Monday, January 26, 2015

Connecticut Arts Snow Cancellations and Updates

Cancelling 7:30 pm production of Private Lives for Tuesday, Jan. 27. Added performance at 7:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 5 to best accommodate all theater goers. Current Tuesday ticket holders and subscribers may exchange their tickets into any remaining performance. Performances expected to resume with the 7:30 pm show Wednesday, Jan. 28. For information, contact the Hartford Stage Box Office at 860-527-5151.

The Tuesday, 7 pm, and Wednesday, 2 pm, performances of Forever have been cancelled. The box office will contact you if you have tickets to either of these performances. The theater offices will be closed from 3 pm Monday until 11 am Wednesday.

Offices closed today and all day Tuesday, Jan. 27. Plan to reopen Wednesday. Check back for details.

Offices closed today and will remain closed all of Tuesday, Jan. 27.  Call 860-767-9520 to confirm an opening time for Wednesday, Jan. 28.

Administrative Offices and Box Office closed through Tuesday, Jan. 27.

Offics closed through Tuesday, Jan. 27.

MetroNorth: Extra trains will depart Grand Central Terminal between 1 and 4 pm with regular schedules between 4 and 5 pm and fewer trains than a regular rush hour between 5 and 8 pm.
Because of reduced ridership, some trains will be cancelled or combined. Check schedules at and listen for announcements. Because of the expected severity of the storm, evening and overnight service may be further curtailed or suspended. For complete details and service updates during the storm, visit,

All Broadway Shows Cancelled Tonight (Jan. 26) Due to Storm

As a result of the travel restrictions put in place by government authorities and additional safety precautions implemented due to severe weather, all Broadway performances tonight will be cancelled. 

Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League, stated, “Now that the storm has arrived, I’d like to reiterate that the safety and security of theatregoers and employees is everyone's primary concern. As a result of the 11 pm travel ban and other travel restrictions and safety precautions implemented by government authorities on behalf of the winter storm, evening performances will be cancelled tonight.  We will send out an official notice with information about tomorrow’s performances as soon as possible, or no later than 6 pm today.”

For information about exchanges, theatregoers should contact their point of purchase. Check for updates.

Theater Review: Proof -- Playhouse on Park

Marty Scanlon and Dana Brooke. Photo: Rich Wagner 
Proof that Mathematics and Genius Can Make for Gripping Drama
By Lauren Yarger
It’s about math and prime numbers and proofs of mathematical theories, but don’t let bad memories of sophomore geometry keep you from seeing David Auburn’s Proof at Playhouse on Park. Because it’s not boring and it’s really about so much more.

On top of that, Dawn Loveland directs a tight production of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning play and gets top-notch performances from the ensemble offering her own proof that small theater companies can produce fine work.

Dana Brooke starts as Catherine, a troubled young woman trying to figure out what to do after caring for her math professor/genius father, Robert (Damian Buzzerio) whose brilliance was lost for the past seven years as his mind slipped away. Catherine gave up school and her own hopes at a career in mathematics to stay at their Chicago home and care for her father. The action takes place on the home’s back porch, designed by Christopher Hoyt.

Robert spends his time forgetting to eat, looking for codes in library books and scribbling nonsense in 103 notebooks trying to recapture his ability to prove mathematic theories. Except for a lucid period of nine months (now four years ago), Catherine wasn’t able to connect.

After his death, his former teaching assistant, Hal (Marty Scanlon) shows up at the house asking to go through Robert’s work. Even though the notebooks seem to contain nothing but gibberish, Hal feels an obligation to see whether anything actually makes sense. Catherine doesn’t miss the fact that if Hal does find something, it just might be his ticket to his own fame in the mathematics community.

Eventually Hal wins Catherine’s trust, and she shows him a notebook hidden away, one that holds a proof of a prime-number theory that has long eluded scholars. There’s one problem, however. Catherine, not Robert, might be the author.

Can Hal believe that the untrained Catherine could write such a complex proof? Can her estranged sister, Claire (Melissa Macleod Herion)? While Claire readily admits that Catherine inherited their father’s gift for math, she also is concerned that she might also share some traits of the mental illness that caused delusions – perhaps like the ones her sister now is experiencing. Claire wants to sell the house and force her sister to move with her to New York where she can keep an eye on her – and obtain the services of some of the best mental health specialists if needed….

This play, which won the Tony, the Pulitzer and just about every other major theater award in 2001, looks at the themes of genius vs madness, family vs loneliness and the complexity of relationships – between people as well as numbers. It’s intelligent and absorbing – much more so than Auburn’s latest play, Lost Lake, which didn’t excite me in its recent Off-Broadway run.

Brooke, in her Playhouse on Park debut, gives a solid, layered performance of the young woman struggling to be comfortable in her own skin. She is so immersed in the role, that in a scene where we observe a flashback of Catherine with Robert, she looks visibly brighter, her voice sounding lighter and happier. The transformation is subtle (aided with less toned-down textures in her clothes designed by Erin Payne), yet noticeable as it silently speaks volumes.

There is good rapport among the actors and each is able to portray his or her character fully without stepping on the others, despite the different personalities represented: Claire the uptight, controlling, not-so-smart sister, Robert the frustrated genius, lost in his own world save for his favorite daughter and Hal, the ambitious, yet caring friend. A fine piece of theater.

A talk back with the cast will take place immediately following all Sunday performances. This production is recommended for ages 13 and up as it contains strong language and mild adult content.

Proof runs at Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Rd, West Hartford, through Feb. 8. Performances are Wednesday-Sunday from January 21-February 8. Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets $25-$35 for adults, students, seniors; 860-523-5900 x10.

Three New Musicals Announced for Norma Terris

Goodspeed will produce three new musicals at The Norma Terris Theatre in 2015. 

Music & Lyrics by Neil Bartram
Book by Brian Hill
Directed by Brian Hill
May 7 - May 31

This unconventional new musical is a look at our surprisingly interconnected lives. Through a seemingly unrelated collection of songs, scenes and monologues, The Theory of Relativity introduces a compelling array of characters experiencing the joys and heartbreaks, the liaisons and losses, the inevitability and the wonder of human connection. Whether you're allergic to cats, in love for the first or 10th time, a child of divorce, a germaphobe, or simply a unique individual, you’re sure to find yourself in this fresh new musical.

Music and Lyrics by Charles Aznavour
Book by Alfred Uhry
English lyrics and arrangements by Jason Robert Brown
Directed and Choreographed by Kathleen Marshall 
July 23 – Aug 16

A new musical about the life and times of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the artist who captured the gaiety, color and heartbreak of Montmartre, Le Can-Can, and the world of Le Moulin Rouge. Inhabited by the colorful people he painted, it’s the story of a great artist who loved a world that never quite loved him back.

Music and Lyrics by Elizabeth A. Davis
Book by Elizabeth A. Davis and Christine Henry
Directed by Kim Wield
Oct. 22 – Nov. 15

This musical tells the unlikely story of a homeless Native American man and a Texas beauty queen who never should have been friends. He’s looking for a fight. She’s looking for a cause. As they stumble toward friendship, both ultimately discover that the look of a family is not always what you think. Inspired by true events, it’s a uniquely American story with an Americana beat.

The Norma Terris Theatre is located at 33 North Main Street in Chester. Season tickets are on sale now through the Goodspeed Box Office. Single tickets will be available starting March 29, 2015. For more information: 860-873-8668;

Winter Puppet Slam Set at UConn

James Godwin in performance. Photo: Jim Moore.

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry and the UConn Puppet Arts Program will present the 2015 UConn Winter Puppet Slam Friday, Feb. 6 at 8 pm. in the Dramatic Arts Department’s Studio Theatre. 

The UConn Winter Puppet Slam will feature short works by professional puppeteers, including famed New York City performer James Godwin, and the Semi-Upright Puppet Theater (UConn Puppet Arts graduate Joe Therrien and Bread and Puppet Theater veteran Jason Hicks), as well as new works by talented students from UConn’s Puppet Arts, Digital Media and Design, and Art Programs. 

James Godwin is renowned in New York’s prolific downtown performance scene, writing and performing in such popular productions as Uncle Jimmy’s Dirty Basement; but also works regularly with the Muppets, Julie Taymor, and such musical acts as David Bowie and Aerosmith.  At the UConn Winter Puppet Slam Godwin will present Rooty, the story of a lonely plant who finds itself in a battle to save his sanity in the face of solitary confinement; and Simulation Theory, a poetic visual narrative that explores identity, reality and possession in the American workplace.  

Jason Hicks and Joe Therrien’s Semi-Upright Puppet Theater, also based in New York City, will return to UConn with their own lively brand of activist “cheap art” puppetry that brings the iconoclastic spirit of Punch and Judy into the 21st century with such popular favorites as their super-hero serial Weasel.  In addition to new works by UConn’s acclaimed Puppet Arts Program students, the UConn Winter Puppet Slam will also feature new works for film animation by Art and Digital Media students.

The UConn Winter Puppet Slam is free and open to the public; donations are greatly appreciated. The event will take place in the Studio Theatre located at 820 Bolton Rd, Storrs, For directions to the Studio Theatre, visit For more information, call the Ballard Institute at 860)-486-8580,;
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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

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 She
is editor of The award-winning Connecticut Arts Connection (,

She is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Contributing Editor for, Connecticut theater editor
for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web. Yarger is a book reviewer and writer 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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All contents are copyrighted © Lauren Yarger 2009, 2010, 2011,2012, 2013, 2014. All rights reserved.