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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th January 2007

Pablo Schreiber and Rebecca Brooksher will star in the US premiere of Christopher Shinn's two hander Dying City, directed by James MacDonald (who also directed the world premiere at London's Royal Court Theatre last spring), previewing from February 15th at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E Newhouse Theater, ahead of an official opening on March 4th. It is the story of the meeting between a young therapist whose husband died while on military duty in Iraq, and his identical twin brother, who is looking for answers to questions about the death.

Sealed For Freshness, the comic tale of five Midwestern housewives journey of self-discovery at a Tupperware party in the 1960s, written and directed by Doug Stone, with Nancy Hornback, Kate VanDevende and J J VanName, will preview from February 15th at New World Stages, opening on February 24th. The producers are Cannon Entertainment Group in association with Fresh Ice Productions. New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The York Theatre Company will present the Off-Broadway premiere of Alan Govenar and Akin Babatunde's musical Blind Lemon Blues, featuring more than 60 Blind Lemon Jefferson songs, from February 15th to 25th. Babatunde directs and plays Blind Lemon Jefferson, with Benita Arterberry, Cavin Yarborough, Alisa Peoples Yarbrough, Walter Fauntleroy, Liz Mikel and guitarist Sam Swank. The show celebrates the legacy of Jefferson, a blind street musician who played his guitar at the corner of Elm Street and Central Avenue in Dallas, Texas in the 1920s, where he was discovered by a record company scout. The York Theatre is located at St. Peter's at 54th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues. Prior to its run at the York Theatre the show will be part of the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series on February 11th and 12th.

The 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival, which presents new works by writers at all levels of the theatre community, from working professionals to those whose work has not yet been produced, will run from September 17th to October 7th. Writers and composers are invited to submit 'production ready' musicals to the Next Link Project by March 1st. 18 shows will be chosen by a jury that includes Adam Epstein, Margo Lion and Casey Nicholaw. Writers will then have access to professional dramaturges to help them shape and develop their projects. Since its inception in 2004, NYMF has produced 913 performances of 256 shows, including Altar Boyz, [title of show], The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Captain Louie. Further information and an application form can be found on the NYMF website, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Abingdon Theatre Company will present Ron Hirsen's The Frugal Repast, with Julie Boyd, Roberto DeFelice, Kyrian Friedenberg, Frank Liotti, Dawn Luebbe, Lizbeth MacKay, Kathleen McElfresh, Harold Todd and David Wohl, directed by Joe Grifasi, previewing from January 26th, opening on February 7th. It tells of two circus performers who are unknowingly the subjects of a Picasso print, and outraged at the invasion of their privacy, steal it and demand a ransom, starting a debate about art's true value. The remainder of the season comprises: Daniel Damiano's Dreams Of Friendly Aliens, about a New Jersey family that takes dysfunctional to a new level, directed by Kim T Sharp, from March 10th; Jan Buttram's The President And Her Mistress, a wild comedy set in a feminist future, where the authority of the female world president is challenged by insurgent men, directed by Rob Urbinati, from April 13th; and The Greenhouse Effect, written and performed by Michael Deep, a solo multicharacter comedy about a touching (but touched) family, directed by Kate Bushmann, from June 2nd. Abingdon Theatre Company is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Flea Theater will stage the New York premiere of Julian Sheppard's Los Angeles, with Katherine Waterston and Jonathan Walker joining the resident company of Evan Enderle, Dan Cozzens, Cooper Daniels, Meredith Holzman, Tanya Fischer, Rob Yang, Ben Beckley, Emily Hyberger and David Skeist, directed by Adam Rapp, previewing from February 14th, ahead of a February 22nd opening. It is the story of a damaged young woman who needs more than a map to find her way through the pitfalls of Tinseltown. The Flea Theater is located at 41 White Street, between Broadway and Church Street.

New York City Center and Carnegie Hall have formed a partnership, which will focus on joint artistic collaborations such as festivals comprised of music, dance, theatre and musical theatre, the first of which will be offered in fall 2008. Both venues are located between 6th and 7th Avenues, City Center from 55th to 56th Street, and Carnegie Hall from 56th to 57th Street. City Center is the New York home of dance companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre and Paul Taylor Dance Company, and also houses the two Off Broadway spaces of Manhattan Theatre Club. Carnegie Hall, which focuses on music, comprises the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall.

The play 6969 by Jordan Seavey, in collaboration with his company CollaborationTown, with Julia Henderson, Boo Killebrew, Ryan Purcell, Max Rosenak, Dan Stowell and Phillip Taratula, directed by Matthew Hopkins, will preview from February 8th at 59E59 Theatres, opening on February 10th. Based on a true story, it tells of two boys' chatroom conversations that are invaded by a bizarre group of characters, leading to a string of grisly murders. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

Meanwhile Primary Stages, resident at 59E59 Theaters, has replaced Terrence McNally's Deuce (which was bumped up to a Broadway production) as the final play in its current season with the New York premiere of Athol Fugard's Exits And Entrances, with Morlan Higgins and William Dennis Hurley, directed by Stephen Sachs. The semi autobiographical work is the story of an idealistic young playwright and a fading middle aged actor. It will play from March 20th to April 28th.