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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th May 2008

Classic Stage Company's 2008/2009 season will open with William Shakespeare's The Tempest, the tale of a sorcerer shipwrecked on a magic island, featuring Mandy Patinkin, directed by Brian Kulick, previewing from September 3rd, opening on September 18th. Classic Stage Company is located at 136 East 13th Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues. Patinkin will play a benefit concert for CSC, accompanied by Paul Ford, at the Schoenfeld Theatre on May 19th.

Cirque du Soleil's Winter Tale will return to the Theater at the Madison Square Garden, for which it was created, directed by Richard Blackburn, previewing from October 30th, opening on November 6th, and running until January 4th. A cast of 50 performers employs circus arts, theatrical effects and music, to tell the story of a New York boy and three companions, who journey to the Arctic to find snow, and bring it back to the city for the holidays.

The 10th annual Broadway Barks fundraising event, with artists from Broadway shows taking part, will be held in Shubert Alley on July 12th from 3.30pm, produced by Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS. Co-hosted by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, the dog and cat adopt-a-thon benefits New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies, and includes celebrity presentations of pets from animal shelters throughout the city. Bernadette Peters, with illustrator Liz Murphy, has written a story book entitled Broadway Barks, which includes a CD featuring her reading the story and performing an original song that she has also written, proceeds from which will go to the charity. Shubert Alley is located alongside the Shubert and Booth Theatres between 44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway and 8th Avenue.

MCC Theater's 2008/2009 season will include the premieres of Michael Weller's Fifty Words, a look at modern marriage, as seen through one couple's long night's journey into day, directed by Austin Pendleton, from September 10th; Neil LaBute's The Break Of Noon, about the difficulties a man faces when he is transformed from avowed disbeliever into fervent believer, from January 14th; and the musical Coraline, music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt, book by David Greenspan, adapted from the novel by Neil Gaiman, about a lonely girl who steps into a perfected replica of her own world, but finds that dreams are dangerous when realised, directed by Leigh Silverman, from May 6th. MCC Theater is resident at Lucille Lortel Theatre, located at 121 Christopher Street, between Bleecker and Hudson Streets.

In addition to the previously announced Lincoln Center Festival presentation of the National Theatre of Scotland production of Euripides's The Bacchae, featuring Alan Cumming, from July 2nd to 13th, the Public Theater will stage its own production, at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, in a translation by Nicholas Rudall, with music by Philip Glass, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, from September 16th to 28th. In the play, the god of wine and dance has lured the women of Thebes away to Mount Cithaeron, but the young king Pentheus disguises himself as a woman and tries to get them to return home.

Luigi Creatore's Flamingo Court, a triple bill of comedies set in an apartment complex in South Florida, with Jamie Farr, Anita Gillette, Lucy Martin, Herbert Rubens and J Cameron Barnett, directed by Steven Yuhasz, will preview from July 17th at New World Stages, opening on July 31st. The producers are Theater 21 and Carolyn Rossi Copeland. New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Pearl Theatre Company has announced its 25th season, which will comprise Sophocles's Oedipus Cycle (Oedipus Rex, Oedipus At Colonus and Antigone), the epic story of destiny, love and betrayal of the mythical king and his descendants, translated by Peter Constantine, directed by Shepard Sobel, from October 13th; Gotthold Lessing's Nathan The Wise, an 18th century play about religious tolerance set in Jerusalem at the time of the Third Crusade, adapted by Richard Sewell, directed by Shepard Sobel, from December 8th; William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the romantic comedy of mistaken identity, deception and self discovery, directed by J R Sullivan, from January 19th; Moliere's Tartuffe, in which a con man attempts to deceive a wealthy family with a show of piety, directed by Gus Kaikkonen, from March 16th; and Tennessee Williams's Vieux Carre, set in a seedy boarding house in New Orleans run by a half mad landlady, directed by Austin Pendleton, from May 11th. The Pearl Theatre Company is located at 80 St Marks Place, between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

Women's Expressive Theater will stage the world premiere of Brooke Berman's A Perfect Couple, about a turbulent weekend for three longtime friends, raising questions about loyalty, partnerships, and modern love, with Dana Eskelson, Annie McNamara, Elan Moss-Bachrach and James Waterston, directed by Maria Mileaf, previewing from June 9th at the DR2, opening on June 19th. The DR2 is located at 103 East 15th Street, between Union Square East and Irving Place.

New York Theatre Walks: Seven Historical Tours From Times Square To Greenwich Village And Beyond, by New York Daily News theatre critic Howard Kissel, recently published by Applause Books, takes readers on a tour of theatrical history by tracing the lives and legacies of various theatre artists and landmark productions. Times Square, the Upper West Side, the East and West Villages and the Lower East Side neighbourhoods all feature in the self-guided tours. The book abounds in Broadway anecdotes, but it also gives the walker a sense of the city's own complex, rich history, with neighbourhood maps and photographs by Brent C Brolin. It provides enjoyment and instruction not just for visitors eager to get off the beaten path, but also for the native New Yorker who wants to find the theatrical past lying behind the sights passed on a regular basis.

The York Theatre Company is presenting NEW2NY, a series of staged concerts of musicals making their New York debuts, beginning with Compose Yourself!, a revue of songs composed by Larry Grossman, with lyrics by Hal Hackady, Ellen Fitzhugh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Buz Kohan, Carol Hall, Fred Ebb, Amanda Green, Drey Shepperd and Michael Korie, directed by Stuart Ross, July 11th to 13th; The Lady In Penthouse B, book and lyrics by Peter Napolitano, music by Matthew Ward, about a struggling actress working for an egotistical female gossip columnist, July 25th to 27th; and In Transit, by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russell M. Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth; additional material by Greg Christopher and Karla Momberger, an a cappella show set on the New York subway, capturing musical snapshots of eight very different young city dwellers, drawing on pop, jazz, hip-hop, country and reggae, August 8th to 10th. The York Theatre Company's Theatre at Saint Peter's is on 54th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.