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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th March 2012

Culture Project will stage the premiere of Tennessee Williams's final full length play In Masks Outrageous And Austere, combining bizarre characters, dark humor and exorbitant theatricality, with Shirley Knight, directed by David Schweizer, previewing from April 5th, opening on April 16th. It is co-production with Victor Syrmis, Carl Rumbaugh and Susan Batson. Culture Project is located at 45 Bleecker Street between Lafayette and Mott Streets.

A musical comedy National Pastime, book by Tony Sportiello and music and lyrics by Al Tapper, directed by Nancy Robillard, will open at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons in August. It tells the story of a failing Iowa radio station in the 1930s, which revives its fortunes by broadcasting the exploits of a fictional baseball team that never loses, but is found out when Life Magazine arrives to do a story on the team. The producer is August Theater Productions. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Lincoln Center Theater's 2012/2013 season will include Christopher Durang's Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike, a satire that takes characters and themes from Chekhov and transports them to contemporary Pennsylvania, directed by Nicholas Martin, which will premiere at the McCarter Theater from September 7th to October 7th, and then preview from October 25th at the Mitzi E Newhouse Theatre, opening on November 12th; and Clifford Odets's Golden Boy, about a young, gifted violinist who is torn between pursuing a career in music and earning big money as a prize fighter, directed by Bartlett Sher, which will preview from November 8th at a Broadway theatre to be announced, with an official opening on December 3rd.

Him, written and directed by Clifford Streit, a comedy about homophobia in Hollywood, with Jon Fleming Todd Crain, Lindsay Goranson, Georgia X Lifsher, James Sautter and Julian Mercer, will open at SoHo Playhouse on March 21st. SoHo Playhouse is located 15 Vandam Street, between 6th and Varick Street.

The Broadway League has published its survey of the 2010/2011 season, 'The Demographics of the Broadway Audience'. The report is based on data collected at 27 productions over 78 performances, selected to represent a variety of Broadway offerings, and performances through the year. Overall Broadway admissions reached a record high of 12.5m, with a gross of $1,080,562,880.00. Of those, 47.6% were ticket buyers living outside the New York area, while 14.1% were people from other countries - down from 16.5% the previous year. Women continued to be the majority of audiences, making up 65.1% of the total, but there was a rise in young ticket buyers, as the average theatergoing age dropped from 45 to 44, and the number of theatregoers under 18 rose to 1.3m from 1.06m. The average Broadway theatregoer saw 5 shows, and fans who attended 25 or more shows accounted only for 3.3% of the total theatre audience, 84,753 theatregoers, but this translates into 20.3% of total Broadway admissions, with 2,542,594 visits to the theatre. Newspaper reviews had more influence in determining whether audience members saw a play as opposed to a musical, 26.5% to 11.6%, and personal recommendations were a more persuasive determining factor for musicals as opposed to plays, 32.2% to 24.8%. Further information can be found on the BL web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Manhattan Children's Theatre will stage The Lonely Phone Booth, adapted from the book by Peter Ackerman and Max Dalton, about one of the last remaining phone booths in New York City, on the corner of West End Avenue and 100th Street, at Access Theatre from March 31st. Access Theatre is located at 380 Broadway, 4th Floor, at White Street.

The latest exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is Star Quality: The World Of Noel Coward, running until August 18th. The display includes photographs, programs, scripts, costumes, personal effects, memorabilia, and other objects, many previously unseen, as well as audio and video, relating to the prodigiously prolific British playwright and performer, who worked from the 1920s to the 1950s. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

Barefoot Theatre Company will stage Rivka Beekerman-Greenberg's Eavesdropping On Dreams, about three generations of women in one family and their struggles with coming to terms with the aftermath of the Holocaust, with Lynn Cohen, Jake Robards, Stephanie Roth Haberle, Aidan Koehler and Christopher Whalen, directed by Ronald Cohen, previewing from April 20th at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre, opening on April 27th. The Cherry Lane Studio Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.

World Theatre Day, created in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute, is celebrated annually on March 27th by the theatre community, with national and international events organised to mark the occasion. New York City World Theatre Day Coalition is comprised of representatives of theatre companies and advocacy groups whose goal is to promote World Theatre Day within the New York City theatre community by organising events, distributing the WTD message, and being a central location for companies to communicate their World Theatre Day plans. You can post an event or find out what events are happening at the NYCWTD web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.