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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd April 2014

The Public Theater's 2014/2015 season will include the musical The Fortress Of Solitude, book by Itamar Moses, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin, adapted from the novel by Jonathan Lethem, a coming-of-age story about 1970s Brooklyn and beyond, from September 30th; Suzan-Lori Parks's Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), an epic story set over the course of the Civil War, directed by Jo Bonney, from October 14th; Straight White Men, written and directed by Young Jean Lee, a drama of a father and three sons examining contemporary attitudes and values, with Austin Pendleton, Scott Shepherd, Pete Simpson and James Stanley, from November 6th; the previously announced musical Hamilton, written by and featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by Ron Chernow's biography of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, directed by Thomas Kail, from January 20th, with support from producers Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs and Jill Furman; and The Total Bent, text by Stew, music by Heidi Rodewald and Stew, about the passions that divide a father and son who are both in the music business, directed by Joanna Settle, from March 3rd. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street, between Astor Place and East 4th Street.

A musical, Atomic, book and lyrics by Danny Ginges and Gregory Bonsignore, music and lyrics by Philip Foxman, telling the story of the creation of the atomic bomb, with Sara Gettelfinger, Jeremy Kushnier, Euan Morton, David Abeles, Alexis Fishman, Jonathan Hammond, James David Larson, Preston Sadlier and Grace Stockdale, directed by Damien Gray, with choreography by Dean Walsh, will play at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row from June 26th. The producers are Dreamingful Productions and Graymatter Entertainment. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Michael Blakemore's Stage Blood, published by Faber & Faber, is a memoir about his time as associate director of the British National Theatre, charting the transitions from the founding directorship of Laurence Olivier to Peter Hall, and the Old Vic theatre to the new National theatre building. Having staged 8 productions for the National, Blakemore found himself increasingly uncomfortable under Hall's regime, and this is a candid and at times painfully funny account of the events that led to his dramatic exit in 1976. Blakemore recalls the theatrical triumphs and flops, his volatile relationship with Olivier, including directing him in Long Day's Journey Into Night, the extravagant dinners in Hall's Barbican flat with Harold Pinter, Jonathan Miller and the other associates, the opening of the new building, and his brave and misrepresented decision to speak out.

The Town Hall has announced its annual Summer Broadway Festival, conceived by Scott Siegel, a series of Monday night events featuring Broadway performers. The Ambassador Revue, the American premiere of a 1928 musical revue by Cole Porter, directed by Ken Bloom, will play on 27th June; Broadway's Rising Stars, on July 14th, will feature students from New York City's performing arts schools and programs, directed by Scott Coulter; and Maestro Bernstein, on July 17th, will combine first-person narrative with the compositions of Leonard Bernstein, written and performed by Hershey Felder, directed by Joel Zwick. The Town Hall is located at 123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue and Broadway.

This year's Broadway Master Classes have been announced. A veritable who's who in contemporary lighting design, led by doyenne Jules Fisher, including Kevin Adams, Chris Akerlind, Mark Barton, Howell Binkley, Jeff Croiter, Beverly Emmons, Wendall K Harrington, Donald Holder, Clifton Taylor, Japhy Weideman and David Weiner make up the faculty of the Lighting Master Classes, from May 30th to June 1st. The Projection Master Class, led by Zachary Borovay, with a faculty that will include designers, technicians, content creators, and other projection pros, will be held on June 2nd and 3rd. Abe Jacob, the godfather of contemporary theatre sound design, leads the Broadway Sound Master Classes, from June 4th to 6th, with Mark Bennett, Peter Hylenski, Lindsay Jones, Bob McCarthy, Dan Moses Schreier, Nevin Steinberg and Jon Weston. In addition to the keynote speakers, programmes include a visit to a Broadway musical, complete with a backstage tour, a discussion with the design team, and in depth analysis of the production, plus a manufacturers' showcase. Full details can be found on the Live Design web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The Drilling Company will stage its 20th free Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot, season, with Twelfth Night, telling stories of unrequited love, hailed as Shakespeare's greatest comedy, from July 10th to 26th, and Othello, the ultimate tale of jealousy, betrayal and revenge, from July 31st to August 16th, directed by Hamilton Clancy, performed in a municipal parking lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets. The company will also perform Hamlet, in which a prince exacts revenge on his uncle for murdering his father, stealing the crown and marrying his mother, with Alessandro Colla, from May 15th to 31st in Bryant Park.

The Rumour Machine says: that Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize winning The Flick, in which three employees battle to keep a rundown traditional cinema alive in New England, directed by Sam Gold, seen last year at Playwrights Horizons, will be remounted at the Barrow Street Theatre, probably with the original cast of Alex Hanna, Louisa Krause, Matthew Maher and Aaron Clifton Moten, by producer Scott Rudin; that James Earl Jones may be Broadway bound this fall in George S Kauffman and Moss Hart's family comedy You Can't Take It With You, directed by Michael Wilson; and that Dianne Wiest may feature in The New Group's production of Joel Drake Johnson's Rasheeda Speeking, in which a white physician attempts to oust his black receptionist by enlisting a white female co-worker as a spy, directed by Cynthia Nixon, next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.