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BIT PARTS - Getting The Word Out

Sherry Eaker, Editor in Chief of Back Stage, joins a group of other communications pros to help NYC theatres solve the problem of "Getting the Word Out." They'll instruct theatre execs on how to get noticed, especially if producing on a limited budget.

Theatre Resources Unlimited, a network of producing organizations, will sponsor the gathering on Tues., April 28, at 7:30 pm. Joining Eaker at Applause Theatre Books, 211 W. 71st St., will be:

Drew Dix of New York Press; Michael Hartman, publicist with Boneau Bryan-Brown; Linda Lehman, v.p. and account supervisor of Grey Entertainment; Michael Parker, publisher of In Theater; Francine Russo, theatre journalist and critic with The Village Voice, and Dena Drakes, publisher of Showcase News.

Free to members, $7 to others; limited seating with essential reservations. Info: (212) 714-7628.

"R&J" & The Bard's Birthday

"R&J," which has dubbed itself "the longest running production of 'Romeo and Juliet' ever in New York City," reaches its 100th performance the day after Shakespeare's April 24 birthday. "R&J," which plays Off-Broadway at the John Houseman Studio Theatre, recently won the 1998 Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding achievement.

Songs of Bernadette

The vivacious Bernadette Peters will perform in concert to benefit the Greystone Foundation on Sun., May 17 at SUNY Performing Arts Center in Purchase. The nonprofit foundation's social-service priorities include housing homeless and low-income families, employing disenfranchised citizens, and AIDS housing and support services. Info: (914) 376-3900.

Havel Seriously Ill

Vaclav Havel, the internationally honored playwright and present president of the Czech Republic, has been reported in stable condition in Innsbruck University Hospital. He underwent an emergency operation this week because of breathing problems, with mucus secreting into his weak right lung. The procedure followed last week's removal of a major portion of his intestine. He was operated on for lung cancer in December 1996, according to The Times of London.

"Unexpected" Pleasure

Playwright Yasmina Reza, who currently has the hottest play going in both New York and London, just opened her new boarder, "The Unexpected Man," via the Royal Shakespeare Company. The new piece approaches art, according to Daily Variety, but this time because of the actors, the highly respected Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins. Says critic Matt Wolf, the play is "a theatrical powder puff" which Gambon and Atkins raise to the artistic level.

Back Stage Staffer on NY-1 News

David Sheward, Back Stage's managing editor and one of its theatre critics, will be a regular correspondent on "New York-1 On Stage," the new weekly program devoted to the stage scene. The premiere program will be aired on Mon., May 4 on New York-1 News at 9:30 pm. The first show spotlights the Tony nominations which will be announced that morning.

New York-1 will also carry the announcement of the Drama Desk Award nominations on Mon., April 27 at 10 am. Robert Cuccioli ("Jekyll & Hyde") and Lillias White ("The Life") will read the list of nominees.

-Roger Armbrus

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