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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th February 2012

Playwrights Horizons has announced its 2012/2013 season, which will comprise on the Mainstage: Lisa D'Amour's Detroit, in which a suburban barbecue to welcome new neighbours soon veers out of control, directed by Anne Kauffman; the premieres of Amy Herzog's The Great God Pan, which tells the tale of what is lost and won when a hidden truth is unloosed into the world, directed by Carolyn Cantor; and Annie Baker's The Flick, in which three employees battle to keep a rundown traditional cinema alive in New England, directed by Sam Gold; plus the musical Far From Heaven, book by Richard Greenberg, music by Scott Frankel, lyrics by Michael Korie, adapted from the film, a story of romance, betrayal, intolerance and a woman grappling with her identity in a society on the verge of great upheaval, directed by Michael Greif, which will premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer; and in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre: Samuel D Hunter's The Whale, the story of a man's last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places, directed by Davis McCallum; and the premiere of Tanya Barfield's The Call, a portrait of cultural divide as a white American couple attempt to adopt an African baby, directed by Leigh Silverman. Playwrights Horizons is located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The League of Independent Theater, the Off Off Broadway advocacy organisation is establishing the Independent Theater Fund, backed by almost 50 theatres and theatre companies, to help maintain the vitality and diversity of New York's smaller, independent theatre community. Starting on August 1st, the initiative will deduct 5 cents from each ticket sold at participating theatres to put toward the fund, which will be used for building renovations, repairs, equipment and even purchase, project grants to create and develop new work, and individual grants to support theatre artists. Had the scheme been in operation in 2010 it would have raised over $605,000. The LIT has also called upon the Broadway League to lend its financial support to sustain independent theatre in New York, by also donating 5 cents per Broadway ticket to the fund.

On The Casting Couch: Bebe Neuwirth and Christina Ricci will be joined by Jordan Dean, Nick Gehlfuss, David Greenspan, Halley Wegryn Gross, Anthony Heald, Erin Hill, Chad Lindsey, Taylor Mac, James Patrick Nelso, Steven Skybell and Rob Yang in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, at Classic Stage Company from March 28th; and Jim Parsons, Jessica Hecht and Charles Kimbrough will be joined by Larry Bryggman, Peter Benson, Tracee Chimo, Holley Fain, Angela Paton, Rich Sommer, Morgan Spector and Carol Kane in Mary Chase's Harvey, opening at Studio 54 on June 14th.

The York Theatre Company's Musicals In Mufti series of semi-staged performances will continue with The Tom Jones Festival, featuring works by the book and lyric writer: The Show Goes On: A Portfolio of Theater Songs By Tom Jones And Harvey Schmidt, with Tom Jones and Susan Watson, directed by Pamela Hunt, March 16th to 18th; Roadside, music by Harvey Schmidt, based on a play by Lynn Riggs about two larger than life ranchers who refuse to settle down, directed by David Glenn Armstrong, March 30th to April 1st; Story By Story: A Conversation With Tom Jones on April 4th; Harold And Maude, music by Joseph Thalken, adapted from the screenplay by Colin Higgins, about the unlikely romance between a death-obsessed teenager and a 79 year old, directed by Carl Andress, April 13th to 15th; Colette Collage, music by Harvey Schmidt, a portrait of the French writer, directed by Michael Montel, April 27th to 29th; and The Game Of Love, music by Jacques Offenbach, arrangements and additional music by Nancy Ford, adapted from Arthur Schnitzler's The Anatol Plays, about a playboy and his relationships, directed by West Hyler, May 11th to 13th. The York Theatre Company's Theatre at Saint Peter's is on 54th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.

Broadway Bears, the 15th and final annual auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, featuring a host of teddy bears dressed in costume as characters from Broadway shows, many autographed by the original stars, will be held at B B King Blues Club & Grill, on March 18th. Among the bears from shows old and new will be Evita, Follies, Grey Gardens, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Li'l Abner, Porgy And Bess, Sister Act, Sunset Boulevard and War Horse. Last year's auction raised a total of $103,905, when the top seller was Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady, autographed by Julie Andrews, which went for $14,000. Since its inception the event has raised over $1.85m. 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.

The Active Theater will stage Richard Greenberg's The Violet Hour, the story of a young publisher who struggles to choose his next project while dealing with the appearance of a strange machine that spits out manuscript pages with information about his future, with John P Keller, Cheryl Freeman, Lincoln Thompson, Heather Lee Harper and Andrew Sellon, directed by Nathaniel Shaw, previewing from March 9th at The Workshop Theater, opening on March 12th. The Workshop Theater is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The spring season at 59E59 Theaters will include: Joyce Hokin Sachs's Eternal Equinox, an imagined encounter between the mountaineer George Mallory and the Bloomsbury Group painters Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, directed by Kevin Cochrane, from March 1st, a Grove Theater Center production; and The Maria Project, written and performed by Marcella Goheen, in which the voices of a family over three generations trails a history down to the secret that shaped its destiny, directed by Larry Moss, from March 6th, produced by Pure Projects in association with Uncle Frank Productions. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.