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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th October 2009

The Bridge Project has announced that the company of American and British actors for its second season productions of William Shakespeare's As You Like It and The Tempest, directed by Sam Mendes, will comprise Stephen Dillane, Christian Camargo, Juliet Rylance, Ron Cephas Jones, Thomas Sadoski, Michelle Beck, Edward Bennett, Ashlie Atkinson, Jenni Barber, Alvin Epstein, Jonathan Fried, Aaron Krohn, Anthony O'Donnell, Richard Hansell, Michael Thomas and Ross Waiton. As You Like It will preview from January 12th, with an official opening on January 24th, and The Tempest will preview from February 14th, and open on February 25th, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater, and transfer to the Old Vic Theatre in London from 12th June.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre Row will include Elliot Ramon Potts's Loaded, in which two men explore whether or not their casual sexual relationship has the potential to be something more, with Scott Kerns and Kevin Spirtas, directed by Michael Unger, previewing from November 7th at the Lion Theatre, opening on November 15th, produced by Ramoncíto Productions in association with Tim Sutton and David Santana; and Santa Claus Is Coming Out, written and performed by Jeffrey Solomon, in which a chain of events is set in motion by a boy's series of letters to Santa, directed by Joe Brancato, previewing from November 24th at the Kirk Theatre, opening on December 4th, produced by Diverse City Theater Company, Shotgun Productions and Penguin Repertory Company. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Bleecker Street Opera (successor to Amato Opera) has launched its first season at 45 Bleecker Street Theatres with Montemezzi's most famous opera, The Love Of Three Kings, based on a triangular love conflict in an Italian royal family in the 10th century, directed by Irene Frydel Kim, currently playing. It will be followed by Rossini's The Barber Of Seville, from December 6th; Verdi's Rigoletto, from March 21st; and Puccini's Madam Butterfly, from May 9th. 45 Bleecker Street Theatres is located at 45 Bleecker Street, between Lafayette and Mott Streets.

Mainly On Directing: Gypsy, West Side Story And Other Musicals by Arthur Laurents, recently published by Borzoi Books, is as close to 'from the horse's mouth' as you can get. The playwright, screenwriter and director dispenses the wisdom gained from a career spanning five decades, during which time he has worked with almost everyone in American musical theatre. Laurents writes freely and frankly, in most detail about his recent Broadway productions of West Side Story and Gypsy, two of the greatest classics of the American musical stage, but also about the string of shows that preceded them. He is insightful, incisive, and very opinionated, taking no prisoners in regard to his collaborators - for instance, making no secret of his disapproval of Sam Mendes's 2003 production of Gypsy, and even the show's original star, Ethel Merman. Laurents also writes about the works of other directors, including productions of Fiddler On The Roof, Kiss Me, Kate, Spring Awakening, Street Scene, The Phantom Of The Opera, LoveMusik and Sweeney Todd. This book is moving, passionate, exhilarating and provocative - a portrait of an artist working with other artists.

NEWSical The Musical, the topical satirical revue show - 'all the news that is fit to spoof' - by composer and lyricist Rick Crom, is to return, featuring Christine Pedi, previewing from November 24th at The 47th Street Theatre, opening on December 9th. The producers are Tom D'Angora and Fred M Caruso. The 47th Street Theatre is located at 304 West 47th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

A host of theatre veterans will celebrate Tennessee Williams's posthumous induction into the Poets' Corner at the Cathedral of St John the Divine at 7pm on November 5th. Williams is the first playwright to be inducted into the Poets' Corner, which was created in 1984 akin to the one in Westminster Abbey in London. Currently announced to celebrate and read Williams's work are Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Marian Seldes, John Guare, Olympia Dukakis, John Patrick Shanley, Gregory Mosher, Sylvia Miles, William Jay Smith, Lenya Rideout, Jeremy Lawrence, Wyatt Prunty, David Kaplan, Thomas Keith, Mitch Douglas and current Cathedral Poet in Residence Charles F Martin. The Cathedral will unveil a stone inscribed with "For time is the longest distance between two places", from Williams's The Glass Menagerie on November 8th at 4pm. The Cathedral of St John the Divine is located at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street.

Flux Theatre Ensemble will stage the premiere of August Schulenburg's The Lesser Seductions Of History, which follows ten characters through each year of the 1960's, with Jake Alexander, Matthew Archambault, Tiffany Clementi, Michael Davis, Candice Holdorf, Ingrid Nordstrom, Kelly O'Donnell, Jason Paradine, Christina Shipp, Isaiah Tanenbaum and DeWanda Wise, directed by Heather Cohn, at The Cherry Pit from November 6th. The Cherry Pit is located at 155 Bank Street, between Washington and West Streets.

The New York Theatre Workshop production of I Got Sick Then I Got Better, a one person show written and performed by Jenny Allen, telling the story of her life following being diagnosed with cancer, developed with and directed by James Lapine and Darren Katz, will play at the 4th Street Theatre from October 23rd. The 4th Street Theatre is located at 83 East 4th Street, between The Bowery and 2nd Avenue.