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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th December 2012

Steve Alpert and Ken Greiner in association with Slant Theatre Project will stage the premiere of Mat Smart's The Steadfast, looking at 8 soldiers across the sweep of American history from the Revolutionary War to present day, with Matt Dellapina, John Behlmann, Sean Patrick Reilly, David Ryan Smith, Alex Ubokudom, Brendan Titley, Ben Kahre, Susan Greenhill and Cloteal Horne, directed by Wes Grantom, previewing from January 20th at the TBG Theatre, opening on January 23rd. The TBG Theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Okada Productions and Yuji Takematsu will stage a new traditional Japanese musical Kikki & Grandpa & Baby, a tale of virtue and vice portraying strangers living on the edge who risk their lives to save each other, book, lyrics and direction by Yutaka Okada, music by Shizuka Iwabuchi, additional lyrics by Julie Holtzman and Kuni Mikami, with Karin Crighton, Ryan Neal Green, Alex Kafarakis, Geoff Lee, Chevy Kaeo Martinez, Vicki Oceguera, Jalah Williams and Chiho Araki, at the Chernuchin Theater from January 5th. The Chernuchin Theater is located at 314 West 54th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

On The Casting Couch: Wrenn Schmidt, Margaret Daly, Jon Fletcher, David Friedlander, Thomas M Hammond, Jamie Jackson, John O'Creagh and Fiana Toibin will feature in Teresa Deevy's Katie Roche, opening at the Mint Theatre on February 25th; Adam Kantor and Betsy Wolfe will feature in Jason Robert Brown's musical The Last Five Years, opening at Second Stage Theatre on April 2nd; and Cicely Tyson will be joined by Cuba Gooding Jr, Vanessa Williams and Condola Rashad in Horton Foote's The Trip To Bountiful, opening at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on April 23rd.

Hamlet In Bed, written and performed by Michael Laurence, a dark comedy about an actor rehearsing Hamlet with his birth mother playing Gertrude, with Lisa Emery, directed by Lisa Peterson, will preview from January 16th at the SoHo Playhouse, opening on February 3rd. The SoHo Playhouse is located at 15 Vandam Street, between 6th and Varick Streets.

August Strindberg Repertory Theatre will stage August Strindberg's Easter, telling of a family's manifold misfortunes, directed by Robert Greer, will play at the Gene Frankel Theatre from March 8th. The Gene Frankel Theatre is located at 24 Bond Street, between Lafayette Street and Bowery.

The Red And The Black, written and directed by Deloss Brown, adapted from Stendhal's novel chronicling a provincial young man's attempts to rise socially beyond his modest upbringing with a combination of talent and hard work, deception and hypocrisy, who ultimately allows his passions to betray him, with Krista Adams Santilli, Katie Burton, Jeremy Johnson, Brian Linden, Jessica Myhr, Peter Reznikoff, Philip Rossi and Lucas Wells, will play at Theatre at Saint Clement's from January 18th. Theatre at St Clement's is located at 423 West 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Snapped Productions will stage a contemporary and ethnically diverse take on William Shakespeare's middle aged rom com Much Ado About Nothing, with Harpreet Chaggar, Jon Dalin, Jeffrey Delano Davis, Ratnesh Dubey, Ann Gulian, Matt Kelley, Mary-Rose Mack, Norihito Moriya, Keith R. Oliver, Al-Nisa Petty, Robby Ramos, Donny Repsher, Jon Adam Ross, Gonšalo Ruivo, Caleb Schaaf, Peter Van Derick, Gary Warchola and Tina Ward, directed by Gregory Couba, at the 133rd Street Arts Center, from February 14th. The 133rd Street Arts Center is located at 308 West 133rd Street, between 8th and St Nicholas Avenues.

An updated version of Earl Wilson Jr's sexually charged revue Let My People Come, in an 'interactive production' with James Hansen, Diego Rios, Daniel Stevens, Molly McGivern, Haley Selmon, Amina Camille, Brian Craft, John Ryan Del Bosque, Gavin Rohrer, Mariel Blatt, Christie DaBreau and Susanna Merrick, directed by John Forslund, will preview from February 7th at the Underground, opening on February 14th. The Underground is located at 955 West End Avenue, at 107th Street and Broadway.

Performance Of The Century: 100 Years Of Actors' Equity Association And The Rise Of Professional American Theater by Robert Simonson, recently published by Applause, is more than just the story of the struggles to secure reasonable working conditions for performers. There are tales of how producers once forced performers to work ungodly hours without breaks, with no pay for rehearsals, dressing rooms no better than out houses, and scant concern for safety, often abandoned in provincial towns without pay or fare home when tours failed. But in addition, this book provides a fascinating look at how performers work and thrive, with discussions of great performers, tips on their craft from Broadway luminaries, and photographs, many of them quite rare, such as Bob Hope rehearsing for Roberta, John Carradine performing at the Stage Door Canteen during World War II, with a 19 year old Lauren Bacall watching him, and a young Elaine Stritch demonstrating vocal training exercises.

Witness Relocation will stage the premiere of Eterniday, a theatre-with-dance piece about all of human history happening in a 24 hour period, the random nature of life, and how amazing it is to fall in love, created with playwright Charles L Mee, directed and choreographed by Dan Safer, playing at La MaMa E.T.C. from April 4th. La MaMa E.T.C. is located at 74A East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery.