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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th March 2007

This year's Lincoln Center Theater Festival will run from 10th to 29th July, with 93 performances and events, by artists and companies from 14 countries, with 15 North American, U.S. or New York premieres. Highlights will include: Robert Wilson's Les Fables de La Fontaine, based on the stories of La Fontaine, the 17th century French fabulist and poet, using tales of animals as parables of human folly, performed by the French national theatre company La Comedie-Francaise; Taiwan's Contemporary Legend Theater, with co-founder Wu Hsing-Kuo playing all ten characters in its version of William Shakespeare's King Lear, and an opera double bill The Tipsy Concubine and Farewell My Concubine; Proyecto Chejov from Argentina with Un Hombre que se Ahoga, an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, directed by Daniel Veronese; British composer George Benjamin's opera Into The Little Hill, based on the story of the Pied Piper Of Hamelin, with libretto by playwright Martin Crimp; Ballet National de Marseilles with Metopolis II, Frederic Flamand's convergence of contemporary dance and cutting edge architecture; and the Japanese Kabuki company Heisei Nakamura-za with Renjishi and Hokaibo.

The Transport Group production of William Inge's The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs, with Michele Pawk, Donna Lynne Champlin, Patrick Boll, Paul Iacono, Liz Mamana, Colby Minifie, Jay Potter, Jack Tartaglia and Matt Yeager, directed by Jack Cummings III, will preview from March 30th at the Connelly Theatre, opening on April 5th. In a small Oklahoma town in the early 1920s, a man has to contend with losing his job, an unsympathetic wife, a shy daughter and an introverted son. Transport Group produces work by American writers with the aim of exploring the American conscience in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Connelly Theatre is located at 220 East 4th Street, between Avenues A and B.

Ensemble Studio Theatre will present the New York premiere of David Zellnik's Serendib, combining drama and puppetry, with Joseph Adams, Linda Powell, James Rana, P J Sosko, Geeta Citygirl, Nitya Vidyasagar and Richard B Watson, directed by Carlos Armesto, previewing from March 28th and opening April 4th, as part of its 9th annual First Light Festival, which presents a new work commissioned by the EST/Sloan Project for plays about science and technology. In order to save their study, a group of scientists invite a team of filmmakers to document their work, but the results may do more harm than good. Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 West 52nd Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues.

The 21st Annual Easter Bonnet Competition benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will take place at the Shubert Theatre on April 23rd and 24th. The event will feature the companies of Broadway, Off Broadway and touring productions, performing sketches, songs and or dances as well as a parade of bonnets created specially for the competition. It is the culmination of a 6 week fundraising campaign by each of the companies. The first prize goes to the company that raises the most money, with a second prize for the company with the best bonnet design and presentation, and additional prizes for the Broadway play, national tour and Off Broadway production raising the most money. Last year's event raised a record breaking $3,187,496. 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.

On The Casting Couch: Tonya Pinkins and Harry Lennix will be joined by Anthony Chisholm, John Earl Jelks and James A Williams (all of whom have appeared in previous productions) in Radio Golf, opening at the Cort Theatre on May 8th; and Sutton Foster, Shuler Hensley and Megan Mullally will star in Young Frankenstein, opening at the St James Theatre in the fall.

The Thirteenth Street Repertory Company will present Five Story Walkup, comprising new short plays and monologues, directed by Daniel Gallant, running from March 21st to April 14th, as a benefit to help pay for the company's struggle against real estate developers. The collection of works by John Guare, Neil LaBute, Laura Shaine Cunningham, Quincy Long, Daniel Frederick Levin, Clay McLeod Chapman and Daniel Gallant, tell stories of mismatched lovers, a webcam provocateur, small town philosophers and urban pioneers, as they strive to maintain or escape from their domestic situations. The Thirteenth Street Repertory Theatre, founded in 1972, is home to the long running production of Israel Horovitz's Line, about five people as they wait in a line with no apparent purpose, now in its 33rd year. It is located at 50 West 13th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that The Seafarer, in which the arrival of a stranger from the past disturbs a night of drinking and cards at a run down house in Dublin, written and directed by Conor McPherson, which recently completed a run at the National Theatre of Great Britain in London, will open on Broadway in December, produced by Boyett-Ostar Enterprises; and that the London production of Peter Shaffer's Equus, in which a psychiatrist tries to discover why a stable boy blinded six horses, starring Daniel Radcliff and Richard Griffiths, directed by Thea Sharrock, which is playing to sell-out houses at the Gielgud Theatre, will be remounted on Broadway in the fall of 2008, when Radcliff and Griffiths have completed their Harry Potter film assignments, produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers. The Rumour Machine grinds on.