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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th November 2012

The 9th annual Broadway Unplugged concert, created and hosted by Scott Siegel, with Broadway artists performing without microphones, will be staged at The Town Hall on December 3rd. The event will feature American musical theatre songs performed by around 20 artists, including Cheyenne Jackson and Laura Osnes. The Town Hall is located 123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway.

PiPE DREAM theatre will stage the premiere of The Nutcracker And The Mouse King, book and music by Collin Simon, lyrics and direction by Liz Muller, an original 'steam-punk' take on E T A Hoffmann's classic Christmas tale, with choreography by Diana Pettersen, previewing from November 29th at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on December 1st.

The 17th annual Kids' Night On Broadway, in which kids from 6 to 18 can attend a Broadway show for free if they come with a paying adult, will be expanded to four nights, taking place from February 25th to March 3rd. Tickets are on sale from 10am on January 7th for the Broadway and Off Broadway shows that are participating. There will also be pre-theatre parties, educational and interactive workshops intended to introduce kids to the theatre, via activities such as dance lessons, a make up station and karaoke, with cast and crew members of Broadway shows participating. Certain theatre district restaurants will offer family friendly dinner discounts, and free entrees for each child accompanied by an adult who also purchase an entree. Parking discounts will also be available. Further information can be found on the Kids' Night web site via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: America Ferrera will head the cast of Laura Marks's Bethany, at City Center Stage II from January 11th; and Holly Hunter, Zach Grenier and Noah Robbins will feature in Hamish Linklater's The Vandal, at the Flea Theater from January 18th.

Axis Theatre will stage the 11th anniversary of its production of Seven In One Blow, or The Brave Little Kid, a family musical, based on a winter themed fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, written and directed by Randy Sharp, with Marc Palmieri, David Crabb, Lynn Mancinelli, Jim Sterling, Brian Barnhart, George Demas, Britt Genelin, Spencer Aste, Edgar Oliver, Laurie Kilmartin and Marlene Berner opening on December 7th. The Axis Theatre is located at 1 Sheridan Square, between West 4th Street and Washington Place.

Bread & Puppet Theater will make its 41st annual visit to Theater for the New City, from December 6th, bringing their signature powerful imagery, masked characters, and giant papier-mache puppets, in a double bill of The Possibilitarians and Dead Man Rises (for ages 12 and older) and The Circus Of The Possibilitarians (for all ages), directed by Peter Schumann. Theater for the New City is located at 155 1st Avenue at 10th Street.

Shakespeare & Co: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher And The Other Players In His Story, by Stanley Wells, published by Vintage, captures the 'sex and drugs and rock'n'roll' world of what was the most creative period in British theatrical history. Wells explores the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatrical scene, looks at the actors Shakespeare worked with, and examines the lives and the works of the other writers of his day, from Ben Jonson to Thomas Middleton, and his successors such as John Webster. Wells reveals a picture not of asceticism and high artistic ideals, but of the down to earth practicalities of servicing the explosively expanding theatre industry, with the group of writers sharing ideas and writing (sometimes willingly, sometimes not), constantly hacking the plays about at the behest of actors or managers - or to keep the attention of their boisterous audiences - and having a wild time doing so.

Cast members from a number of Broadway shows, including Annie, Bring It On, Elf The Musical, Cinderella and Nice Work If You Can Get It, and the Radio City Rockettes, will be featured in the 86th 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 6th Avenue to Macy's on 34th Street. 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 Midtown International Theatre Festival, which offers the chance for self-produced Off-Off-Broadway plays and musicals to be presented, is seeking submissions for its 14th season, from July 15th to August 4th next year. The MITF presents more than 200 performances of 40-60 shows over a 3 week period each year, in the Dorothy Strelsin and June Havoc Theatres on 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th avenues. The basic deal is that MITF pays the theatre and marketing costs, and individual shows pay for everything else. Submissions must be received by January 21st. Further information and an application form can be found on the MITF web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Angela Lansbury may return to the New York stage next fall in Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden, the story of an eccentric woman raising her 16 year old granddaughter, who lives in a fantasy world and runs wild in the garden of a manor house, until their lives change with the appointment of a mysterious governess. The Rumour Machine grinds on.