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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th February 2007

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the current Goodman Theatre Chicago production of August Wilson's Radio Golf, the last play in his 10 play cycle about the 20th century African-American experience, with Harry Lennix and Tonya Pinkins, directed by Kenny Leon, will begin previews from April 20th at the Cort Theatre, with an official opening on May 8th. The play tells the story of a politician running for the highest office of his career, whose past is just a few steps behind him - and gaining fast. It features scenic design by David Gallo, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Donald Holder and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier. The producers are Jujamcyn Theaters, Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Margo Lion, Tamara Tunie, The Bunting Management Group, Lauren Doll, Fran Kirmser and Gordon Davidson.

The Epic Theatre Center has announced its 2007 season at Theatre Row, which will include the premiere of Ron Russell and Godfrey L. Simmons Jr's adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Widowers' Houses, relocating the scathing farce about class and public housing to Harlem in the early 1990s, with Peter Jay Fernandez, James Wallert, Rachael Holmes, Jessica Richardson, Godfrey L. Simmons Jr and Jacob Ming-Trent, directed by Russell, opening at the Kirk Theatre on March 14th; and the world premiere of Zak Berkman's Beauty On The Vine, a romantic fable about the power of the human face in an age of extreme plastic surgery (inspired by a chance encounter with Courtney Love), with Helen Piper Coxe, Barbara Garrick, Howard Overshown and Jessica Richardson directed by David Schweizer, opening at the Clurman Theatre on May 2nd; and the New York premiere of British writer Howard Barker's A Hard Heart, which explores knowledge, self-knowledge, and the gulf between, with Kathleen Chalfant, opening in the fall. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The Broadway Musicals Of 1928, the latest in Scott Siegel's Broadway By the Year series, will be presented at The Town Hall on February 26th, with Nancy Anderson, Joyce Chittick, Jeffry Denman, Malcolm Gets, Eddie Korbich, Bob Martin, Max von Essen, Paul Schoeffler and Lari White, directed by Joel Froomkin, with musical direction by Ross Patterson. It will feature songs from the musicals Rosalie, The Three Musketeers, The Greenwich Village Follies, Present Arms, Blackbirds Of 1928, Grand Street Follies, The New Moon, Paris, Animal Crackers and Whoopee!. Upcoming concerts in the series include The Broadway Musicals of 1938, directed by Emily Skinner on March 26th, The Broadway Musicals of 1959, directed by Marc Kudisch on April 30th, and The Broadway Musicals of 1964 Part II, directed by Dan Foster on June 18th. The Town Hall is located at 123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway.

Mike Batistick's new dark comedy Chicken, with Michael Imperioli Sharon Angela, Raul Aranas, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, EJ Carroll and Lazaro Perez, directed by Nick Sandow, will preview from February 28th at Studio Dante, opening on March 10th. A dark comedy, it tells the story of a dysfunctional family in Washington Heights that comes to blows as they try to train a rooster to take part in an illegal cockfight. Studio Dante is located at 257 West 29th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The next events in the Food For Thought series of one act play readings at the Players Club will be Susan Charlotte's adaptation of The Real Thing, Henry James's story about a middle aged couple who model for a painter, with Lois Smith, directed by John Going, on February 26th; and Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs, the absurdist drama in which the stage is gradually filled with chairs, with Tony Roberts and Tammy Grimes, directed by Antony Marsellis, on February 28th. For both events, lunch begins at 12.30pm, the performance begins at 1.30pm, and a question and answer session follows. Meanwhile, the next Cocktail Hour Comedies will be Tennessee Williams's Lifeboat Drill, the adventures of a couple in their nineties aboard a cruise ship, and Christopher Durang's Tennessee Williams parody For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls, with Marilyn Sokol, Kevin Stapleton, Audrey Lynn Weston and Peter Stadlen on February 20th, for which cocktails begin at 5.30pm, and the performance begins at 6.30pm. The Players Club is located at 16 Gramercy Park South, on East 20th Street, between Park Avenue and Irving Place. Further information about both series can be found on the FFT web site, via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Amas Musical Theatre will present a new musical Magpie, book by Steven M Jacobson, music by Gary William Friedman, and lyrics by Edward Gallardo, with additional lyrics by Stevie Holland, with Ronny Mercedes, Jessica Fields, J Cameron Barnett, Kimberly Reid Dunbar, Jene Hernandez, Dennis Holland, Gary Lindemann, Joseph Melendez, Michael Murnoch, Julian Rebolledo and Natalie Toro, directed and choreographed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, at the Players Theatre from March 9th to 25th. It tells the story of two teenage lovers in the world of New York City's bike messengers. The Players Theatre is located at 115 MacDougal Street at Minetta Lane.

A host of the theatre's leading ladies will take part in the 12th Nothing Like A Dame, the annual fundraising concert for The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of The Actors' Fund of America, at the Marquis Theatre on March 19th. Among those taking part will be Stephanie J Block, Liz Callaway, Victoria Clark, Kate Clinton, Joyce Didonato, Jill Eikenberry, Melissa Errico, Sutton Foster, Jenn Gambatese, Ana Gasteyer, Milena Govich, Jennifer Holliday, Judy Kuhn, Beth Leavel, Julianna Margulies, Maureen McGovern, Varla Jean Merman, Julia Murney, Bebe Neuwirth, Lynn Redgrave, Lea Salonga, Jennifer Smith and Julie White, plus the women from the casts of In The Heights and Company, and members of the Westchester Dance Academy. Last year's concert raised $300,000. Further information and online booking can be found on the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.