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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th February 2009

The Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park festival at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park this summer will include Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's greatest comedy, about twins shipwrecked in an enchanted dukedom, with Anne Hathaway, directed by Daniel Sullivan, playing from June 9th to July 12th; and Euripides's The Bacchae, in a new version by Nicholas Rudall, of the story in which the god of wine and dance has lured away the women of Thebes, but the young king disguises himself as a woman and tries to get them to return home, featuring an original choral score by Philip Glass, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, playing from August 11th to September 26th.

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? - Songs And Stories From The Great Depression, a revue about the economic downturn and recovery of the 1930s, conceived and directed by Bill Daugherty, with Daugherty, Christina Morrell, Alexander Elisa, Jennafer Newberry, Deborah Tranelli and Morgan West, will preview from March 6th at the Triad Theatre, opening on March 8th. The producers are Thoroughbred Records and Max Weintraub. The Triad Theatre is located at 158 West 72nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

It has now been confirmed that the Lincoln Center Theater production of August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come And Gone, with Roger Robinson, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Chad L Coleman, Michael Cummings, Aunjanue Ellis, Danai Gurira, Andre Holland, Arliss Howard, Ernie Hudson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Amari Rose Leigh directed by Bartlett Sher, will preview from March 19th at Belasco Theatre, with an official opening on April 16th. It is the story of a man newly released from prison who arrives at a Pittsburgh boarding house filled with disperate characters who aid him in his search for inner freedom. The design team comprises scenery by Michael Yeargan, costumes by Catherine Zuber, lighting by Brian MacDevitt and sound by Leon Rothenberg and Scott Lehrer.

Ticketing company Ticketmaster Entertainment and venue and concert promoter Live Nation are to combine in a tax-free, all-stock merger of equals with a combined enterprise value of approximately $2.5 billion, to be called Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster shareholders will receive 1.384 shares of Live Nation common stock for each share of Ticketmaster they own, subject to certain adjustments. Live Nation and Ticketmaster shareholders will each own approximately 50 percent of the combined company, which anticipates generating approximately $40 million savings through the combination of their ticketing, marketing, data centers and back-office functions. Live Nation currently produces more than 16,000 concerts for 1,500 artists in 57 countries and sells more than 45 million tickets each year, while Ticketmaster, with 10,000 clients, operates in 20 international markets, and as well as online sales, has 6,700 retail outlets and 19 call centres worldwide. However the merger may run into regulatory difficulties over fears that it will create a monopoly in concert ticketing.

Aurin Squire's To Whom It May Concern, about the effects of America's Peace Keeping mission in the Middle East on both a young Marine stationed in Afghanistan and an emotionally out of control teenager in America's Midwest, directed by David Gaard, will preview from March 19th at the Arclight Theater, opening on March 29th. Arclight Theater is located at 152 West 71st Street, between Broadway and Columbus Avenue.

Gotham Chamber Opera will stage the New York premiere of Haydn's L'isola disabitata, with Takesha Meshe Kizart, Valerie Ogbonnaya, Vale Rideout and Tom Corbeil, directed by Mark Morris, at the Gerald W Lynch Theater at John Jay College, from February 18th. Allegedly Haydn's favorite of his operas, it is set on a desert island, where, stranded for 13 years, a mother has raised her daughter to hate and fear men - and then a man arrives. John Jay College is located at 899 10th Avenue, between 58th and 59th Streets

Following two successful summer seasons, South Street Seaport is to host Seaport Winter Theatre Festival, with Dog Run Rep's production of Moliere's Tartuffe, adapted and directed by Jeff Cohen, relocating the story of a con man attempting to deceive a wealthy family with a show of piety to Depression era New York, featuring Keith Buterbaugh, Christina Decicco and Tom Ford, from March 6th; and Abraxas Stage Company's Crazy Head Space, a new musical about insanity, presenting an A-Z of psychological conditions, lyrics by Liz Davis, music by Liz Davis and Michelangelo Sosnowitz, directed by Raymond Zilberberg, from March 12th; plus new play readings by Studio 42 and Unknown Productions. Events are at the @ Seaport space, 210 Front Street in South Street Seaport.

The Rumour Machine says: that Ramin Karimloo, who has played the Phantom in London, and Sierra Boggess, who has played Christine in Las Vegas, have been cast in Phantom: Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera, which is expected to open at the Adelphi Theatre in London and simultaneously at a Broadway Theatre yet to be announced in the fall; and that the new musical Minsky's, about the burlesque king Billy Minsky, book by Bob Martin, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, currently playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, will be Broadway bound in the 2009/1010 season, courtesy of producers Kevin McCollum and Bob Boyett. The Rumour Machine grinds on.