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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th September 2007

Rosie Perez, Billy Crudup, David Cross, Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Berkley, David Cross, Michael Ealy, Anthony Mackie and Matthew Lillard are among the actors who will take part in the 7th annual The 24 Hour Plays On Broadway, at the American Airlines Theatre on Sunday October 22nd. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Saturday October 21st, and form teams to write and rehearse six short plays to be performed 24 hours later. Since its inception in 1995, The 24 Hour Plays have involved more than 100 writers, 1,000 actors, and 300 new short plays have been produced. Further information can be found on The 24 Hour Plays web site, via the link from Festivals & Events, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Vineyard Theatre's 2007/2008 season will include Mainstage productions of Julia Cho's The Piano Teacher, about a woman haunted by her past students, directed by Kate Whoriskey, opening in October, and the musical The Slug Bearers Of Kayrol Island (or The Friends Of Dr Rushower), book and drawings by Ben Katchor, music and lyrics by Mark Mulcahy, a darkly comic story set in and around Manhattan and a tropical factory island of exploited workers, directed by Bob McGrath, opening in January; Lab Series small scale works in progress productions of Adam Rapp's The Metal Children, and Tarell Alvin McCraney's Wig Out!; and Developmental Workshops of the musical The Burnt Part Boys, book by Mariana Elder, music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and an untitled work by Polly Pen. The Vineyard Theatre is located at 108 East 15th Street, between 4th Avenue and Irving Place.

3Graces Theater Company will stage the world premiere of Sharyn Rothstein's a Good Farmer, with Elizabeth Bunnell, Annie McGovern, Chelsea Silverman, Gerald McCullouch, Jacqueline Duprey, Sharon Eisman, Andrew Giarolo and Borden Hallowes, directed by Matthew Arbour, from September 25th at the Bank Street Theater. Two women, a farm owner and her unlikely best friend, an illegal Mexican immigrant, fight to survive in a small Upstate New York town divided by America's immigration battle. The Bank Street Theater is located at 155 Bank Street between Washington and West Streets.

The Commercial Theater Institute, created by the Theatre Development Fund and the League of American Theatres and Producers, has announced a new Creative Development Intensive for prospective producers, running on six Monday nights from November 12th to December 17th. Participants will meet with Broadway producers and creative teams, who will present in depth case studies detailing the process, problem solving and best methods for producing commercial theatre. During the final two sessions participants will present their projects to a panel of established theatre professionals for critique and feedback. The program is limited to about 15 advanced participants, who must have completed either the 3 day prospective producer seminar, or the 14 week advanced intensive for commercial theatre production. The Commercial Theater Institute is dedicated to training the next generation of commercial theatre producers by offering workshops and training programs featuring industry professionals. Further information and application forms can be found on the CTI web site, via the link from Organisations, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Epic Theatre Ensemble will open its 2007/2008 season with the New York premiere of Howard Barker's A Hard Heart, with Kathleen Chalfant, Melissa Friedman, James Wallert, and Sarah Winkler, directed by Will Pomerantz, previewing from October 30th at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on November 11th. The prophetic drama is set in a country that is facing invasion, and explores the ways political and human borders can be protected. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Jerry Springer - The Opera, music by Richard Thomas, book and lyrics by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, in which an ordinary day for the television 'people show' host turns into a nightmare when one guest goes too far, will receive its New York premiere with concert performances, directed by Jason Moore, at Carnegie Hall on January 29th and 30th. Following London and Edinburgh Fringe tryouts, the National Theatre staged a full scale production, which won all the London Best Musical awards. The producers are David J Foster, Jared Geller and Avalon Promotions.

The next events in the Food For Thought series of one act play readings at the Players Club will be Tennessee Williams's The Pretty Trap, with Frances Sternhagen, Kevin Stapleton and Jeremy Hollingworth, on September 24th; O Henry's A Municipal Report, with Tony Roberts, and Susan Charlotte's A Life In A Plastic Bag, on September 27th; Jerome Coopersmith's Eleanor, with Betsy Palmer and Karl Kenzler, on October 1st; Harold Pinter's One For The Road, with Richard Easton, on October 10th; Mel Brooks's Of Fathers And Sons, and Ionesco's The Bald Soprano, with Bob Dishy and Judy Graubart, on October 11th; a new play by Joyce Carol Oates on October 15th; Arthur Miller's A Memory Of Two Mondays, with Joan Copeland, on October 17th; and Tom Stoppard's The Boundary, and Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, on October 25th. Lunch begins at 12.30pm, the performance begins at 1.30pm, and a question and answer session follows. In addition, there will be a gala event honouring Peter Stone, with Marshall Brickman, Joan Copeland, Bob Dishy, Phyllis Newman, Gene Saks, Marian Seldes, Tommy Tune, Maury Yeston and Karen Ziemba, on the evening of October 29th. The Players Club is located at 16 Gramercy Park South, on East 20th Street, between Park Avenue and Irving Place. Further information can be found on the FFT web site, via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that London's Royal Court Theatre production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, featuring Kristin Scott Thomas, directed by Ian Rickson, may transfer to Broadway next April; and that Gore Vidal is completing an unfinished play by Tennessee Williams, In Masks Outrageous And Austere, whose central character is a billionaires, for a prospective Broadway production, to be directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The Rumour Machine grinds on.