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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th October 2013

Transport Group's winter/spring season at the Gym at Judson will comprise John Cariani's Almost, Maine, in which locals and visitors gather under the northern lights to try to make sense of the strange thing called love, with John Cariani in the cast, directed by Jack Cummings III, previewing from January 19th, opening on February 4th; and an all-female staging of John Van Druten's I Remember Mama, the story of a family of Norwegian immigrants living in San Francisco in the 1910s, with Barbara Andres, directed by Jack Cummings III, previewing from March 16th, opening on April 1st. The Gym at Judson Memorial Church is located at 55 Washington Square South, at Thompson Street.

On The Casting Couch: Rebecca Hall will be joined by Suzanne Bertish, Michael Cumpsty and Morgan Spector in Sophie Treadwell's Machinal, opening at the American Airlines Theatre on January 16th; and Ramin Karimloo, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy and Nikki M James will head the cast of the Alain Boublil-Claude-Michel Schonberg's musical Les Miserables, returning to the Imperial Theatre on March 23rd.

This year's 24 Hour Plays On Broadway will take place at the American Airlines Theatre on Sunday November 18th. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Saturday November 17th, and form teams to write and rehearse 6 short plays to be performed 24 hours later. The plays will be interspersed with 6 musical acts. Those involved will include actors Sasha Alexander, Jason Biggs, David Cross, Natalie Dormer, Rachel Dratch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Greta Gerwig, Gina Gershon, Karen Gillan, Bryan Greenberg, Hill Harper, Gaby Hoffmann, Zachary Levi, Anthony Mackie, Zosia Mamet, Diane Neal, Rosie Perez, James Purefoy, Fisher Stevens, Julia Stiles, Mickey Sumner and Tracie Thoms; playwrights Rachel Axler, David Lindsay-Abaire, Lynn Nottage, Theresa Rebeck, Jonathan Marc Sherman and Devin Mojica; and directors America Ferrera, Ari Edelson, Andy Fickman, Kathy Najimy and Thomas Kail. Further information can be found on The 24 Hour Plays web site, via the link from Festivals & Events, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The New Group will stage Sharr White's Annapurna, in which, hearing he's in dire straits, a woman who left her husband 20 years ago, tracks him down in the wilds of Colorado in a grungy trailer, with Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, directed by Bart DeLorenzo, at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, from April 13th. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues.

The 18th annual Kids' Night On Broadway, in which kids from 6 to 18 can attend a Broadway show for free if they come with a paying adult, will be expanded to four nights, taking place from February 24th to March 2nd. Tickets are on sale from 10am on January 8th for the Broadway and Off Broadway shows that are participating. Theatre fans who join The Broadway Fan Club are eligible for special pre-sale opportunities. There will also be pre-theatre parties, educational and interactive workshops intended to introduce kids to the theatre, via activities such as dance lessons, a make up station and karaoke, with cast and crew members of Broadway shows participating. Certain theatre district restaurants will offer family friendly dinner discounts, and free entrees for each child accompanied by an adult who also purchase an entree. Parking discounts will also be available. Further information can be found on the Kids' Night web site via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

The latest exhibition at the New York Public Library Of The Performing Arts is The Line King's Library: Al Hirschfeld At The New York Public Library, featuring the work of the legendary cartoonist, running until 4th January. Al Hirschfeld brought a new set of visual conventions to the task of performance portraiture when he made his debut in 1926. His signature work, defined by a linear calligraphic style, made his name a verb: to be 'Hirschfelded' was a sign that one has arrived. Hirschfeld said his contribution was to take the character, created by the playwright and portrayed by the actor, and reinvent it for the reader. The Library has the largest collection of Hirschfeld artwork and archival material extant, including drawings, paintings, prints, books and publications, posters, album covers, and all manner of ephemera, from which this exhibition has been selected. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.

Abingdon Theatre Company will stage Helen Sneed's Fix Me Jesus, set in 1986, where a rising star in the Texas Democratic Party, whose career, love life, finances, and family relations are a train wreck, struggles to throw off her legacy and start anew, with Kate Froemmling, Lori Gardner, Polly Lee, Lisa McMillan, Lee Roy Rogers and Mitch Tebo, directed by Sam Pinkleton, at Dorothy Strelsin Theatre from November 1st. The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The Rumour Machine says: that The Rascals: Once Upon A Dream, a staged concert event written by Steven Van Zandt, with music and lyrics by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, featuring The Rascals's hit songs of the 1960s, accompanied by their history told through archival footage, narration and dramatic film segments, directed by Van Zandt and Marc Brickman, will return to Broadway for a 3 week season at the Marquis Theatre in December; and that Disney will hold a developmental lab of a revised musical adaptation of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, based on the 1996 animated film and novel by Victor Hugo, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a new book by Peter Parnell, directed by Scott Schwartz, in January (a version of the show with a book by James Lapine has played in Europe since 1999). The Rumour Machine grinds on.