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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th August 2011

Roundabout Theatre Company will stage Athol Fugard's The Road To Mecca, which examines the relationship between imagination and freedom, in the story of a woman's determination to preserve her home and artworks, with Rosemary Harris, Jim Dale and Carla Gugino, directed by Gordon Edelstein, previewing from December 16th at the American Airlines Theatre, with an official opening on January 17th. The design team will includes scenery by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Susan Hilferty and sound by John Gromada.

The 42nd anniversary season of the 92nd Street Y's Lyrics & Lyricists series, featuring the songs of a particular writer or era, will comprise: Makin' Whoopee: Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn And The Jazz Age, hosted by Robert Kimball, January 7th to 9th; Songs Of America: From Stephen Foster To Bob Dylan And Beyond, hosted by Ted Sperling, February 11th to 13th: In Perfect Harmony: Celebrating The Vocal Group, with Rob Fisher, March 24th to 26th; Mad Dogs & Educated Fleas: Noel & Cole, A Battle Of Wits, hosted by Mark Waldrop, May 5th to 7th; and It's Magic: 90 Years Of Songs From Warner Bros, with Rex Reed, June 2nd to 4th. The 92nd Street Y is located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

Playwrights Realm will stage the premiere of Jen Silverman's Japanese Bunraku-inspired Crane Story, with Angela Lin, Christine Toy Johnson, Louis Ozawa Changchien, David Shih, Susan Hyon, Jake Manabat and Barret O'Brien, directed by Katherine Kovner, previewing from September 6th at the Cherry Lane Theatre, opening on September 15th. It tells the story of a Japanese-American girl on an odyssey to explore her personal and Japanese identity as she comes to terms with her brother's suicide. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.

Theatre for a New Audience's 2011/2012 season will include the C.I.C.T./Theatre des Bouffes du Nord production of Samuel Beckett's Fragments, comprising the short plays Rough For Theatre I, Rockaby, Act Without Words II, Neither and Come And Go, with Jos Houben, Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni, directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne, from November 9th at the Baryshnikov Arts Center; a Klezmer musical Shlemiel The First, conceived and adapted by Robert Brustein from Isaac Bashevis Singer's folk tale, music by Hankus Netsky, lyrics by Arnold Weinstein, additional music by Zalmen Mlotek, directed and choreographed by David Gordon, at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, from December 13th; John Ford's The Broken Heart, a Jacobean drama set in ancient Greece, about a young woman forced to marry an old man who keeps her a prisoner, with Annika Boras, directed by Selina Cartmell, at The Duke on 42nd Street from February 4th; and William Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew, directed by Arin Arbus, at The Duke on 42nd Street, from March 17th. The Baryshnikov Arts Center is located at 450 West 37th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues; the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is located at 566 LaGuardia Place, at Washington Square South; and The Duke on 42nd Street is located at 229 West 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Sam Waterston will be joined by Kelli O'Hara, Richard Topol, Seth Gilliam and Arian Moayed in William Shakespeare's King Lear at the Public Theater from October 18th; Hunter Parrish will play Jesus in Stephen Schwartz's musical Godspell, opening at the Circle in the Square Theatre on 7th November; and Elena Roger and Ricky Martin will be joined by Michael Cerveris in the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita, opening at the Marquis Theatre next spring.

Partial Comfort Productions will stage Chad Beckim's After, about a wrongfully imprisoned man exonerated by DNA evidence, who, after 17 years in prison, has to re-assimilate into a changed world, with Alfredo Narciso, Debargo Sanyal, Maria Christina Oliveras, Andrew Garman, Jackie Chung and Jeff Wilburn, directed by Stephen Brackett, previewing from September 7th at the Wild Project, opening on September 13th. The Wild Project is located at 195 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B.

The Well Read Play by Stephen Unwin, Artistic Director of the Rose Theatre in Kingston, England, recently published by Oberon Books, reveals how a professional director approaches reading a play. The book provides clear and practical information on how to understand the workings of the play, spot clues that the playwright has planted, imagine how it can be staged, and decide whether it will stand the test of time. Absorbing and informative, whether for purposes of study, staging, or simply leisure, it is a guide to understanding drama, which is a cornerstone of British and American culture. An accessible and entertaining guide for general readers, this well presented book is an important addition to the bookshelves of all students, directors, teachers and all lovers of theatre and literature.

The Complete And Condensed Stage Directions Of Eugene O'Neill, Volume 1, in which the New York Neo-Futurists transform O'Neill's eloquent yet obsessive stage directions into physical comedy, with Michael Davis, Brendan Donaldson, Cara Francis, Connor Kalista, Jacquelyn Landgraf, Erica Livingston and Lauren Sharpe, adapted and directed by Christopher Loar, will preview from September 8th at the Kraine Theatre, opening on September 12th. The Kraine Theatre is located at 85 East 4th Street, between The Bowery and 2nd Avenue.

Ripe Time will stage Ellen McLaughlin's Septimus And Clarissa, based on the novel Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, about a veteran on the verge of suicide and a socialite whose past comes back to haunt her, with Ellen Mclaughlin, Henry Stram, Tom Nelis, Leeanne Hutchison, Paula Mcgonagle, Craig Baldwin, Tommy Schrider, Miriam Silverman and Susan Pellegrino, directed by Rachel Dickstein, previewing from September 7th at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, opening on September 15th. The Baruch Performing Arts Center is located at 55 Lexington Avenue, entrance on 25th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that a stage version of David Seidler's A King's Speech, written before the movie but so far unproduced, directed by Adrian Noble, will play in London next spring and on Broadway next fall, courtesy of producer Michael Alden. The Rumour Machine grinds on.