Sunday, September 28, 2014

Theater Review: Comedy is Hard -- Ivoryton

Micky Dolenz and Joyce DeWitt. Photo: Rosemary Picarelli
Comedy is Hard, but CT Native Mike Reiss Has a Handle on It
By Lauren Yarger
Two long-time retired performers roll their wheelchairs up for a view at the Brooklyn Bridge and an unexpected curtain goes up on an exciting second act in their lives, starring friendship and possible romance. Welcome to Comedy is Hard from Connecticut native Mike Reiss, getting its world premiere at Ivoryton Playhouse.

Reiss, a writer and producer for “The Simpsons,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” Horton Hears a Who!” and other Hollywood scripts was last represented on stage in his home state with “I’m Connecticut,” which premiered at CT Repertory Theatre in 2012 (starring Joyce DeWitt). It subsequently had a run at Ivoryton, directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Jacqueline Hubbard, who helms Comedy is Hard.

Dewitt, who is most known for her role on the TV sitcom “Three’s Company” has been tapped to star again in Reiss’s premiere, this time opposite Mickey Dolenz, whom you will remember from the popular music group The Monkees. Both give engaging performances, even if the play itself would be sharpened by a bit of trimming.

DeWitt is Kay, a former Broadway actress, who now lives in the actor’s home. Her nurse, Valentina (Dorian Mendez), doesn’t speak much English and infuriates her charge with responding to every request with, “Kay?” Does she mean OK, “why, in Spanish, or is she calling Kay by name? Frustrated Kay will never know. And doesn’t really want to.

One day in a Manhattan park, she meets up with Lou (Dolenz), who is wheeled to the park by his rude son, Phil (Michael McDermott), with whom he lives. The two get to talking and Kay invites Lou, a former comedian, to move into the actor’s home. It’s an escape his son’s disapproval and from being a burden on him and his family. (Dan Nischan’s nifty folding set cleverly and repeatedly transforms between the two locations.)

There are a couple of comedic characters thrown in with whom they interact: A Homeless Man (Michael Hotkowski) whom Kay encourages to return to acting and Mr. Holroyd (an amusing Dan Coyle), a seemingly unaware resident of the home who strikes furniture-like poses, but who has moments of lucidity and comments on the action taking place around him to the audience.

Kay, more serious and annoyed by constant comparisons to rival Angela Lansbury, and Lou, always ready with a joke and his tag line, “Hey…. That’s comedy!,” are the embodiments of the comedy and drama masks, with Lou claiming that drama is easy, but comedy is hard. They prove to be good foils for each other and hatch a plan to put on a show for folks in the nursing home and community. The drama of choice? Becket’s Waiting for Godot, starring Mr. Holroyd as the tree….

There’s a problem however. Lou’s past insecurities, particularly a bad run in front of an audience that was not receptive to his comedy routine, leave him with a bad case of stage fright. Will he be able to perform and finally impress Phil, who still is resentful of growing up with an absentee father who was on the road playing comedy clubs?

If you’re a good entertainer, Lou confides in Kay, you’re a bad parent because you have put everything you have into performing to earn a living for you family. The problem is you don’t have anything left to give when you return home.

“Somebody changed the rules about what it is to be a good father,” Kay comforts.

Moments of poignancy like this help balance a script that seems always to be trying just a bit too hard to find its next laugh.

DeWitt and Dolenz have sizzling on-stage chemistry. A fake texting bit between the two old timers is a hoot and had the audience in stitches. There are a lot of belly laughs too – and this Waiting for Godot should win an award for giving what normally is one of the most boring plays known to man an entertaining and hilarious staging. Coyle also is equally entertaining while striking a pose or waxing eloquent, but we are confused about whether Mr. Holroyd’s commentary is audible to the other characters or whether it is just what he’s thinking.


The script tends to wander a bit too long, even at just over two hours with an intermission. A 90-minute, trimmed version giving us a bit deeper glimpse behind the comedy and drama masks the characters wear would improve the story. First trim suggestion: Cut the distracting and unnecessary projections (Gaylen Ferstand, design).

Comedy is Hard runs through Oct. 12 at Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main St., Ivoryton.  Performances are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30, Friday and Saturday at 8. Tickets: $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children. (860) 767-7318; www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Connecticut Arts Connections

THE PALACE THEATER's orchestra lobby will transform into into a jazz club featuring dancing and live music by international recording artist Bob Baldwin and Friends on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 8 pm to 1 am.

Tickets for the “ACT Smooth Jazz Affair” are $35 for general admission and $47.50 for V.I.P. seating and can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online atwww.palacetheaterct.org, or in person at the box office, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury.

Hosted by Blue Plate Radio producer and radio personality Al “DJ ACT” Taylor, the night will begin with a performance by popular Jazz pianist Bob Baldwin, who will be joined by Connecticut artists Rohn Lawrence (guitar) and Dave Anderson (bass), as well as New York drummer Tony Lewis. Following the concert, guests will be invited to take to the floor for an Old School Dance Partyfeaturing popular '80s and '90s R&B hits spun by WBLS and WYBC radio personality, DJ Doc Martin.

As a Jazz artist, radio host and music presenter, Bob Baldwin is an unsung hero in the Contemporary/ Smooth Jazz genre. His recordings have featured accompaniment by such music greats as Grover Washington, Jr., Phil Perry, Will Downing, and Chuck Loeb, to name a select few. His latest release, "Twenty," marks his twentieth album as a solo artist and has reached #3 on the Billboard Jazz Charts, in addition to supplanting itself in Amazon’s ”Smooth Jazz Top 5." The album has also produced two, Top 10 Smooth Jazz radio hits.

More information: www.bobbaldwin.com.

WESTPORT COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE will stage as part of its 2015 season the world-premiere comedy, “Love and Money,” written by A. R. “Pete” Gurney, one of the most-produced playwrights in the theater’s history.  Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director and frequent director of Gurney’s plays, will helm the production, scheduled for July 21-August 8, 2015.  Lamos made the announcement at the Playhouse’s recent fundraising gala which honored Gurney for his body of work. New York’s Signature Theatre will co-produce the new play, with performances there set for later in August.  Signature Theatre currently features Gurney in its 2014-15 one-year playwright residency program which explores a series of his plays. For more information: 203-227-4177; www.westportplayhouse.org


PLAYHOUSE ON PARK:
Rae C Wright, who will be playing Hannah Pitt in Playhouse on Park's performance of Angels in America: Part 1: Millennium Approaches, will be teaching a two hour long workshop called The Business of Acting as part of the new Professional Guest Artist Series. This workshop will outline the steps to take to find work as an actor. Participants will leave with an "accountability partner" or team to keep them doing-the-work that enables actors to do-the-work. Rae C Wright is an actress, playwright, two-time Fulbright teaching fellow, and professor of screen acting at NYU's undergraduate film program. The Business of Acting workshop will be held on Saturday, Oct. 11th from 11 am to 1 pm. The cost is $40 per person. This workshop is for students ages 16 to adult. Space is limited on a first come, first served basis and advanced registration is required. To register: 860-523-5900 ext. 10; www.playhouseonpark.org for a registration form.


GOODSPEED:
Dee Roscioli, who played Elphaba in the hit musical Wicked, will play Jennie Dixianna in the upcoming Goodspeed Musicals production of The Circus in Winter this fall at The Norma Terris Theatre. Teal Wicks, who was previously announced to play the role, has exited the production to pursue an upcoming opportunity.

Theater Review: Evita -- The Bushnell



Sean MacLaughlin as 'Juan Peron' and Caroline Bowman as 'Eva Peron' in the National Tour of Evita. Photo by Richard Termine
Solid Voices Lead Newest Version of Evita
By Lauren Yarger
Evita, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sweeping tale of the rise of Eva Peron from bed-hopping gold digger to First Lady of Argentina, got its first Broadway revival a few seasons ago and the tour, with its revamped staging and orchestrations is making a stop at The Bushnell.

Caroline Bowman stars as Eva Duarte Perón, the actress/radio personality/first lady who wins the hearts of the people of Argentina through the Great Depression and war years. Born in slums, she dreams of stardom in the big city of Buenos Aires and finds her ticket out with lounge singer Agustin Magaldi (Christopher Johnstone), the first of many men she uses to acquire wealth and position. The show’s “Good Night and Thank You,” depicting the revolving door of her lovers, is one of its more humorous numbers.

The line of men stops, however, when she meets Juan Perón (Sean MacLaughlin), one of the inner circle of generals (Ryan K. Bailer, Ronald L. Brown, Matt Stokes) leading the nation’s politics. Eva promptly fires Perón’s Mistress (Krystna Alabado, who ably delivers “Another Suitcase, Another Hall”), and starts her influence while stirring up support for him among the listeners of her radio program. Perón becomes President, and Eva shines as First Lady, despite the disapproval of the aristocracy, making a glamorous “Rainbow Tour” to impress Europe. She creates a foundation, ostensibly to help the dreams of a few poor people come true and the common people’s adoration of her swells.

Critic and chief story teller Che (Max Quinlan) is a lone voice of dissention, however.  The “Money Kept Rolling In,” but he questions where some of it went.

Evita is one of my favorite scores. Most Broadway nerds have been singing along with the original Broadway soundtrack featuring Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin since 1980 when the show won six Tony Awards. Subsequent versions of it have been less satisfying, for us buffs, however. First there was a movie version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderos (I skipped that one). Unfortunately, a song created especially for Madonna, “You Must Love Me,” survives and has been inserted into the revival of the stage production.

The 2012 Broadway revival was hyped with Elena Roger, an Argentinian native, as Eva and pop music heart throb Ricky Martin as Che.  It got mixed reviews, including a less-than-enthusiastic one from me prompted by Roger’s inability to belt the Lloyd Weber notes and rather annoying updates to the show.

Orchestrations are too exact now and the score and its orchestra, musically directed by Robert Meffe, loses its oomph.  In addition, Che’s role is made somewhat more nebulous and less passionate.  Quinlan carefully and precisely sings the role, but we don’t get his disgust. Drips of sarcasm are missing in the storytelling.

As directed by Michael Grandage, there is little interaction between Che and Eva, making their waltz more puzzling than confrontation. There also is no sexual tension between Eva and Peron (and  though MacLaughin sings beautifully, he is too young for the role).  There is far too much other action demanding our attention however, with awkward staging that has actors walking around, seemingly for the purpose of getting into position. And the choreography. That’s another story. Here’s what I wrote after seeing the Broadway revival:

“Also disappointing is Rob Ashford's more-is-not-better choreography. With the exception of ‘Buenes Aires’ which employs the full ensemble to create the hustle and bustle of the capital city while skillfully and subtly separating the people into groups of peasants, soldiers and aristocrats, the choreography seems too much, distracts from the action and does little to propel the story. The ballet/wrestling match of "The Art of the Possible" seems almost comical.”

The tour’s choreography is just plain distracting. I didn’t notice the separation of classes here. I did notice Eva’s death bed and even a dying Eva herself being twirled about a lot, though…..


The strong vocals, and Bowman’s robust performance (in this, the tour has the Broadway revival beat) make this worth watching, however. Any time you have an excuse to hear a Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice show well performed, take it.

Evita plays through Sept. 28. Performances are Wednesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at  2 and 8 pm; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 pm. Tickets $26-$85:  (860) 987-5900; www.bushnell.org.

Theater Review: Ether Dome -- Hartford Stage

William Youmans, Richmond Hoxie, Ken Cheeseman, Salvatore Mitsou, Jacob Grannon. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
A Hartford History Lesson with Too Many Details, Not Enough Details
By Lauren Yarger
Think about the last time you had major dental work or an operation. Now imagine having the procedure done without anesthesia and you will have a new appreciation for Hartford dentist Horace Wells, the father of modern anesthesia, who pioneered the use of nitrous oxide (a.k.a. laughing gas) to ease patients’ discomfort during tooth extractions.

A new play telling Wells’ tale is getting its east coast premiere at Hartford Stage, directed by former artistic director Michael Wilson, who during his tenure here, commissioned Elizabeth Egloff to write it.

A co-production with La Jolla Playhouse in California, Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and Houston’s Alley Theatre, the play is full of local references that make us chuckle, but with dozens of actors playing multiple parts for more than two hours and 40 minutes, the plot gets bogged down with too many details and leaves too many holes to live up to its billing as a “psychological thriller.”

The mid-1800s atmosphere is nicely created.  James Youmans’s set (expertly lighted by David Lander) uses projections to quickly take the action from Hartford to Paris or to the “Dome,” a sky-lighted operating theater at the newly formed Massachusetts General Hospital. David Woolard’s costumes and Charles LaPointe’s hair and wig design put the characters there and John Gromada’s original music enhances mood during scene changes. The agony of pre-anesthesia dental procedures also is created as Wells (Michael Bakkensen ) and his assistant, William Morton (Tom Patterson), extract a tooth from patient Mrs. Wadsworth (Johanna Morrison). It’s not pretty.

Wells attends a demonstration by a pharmacist named Colton (Lee Selars) on the effects of laughing gas and wonders whether it might be used to make patients unaware of pain during surgery. He has some success using it with his patients, but when he demonstrates the procedure for Dr. John Warren (Richmond Hoxie) and his esteemed colleagues at the Dome, something goes wrong and he’s laughed out of the room.

A subsequent failure that causes the death of a patient undermines Wells’ confidence. He gives up his practice decides to open an art gallery and escapes to Paris, over the objections of his wife, Elizabeth (Amelia Pedlow), who is concerned about practical things, like paying the bills.

Meanwhile, Morton misappropriates some of Wells’ funds to outwit a rival named Bushnell for the hand of wealthy Lizzie Whitman (Liba Vaynberg). He wins the effervescent girl whose moral character is questioned by Miss Porter, then decides he no longer wants to be a dentist, but wants to be a surgeon. He begs Dr. William Jackson (William Youmans) to mentor him, then steals his idea for using ether as a way to dull pain.

He successfully demonstrates the technique at the Dome, but enrages Warren and his colleagues with the announcement that he has patented the compound and plans to charge for its use.
The local name drops and some digs by the Harvard grads at Hartford bring the most chuckles.
If you’re not from Hartford, the references will be lost and the play’s weaknesses might leave you wanting more. As is often the case with plays that are based on real people who made historical contributions, the playwright struggles with just how much of the story to tell and where it’s OK to veer from reality to shape the story for telling on a stage.

I am of the mind that there only is one Connecticut based play about drug addiction that needs three acts for the telling. It is O’Neill’s masterpiece and Pulitzer-Prize winner A Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Almost anything else -- including Dr. Wells’ decline into depression, drug addiction and dark life that might well have provided the inspiration for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde --  can and should be wrapped up in far less time.

Ether Dome’s first act seemed so long that I was shocked to discover at the first intermission that less than an hour had passed. This was due, I think to Wilson’s ability to keep the action moving. Audience members exiting after the performance commented on how modern attention spans can’t sit through such a long telling.

Too many little details are included and in some scenes I found my mind wandering so much that I wondered whether some of that laughing gas might have escaped to fill the theater. Yet other questions are left hanging, like did any of the paintings that Wells collected find their way to the Wadsworth Atheneum?

Much more interesting to me than the doctors were their wives. How did Elizabeth make ends meet while her husband was under the influence of drugs or off treating emperors in France? Was she really as happy as depicted when he returned? What happened to her after he died? How did Lizzie cope when she discovered that her husband wasn’t what he seemed or that she hadn’t been the first woman to succumb to his charms? Vaynberg manages to capture our hearts with the few scenes she has. I would have liked to see what she could have done with a developed character.

Egloff, who is a Farmington native and graduate of Trinity College and Yale Drama School, doesn’t go there, though and sticks to the testosterone-filled tale of the doctors and their contemporaries. Both Bakkensen and Petterson distinguish themselves with solid performances. Also standing out are Hoxie, Youmans and Bill Kux as Dr. George Hayward, who performs one of the first operations using ether as anesthesia. (Egloff’s other works include The Swan, The Devils -- also directed by Wilson – and she was an Emmy nominee for “The Reagans.”) 

If nothing else, Ether Dome affords a chance to celebrate some local history. More than 500 dentists, anesthesiologists and history enthusiasts hosted multiple events in early September to celebrate Wells’ life. Connecticut Historical Society also has created a series of panels about Wells’ life on display in the theater’s upper lobby.

Take a walk around Hartford and you’ll see a bronze statue of Wells in Bushnell Park; a life-sized portrait at the Wadsworth Atheneum; an elaborate memorial monument at Cedar Hill Cemetery where his tombstone reads “There shall be no pain;” a Tiffany Studios stained-glass memorial window dedicated to him at the First Church of Christ (Center Church) and a pew in his honor at Trinity College Chapel.

You also can put yourself in the scene the next time you enjoy Burger King, on the former site of Wells’ Main Street office.


And if that’s not enough for history buffs, Wilson dedicates the production to the recently deceased Nafe Katter, who acted at Hartford Stage  and directed the acting program at UConn, where a theater bears his name.

Ether Dome plays through Oct. 5. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Matinees Sunday and select Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 pm. Tickets $25-$95  (860) 527-5151; www.hartfordstage.org.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Theaters Join for Play! in CT Fall Festival of Theater


Six of Connecticut's producing theaters will host a weekend festival of plays, musicals and theater events across the state Oct. 23-26. From classics to new works, to conferences and talks, theatregoers can attend one show or six while enjoying special overnight packages and dining discounts.

The participating theaters are the Westport Country Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Hartford Stage, the O'Neill Theater Center, Long Wharf Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre 
Prior to the 1950s, most people experienced theater through touring companies or vaudeville performances. Access to professional theatre outside of New York was limited. Artists began to chafe at the centralization of their work in New York City, and felt they needed to move away from what they believed was the commercialization of Broadway. The not-for-profit residential theatres could afford to take risks that commercial theatres could not. This idea caught fire in Connecticut. 

As a reaction to the lack of innovation coming out of commercial theatres, five of the six producing theaters were founded by Yale alumni and funded by organizations like the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Many individuals, corporations and foundations in the state also backed them.

Connecticut theatres like Hartford Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, and Goodspeed Opera House (all Tony Award-winners) were part of the regional theatre boom. Westport Country Playhouse took a slightly different route, starting as a summer stock theatre and evolving into a major player in the regional theatre scene. The O'Neill Theater Center holds a special place in the Connecticut theatrical landscape for its unwavering commitment to new works, launching the careers of some of our nation's most important playwrights, composers, actors, and directors (it also has received a Regional Tony Award).

The "Play! in Connecticut Fall Theatre Festival" offers a chance to enjoy the state and all it has to offer during one of its most beautiful seasons. Check out the website at www.playinct.org

PLAY! IN CONNECTICUT FALL THEATRE FESTIVAL
Schedule of performances at each of the participating theatres:


Goodspeed Opera House
Featured Performance: Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn
Run Dates: September 19 - December 7


Festival Show Times:
Thu, 10/23: 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/24: 8:00 p.m.
Sat, 10/25: 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sun, 10/26: 2:00 p.m.


Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre
Featured Performance: The Circus in Winter
Run Dates: October 23 - November 16

Festival Show Times:
Thu, 10/23: 8:00 p.m.
Fri, 10/24: 8:00 p.m.
Sat, 10/25: 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sun, 10/26: 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 


Eugene O'Neill Theater Center
Run Dates: October 24-25

Event on Saturday, 10/25:
Welcome Reception: 10:00 a.m.
Readings & Discussion Panels: 10:30 a.m.
Lunch and Q&A: 12:00 p.m.
Tour Monte Cristo Cottage: 3:00-4:00 p.m.


Yale Repertory Theatre
Featured Performance: Arcadia
Run Dates: October 3-25

Festival Show Times:
Thu, 10/23: 8:00 p.m.
Fri, 10/24: 8:00 p.m.
Sat, 10/25: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.


Long Wharf Theatre
Featured Performance: Our Town
Run Dates: October 8 – November 2

Festival Show Times:
Fri, 10/24: 8:00 p.m.
Sat, 10/25: 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sun, 10/26: 2:00 p.m.


Westport Country Playhouse
Featured Performance: Intimate Apparel
Run Dates: October 7- November 1

Festival Show Times:
Thu, 10/23: 8:00 p.m.
Sat, 10/25: 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sun, 10/26: 3:00 p.m.


Hartford Stage
Featured Performance: Hamlet
Run Dates: October 16 - November 16

Festival Show Times:
Thu, 10/23: 7:30 p.m.
Fri, 10/24: 8:00 p.m.
Sat, 10/25: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sun, 10/26: 2:00 p.m.


Weekly itineraries will also be available on the site for travelers to make the most of their weekend. Individual tickets are on sale with an Early Bird 20-percent discount available until Sept. 21. Special events related to each production will be promoted throughout the weekend.

Schedule of special events for each of the participating theatres:

Thursday, October 23
Talkback with the cast of Holiday Inn
Talkback with the cast of Intimate Apparel


7:30pm
8:00pm


Goodspeed Opera House
Westport Country Playhouse

Friday, October 24
Friday Dinner Theatre Package     
  
The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions
Of Eugene O'Neill Vol.2
O'Neill Post Show Reception



6:00pm


7:00pm
10:00pm


Goodspeed Opera House/
Gelston House

Connecticut College
Dutch Tavern, New London


Saturday, October 25
Free Tours of Monte Cristo Cottage


3:00pm


Eugene O'Neill Theater

Sunday, October 26
Talkback with the cast of Hamlet
Sunday Symposium
Wine Tasting at The Circus in Winter


2:00pm
2:00pm
5:00pm


Hartford Stage
Long Wharf Theatre
Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre



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)

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced
numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont
Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.”

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway
League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway
run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill
Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/. She
is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), CT Press Club's award winner of first place for web editing and second place in feature writing for the web in 2012.

She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor
for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web. Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented
by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle (awards committee).

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts,
the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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