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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th January 2007

The current London Donmar Warehouse production of Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon, about the extended interviews David Frost had with Richard Nixon after his resignation from the White House, following the Watergate scandal, is now confirmed to preview from March 31st at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre, with an official opening on April 22nd. Michael Sheen and Frank Langella will reprise their title performances, joined by newcomers Remy Auberjonois, Shira Gregory, Corey Johnson, Stephen Kunken, Stephen Rowe, Triney Sandoval, Armand Schultz and Sonya Walger. The director is Michael Grandage, with set and costume design by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin, music and sound score by Adam Cork and video design by Jon Driscoll. The producers are Matthew Byam Shaw, Arielle Tepper Madover, Robert Fox, Act Productions and the Donmar Warehouse.

David Gow's Arrivals, with D Michael Berkowitz, Michael Gabriel Goodfriend, Susan Jeffries, Laurence Lau, Lanie MacEwan, Sal Mistretta and Brigitte Viellieu-Davis, directed by Dan Wackerman, will receive its U.S. premiere at Bank Street Theatre, previewing from February 8th, opening on February 12th. It tells the story of a Syrian born Canadian citizen who, having legally entered the U.S., is detained at Immigration by Homeland Security as a 'person of interest', and the efforts of his wife and lawyer to free him. Bank Street Theatre is located at 155 Bank Street, between Washington and West Streets.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city council have changed the funding arrangements for arts groups from 2008, allocating $30m to be given out in a competitive process by the Department of Cultural Affairs. It will replace the system in which 172 arts groups are given guaranteed amounts each year ($13.2m in 2007), and all other groups compete for remaining grant money from the DCA ($3.8m in 2007) and a negotiated city council contribution ($8.8m in 2007). In future, the 172 groups - which include Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater - will have to compete for funding, along with everyone else. There are similar changes for the separately funded Cultural Institutions Group, 34 arts organisations in city owned buildings, which include the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, City Center, New York State Theater and Carnegie Hall. Instead of the current system, in which the groups get a set figure ($102m in 2007) plus a negotiated city council contribution ($22m in 2007), they will get a guaranteed $119.7m in 2008, and will be monitored under a performance based review process called CultureStat. Further information and application procedures can be found on the DCA web site, via the link from Organisations & Information in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Stageplays Theatre Company will present the world premiere of Kathleen Anderson Culebro's La Llorona (The Crying Woman), with music by Cindy O'Connor, directed by Tom Ferriter, choreography by Ron De Jesus, at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, previewing from February 1st, opening on February 4th. It is the story of an American executive who moves with his pregnant wife to Mexico City, and finds they share a home with the spirit of the title who sings songs of sadness. The company comprises Ioana Alfonso, Natasha Tabandera, Julia Barnett, Trevor Jones, Mauricio Salgado and German Nande. Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

Mel Brooks's new stage musical Young Frankenstein, adapted from his 1974 film, will arrive on Broadway in the fall, following an out of town season this summer. As with his megahit The Producers, music and lyrics are by Brooks, book is by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, and Susan Stroman will direct and choreograph, with Brooks and Robert Sillerman producing. The movie, a parody of the classic horror films of the 1930s, featured a scene in which the Frankenstein monster is presented to the public in top hat and tails, performing Irving Berlin's Puttin' on the Ritz, which will be retained in the show.

Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell, an autobiographical piece interweaving the actor/writer's monologues and stories with unpublished letters and journals, co-created by Gray's widow Kathleen Russo, and Lucy Sexton, who also directs, will preview from February 20th at the Minetta Lane Theatre, opening on March 6th. The company comprises Kathleen Chalfant, Hazelle Goodman, Ain Gordon and Frank Wood. The producers are Eric Falkenstein, Michael Alden and Naked Angels. The Minetta Lane Theatre is located at 18 Minetta Lane, between 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street.

The 32nd annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Original Short Play Festival, Manhattan's oldest short play festival, will take place from June 4th to 17th, at the Chernuchin at The American Theatre of Actors, at 314 West 54th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. Participants are selected based on a rating system developed by Samuel French and Love Creek Productions. Then, for the first 12 nights of the festival, a full program of the plays is performed for a panel of judges, who select finalists to be performed on the last day, with members of Samuel French's editorial department attending, to offer publication contracts to authors of selected plays. Over 360 companies and schools from the U.S. and abroad have participated in the festival through the years, and Samuel French has published 163 of the submitted plays. The closing date for submissions is March 5th. Further information can be found on the Samuel French web site, via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of New York TheatreNet

Access Theater and Blue Coyote Theater Group will present Aeschylus's Oresteia, adapted by David Johnston, infusing the classic Greek tragedy with comic subversion, directed by Stephen Speights, will preview from February 14th at Access Theater, opening on February 17th. The cast will include Frank Anderson, Kyle Ancowitz, Brendan Bradley, Bryce Gill, Nell Gwynn, Heidi Jackson, Kathy Lichter, Jonna McElrath, Sarah Schoenberg, Gary Shrader and Robyn Weiss. The Access Theater is at 380 Broadway, 4th Floor, at White Street (two blocks south of Canal Street).

The Rumour Machine says: that Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg are working with Michael Legrand on Marguerite, a musical based on Alexandre Dumas's Camille, set during the German occupation of France in World War II; and that a revival of Michael Bennett's stage production of the Eyen-Krieger musical Dreamgirls may return to Broadway next season. The Rumour Machine grinds on.