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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th January 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Belvoir St Theatre Sydney, Australia, production of Eugene Ionesco's Exit The King, with original star Geoffrey Rush joined by Susan Sarandon, Lauren Ambrose and Andrea Martin, directed by Neil Armfield, will transfer to Broadway, previewing from March 7th at the Barrymore Theatre, with an official opening on March 26th. The comedy charts the death of an incompetent and megalomaniacal monarch who has brought his country to near ruin, but refuses to relinquish any control. The design team comprises scenery and costume by Dale Ferguson, lighting by Damien Cooper and sound by Russell Goldsmith. The producers are Stuart Thompson, Robert Fox, Howard Panter, Tulchin/Bartner, Scott Rudin and The Shubert Organization.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, James Gandolfini, Hope Davis, Jeff Daniels and Marcia Gay Harden will star in the Broadway transfer of the hit London production of Yasmina Reza's The God Of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by Matthew Warchus, which will preview from February 28th at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre, with an official opening on March 22nd. It is a comedy in which two couples debating different styles of parenting, following a squabble between their children that turned violent, decend into fighting themselves. The design team comprises scenery and costumes by Mark Thompson, lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Simon Baker and Chris Cronin. The producers are Robert Fox, David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, Stuart Thompson, Scott Rudin and The Shubert Organization.

Broadway Bears, the 12th annual auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, featuring a host of teddy bears dressed in costume as characters from current Broadway shows, many autographed by the original stars, will be held at B B King Blues Club & Grill, on February 15th. Among the bears so far announced are: Sir Thomas More from A Man For All Seasons, Be Our Guest Eggbeater from Beauty And The Beast, Gabriella from Boeing-Boeing, Growltiger from Cats, Nugget with Alan Strang from Equus, Mama Rose from Gypsy, Mimi Marquez from Rent, Sir Robin from Spamalot, Wendla from Spring Awakening, Glinda from Wicked and Elizabeth from Young Frankenstein. Last year's auction raised a total of $127,000, when the top seller was the Spamalot bear, which went for $17,000. Since its inception the event has raised over $1.47m. 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 & Information in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

It has now been confirmed that Jane Fonda will be joined by Don Amendolia, Zach Grenier, Colin Hanks, Susan Kellermann, Samantha Mathis, Erik Steele and pianist Diane Walsh in 33 Variations, written and directed by Moises Kaufman, with choreography by Daniel Pelzig, previewing from February 9th at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, with an official opening on March 9th. It is the story of a contemporary musicologist who sets out to discover the root of Beethoven's obsession with a trivial waltz. The design team comprises scenery by Derek McLane, costumes by Janice Pytel with David C Woolard, hair and wigs by Charles LaPointe, lighting by David Lander, projection by Jeff Sugg and sound by Andre Pluess. David Binder presents the Tectonic Theatre Project production, with Ruth Hendel, Barbara Whitman, Hal Goldberg, Eric Schnall, Jayne Baron Sherman, Arielle Tepper Madover and Latitude Link.

The biannual 20at20 event will run from January 26th to February 8th, during which Off Broadway shows will offer $20 tickets at the box office starting 20 minutes before show time. Over 25 participating shows will include Altar Boyz, The Awesome 80s Prom, The Fantasticks, Forbidden Broadway Goes To Rehab, Fuerza Bruta, The Gazillion Bubble Show, Naked Boys Singing, Perfect Crime, Sleepwalk With Me and Stomp. Off Broadways' flexible scheduling means that on Saturdays it is possible to see 5 shows for the price of 1 Broadway ticket. Further information can be found on the 20at20 web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Prospect Theater Company will stage The Dome, a site specific work conceived by Cara Reichel, inspired by the architecture of the West End Theatre, from January 31st. The production comprises three interwoven stories: Rinne Groff and Marisa Michelson's tale about a contemporary New York couple expecting the birth of their first child, directed by May Adrales; a story about two clowns who decipher cryptic messages from the unknown and make a surprising discovery in the theater's dome, written and directed by David Miller; and Laura Marks's imagined situation in which Voltaire and his lover Emilie du Chatelet argue about ideas of God and enlightenment, directed by Stefanie Sertich. The stories will be connected through a series of monologues, music and found text created by Deborah Abramson, Michael Cooper, Hyeyoung Kim, Jason Grote, Marisa Michelson, Norman Lasca and Jonathan Portera. The cast comprises Travis Allen, Dorothy Abrahams, Dino Antoniou, Sarah Bowles, Kelechi Ezie, John Gardner, Kathryn Holtkamp, Jesse Kearney, Whitney Lee, Britt Lower, Danijela Popovic, Sarah Statler, Kyle Williams and Andrew Zimmerman. The West End Theatre is located in the Church of St Paul and St Andrew at 263 West 86th Street, between West End Avenue and Broadway.

J T Rogers's White People, a brutally honest and funny examination of race and language in our culture, through the lives of three ordinary Americans, will receive its New York premiere, with Rebecca Brooksher, John Dossett and Michael Shulman, directed by Gus Reyes, previewing from January 28th at Atlantic Stage 2, opening on February 3rd. The producer is Starry Night Entertainment. Atlantic Stage 2 is located at 330 West 16th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.