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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th November 2007

The previously postponed Broadway African-American cast production of Tennessee Williams's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, in which hypocrisy, greed and secret passions threaten to tear apart a wealthy but dysfunctional Mississippi family, directed by Debbie Allen, will preview from February 12th at the Broadhurst Theatre, with an official opening on March 6th. The producer is Stephen Byrd.

The inaugural production of the Elephant Brigade will be Bertolt Brecht's Man Is Man, about the transformation of a civilian into a soldier in British colonial India, with Lauren Blumenfeld, Tristin Daley, Eric Eastman, Brandon Kyle Goodman, Natalie Kuhn, Justin Lauro and Sarah Wood, directed by Paul Binnerts, from December 5th at HERE Arts Center. It will be presented using the technique of 'real-time theatre', where the actors, rather than portraying a character, are themselves re-creating the characters' circumstances, as intermediaries between the play and the audience. HERE Arts Center located at 145 6th Avenue, between Spring and Broome Streets.

The Alchemy Theatre Company will stage David Wright Crawford's Harvest, with Morgan Baker, Kathleen Huber, Judson Jones, Christa Kimlicko Jones, Richard Mawe, Doug Sheppard, Kymberlie Stansell, Jeremy Stuart and Shorey Walker, directed by Judson Jones and Benard Cummings, previewing from November 30th, at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on December 4th. It is the story of a west Texas cotton farmer over a 45 year period, as he battles to keep his farm and his family, while struggling against inevitable change. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Cast members from a number of Broadway shows, including Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins, Spring Awakening, Xanadu, and the Radio City Rockettes, will be featured in the 81st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday November 22nd from 9am to noon. The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West and makes its way down Broadway through Times Square before arriving at Macy's in Herald Square. Further information can be found on the MTDP web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The League of American Theatres and Producers has published its survey of the 2006/2007 season, 'The Demographics of the Broadway Audience'. The report is based on data collected at 23 productions over 72 performances, selected to represent a variety of Broadway offerings, and performances through the year, with 10,800 questionnaires distributed, and 5,109 returned. Among the findings were: tourists - both domestic U.S. and international - bought 65% of the 12.3m tickets that were purchased for Broadway shows, of which 1.9m were bought by international visitors, making up 16%, the highest in recent history; theatregoers are getting younger and more diversified, with an average age of 41.2, and under 18s buying 1.42m tickets, a 23% increase on the year before, and 26% were non-Caucasians, a 17% rise on the previous season and a 56% increase from five years ago; the internet has become the most popular way to purchase tickets, with a growth of 368% since the 1999/2000 season, so that only 11% bought via the telephone and 20% at the box office; the average theatregoer attends 5 shows a year, with playgoers typically seeing 7 shows and musical theatregoers seeing 4; theatregoers who attended 15 or more Broadway attractions comprised 6% of the audience, representing 31% of all tickets sold; and personal recommendation was the strongest influence in show selection, cited by 46% of theatergoers. Further information can be found on the LATP web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Barbara Sutton Masry's Rewriting Her Life, with Rob Alicea, Sandra Bauleo, Jeff Burchfield, James M. Farrell, Joanna Rhinehart, Maja Wampuszyc and Anne Yorke., directed by Trezana Beverley, will play at the 411 Space Times Square Arts Center from November 29th. It is a comedy about a struggling playwright who returns to her old university seeking a production of her latest play to find that her former crush is now head of the Theater Department. The 411 Space Times Square Arts Center is located at 300 West 43rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Peter Schumann's Bread and Puppet Theater Company will stage two versions of Dante's Divine Comedy, one for adults and one for children, at the Theater For The New City, from 29th November to 16th December. The Divine Reality Comedy is a new translation revelling in the gorier parts of the story set in purgatory, while The Divine Reality Comedy Circus is a more lighthearted distillation of the piece. Both shows feature the Bread and Puppet company, plus local volunteers, who will also be part of the shows' Brass and String Bands and Choral Singers and Screamers, together with puppets of all kinds and sizes, from just 8ins to 3 times life size. Theater For The New City is located at 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets.

The Chinese Divine Performing Arts Company will returns to the Beacon Theatre with its show Holiday Wonders from December 18th to 26th. The show blends the traditions of the East with the holiday spirit of the West, in performances that range from classic European ballet to the theatrical folk dances of China. The Beacon Theatre is located at 2124 Broadway at 74th Street.