Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dishing Up the Life of a Playwright with Jacques Lamarre of Raging Skillet at Connecticut's TheaterWorks

Dana Smith-Croll, George Salazar and Marilyn Sokol. {hoto" Lanny Nagler
By Lauren Yarger
Jacques Lamarre's newest play, Raging Skillet, is getting its world premiere, complete with some tasty treats for the audience, at TheaterWorks through Aug. 27.

Skillet is set as the book launch for the actual autobiography of Chef Rossi (Dana Smith-Croll), the popular "Jewish, lesbian punk-rock caterer" and has her preparing recipes in her kitchen, then feeding members of the audience (designed by Michael Schweikardt). She gets an assist from sous chef DJ Skillit (George Salazar) and her just-returned-from-the-dead, guilt-sprinkling mother (veteran comedian Marilyn Sokol.) Signed books are available at the theater.

The format savors the success of I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, the playwright's hit gastronomic adaptation of Giulia Melucci's dating memoir, which has gone on to serve up helpings of freshly made pasta at numerous regional theaters following its premiere at TheaterWorks in 2012.

Because I know Jacques and have a professional relationship with him that might be seen as a conflict, I won't review the show. Instead, I sent him some questions. Below are his sizzling responses.

Raging Skillet (directed by John Simpkins) plays through Aug. 27 at TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl St., Hartford. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Weekend Matinees at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $15-$65: theaterworkshartford.org.

CT ARTS CONNECTION: Setting the premise as a book launch for Chef Rossi is different (but I know you are only trying to outdo my stellar launch for author Tessa Afshar at the Mark Twain House....)Tell us about how the conversation went when you pitched this idea. 

JL: Thanks to my time at The Mark Twain House and Museum, I have put on a number of book launches and have had the pleasure of hosting some exceptionally well-executed book celebrations by outside event planners. :-) We were looking for a mechanism where Chef Rossi could plausibly talk to the audience about her life while preparing and serving food. The book launch concept came out of conversation with the artistic team as a great way to solve the challenge of why she has to tell us her stories and why she would demo her kitchen creations.

CTAC: How did adapting an unpublished book for the stage differ from I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, which already had been published? 

JL: The actual adapting of an unpublished book vs. a published book was not in-and-of-itself different. Negotiating for the stage rights was quite different because Rossi does not have an agent and is with a small publisher. This made the process quicker and easier. As with I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, I vetted everything I wrote with the author directly and acted as a go-between with the director to balance story veracity with theatricality. Both Rossi and Giulia (the subject of Spaghetti) made very few changes were generous in their trust.

CTAC: You have a food prep theme going on here. Coincidence or did the success of the first inspire the second? Were you already a fan of Chef Rossi?

JL: I certainly think what set apart I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti was the gimmick of the food preparation. Suddenly, theater went from being just seeing and hearing to include tasting and smelling. That story was very intimate and set in a kitchen, the warm smells brought you closer to Giulia. With three actors and lots of sound, lights, and projections, Raging Skillet feels even more immersive for the audience. We all have a relationship with food which I think makes the stories more universal and personal at the same time. I am hoping that this is my last food play for a while. It creates a lot of challenges for the theater.

No, I was not a fan of Chef Rossi before I encountered her book. Now I'm the president of her fan club.

CTAC: What is the hardest aspect of working with authors who have shared some of their most intimate and difficult moments? It's one thing to write it on paper. It's another to see it come to life on stage.

JL: I love writing about women and I love that the women I am writing about in Spaghetti, Skillet and Born Fat are all alive! They have all been so forthcoming with stories that have not been featured in their respective books. I can't say that working with the subjects of the plays has been difficult in any way. They've all been delighted with the results. The bigger challenge is how to take someone's personal experiences and make them stage-worthy -- our lives don't normally have a dramatic arc. That's my job as the playwright to structure their lives into a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

CTAC: Chef Rossi isn't all that sympathetic a character, especially when it comes to her treatment of her mother (and she gets called out for this by Skillit). Tell us about the writing process of that aspect, especially since you have a very good relationship with your own mother. Is this addressed in the book (sorry, I haven't read it) or was that something you added?

JL: In the book, there are a lot of laughs at the mother's expense. Although she is oftentimes inadvertently funny, the play really needed a moment where Rossi gets called out on being "every parent's nightmare." In the book, Chef Rossi does come to a realization that her mother was an exceptional woman, but dramatically I wanted her to acknowledge the depth of sacrifice this seemingly crazy mother made for her daughter. Their difference in religious outlook (Orthodox vs. non-religious), language (Mom uses Yiddish, Rossi uses profanity), and philosophy.

CTAC: Talk about the life of a playwright. You are working on one project, like this world premiere, but also dealing with other productions of Spaghetti and others of your works. How do you balance it all? How do you turn on the creativity for one project and turn off thoughts that might be coming for another?

JL: When I am working on multiple projects at once, it is not so difficult for me to hop creatively from the world of one play to the world of another. The challenge comes when the business of being a playwright conflicts with my day job as a marketing-events person or the competing time requirements for various productions occur. It can be overwhelming being the creative person and the business person, but fortunately I have been able to wear both hats.

CTAC: Are you acting as producer for the shows or does someone else handle that aspect of the business for you? Are you contacted by word of mouth or do you do a lot of submitting of the plays to theaters?

JL: I produce my own plays very infrequently. It is A LOT of work to wrangle directors, actors, venues, sets, props, etc. It ends up requiring me to take money out of my pocket or beg friends for the money. Despite my successes, I have not been able to land an agent, so I do have to hustle my own work. Fortunately, good reviews and word of mouth has landed my work at a variety of theaters. I'm really blessed in that regard.

CTAC: You are a local celebrity. Does that help or hurt when trying to find homes for your plays?

JL: It's so hard to answer this without sounding fat-headed! My relationship with TheaterWorks has been instrumental in my establishment as a professional playwright. I've got a great relationship with Seven Angels in Waterbury, as well. I am not sure if it is in the future to have my work on other Connecticut stages. I certainly hope so, but that isn't my choice.

CTAC: What advice do you have for a playwright just starting out?

JL: See a lot of plays and read a lot of plays. After years of doing both, I started to see how important structure and character are on stage. After you've seen and read enough, you can tell when a play goes off the rails, where it sinks, and where it soars.

CTAC: What are some of the most important lessons you have learned along the path to being a playwright?

JL: Like it or not, EVERYONE is going to have an opinion on your work. The girlfriend of the subject of Raging Skillet was giving me tips on how I could make the play better. An actor friend was telling me how I could improve it. Directors, actors, staff and critics, of course, will share how you can fix it (if, indeed, it is fixable). It may not need fixing. You have to develop the openness to see this feedback as a gift instead of an attack. It generally comes from a generous place and you have to receive it generously, even if you disagree and have no intention of taking the advice. This has been difficult for me and is something I am working on accepting graciously!
CTAC: What's next?

JL: I have two biographical plays in the works that are based on noteworthy female singers at pivotal junctures in their lives. One is a play with two songs; the other is a non-traditional approach to a musical. I'm excited about both. A theater up in Boston and I are in discussions on a new commission that may be surrounding my personal struggles with anxiety. I've got some plays that I have already written that I am working to get produced. As always, I have more than I can handle!

More About Jacques:

JACQUES LAMARRE is an award-winning playwright living in Manchester, CT. His play I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti premiered at TheaterWorks in 2012. The comedy went on to have subsequent productions at George Street Playhouse, Asolo Repertory, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Seven Angels, Florida Repertory, Half Moon, Hangar Theatre. Stoneham Theatre and Penobscott Playhouse. 

He is one of eight playwrights who wrote Christmas on the Rocks for TheaterWorks, with subsequent productions at Richmond Triangle Players (VA) and Warehouse Theatre (SC). Born Fat, another comedy, was workshopped at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and premiered at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT. It was subsequently remounted for the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York, garnering an award for Outstanding Solo Show. 

Other MITF productions include writing the book for Save the Robots - A Sci-Fi Musical Comedy and Emerson Theatre Collaborative’s production of Gray Matters (nominated for Outstanding Playwriting). His newest comedy My Vhite House Christmas Spashial vith Melania (Live from Trump Tower) received a readings at HartBeat Ensemble and a workshop at Seattle’s Jewel Box Theatre. 

He was commissioned in 2014 by the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation to celebrate their 50th anniversary with Ned and Sunny, which starred Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker. Other productions and readings include: Jacques Lamarre Has Gone Too Far (Hole in the Wall Theatre), Stool (New York 15 Minute Play Festival, Top Ten Finalist), The Rub (Floating Theatre), Pierce (Herstory Theatre Company), Colonel Sellers: Reanimator (Mark Twain House and Museum, Little Theatre of Manchester), among others. 

Jacques has co-written 13comedy-cabaret shows for drag performer Varla Jean Merman (including 2017’s Bad Heroine), as well as the screenplay for Varla Jean and The Mushroomheads. Jacques works for BuzzEngine Marketing & Events with prior stints at The Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford Stage, American Stage Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, and TheaterWorks Hartford. www.jacqueslamarreplaywright.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CT Theater Review: Finding Neverland -- The Bushnell

Christine Dwyer . Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Finding Neverland
Music and Lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy
Book by James Graham, based on the movie "Finding Neverland" by David Magee, and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee
Directed by Diane Paulus
Choreography by Mia Michaels
The Bushnell
Through Aug. 6

By Lauren Yarger

What's It All about?
James Graham's version of the story behind Peter Pan, based on the movie "Finding Neverland" by David Magee, and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, with Music and Lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy. It's a moving tale of J.M. Barrie (Billy Harrigan Tighe), a playwright who resists the idea of being a grown up in a world with his socialite wife, Mary (Kristine Reese) and demanding producer Charles Frohman (an affable John Davidson who provides mouch of the evening's comic relief) until he meets widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Christine Dwyer) and her sons (played in shared roles): George (Connor Jameson Casey; Bergman Freedman; Colin Wheeler). Jack (Birthisel,Casey; Cirbus;Freedman;Tyler Patrick Hennessy), Michael (Birthisel; Cirbus; Hennessey) and Peter (Turner Birthisel; Casey; Wyatt Cirbus; Freedman; Colin Wheeler), who hasn't been coping well with his father's death and has lost the urge to play like little boys should.

Barrie lets his inner child have fun with the boys and they imagine all sorts of adventures. The stories become the basis for a play where a boy who refuses to grow up searches for his shadow. meets Wendy and some other boys on adventures to Neverland.  Frohman is skeptical, but even the inspiration for Captain Hook can't deny the appeal of the fantasy when it charms audiences world wide.. 

What are the Highlights?
It's an heart-warming story based in facts that most of us don't know. The Music and Lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy are memorable with several songs providing hummable tunes that stay with you long after seeing the show. Ryan Cantwell music directs with dance and vocal arrangements by David Chase and Vocal Design by AnneMarie Millazo.

Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin) works her usual directorial magic to combine the story with parts of Barrie's imagination coming to life around him on stage. The creative team contributes imaginative ways to incorporate special effects and the best fairy dust you'll ever see. Kudos to Lighting Designer Kenneth Posner, Projection Designer Jon Driscoll, Illusions by Paul Klieve, Flying Effects by Production Resource Group, ') and Air Sculpting by Daniel Wurtzel. Choreographer Mia Michaels uses subtle moves to bring the ensemble into the spotlight as well.

Tighe brings a solid tenor to the role. Connecticut's own animal trainer Bill Berloni provides the dog who steals its scenes. The kids are cute and have a moment to shine in a homey musical number that has them playing some musical instruments including a washboard.

Overall, an impressive touring rendition of the moving, satisfying Broadway show.

What Are the Lowlights?
Sound sound problems (Design by Jonathan Deans), particularly in hearing some of the kids and Dwyer, who appears to struggle a bit with some of the range of her songs. On the other hand, Karen Murphy, who plays to boy's overbearing grandmother, Mrs. DuMarier, needs to tone down an over-the-top yell that dominates most of her line delivery.

More Information:
Finding Neverland flies at the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford, through Aug. 6. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday at 8 pm.; Saturday at 2 and 8 pm; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 pm. bushnell.org; 860-987-5900.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Theater Review: Grounded -- Westport

Elizabeth Stahlmann. Photo: Carol Rosegg
Grounded
By George Brandt
Directed by Liz Diamond
Westport Country Playhouse
Through July 29

What's It All About?
The 2016 Lucille Lortel Award-winning play by George Brandt (Marie and Rosetta),about a US Air Force fighter pilot who is grounded after becoming pregnant (the play also received a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and was short-listed for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.)

Elizabeth Stahlmann, a recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama, delivers a powerful performance as the pilot coping with the emotional difficulty of a woman balancing career and family, as well as being a human trying to justify killing people for a living.

The pilot, who defines herself by her occupation, is tough as nails and when she's not flying her F-16 Tiger jet to take out enemies in the desert, she's enjoying a round of celebratory drinks with the boys and dreaming of her next opportunity to be up in the "big blue."  When she meets Eric, passion turns into a flight suit that no longer fits and reassignment to flying drones. The play explores the character's emotions as the pilot tries to adjust to family commitment while being unable to detach herself from her desire to be in the sky or the stresses of carrying out attacks against enemies who drive SUVs like hers and have children who look like her daughter.

What Are the Highlights?
Stahimann give a gripping, stand-out performances showing layers (sometimes not so pretty) of a person in turmoil. Tight direction by Liz Diamond propels the storytelling, transforming a space with a single chair from a car to a cockpit to the bedroom of a sleeping daughter.

What Are the Lowlights?
While Brandt's play attempts to preach the message that we are all the same in the end, it's really hard to relate to this character and brings home the thought that she probably isn't someone to whom most of the audience will be able to relate. She's a soldier who apparently loathes feminine women, vowing that her daughter will not grow up to be a "hair tosser" or cheerleader. The fact that her little girl wants to play with ponies instead of military planes aggravates her. The most sympathetic character is the husband -- sympathetic and understanding of his wife's long hours and work-related stress, a marvelous dad, turned on by a successful, strong woman -- if he were real, he would be the number one-catch for husband in America. I couldn't help but wonder what the story, told by a female playwright, might have been like.

More Information:Grounded has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to be adapted into an opera with music by Tony Award winner Jeanine Tesori, and is being developed into a feature film starring Anne Hathaway. who played the pilot in the Off-Broadway production of the play in 2015.
Additional credits: Riccardo Hernandez, scenic design (he designed the Off-Broadway production of the play); Jennifer Moeller, costume design; Solomon Weisbard, lighting design; Kate Marvin, sound design.
Performances are at Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport through July 29 Tuesday at 7 pm; Wednesday at 2 and 8 pm; Thursday and Friday at 8 pm Saturday at 3 and 8pm. westportplayhouse.org; (203) 227-4177

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

CT Theater Review: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) -- Playhouse on Park

 Photo: Curt Henderson
The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)
By Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield
Directed by Tom Ridgely
Playhouse on Park
Through July 30

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
Well, like the title says, it's the complete works of William Shakespeare abridged.  All 37 of the Bard's plays are incorporated in this 100-minute comedic presentation with all of the characters being played by three actors, Playhouse on Park Co-Artistic Director Sean Harris, Rich Hollman and Hannah Cheek.

Presented as a theatrical offering by a hapless troupe, the show focuses on their bumbling attempts to re-enact well know scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet  and Julius Caesar then takes farcical license with others, interpreting Titus Andronicus as a cooking show, for example. Other's make their appearance in name only or with a single reference.

What Are the Highights?
The actors seem to be having fun, and Hollman looks silly in Elizabethan dresses and mop wigs.  A scene depicting the battle for the throne among Shakespeare's kings is well staged as a mock football game where the crown gets passed among the players.

The play was first published 20 years ago, but has been updated by Singer and Winfield to include modern references, which were a welcome addition to a play which seemed pretty out of date the last time I saw it.

What Are the Lowlights?
It's a play that wants to be a fast-paced, witty farce, but isn't. There are moments, but the parody never really finds its footing. This is not a reflection on the actors -- the material isn't sharp enough. And the pace drags a bit, almost as though the authors are basking in their own cleverness. It is a light, fun show, but doesn't reach its potential.

More Information:
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) plays at Playhouse on  Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford, through July 30. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm.   A special Tuesday matinee will be held on July 18 at 2 pm, with specially priced tickets: playhouseonpark.org; 860-523-5900 x10.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

CT Theater Review: Fade -- TheaterWorks

Elizabeth Ramos and Eddie Martinez. Photo: Lanny Nagler
Fade
By Tanya Saracho
Directed by Jerry Ruiz
TheaterWorks
Through June 30

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
An inside Hollywood tale from inside-Hollywooder Tanya Saracho (Mala Hierba ; writer, co-producer of ABC’s "How to Get Away with Murder," HBO’s "Girls"). Lucia (Elizabeth Ramos) is hired as a writer for a TV detective show with a Latino character, and there is little doubt, by the lack of respect she gets from her boss and the other people in the room, that she is the "Latina" hire. The only thing her boss thinks she is good for is translating his orders to his Spanish-speaking housekeeper. She gets a break, however, when she pitches a new character. The only problem is that the characters is real-- based almost word for word on the experiences of Abel (Eddie Martinez), the janitor who stops by while she is working at the office. The two form an unlikely friendship, but will it be threatened when Abel discovers that his personal life is being exploited?

What Are the Highlights?
90-minutes no intermission (though it ran about 15 minutes longer the night I saw it). 
Ramos isn't afraid of taking on the less-than-likable Lucia; Martinez brings some warmth to room (the office is designed in depth by Mariana Sanchez) and manages to get the few laughs of the evening.

The ending is very thought-provoking, both in content and staging. 

What Are the Lowlights?
Lucia isn't a very likable character, so it's a bit difficult to accept that Abel would befriend her and share intimate parts of his life. The plot is very predictable and Director Jerry Ruiz lets the pace lag, especially for a story centered around the fast-paced world of TV and Hollywood. Too many short, unnecessary scenes are included (with peppy Spanish music playing in between) -- note to Hollywood writers: quick camera shots don't translate to the stage. 

More Information: 
This one will fade on June 30, so catch it before then at TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Weekend Matinees at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $50-$65: www.theaterworkshartford.org; 860-527-7838.

Additional credits:
Harry Nadal (Costume Design), Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Design), and M.L. Dogg (Sound Design).

Friday, June 9, 2017

CT Theater Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie -- Goodspeed

The cast of ’Thoroughly Modern Millie .Photo: Diane Sobolewski

Thoroughly Modern Millie
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan
Lyrics by Dick Scanlan
Directed and Choreographed by Denis Jones

By Lauren Yarger
What's it All About?
The delightful Tony-Award wining stage version of a movie classic about a "modern" girl named Millie Dillmount (Taylor Quick)  who arrives in 1922 New York with one goal in mind: find a rich boss to marry.  She secures a job and zeros in on boss Trevor Graydon (Edward Watts), even if she does kind of find herself liking not-so-well-ff  Jimmy Smith (Dan DeLuca).  Meanwhile, something's not quite right at the Hotel Princess, where Millie and other young girls room. The landlord, Mrs. Meers (Loretta Ables Sayre) particularly likes to house orphans so she can ship them off in a white slavery ring she operates with Ching Ho (James Seol) and Bun Foo (Christopher Shin). Before you think there is a lot going on here, take a step back and know that the book (by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan, who writes the lyrics) is just a silly tale around which to stage a bunch of clever songs written by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home)  and choreographed by Director Denis Jones (who is nominated for Tony for his work on Holiday Inn, which got its start at Goodspeed). Gregory Gale supplies flashy, shimmering costumes and Paul Tate dePoo III designs deco sets to create the flapper-era world.

What Are the Highlights?
It's a fun musical with catchy tunes and big dance numbers. Quick is a charming Millie and there is good rapport between her, DeLuca and the engaging Watts.

What Are The Lowlights?
The pace seems slow at times and some of the comedic edge isn't sharp. Some performers aren't lighted well and appear to be singing in the dark.

More Information:
Millie is thoroughly entertaining at Goodspeed,  6 Main St., East Haddam through July 2. Performances are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 pm, Thursday at 7:30 pm (with select performances at 2 pm), Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm (with select performances at 6:30 pm). Tickets: goodspeed.org; 860-873-8668.

Additional credits:
Lighting Design by Rob Denton, Hair and Wig Design by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, Sound Design by Jay Hilton, Music Direction by Michael O’Flaherty, Assistant Music Direction by William J. Thomas, Orchestrations by Dan DeLange. Original Story and Screenplay by Richard Morris for the 1967 Universal Pictures Film.

Additional cast:
Samantha Sturm (Miss Dorothy), Ramona Keller (Muzzy), Lucia Spina (Miss Flannery). Ensemble:
Darien Crago, Caley Crawford, Patrick Graver, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Emily Kelly, Daniel May, PJ Palmer, Amelia Jo Parish, Sherisse Springer, Sarah Quinn Taylor, Amy Van Norstrand, Darius Wright, Evan Mayer, Elise Mestichelli.

Next to Normal, Invisible Hand Lead CT Critics Circle Award Nominations

David Garris, Christiane Noll and Maya Keleher. Photo Lanny Nagler
Featured actressChristina Pumariega in the Long Wharf production of Napoli, Brooklyn. If you can, please make this correction.


heaterWorks' production of the musical NEXT TO NORMAL Westport Country Playhouse's production of the play THE INVISIBLE HAND lead the nominations for this year's Connecticut Critics Circle Awards
The 27th annual event honoring the best of Connecticut's theer season will be held 7:30 pm Monday, June 26 Sacred Heart University's Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts in Fairfield
NEXT TO NORMAL received 10 nominations including Best Musical THE INVISIBLE HAND by Ayad Akhtar received seven nominations, including outstanding play
Nominations:
in THE INVISIBLE HAND.
Photo: Carol Rosegg
Outstanding Play:
THE INVISIBLE HAND Westport
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS Hartford Stage
MARY JANE Yale Repertory
SCENES FROM COURT LIFE Yale Repertory
MIDSUMMER TheaterWorks
Outstanding Musical:
NEXT TO NORMAL TheaterWorks
ASSASSINS Yale Repertory
BYE BYE BIRDIE Goodspeed Opera House
MAN OF LA MANCHA Ivoryton Playhouse
WEST SIDE STORY Summer Theatre of New Canaan
Actor in a Play:
Jordan Lage, OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, Long Wharf
Tom Pecinka, CLOUD NINE, Hartford Stage
Michael Doherty, PETER THE STARCATCHER, Connecticut Re
Eric Bryant, THE INVISIBLE HAND, Westport Country Playhouse
M Scott McLean, MIDSUMMER, TheaterWorks
Actress in a Play:
Semina DeLaurentis, GEORGE AND GRACIE, Seven Angels
Emily Donahoe, MARY JANE, Yale Repertory
Ashlie Atkinson, IMOGEN SAYS NOTHING, Yale Repertory
Vanessa R Butler, QUEENS FOR A YEAR, Hartford Stage
Rebecca Hart, MIDSUMMER, TheaterWorks
Actor in a Musical:
Robert Sean Leonard, CAMELOT, Westport Playhouse
Riley Costello, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, Connecticut Repertory
David Harris, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
David Pittsinger, MAN OF LA MANCHA, Ivoryton Playhouse
Zach Schanne, WEST SIDE STORY, Summer Theatre of New Canaan
Actress in a Musical:
Ruby Rakos, CHASING RAINBOWS, Goodspeed
Christiane Noll, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
Julia Paladino, WEST SIDE STORY
Karen Ziemba, GYPSY, Sharon Playhouse
Talia Thiesfield, MAN OF LA MANCHA, Ivoryton Playhouse
Director of a Play:
Darko Tresnjak, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, Hartford Stage
David Kennedy, THE INVISIBLE HAND, Westport
Marc Bruni, OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, Long Wharf
Tracy Brigden, MIDSUMMER, TheaterWorks
Gordon Edelstein, METEOR SHOWER, Long Wharf
Director of a Musical:
Rob Ruggiero, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
David Edwards, MAN OF LA MANCHA, Ivoryton Playhouse
Melody Meitrott Liboni, WEST SIDE STORY, Summer Theatre of New Canaan
Jenn Thompson, BYE BYE BIRDIE, Goodspeed
Kevin Connors, GYPSY, Music Theater of Connecticut
Choreography:
Denis Jones, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, Goodspeed
Chris Bailey, CHASING RAINBOWS, Goodspeed
Doug Shankman, WEST SIDE STORY, Summer Theatre of New Canaan
Patricia Wilcox, BYE BYE BIRDIE, Goodspeed
Darlene Zoller, ROCKIN' THE FOREST, Playhouse on Park
Ensemble:
SMART PEOPLE, Long Wharf
TRAV'LIN': THE 1930S HARLEM MUSICAL, Seven Angels
METEOR SHOWER, Long Wharf
ASSASSINS, Yale Repertory
THE 39 STEPS Ivoryton Playhouse
Debut Performance:
Maya Keleher, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
Dylan Frederick, ASSASSINS, Yale Repertory
Nick Sacks, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
Solo Performance:
Jodi Stevens, I'LL EAT YOU LAST, Music Theater of Connecticut
Jon Peterson, HE WROTE GOOD SONGS, Seven Angels
Featured Actor in a Play:
Jameal Ali, THE INVISIBLE HAND, Westport
Andre De Shields, SEVEN GUITARs, Yale Repertory
Cleavant Derricks, THE PIANO LESSON, Hartford Stage
Steve Routman, OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, Long Wharf
Paxton Whitehead, WHAT THE BUTLER SAW, Westport Country Playhouse
Featured Actress in a Play:
Miriam Silverman, MARY JANE, Yale Repertory
Rachel Leslie, SEVEN GUITARS, Yale Repertory
Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, SEVEN GUITARS, Yale Repertory
Mia Dillon, CLOUD NINE, Hartford Stage
Christina Pumariego, NAPOLI, BROOKLYN, Long Wharf
Featured Actor in a Musical:
Mark Nelson, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ROOM IN NEW YORK, Long Wharf
Edward Waats, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, Goodspeed Opera House
John Cardoza, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
Jonny Wexler, WEST SIDE STORY, Summer Theater of New Canaan
Rhett Guter, BYE BYE BIRDIE, Goodspeed
Michael Wartella, CHASING RAINBOWS, Goodspeed Opera House
Featured Actress in a Musical:
Maya Keleher, NEXT TO NORMAL,TheaterWorks
Jodi Stevens, GYPSY, Music Theater of Connecticut
Kie Stewart, WEST SIDE STORY, Summer Theater of New Canaan
Kristine Zbornik, BYE BYE BIRDIE, Goodspeed
Ke Simone, GYPSY, Music Theater of Connecticut
Set Design:
Colin McGurk, HEARTBREAK HOUSE, Hartford Stage
Michael Yeargan, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ROOM in New York, Long Wharf
Wilson Chin, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
Adam Rigg, THE INVISIBLE HAND, Westport Country Playhouse
Darko Tresnjak, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, Hartford Stage
Costume Design:
Ilona Somogyi, HEARTBREAK HOUSE, Hartford Stage
Marina Draghici, SCENES FROM COURT LIFE, Yale Repertory
Fabio Toblini, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, Hartford Stage
Gregory Gale, THOROUGH MODERN MILLIE, Goodspeed
Lisa Steier, ROCKIN' THE FOREST, Playhouse on Park
Lighting Design:
Matthew Richards, THE INVISIBLE HAND, Westport Country Playhouse
Yi Zhao, ASSASSINS, Yale Repertory
John Lasiter, NEXT TO NORMAL, TheaterWorks
Matthew Richards, COMEDY OF ERRORS, Hartford Stage
Christopher Bell, A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN, Playhouse on Park, Hartford
Sound Design:
Jane Shaw, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, Hartford Stage
Fan Zhang, SEVEN GUITARS, Yale Repertory
Shane Rettig, SCENES FROM COURT LIFE, Yale Repertory
Karen Graybash, THE PIANO LESSON, Hartford Stage
Fitz Patton, THE INVISIBLE HAND, Westport Country Playhouse
C O N N E C T I C U T
--- A R T S ---
C O N N E C T I O N

Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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