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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th February 2007

The spring season of the Musicals Tonight! staged concert readings at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre will feature John Kander and Fred Ebb's The Happy Time, in which a world travelling photographer returns home and tempts his godson with dreams of escape and no responsibility, from March 6th to 18th; Ernest In Love, based on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, book and lyrics by Anne Croswell and music by Lee Pockriss, from March 20th to April 1st; and Irene, original book by James Montgomery, was revised by Hugh Wheeler and Joseph Stein, music by Harry Tierney and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, additional songs by Charles Gaynor and Otis Clements, from April 17th to 29th. The McGinn/Cazale Theatre is located at 2162 Broadway, at 76th Street.

The Culture Project will present Lawrence Wright performing his solo work My Trip To Al-Qaeda, directed by Gregory Mosher, previewing from March 1st at its new home 55 Mercer Street, at Broome Street, opening 7th March. The piece is adaped from his book, compiled from interviews with over 600 people from across the globe, about how this organization fomented and implemented their attack on America.

The New York Philharmonic's 2007/2008 season at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall will include a concert by Barbara Cook, celebrating her 80th birthday on November 19th; Audra McDonald performing Luciano Berio's Folksongs, contemporary settings of songs drawn from multiple European traditions and languages, on March 5th to 8th; and concert performances of Puccini's Tosca, with Hui He, Walter Fraccaro and George Gagnidze, in June.

Dreamlight Theatre Company will present the cappella musical Avenue X, book and lyrics by John Jiler and music by Ray Leslee, with Cheryl Alexander, J D Goldblatt, Mitchell Jarvis, Keifer Mansfield, Megan McGettigan, Jonathan Stewart, Jeffery V Thompson and Anthony Wills Jr, directed by Chip Klose, with choreography by Jonathan Howard, at the 45th Street Theatre, from March 1st to 17th. Set in 1963 Brooklyn, where racial tension between the blacks and the Italians keep the two communities sharply divided, the harmonies of Doo Wop music unite two boys in their hope for a different life. The 45th Street Theatre is located at 354 West 45th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Living Theatre will inaugurate its new permanent 100 seater home at 19-21 Clinton Street, between Houston and Stanton Streets, with Kenneth H. Brown's The Brig, about the brutality of military prisons, directed by Judith Malina, running from March 15th. The cast will include Johnson Anthony, Lewis Williams, Keshav Baggan, Gene Ardor, Antwan Ward, Jade Rothman, Satya Bhabha, Brad Burgess, Morteza Tavakoli, Albert Lamont, John Kohan, Jeff Nash, Bradford Rosenbloom, Brent Bradley and Joshua Roberts.

New York City Opera's 2007/2008 season, at Lincoln Center's New York State Theatre, will include new productions of Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner, with a libretto by Toni Morrison, a double bill of Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Massenet's Cendrillon, Barber's Vanessa, Purcell's King Arthur, and the Terrence McNally-Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical Ragtime, restaged by its original director Frank Galati and choreographer Graciela Daniele. There will also be revivals of Handel's Agrippina, Verdi's Falstaff, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Puccini's Tosca, La boheme and Madama Butterfly, and Bizet's Carmen.

The Play Company will present the English language premiere of the Japanese play The Attic, by Yoji Sakate, translated by Leon Ingulsrud and Keiko Tsuneda, with Michi Barall, Emily Donahoe, Fiona Gallagher, Trey Lyford, Brandon Miller, Jesse Perez, Caesar Samayoa and Ed Vassallo, directed by Ari Edelson, previewing from February 21st at 59E59 Theaters, opening on March 4th. The surreal dark comedy examines the growing 'hikikomori' phenomenon in Japan, in which young people withdraw into their rooms and refuse any contact with the outside world, sometimes for years. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues.

A new (hopefully) annual program called 20at20 will be launched during the week of March 4th to 11th, in which Off Broadway shows will offer $20 tickets at the box office starting 20 minutes before show time. The participating shows will include 25 Questions For A Jewish Mother, A Jew Grows In Brooklyn, A Very Common Procedure, Altar Boyz, The Awesome 80s Prom, Be, The Big Voice: God or Merman?, Bill W And Dr Bob, Defender Of The Faith, The Fantasticks, The Fever, The Gazillion Bubble Show, Gutenberg! The Musical!, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, Jewtopia, The Last Word..., Mary Rose, My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, And I'm In Therapy, My Secret Garden, Naked Boys Singing, Perfect Crime, Room Service, Sealed For Freshness, Some Men, Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell, Stomp and The Voysey Inheritance. Further information can be found on the Off Broadway web site, via the link below right.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Royal Court Theatre London production of Tom Stoppard's latest award winning play Rock'N'Roll, set in Czechoslovakia and Britain, moving between 1956, 1968 and the present day, about the Czech revolt against communism, directed by Trevor Nunn, will arrive on Broadway in the fall, produced by Sonia Friedman and Boyett Ostar; and that the award winning Menier Chocolate Factory London production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday In The Park With George, will be staged by the Roundabout Theatre Company and Boyett Ostar at Studio 54 in the 2007/2008 Broadway season. The Rumour Machine grinds on.