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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd January 2007

After a 13 year run, making it the 6th longest running show in Broadway history, Beauty And The Beast will play its final performance at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on July 29th, giving way for the long awaited Disney musical The Little Mermaid, which will preview from November 3rd, with an official opening on December 6th. Adapted from the 1989 film, the show has a book by Doug Wright, music by Alan Menken, and lyrics by Glenn Slater and Howard Ashman. It will be directed by Francesca Zambello, with choreography Stephen Mear, scenic design by George Tsypin, costume design by Tatiana Noginova and lighting design by Natasha Katz. The show will play a pre-Broadway season at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center of Performing Arts, opening on July 26th.

WET (Women's Expressive Theater) will present the world premiere of Anna Ziegler's BFF, with Sasha Eden, Laura Heisler and Jeremy Webb, directed by Josh Hecht, previewing from February 17th at the DR2 Theatre, opening on February 24th. It is the darkly comic story of a New Yorker living in the past and present simultaneously, who accidentally tells a lie her adolescent past, and is forced to complete a story that had previously remained unfinished. The DR2 Theatre is located at 103 East 15th Street, between Union Square East and Irving Place.

Broadway Bares, the 17th annual fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, will take place at the Roseland Ballroom on June 17th. Originally created by the choreographer Jerry Mitchell, the event combines the naughtiness of burlesque and the razzle-dazzle of Broadway, featuring the hottest male and female gypsies on the Great White Way. A record $659,500 was raised at last year's event. The Roseland Ballroom is located at 239 West 52nd Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Further information can be found at the BC/EFA web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

My Secret Garden, adapted and directed by Christopher Scott, from Nancy Friday's 1973 book of interviews that exposed in explicit detail the sexual fantasies of a generation of women, with McKenzie Frye, Lyn Philistine and Mimi Quinn, will preview from February 2nd at the 45th Street Theatre, opening on February 14th. The producers are Eric Krebs and Maximus Productions. The 45th Street Theatre is located at 354 West 45th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, London's National Theatre production of Coram Boy, adapted by Helen Edmundson from the novel by Jamila Gavin, directed by Melly Still, will preview from April 16th at the Imperial Theatre, with an official opening on May 2nd. The story follows the intertwined fortunes of two orphans at the Coram Hospital for Deserted Children in 18th century England, one rescued from an African slave ship, the other an abandoned son of the heir to a great estate. The show features set and costume design by Ti Green and Melly Still, lighting design by Paul Constable and sound design by Christopher Shutt. The New York producer is Boyett Ostar.

Singles' Night On Broadway, a pilot for The League of American Theatres and Producers' new program that invites theatregoers to pre and post show singles parties, will take place February 28th. Anyone aged 21 or older who purchases a ticket to one of over 20 participating Broadway and Off Broadway shows for that night can attend a free cocktail party at Madame Tussauds New York from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, and an after show party at one of three restaurants: Trattoria Dopo Teatro, Zanzibar or T New York. Further information and online booking can be found at the SNOB web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of TheatreNet. The League is planning to pilot another new program, Women's Night On Broadway, in the near future.

The Atlantic Theater Company will present Kate Robin's Anon, a tale about the hazy territory where sex, relationships, and addiction overlap, directed by Melissa Kievman, previewing from January 24th at Atlantic Stage 2, opening January 31st. The cast comprises Caroline Aaron, Remy Auberjonois, Susan Blackwell, Shannon Burkett, Bill Buell, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Dana Eskelson, Michelle Federer, Katy Grenfell, Linda Marie Larson, Jenny Maguire, Kate Nowlin, Danielle Skraastad and Anna Wilson. Atlantic Stage 2 is located at 330 West 16th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

In keeping with its hospitality theme, the revival of the classic 1937 farce Room Service at SoHo Playhouse, will offer a free meal at Mr Dennehy's restaurant for tickets purchased for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Wednesday matinees through March 25th. The production features David Edwards, Fred Berman, Dale Carman, Sterling Coyne, Scott Evans, Blythe Gruda, Robert O'Gorman and Kim Rachelle, under the direction of Dan Wackerman. The plot involves a theatrical producer in a Times Square hotel with 19 actors and a playwright, trying to rehearse a show, find a backer, and dodge the manager's attempts to get him to settle his bill. The SoHo Playhouse is located at 15 Vandam Street, between 6th Avenue and Varick Street.

Emerging Artists Theatre is presenting its second annual Triple Threat season, premiering three plays by emerging playwrights, in repertoire at Theatre 5, from February 5th to March 4th. The plays are: Joan Ross Sorkin's (mis)Understanding Mammy: The Hattie McDaniels Story, a one woman play with music revealing a side of the actress that few people knew, with Capathia Jenkins, directed by David Glenn Armstrong; Jeff Hollman's Real Danger, about a reunion of college friends that produces a series of shocking surprises, with Eric Chase, Ryan Duncan, and Carol Monda, directed by Paul Adams; and Carl Gonzalez's Elephant Girls, in which a group of women spiral into a maelstrom of emotion that leaves their relationships changed forever, with Sarah Aziz, Amy Bizjak, Glory Gallo and Lue McWilliams, directed by Derek Jamison. Theatre 5 is located at 311 West 43rd Street, 5th Floor, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that August Wilson's Radio Golf, the last play in his 10 play cycle about the 20th century African-American experience, directed by Kenny Leon, currently playing at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, may transfer to the Cort Theatre; and that Leon will direct a new Broadway staging of Tennessee Williams's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, featuring an African American cast, during the 2007/08 season. The Rumour Machine grinds on.