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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd March 2010

Primary Stages has announced its 2010/2011 season at 59E59 Theaters, which will include Jonathan Tolins's Secrets Of The Trade, about an aspiring performer who hopes that his idol will open the door to Broadway success, directed by Matt Shakman, from July 27th; the premiere of the musical In Transit, by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russell M Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth, inspired by the rhythms and sounds of life on the subway, in which seven performers play multiple characters as they find their way in New York, directed by Joe Calarco, from September 21st; and the premiere of A R Gurney's Black Tie, set at a wedding, where the father of the groom finds that balancing the standards of his late father and the needs of his future family proves messy, directed by Mark Lamos, from January 25th. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.

City Center, the venue originally built in 1923 as a meeting hall for the members of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, which became Manhattan's first performing arts center in 1943, is to undergo a $75m renovation. The refurbishment scheme, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, will include upgrading from the exterior canopies at the front of the building to backstage, with restoration of original Moorish architectural features, new lighting, improved seating and sightlines by re-raking the floors, new amenities in an enlarged lobby, a sprung stage floor and refurbished dressing rooms. Work will be carried out in two phases: late April to September this year, and mid March to October next year, to ensure that there will be no significant interruption to the performance schedule.

Forthcoming shows at Theatre Row will include the premiere of Kate Moira Ryan's Bass For Picasso, a comic look at contemporary gay and lesbian life, set at a dinner party boasting an eclectic guest list, with Anita Hollander, Mary Archbold, Felice Neals, Terry Small and Nicholas Viselli, directed by Ike Schambelan, previewing from April 17th at the Kirk Theatre, opening on May 2nd, a Theater Breaking Through Barriers production; The Resonance Ensemble's staging of Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, the story of a renowned but aging builder obsessed with constructing tall spires, who fears the competition from his younger rivals, directed by Eric Parness, and June Finfer's new play The Glass House, about the conflict between artist and patron inspired by the design and building of Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson's Glass House, directed by Evan Bergman, in repertoire, previewing from May 9th at the Clurman Theatre; and Marisa Wegrzyn's Killing Women, a dark comedy exploration of the ironies and insanities of corporate America, where even professional assassins are fighting for their benefits, with Autumn Hurlbert, Lori Prince and Michael Puzzo, directed by Adam Fitzgerald, previewing from May 13th at the Beckett Theatre, opening on May 16th, produced by kef theatrical productions in association with South Ark Stage. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The premiere of Hamlet: A Pocket Opera, a miniature opera, music by Aaron Dai, libretto by Jon Marans, with Darius de Haas, Patrice Boyd, Will Robinson and Peter Van Derick, will be performed on March 27th and March 28th at St Paul's Church, as part of the Chelsea Symphony's spring concert season. St Paul's Church is located at 315 West 22nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Jazz Loft Project, an exhibition at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts until May 22nd, features the work of the photographer W Eugene Smith. In 1957 Smith moved out of his family home in upstate New York, and into a dilapidated, 5 story loft building at 821 6th Avenue, between 28th and 29th streets, in the city's wholesale flower district. The building was a late night haunt of musicians, including some of the biggest names in jazz, Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk among them, and countless underground characters. This exhibition evokes the jazz loft through more than 200 images, several hours of audio, and 16mm film footage of Smith working in the loft. Setting the scene are Smith's gritty photographs of the loft and his pictures of the flower district below his 4th floor window. Viewed alongside his master prints, Smith's 5x7 inch work prints further reveal the breadth and depth of the loft story. Listening stations give access to selections from Smith's reel-to-reel tapes, which caught everything from rousing jam sessions to historic radio and TV broadcasts, loft conversations, and street noise. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

The Spainish comedy theatre company Yllana will make its New York debut with 666, in which three dangerous criminals and one misplaced innocent arrive on death row, which sets free their wildest fantasies, as they interact with each other and with the audience, with Fidel Fernandez, Joseph Michael O'Courneen, Juan Francisco Ramos Toro and Raul Cano, previewing from March 30th at the Minetta Lane Theatre, opening April 15th. The show is presented by Psycoductions. The Minetta Lane Theatre is located at 18 Minetta Lane, between 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street.

The Rumour Machine says: that Rupert Holmes's stage adaptation of John Grisham's novel A Time To Kill, about a man on trial for murder after avenging an attack on his daughter, is looking to be Broadway bound next season, courtesy of producer Daryl Roth, following a tryout this summer at Arena Stage in Washington; and that the play with music Peter And The Starcatchers, by Rick Elice, music by Wayne Barker, based on the Wicked style prequel to Peter Pan by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, which had a workshop run at La Jolla Playhouse last year, may fly again at the New York Theatre Workshop next year - Disney Theatrical Productions owns the rights. The Rumour Machine grinds on.