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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th December 2006

The musical Legally Blonde, which plays a pre-Broadway season at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, from January 23rd to February 24th, is offering video and text previews, plus an audio download of the show's opening number. These can be found at SHN, the web site for the Bay Area theatres: the Curran, the Golden Gate and the Orpheum. Adapted from the 2001 film, it is the story of a cosmetics friendly sorority girl who follows her boyfriend to law school, and when he dumps her for someone more serious, sets out to become a swat. The show has book by Heather Hach, and music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and features Laura Bell Bundy, Christian Borle, Richard H Blake, Kate Shindle, Nikki Snelson and Michael Rupert, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. It is scheduled to preview at the Palace Theatre from April 3rd, with an official opening on April 29th. The Broadway producers are Hal Luftig, Fox Theatricals and Dori Berinstein, in association with MGM Onstage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber.

The LAByrinth Theater Company world premiere of Bob Glaudini's Jack Goes Boating, with Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Beth Cole, directed by Peter DuBois, will preview from February 27th at the Public Theater's Martinson Hall, opening on March 18th. It is a story of date panic, marital meltdown, betrayal and the prevailing grace of the human spirit. The 15th anniversary LAByrinth season will continue with This Is Now!, written and performed by Eric Bogosian, in collaboration with musician-composer Elliott Sharp, an excursion/rant/soundscape on the theme of 'now', hitting on smoking, sainthood and the CIA (amongst other things); plus developmental productions of Carlo Alban's intringulis, about what makes up a typical neighbourhood, directed by David Anzuelo, and Andrea Ciannavei's Pretty Chin Up, about people selling things - and themselves, directed by Michele Chivu. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street, between Astor Place and East 4th Street.

Broadway Bears, the tenth annual auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS featuring a host of teddy bears dressed as famous Broadway characters, will be held at B B King Blues Club & Grill, on February 11th, hosted by Bryan Batt, with Lorna Kelly as auctioneer. Among the 40 bears to be auctioned will be teddies dressed as characters from Jersey Boys, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, The Drowsy Chaperone, Grey Gardens, Wicked, The Color Purple, Sweeney Todd, The Boy From Oz, The Pajama Game and Mary Poppins. Last year's auction raised a total of $114,638, when the top seller was the Avenue Q Rod bear, signed by original star John Tartaglia, which went for $8,250. B B King Blues Club & Grill is located at 237 West 42nd Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Phone bids, pre-bids and internet bids will all be accepted. Further information can be found on the BC/EFA website, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Pearl Theatre Company's season continues with Lillian Hellman's Toys In The Attic, which follows a day in the life of a family when their dreams come true, but they find they're not what they want after all, with resident company members Rachel Botchan, Robin Leslie Brown, Joanne Camp, and Sean McNall, joined by Robert Colston, R J Foster, Jon Froehlich, Marcus Naylor, Ivy Vahanian and William White, directed by Austin Pendleton, previewing from January 5th, and opening on January 14th; William Saroyan's The Cave Dwellers, the tale of a Lower East Side community, where optimism shines out through poverty, directed by Shepard Sobel, previewing from February 23rd; and S N Behrman's Biography, a 1930s comedy of New York high society sparked by a tell all memoir, directed by J R Sullivan, previewing from April 13th. The Pearl Theatre Company performs at Theatre 80, at 80 St. Mark's Place, between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

At Least It's Pink, written and directed by Michael Patrick King, with music and lyrics by Bridget Everett and Kenny Mellman, and featuring Bridget Everett, will preview January 16th at Ars Nova, opening on January 25th. It views New York City life through the eyes of a girl from Manhattan, Kansas, who's never afraid to tell it like it is. Ars Nova is located at 511 West 54th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

The Women's Project will present the world premiere of Kathryn Walat's comedy Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen, a tale of beauty and the geeks, as a female sophomore is roped into joining an all male, all nerd, High School math team, with Jessi Campbell, Zachary Booth, Adam Farabee, Tobias Segal and Matthew Stadelmann, directed by Loretta Greco, previewing from January 12th at the Julia Miles Theater, opening on January 21st. The Julia Miles Theater is located at 424 West 55th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Theatre veteran Richard Seff, who, in a career spanning 60 years, has been an actor, playwright, agent and investor, has written a memoir about his life and work, Supporting Player: My Life Upon The Wicked Stage, recently published through the web site Xlibris. Seff takes his readers on an odyssey, revealing what goes on backstage, in the wings, and behind closed doors. Through his encounters with a multitude of stars, including Alan Alda, Rex Harrison, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Ethel Merman, Hal Prince, Chita Rivera, Jason Robards, Rosalind Russell and Dick Van Dyke, Seff cites examples of how stardom was achieved and handled in the golden age of Broadway.

The Mint Theater Company will present Harley Granville-Barker's The Madras House, about the developing role of women, both domestically and in the work place, at the beginning of the last century, with Roberta Maxwell, George Morfogen, Laurie Kennedy and Jonathan Hogan, directed by Gus Kaikkonen, from January 31st. The Mint Theater Company performs at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Roundabout Theatre Company is planning a Broadway revival of Craig Lucas's Prelude To A Kiss, about a young couple who fall in love, but at their wedding, when an old man kisses the bride, his soul and personality is exchanged with hers, directed by Daniel Sullivan, opening in March; that Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson will star in the musical Xanadu, Douglas Carter Beane's stage adaptation of the 1980 film, which will open at the Helen Hayes Theatre in May; and that the current London production of The Gershwins's folk opera Porgy And Bess, in a shorter musical theatre version, revised and directed by Trevor Nunn, will arrive on Broadway during the 2007/08 season. The Rumour Machine grinds on.