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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st June 2010

The 41st anniversary season of the 92nd Street Y's Lyrics & Lyricists series, featuring the songs of a particular writer or era, will comprise: Frank And Tony And Peggy And Me: Making Music With The Great Singers - Celebrating Bucky Pizzarelli's 85th Birthday, January 8th to 10th; On A Clear Day: The Musical Vision Of Burton Lane, February 12th to 14th: Stage Door Canteen: Broadway Responds To WWII, March 12th to 14th; The Crowds At El Morocco: The Heyday Of The New York Nightclubs, April 30th to May 2nd; and Carried Away: Being Comden And Green, May 21st to 23rd. The 92nd Street Y is located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

PTP/NYC will stage a repertoire previewing on July 6th, 7th and 8th at Atlantic Stage 2, opening on July 11th, 12th and 13th, comprising David Rabe's A Question Of Mercy, exploring the issue of euthanasia, with Alex Cranmer, Paula Langton, Mat Nakitare, Martha Newman and Tim Spears, directed by Jim Petosa; Howard Barker's Gary The Thief, about a character in self-exploration whose definition of himself is in direct opposition to the world's, with Robert Emmet Lunney, and Plevna: Meditations On Hatred, examining the legacy of cultural conflict through the ages, with Alex Draper, directed by Richard Romagnoli; and Snoo Wilson's Lovesong Of The Electric Bear, a bioplay about Alan Turing, the British mathematician, WWII code breaker and father of computer science, with Alex Draper, Tara Giordano, Martina Bonolis, Cassidy Boyd, Alex Cranmer, Claire Graves, Willie McKay, Peter Schmitz, Nina Silver and Lilli Stein, directed by Cheryl Faraone. Atlantic Stage 2 is located at 330 West 16th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Mark St Germain's Freud's Last Session, about an imagined meeting of Sigmund Freud and author C S Lewis at the outbreak of World War II, at which they clash on the existence of God, love, sex and the meaning of life, adapted from Armand Nicholi's The Question Of God, with Martin Rayner and Mark H Dold, directed by Tyler Marchant, previewing from July 9th at the Marjorie S Deane Little Theatre, opening on July 22nd. The Marjorie S Deane Little Theatre at the West Side YMCA is located at 10 West 64th Street, between Broadway and Central Park West.

The latest exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is The Peregrinations & Pettifoggery of W C Fields celebrating the life and work of one of America's great performers. Running until August 21st, it features posters, photographs, correspondence, cartoons, writing and memorabilia from the Fields family, plus film clips and recordings of radio broadcasts. William Claude Dukenfield rose to vaudeville stardom as a comic juggler, reaching the Ziegfeld Follies and Frolics, and touring around the world. He was both a superb physical comic, with a successful career in silent film, and a great verbal comedian, with a radio and sound film career lasting into the 1940s. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

The Complete Theatre Company will stage Yakup Almelek's The Awakening, adapted and directed by Annie Ward, revealing the lighter side of self-doubt, while satirising what it means to grow up, with Joe Carr, Sandra Coelho, Bill Drain, Alexandra Hynes, Alex Levi-Gardes, Michael Livingston, Rachel Loebs, Gabriela Marcus, Joe McKernan, Clinton Schreck, Katherine Scott, Jo Anne Sellers, Maria Smith, Edward Snyder, Donna Stearns, Jon Vane and Victoria Weinberg, previewing from July 7th at Theater Three, opening on July 9th. Theater Three is located at 311 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Abingdon Theatre Company's 2010/2011 season will comprise: Reggie Cheong-Leen's The Nanjing Race, about a Japanese-American businessman visiting Nanjing China in 1988, who becomes involved with two hotel workers hoping to be sponsored to go to America, directed by Brian Tom O'Connor, from October 29th; the premiere of Joel Fields's How I Fell In Love, a comedy in which two lost souls haplessly seek romance as they stumble into adulthood, directed by Jules Ochoa, from January 21st; and Summer In Sanctuary, an autobiographical piece by performance poet and playwright by Al Letson, using monologue, song, poetry and multimedia, directed by Rob Urbinati, from March 31st. The Abingdon Theatre Company is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The OPTimistiks will stage Billy Carver And The Children In Mind, written and directed by Montserrat Mendez, a farce about a cult novelist tempted to go commercial and sell her character to Hollywood, with Jenny D Green, Armistead Johnson, Monroe Robertson, Lauren Roth, Aimee Whelan, Stuart Williams and Nathan Willis, previewing on July 6th at Manhattan Theatre Source, opening on July 7 th. Manhattan Theatre Source is located at 177 MacDougal Street, between West 8th Street and Washington Square North.

Theatre Craft: A Director's Practical Companion From A To Z, recently published by Faber and Faber, is an all-encompassing compendium (797 pages!) by John Caird, the co-director of the legendary productions of The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby and Les Miserables. Caird's goal is not only to share his expertise, but also to stimulate the imagination of anyone creating a play, musical or opera. Although both enlightening and entertaining, it is sharply focussed on the practical, entirely avoiding the use of anecdotal material. The book includes over 400 alphabetical entries and extensive cross-referencing that offers advice on all areas of directing - from Acting, Adaptation and Agents to Sound Effects, Superstitions, Trap Doors and Wardrobe - for both professional and amateur. Whatever the theatre space, from the backroom of a bar to the stages of the West End or Broadway, this authoritative volume is an essential reference tool for the modern theatre practitioner.

The Playwrights Realm will stage the U.S. premiere of Gonzalo Rodriguez Risco's Dramatis Personae, directed by Erik Pearson, previewing from October 1st at the Cherry Lane Theatre Studio, opening on October 7th. It is a dark comedy about the intersecting lives and minds of three authors searching for inspiration during the time of Peru's political coup in the early 1990s. The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street, between Barrow and Bedford Streets.