's A Beautiful View, centring on two women who forge a romance that keeps falling apart; writer-performer Mike Daisey's Invincible Summer, about the New York subway and Brooklyn in 'the last glorious summer before everything changed'; Radio Macbeth, created and performed by SITI Company, co-directed by Anne Bogart and Darron L West, featuring actors rehearsing the Shakespeare play while ghosts of previous productions hover around them; Get Your War On, by Rude Mechanicals, a critique of the Bush administration using overhead projectors, clip art and David Rees's internet comic strip; and No Dice by the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, taking over 100 hours of the company's recorded telephone conversations and filtering them through the conventions of amateur dinner theatre to arrive at a uniquely mind-altering experience. The Public has rescheduled the musical Passing Strange, with book and lyrics by Stew, and music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, charting the journey of a young black bohemian searching for himself, directed and created in collaboration with Annie Dorsen, and performances will now begin on May 1st.

Ronnie Koenig's Dirty Girl, with Corrie Beula, Bridget Harvey, Michael Littner and Jesse Teeters, directed by Robert W McMaster, previews from January 4th at the Kraine Theater, opening on January 6th. The comedy is based on Koenig's personal experiences editing Playgirl magazine from 2000 to 2002. The producers are Horse Trade and Firecracker Productions. The Kraine Theater is located at 85 East 4th Street, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue.