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Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th March 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Race, a new play written and directed by David Mamet, will preview on Broadway from October 26th at a Shubert theatre yet to be announced, with an official opening on December 10th. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel and Steve Traxler.

Exit Cuckoo, a solo work written and performed by Lisa Ramirez, a comedy and commentary on the intricate and colorful culture of nannies in New York, directed by Colman Domingo, will preview from April 17th at the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on April 23rd, produced by Working Theater; and John Belluso's A Nervous Smile, about the parents of a girl severely disabled with cerebral palsy who are strained to breaking point by the burden of caring for their child, with Melanie Boland, Pamela Sabaugh, Marilee Talkington and Nicholas Viselli, directed by Ike Schambelan, will preview from April 17th at the Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row, opening on April 26th; Theatre Row is located at 410 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

This year's Live Design Master Classes will be held between 16th and 21st May. Abe Jacob, the godfather of contemporary theatre sound design, leads the Broadway Sound Master Classes, on 16th and 17th, with Jonathan Deans, Darren West, Nevin Steinberg, Sten Severson, Henry Cohen, Bob McCarthy, Scott Lehrer, Duncan Edwards and John Taylor. A veritable who's who in Broadway lighting design, led by doyenne Jules Fisher, and including Scott Parker, Beverly Emmons, Peggy Eisenhauer, Don Holder, Brian MacDevitt, Kevin Adams, Ken Posner and Howell Binkley, make up the faculty of the Lighting Master Classes, from 18th to 20th. The Projection Master Class, with a faculty that will include Elaine McCarthy, Zachary Borovay and Jason Lyons, will be held on 21st. In addition to the keynote speakers, all programmes include a visit to a new 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.

Atlantic Theater Company will stage the world premiere of Ethan Coen's Offices, comprising a trilogy of workplace comedies, directed by Neil Pepe, from April 15th at the Linda Gross Theater. The cast includes F Murray Abraham, Daniel Abeles, Brennan Brown, Aya Cash, John Bedford Lloyd, Daniel London, Mary McCann, Joey Slotnick, Greg Stuhr, C J Wilson and Daniel Yelsky. The Linda Gross Theater is located at 336 West 20th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.

Mind the Gap Theatre will stage BritBits, a short play festival featuring new works by, for or about the British, at Manhattan Theatre Source from April 26th to May 5th. The plays will be: Rachel Welch's Keeping Annabelle, Declan Feenan's Volcano, Rachel Barnett's The Last 13 Minutes Of Your Life, Philip Gawthorne's Apple Pie, Camilla Maxwell's I Heart Animals, Andrew Biss's Kitchen Sink Drama, Kraig Smith's Daft In Death, Denise de Bergerac's The Homecoming and Richard Manton-Hollis's The Well. The cast features Hannah Barker, Ben Bergin, Bill Cohen, Emma Gordon, Jason Grossman, Dan Haughey, Richard T Lester, Sarah Manton, Camilla Maxwell, Mia Moreland, Vinnie Penna, Lucy Rayner, Luke Tudball, Gwenfair Vaughan, Fiona Walsh and Steven Young. The directors will be Amir Arison, Stephanie Staes, Jenny Sterlin and Paula D'Alessandris. Manhattan Theatre Source is located at 177 MacDougal Street, between 8th Street and Waverly Place.

Electric Pear Productions and Performance Lab 115 will stage the world premiere of Ashlin Halfnight's Artifacts Of Consequence, an apocalyptic futuristic satire set in an underwater bunker, where cultural artifacts are stored for the rebuilding of a great society, with Sara Buffamanti, Tobias Burns, Hanna Cheek, Marty Keiser, Rebecca Lingafelter, Jayd McCarty and Amy Newhall, directed by Kristjan Thor, previewing from April 16th at The Wild Project, opening on April 21st. The Wild Project is located at 195 East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B.

Lincoln Center Theater will present a return engagement of John Lithgow's one man show John Lithgow: Stories By Heart, directed by Jack O'Brien, a meditation on the art and essence of storytelling, culminating in a performance of either P G Wodehouse's Uncle Fred Flits By or Ring Lardner's Haircut, playing in repertory on Sunday and Monday evenings from 12th April to 25th May.

The second 24 Hour Musicals will be held on Monday April 13th at The Gramercy Theatre, with a VIP after party at the National Arts Club. A group of 16 actors, 4 writers, 4 directors, 2 choreographers and 4 musical directors will come together on the evening of Sunday April 12th, and form teams to write and rehearse 4 short musicals to be performed 24 hours later. Artists involved will include Idina Menzel, Bebe Neuwirth, Cheyenne Jackson, Alicia Witt, Rachel Dratch, Mo Rocca, Stephen Pasquale, Tracie Thoms, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Ted Sperling, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Tamara Tunie. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Orchard Project.

The Gramercy Theatre is located at 127 East 23rd Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues. Further information can be found on The Exchange web site, via the link from Off Broadway Venues & Companies, in the Links section of New York TheatreNet.

Jon Marans's The Temperamentals, which weaves together the personal and the political to tell a relatively unknown story of the establishment of the first gay rights organization in the United States, with Michael Urie, Thomas Jay Ryan, Matthew Schneck and Sam Breslin Wright, directed by Jonathan Silverstein, will preview from April 30th at the Barrow Group Studio Theater, opening on May 4th. The Barrow Group Studio Theater is located at 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues.