Friday, April 30, 2010

You Won't Be Able to Keep a Straight Face at TheaterWorks' Souvenir

Neva Rae Powers and Edwin Cahill
(Photo: Joshua Demers)

Read the review of this play based on a bizarre true story
of a singer who couldn't sing here:
http://curtainup.com/souvenirct10.html

She Loves Me -- and We Love She Loves Me at Westport

Jessica Grové and Jeremy Peter Johnson
(Photo: T. Charles Erickson)

Read the review for this delightful musical at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Orphans' Home Cycle Nominated for Outer Critics Awards

Bill Heck. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle, which started here at Hartford Stage, has received five Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for the production which now is playing Off-Broadway at Signature Theatre Company.

The play has been nominated as Outstanding New Broadway Play and Hartford Stage's Artistic Director Michael Wilson, who directed, has been nominated as Best Director of a Play.

In addition, Bill Heck, Hallie Foote and James DeMarse also have been nominated in the categories of Outstanding Actor in a Play, Outstanding Featured Actress and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play respectively.

The winners of the following categories will be announced on Monday, May 17 and the annual awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 27 at Sardi’s.

Outer Critics Circle
2009-2010 Award Nominations


OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
Next Fall
Red
Superior Donuts
Time Stands Still

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
American Idiot
Come Fly Away
Fela!
Memphis
Sondheim on Sondheim

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
Clybourne Park
The Orphans’ Home Cycle
The Pride
The Temperamentals

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Scottsboro Boys
Tin Pan Alley Rag
Yank!

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Memphis
The Scottsboro Boys
Yank!

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Fences
Lend Me a Tenor
The Royal Family
A View From the Bridge

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
La Cage aux Folles
Finian’s Rainbow
A Little Night Music
Promises, Promises

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Doug Hughes The Royal Family
Kenny Leon Fences
Stanley Tucci Lend Me a Tenor
Michael Wilson The Orphans’ Home Cycle

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Christopher Ashley Memphis
Terry Johnson La Cage aux Folles
Susan Stroman The Scottsboro Boys
Alex Timbers Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER
Rob Ashford Promises, Promises
Bill T. Jones Fela!
Susan Stroman The Scottsboro Boys
Sergio Trujillo Memphis

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
John Lee Beatty The Royal Family
Beowulf Boritt Sondheim on Sondheim
Phelim McDermott & Julian Crouch The Addams Family
Donyale Werle Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Jane Greenwood Present Laughter
Martin Pakledinaz Lend Me a Tenor
Matthew Wright La Cage aux Folles
Catherine Zuber The Royal Family

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams American Idiot
Kevin Adams The Scottsboro Boys
Ken Billington Sondheim on Sondheim
Justin Townsend Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Bill Heck The Orphans’ Home Cycle
Jude Law Hamlet
Liev Schreiber A View From the Bridge
Christopher Walken A Behanding in Spokane
Denzel Washington Fences

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Nina Arianda Venus in Fur
Laura Benanti In the Next Room, or the vibrator play
Viola Davis Fences
Laura Linney Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell The Royal Family

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Brandon Victor Dixon The Scottsboro Boys
Sean Hayes Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball Memphis
Nathan Lane The Addams Family

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Kate Baldwin Finian’s Rainbow
Barbara Cook Sondheim on Sondheim
Montego Glover Memphis
Bebe Neuwirth The Addams Family
Catherine Zeta-Jones A Little Night Music

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
James DeMarse The Orphans’ Home Cycle
Jon Michael Hill Superior Donuts
David Pittu Equivocation
Noah Robbins Brighton Beach Memoirs
Reg Rogers The Royal Family

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Hallie Foote The Orphans’ Home Cycle
Rosemary Harris The Royal Family
Marin Ireland A Lie of the Mind
Jan Maxwell Lend Me a Tenor
Alicia Silverstone Time Stands Still

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Kevin Chamberlin The Addams Family
Christopher Fitzgerald Finian’s Rainbow
Levi Kreis Million Dollar Quartet
Dick Latessa Promises, Promises
Bobby Steggert Ragtime

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Carolee Carmello The Addams Family
Katie Finneran Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury A Little Night Music
Cass Morgan Memphis
Terri White Finian’s Rainbow

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE
Jim Brochu Zero Hour
Carrie Fisher Wishful Drinking
Judith Ivey The Lady With All the Answers
Anna Deavere Smith Let Me Down Easy

JOHN GASSNER AWARD
(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
John Logan Red
Jon Marans The Temperamentals
Geoffrey Nauffts Next Fall
Bruce Norris Clybourne Park

Celebrating its 60th season of bestowing awards of excellence in the field of theater, the Outer Critics Circle is an association with members affiliated with more than 90 newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and theater publications in America and abroad.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Who's Tommy Plays at CRT

J.J. Mullin as Four Year Old Tommy with Jon Conver as Tommy in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of The Who’s Tommy running through May 1 in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, Storrs. For tickets and information call 860-486-4226 or visit http://www.crt.uconn.edu/. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

About the play:
“See me. Feel me. Touch me.”

Book by Pete Townshend & Des McAnuff
Additional Music & Lyrics by John Entwistle & Keith Moon
Based on The Who's Rock-Opera, Tommy

Young Tommy witnesses a violent crime and is rendered deaf, dumb and blind. Tommy's incredible transformation from catatonia to stardom as a pinball celebrity is told through The Who's immortal songs including "Pinball Wizard," "See Me, Feel Me," "Listening to You" and "We're Not Gonna Take It."

Audiences follow the story through the eyes of the title character who undergoes the heartbreaking and triumphant journey of a young boy stripped of his youth by violence and abuse. The CRT production will employ a variety of elements including liquid projections, an oversized pinball machine, and a style of puppetry known as shadow play (produced by UConn’s world class puppet artists). Tommy is a striking, rousing, rock opera that touches the heart and excites the senses. The cast includes two Equity actors alongside CRT’s advanced student artists. A full rock combo will support the singers, actors, and dancers.

Director Gabe Barre said, "I'm thrilled to be back at Connecticut Repertory Theatre directing Tommy and exploring another rich piece from the 1960's after doing Hair here last year. Hair was ground breaking theatre that explored the world of a tribe of hippies on the streets of New York and the world around them, while Tommy is groundbreaking rock and roll that explores the life of a superstar onstage and the world within him. Our production will emphasize the idea of enlightenment through the senses, through stillness and through music ... We will be inside Tommy's head and see, feel and touch the world as he does ... This is what live theatre can do that no other medium can ... reach out ... engage and invigorate. Enlarge, enliven and enlighten.

Friday, April 23, 2010

South Pacific Breezes in to the Bushnell

Rod Gilfry and Carmen Cusack.
Photo: Pete Coombs

A Breezy, Musical Evening
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific breezes into the Bushnell through Sunday with a top-notch tour featuring the deep operatic baritone of Rod Gilfry playing Emil de Becque, who falls in love with nurse Nellie Forbush (Carmen Cusack) on an island in the South Pacific during World War II (the tale is based on the Pultizer Prize-winning novel by James Michener).

When their romance isn’t being tested by prejudice, ( Nellie can’t quite come to terms with Emil’s previous relationship with a native woman and the two “colored” children resulting from it), Emil is singing out beautiful tunes like “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “This Nearly was Mine.”

It’s a delightful revisit of the classic, and this tour is inspired by the much-aclaimed revival still running at Lincoln Center in New York (it closes this summer), directed by Bartlett Sher. It’s fresh, nicely packaged (sets are by Michael Yeargan, costumes are by Catherine Zuber and musical staging is by Christopher Gatelli) and fun.

Keala Settle lends humor as the enterprising Bloody Mary (even though she doesn’t look very native), Matthew Saldivar gives a nice turn as sailor Luther Billis and Anderson Davis lends his nice tenor to two of the show’s most loved tunes “Younger than Springtime” and “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” The male chorus in particular sounds great ("There is Nothing Like a Dame" is a treat) and the orchestra is filled out with local musicians.

Performances are Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, with a 2 pm matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $15 to $75 and are available by calling 860-987-5900 or by visiting http://bushnell.org/.
--Lauren Yarger

Review-- Doubt at MTC

Smaller Role is the Standout in this Production
Don’t miss Lynnette R. Freeman (top right) as Mrs. Muller, the mother whose son might be being abused by Father Brendan Flynn (Jim Schilling) in Music Theatre of Connecticut’s presentation of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt running through Sunday.

Freeman’s performance, directed by Kevin Connors, MTC’s main stage executive artistic director, is the highlight of this production and is hands-down the best I’ve seen in that role. She’s gripping as the mother torn between wanting to protect her while trying to give him the best chance to succeed in life.

Katie Sparer plays Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the nun who believes Father Flynn is guilty of the abuse, but has no proof. She confides in a young innocent nun, Sister James (Marty Bongfeldt), who has her own doubts about whether the boy, a student in her class, was abused or whether Sister Aloysius is blowing thinks out of proportion.

Scenic design and stage management are by David Heuvelman; lighting design is by Graham Kindred and costume design is by Diane Vanderkroef. Performances are Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 4 and 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are $40 for adults, $20 for seniors and students, and reservations are suggested. For reservations or more information, call Music Theatre of Connecticut at 203-454-3883 or visit www.musictheatreofct.com.
--Lauren Yarger

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Band Geeks! Casting Announced

Goodspeed Musicals has announced the cast of Band Geeks!, a new musical being developed at the Norma Terris.

The spring production will kick off a three show season in Chester, CT. This feel-good musical comedy will run from May 13 through June 6 and is a high-stepping tribute to high school marching bands and misfits everywhere!

Band Geeks! features Music by Mark Allen, Gaby Alter, and Tommy Newman with Lyrics by Gaby Alter and Tommy Newman, and Book by Tommy Newman and Gordon Greenberg. Concept by Tommy Newman.

Elliott will be played by Jared Gertner who recently performed on Broadway in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Laura will be played by Katie Klaus whose Broadway credits include A Catered Affair, Inherit the Wind and The Times They Are A-Changin’. The role of Mr. Hornsby will be played by Michael Winther whose Broadway credits include Mamma Mia! and the revivals of 1776 and Damn Yankees.

F. Michael Haynie will play Spitz; Patti Murin who was last seen in Broadway’s Xanadu will play Nicole. Ruthie Ann Miles will play Molly, Nkrumah Gatling will play Kyle, Michael Millan will play Alvin, Jacey Powers will play Natalia and Matt Braver will play Stewart

The role of Ms. Dixon will be played by Jill Abramovitz who returns to Goodspeed where she previously played the roles of Ms. Mink and Heddy Muskrat in last season’s holiday treat Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter. Ms. Abramovitz’s Broadway credits include 9 to 5 and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me.

Tommar Wilson will play Jake. Mr. Wilson’s Broadway credits include Hair, Lestat, Never Gonna Dance, Hairspray, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the 2000revival of The Music Man.

Band Geeks! will be directed by Gordon Greenberg. Band Geeks! will run May 13 through June 6. Curtain times are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 pm, Thursday at 7:30 p.m.*, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm and Sunday at 2 and 6:30 pm. (*Thursday, May 13 as at 8 pm).

Tickets are available through the Box Office (860-873-8668), open seven days a week, or on-line at www.goodspeed.org.

Long Wharf Announces New Season Offerings

Long Wharf Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing Director Ray Cullom, announces four plays of its 2010-2011 season – a celebration of one of history’s greatest jazz singers, a one-woman tour-de-force comedy, an exciting verbal duel and the newest from Athol Fugard.

The 2010-11 season will begin with the hit musical Ella, a celebration of the life and music of famed singer Ella Fitzgerald, playing on the Mainstage. A stylish and sophisticated theatrical event, Tina Fabrique plays the title role, tackling some of the most famous songs in the singer’s canon.

Judith Ivey will perform on Stage II in Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine, a delightful comedy about a woman’s quest for joy in her own life. “Judy is a brilliant comic actress. She’ll bring warmth, depth, humanity and charm to this role. It will be a joyous, inspirational evening,” Edelstein said.

The Old Masters is one of the final works of British playwright Simon Gray, whose play Quartermaine’s Terms, was a hit at Long Wharf Theatre in the 1980s, and went on to success in New York City. The Old Masters, scheduled for its North American premiere on the Mainstage, vividly brings to life the . “Simon Gray has a long history with Long Wharf. This play is an exciting verbal duel between two old friends over the value of art versus money,” Edelstein said.

Athol Fugard continues his trenchant exploration of human relationships with the U.S. premiere of The Train Driver. Based on a real life incident, the play explores guilt in post-apartheid South Africa, continuing the theatre’s long and fruitful association with the master playwright. “The Train Driver the culmination of Athol’s career to this point and he describes it as such. The play is an example of the central challenge, from Athol’s point of view, of race in South Africa,” Edelstein said.

Final planning is underway for the final two selections of the season, one of which will be a world premiere by an innovative American playwright and the other a work by esteemed writer.

For more information about purchasing subscriptions, call 203-787-4282, or visit the Long Wharf Theatre box office at 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT.

Broadway Legends Stritch, Rivera, Vereen Light Up Hartford Stage

The brightest lights of Broadway will burn at Hartford Stage this summer in an unprecedented theatrical treat for Connecticut audiences: Tony Award-winning Broadway legends Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera, and Ben Vereen will bring their hit solo shows to Hartford Stage’s SummerStage series for back-to-back one-week limited runs.

Each performer will bring his or her unique talents to Hartford as they revisit their storied Broadway careers in Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim . . . One Song at a Time, Chita Rivera: My Broadway, and An Evening with Ben Vereen. The Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen shows were previously announced with Hartford Stage’s initial 47th season offerings; Ms. Stritch’s hit show, direct from its sold-out run at New York’s Cafe Carlyle, will begin the Broadway Legends series with a strictly limited four-performance run June 17 – 20.

Tickets for the Broadway Legends series are on sale now and can be purchased individually or as a three-show subscription by calling the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or online by visiting hartfordstage.org.

SummerStage 2010 will take place during the completion of the first of two phases of renovation and upgrade projects for Hartford Stage. To facilitate these essential renovations to the Church Street theatre, Hartford Stage will present the Broadway Legends series, as well as the first production of its 47th MainStage season, Sheila’s Day, at its temporary summer home at the Roberts Theatre at the Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, a ten-minute drive from downtown Hartford. Following the completion of this first phase of renovation, the 2010-2011 season will continue in October at Hartford Stage’s 50 Church St. home.

2010 SummerStage Broadway Legends Series:

ELAINE STRITCH SINGIN’ SONDHEIM . . . ONE SONG AT A TIME
June 17 - 20
The iconic musical theater careers of Elaine Stritch and Stephen Sondheim are inextricably linked, and this new show is the culmination of a personal and professional relationship that has spanned the better part of four decades, beginning with Company in 1970. In Elaine Stritch Singin' Sondheim . . . One Song at a Time, Ms. Stritch (with Rob Bowman, Music Director) will perform the music of Mr. Sondheim, orchestrated by Tony, Oscar, Grammy and Emmy Award-winner Jonathan Tunick. The New York Times calls the show “wistful, reflective, funny.”

CHITA RIVERA: MY BROADWAY
June 22 – 27, 2010
An evening of song, dance, and stories with the two-time Tony Award winner performing songs from her legendary Broadway career. Rivera will perform selections from her most celebrated musicals, including numbers from West Side Story (“America”), Sweet Charity (“Where Am I Going?” and “Big Spender”), Chicago (“All That Jazz” and “Nowadays”), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Bye Bye Birdie, and The Rink. Featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Charles Strouse, Stephen Sondheim, and Cy Coleman.

AN EVENING WITH BEN VEREEN
July 6 – 11, 2010
A unique blend of artistry combining a tribute to Broadway, Frank Sinatra, and a very special homage to Sammy Davis, Jr., An Evening With Ben Vereen is a contemporary and timeless journey through the Broadway songbook featuring such hit songs as "Defying Gravity," "Being Alive," "Something's Coming," and "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries." A Tony Award winner for his renowned performance in Bob Fosse’s Pippin, Vereen has gone on to solidify his place among Broadway royalty, with starring roles in such productions as Wicked, Fosse, Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, and I’m Not Rappaport. He is best known on screen for his iconic role as Chicken George in the groundbreaking TV miniseries "Roots. "

The three-show Broadway Legends package is priced from $138 - $165. Subscriptions to Hartford Stage’s 2010-2011 MainStage season are also now on sale. To purchase a subscription or to receive more information, call the Hartford Stage Box Office at 860-527-5151, or visit www.hartfordstage.org. Single tickets to the Broadway Legends series and Sheila’s Day are on sale now; individual tickets for all other productions go on sale July 1. Groups of 10 or more may receive discounts; call the box office for further information.

The Roberts Theatre at Kingswood-Oxford School, Hartford Stage’s summer home, has ample free parking, is convenient to I-84, and within walking distance to restaurants in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. The Roberts Theatre is comparable in size to the Church Street facility, is fully accessible.

Hartford Children's Theater Offers Pinocchio Tale

Caleb Reynolds (Pinocchio), Victoria Mooney (Blue Fairy) and Jamison Daniels (Geppetto)
in HCT's Gepetto & Son. Photo Credit: Thomas Giroir

Gepetto & Son, a delightful, new musical take on the classic tale of “Pinocchio.” Under the direction of HCT Artistic Director Ryan Ratelle and Summar Elguindy, Gepetto plays April 30-May 9 at the Carol Autorino Center for Arts and Humanities on the campus of Saint Joseph College (1678 Asylum Avenue in West Hartford).

Gepetto & Son is a new take on the classic tale of a toymaker named Geppetto and his son Pinocchio’s journey from an awkward wooden puppet to a real, live boy. The Blue Fairy, Stromboli and a lively cast of characters take Geppetto beyond the toy shop to help him discover what makes a “perfect child.” This family-friendly musical features the beloved original songs “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “I’ve Got No Strings” from the classic 1940 Disney film "Pinocchio," now celebrating its 70th Anniversary. The score also features new material by Grammy Award-winner and multiple Tony Award nominee Stephen Schwartz (Wicked).

Tickets are $18 for Adults, $13 for Children (13 and under) and Senior Citizens and are available for purchase online at http://www.hartfordchildrenstheatre.org/. Group tickets are available by calling the HCT Box Office on 860-249-7970 ext. 12. The performance schedule is Friday, April 30 at 7 pm; Saturday, May 1 at 2 and 7 pm; Sunday, May 2 at 2 pm; Friday, May 7 at 7 pm; Saturday, May 8 at 2 and 7 pm and Sunday, May 9 at 2 pm. The production runs approximately 90 minutes and is suitable for children of all ages.

The show features a cast of 22 adult and child performers including Hartford residents and HCT favorites Jamison Daniels as Geppetto and Victoria Mooney as the Blue Fairy along with 10-year-old Burlington resident Caleb Reynolds as Pinocchio.

She Loves Me Extends at Westport

Westport Country Playhouse has added four additional performance of the romantic musical comedy, She Loves Me, Thursday through Saturday, May 13 – 15, evenings at 8 pm and a Saturday matinee at 4 pm.

The romantic musical is directed by Mark Lamos and celebrates the beginning of the Playhouse’s 80th anniversary season.

"It's just wonderful to see how many have bought tickets to ‘She Loves Me,’” said Lamos. “It's such a celebratory way to begin our 80th season, and it’s a musical that’s tailor made to the intimacy of this wonderful Playhouse. I couldn’t be happier that this extension means even more people will be able to come.”

She Loves Me features a book by Joe Masteroff. Music is by Jerry Bock with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, who as a team wrote “Fiorello!,” winner of Broadway’s triple crown: Tony Award, New York Critics’ Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize for drama; and “Fiddler on the Roof,” which won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The plot involves Georg and Amalia, feuding shop clerks in a 1930s European parfumerie, who unknowingly fall in love via their letters as anonymous romantic pen pals.

Single tickets range from $35 to $55. Students and educators are eligible for half-price discounts. Groups of 10 or more save up to 30 percent. For group sales information call 203-227-5137, x120. For more information or ticket purchases, call the box office (M-F, 12 to 6 p.m.) at 203-227-4177, or toll-free 888-927-7529, or visit 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets may be purchased online at www.westportplayhouse.org.

Long Wharf Mourns Passing of Rosenblum

Long Wharf Theatre mourns the death of M. Edgar Rosenblum, the organization’s executive director from 1970 to 1996, serving alongside Artistic Director Arvin Brown.

Rosenblum died Saturday evening in his home in Woodstock, NY. He was 78.

“Edgar was a knowledgeable and efficient managing director,” said Founder Trustee Ruth Lord. “He meant a lot to the institution and I’m very sad to hear of his passing.”

Rosenblum left Long Wharf Theatre in 1996, serving with New York’s Circle-in-the-Square and the Theatre for a New Audience. He is the former chairman of the board of the American Arts Alliance, founding president of the National Corporate Theatre Fund and former president of the League of Resident Theatres.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Enjoy Adventures of Tom Sawyer at Hartford Stage

Tim McKiernan, Casey Predovic and Louisa Krause. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.
Mark Twain’s classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer comes to life at Hartford Stage in a new stage adaptation by Laura Eason through May 9.

It takes a few moments for your brain to adjust to the fact that the red-haired kid is Tom Sawyer and the dark-haired kid is Huck Finn when everything in the literary recesses of your brain tells you it should be the other way around, but both actors, Tim McKiernan and Casey Predovic, respectively, do right by their characters under the direction of Associate Artistic Director Jeremy B. Cohen.

Louisa Krause is an engaging Becky Thatcher (and is appropriately blonde pigtailed). Nancy Lemenager seems a little young for the roles of Aunt Polly and the Widow Douglas, but the whole production, part of a national celebration commemorating the centennial of Twain’s death and the 175th anniversary of his birth as well as participating in this year’s “Big Read,” feels like a production written especially for school-aged audiences, so to little kids, she’ll probably seem old.

Turning in a really good performance is Teddy Canez as Injun Joe, the schoolmaster and the minister. Rounding out the cast are Chris Bowyer (Sid Sawyer, Doc Robinson, lawyer), Eric Lochtefled (Muff Potter, Widow’s brother) and Joe Paulik (Joe Harper, lawyer, accomplice).

Ilona Somogyi creates the period costumes and Daniel Ostling designs the set consisting of smaller pieces that fly in and various larger pieces that are used and reused in different ways throughout the production (again having the feel of a production that would tour to schools). Disappointingly, the famous fence gets whitewashed with a lighting effect (Robert Wierzel, design) instead of real paint. Broken Chord Collective provides original music and sound design.

Tickets for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are $23-$66. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and some Wednesdays at 2 pm. Call the box office at 860-527-5151 or visit www.hartfordstage.org.
-- Lauren Yarger

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Variety Marks Next Season at Hartford Stage

Classic stories, international rhythms and a compelling new voice will transport audiences next season at Hartford Stage.

Opening the theater's 47th season will be the internationally acclaimed musical drama Sheila’s Day. Accompanied by rousing gospel and blues and stirring Zulu chants, Sheila’s Day offers a riveting history of the civil rights movement in rural Alabama and apartheid in South Africa that is also a triumphant celebration of the human spirit.

Also announced for the MainStage season are Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash hit comedy that mixes a thrilling Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel; August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and the world premiere of Divine Rivalry by noted political journalist Michael Kramer, a compelling exploration of a little known painting competition between Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo engineered by the brilliant Niccolo Machiavelli. Divine Rivalry will be directed by Michael Wilson.

The 2010-2011 season will also mark the completion of the first of two phases of renovation and upgrade projects for Hartford Stage. To facilitate these essential renovations to the Church Street theatre, the 2010-2011 MainStage season will present Sheila’s Day at its temporary summer home at the Roberts Theatre at the Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, a ten-minute drive from downtown Hartford. Following the completion of this first phase of renovation, the 2010-2011 season will continue in October at Hartford Stage’s 50 Church St. home.

Also at the Roberts Theatre this summer is a theatrical treat for Connecticut audiences: Broadway legends Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen will both bring their hit solo shows to Hartford Stage’s SummerStage series for back-to-back one-week limited runs. Each performer will bring his or her unique talents to Hartford as they revisit their storied Broadway careers in Chita Rivera: My Broadway and An Evening with Ben Vereen. Tickets for the Broadway Legends series are on sale now and can be purchased individually or as a multi-show subscription.

The holiday season brings the 13th annual production of a Connecticut’s favorite yuletide tradition, the crowd-pleasing A Christmas Carol, seen by more than a quarter million people during its unprecedented run at Hartford Stage. Tickets for A Christmas Carol are on sale now for subscribers and will go on sale to single ticket buyers July 1.

Tickets to Hartford Stage’s 2010-2011 season are on sale now. To purchase a subscription or to receive more information, call the Hartford Stage Box Office at 860-527-5151, or visit www.hartfordstage.org. Single tickets to Sheila’s Day and the Broadway Legends series are on sale now; individual tickets for all other productions go on sale July 1. Groups of 10 or more may receive discounts; call the box office for further information.

Albee, Wilson, Shakespeare Plays on Tap Next Season at Yale

Yale Repertory Theatre has announced the 2010-2011 season.

On tap are:
World Premiere Musical
WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE
Book and Lyrics by Adam Bock and Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Directed by Anne Kauffman

Sept. 17-Oct. 9, 2010
University Theatre (222 York St.)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a haunting, lyrical, and darkly humorous new musical based on the 1962 novel by Shirley Jackson, author of The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House. Acquitted of a horrible crime six years ago, Constance Blackwood lives with her devoted younger sister Merricat and their uncle Julian in what was once the home of the richest—and most envied—family in a small New England town. Constance tends to the house and garden while Merricat invents magical charms to protect the surviving Blackwoods from the townspeople’s prying eyes and vicious gossip. But talismans may not be powerful enough to keep the sisters together when their handsome cousin Charles comes to visit. Composer Todd Almond’s recent projects include this season’s Girlfriend at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and On the Levee at Lincoln Center Theater.


Edward Albee's
A DELICATE BALANCE
Directed by James Bundy

Oct. 22-Nov. 13, 2010
Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel St.)

Edward Albee, the four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Three Tall Women, makes his Yale Rep debut with a new production of A Delicate Balance.

Friday night in the suburbs. Agnes and Tobias are a well-off, long-married couple who share their home with Agnes' older sister, Claire, a self-proclaimed “drunk.” The delicate balance of their lives has already begun to teeter when their best friends arrive unexpectedly, asking if they can stay indefinitely. The next day, their grown daughter shows up, expecting to move home again after the collapse of her fourth marriage. Agnes and Tobias soon realize they must make some difficult choices about what to do next. Artistic Director James Bundy (2009’s Death of a Salesman) stages this social comedy about the fragile nature of marriages, families, and friendships.


World Premiere
BOSSA NOVA
By Kirsten Greenidge

Nov. 26-Dec. 18, 2010
Yale Repertory Theatre
Yale Rep presents the world premiere of Bossa Nova, a poignant and powerful new play by Kirsten Greenidge, who has been praised for her “imaginative reach and affinity for rich dialogue” (The Boston Globe).

Dee Paradis has never fit in. Raised on the gentle swing of bossa nova and educated at elite, predominately white schools, she has led a life meticulously designed by her elegant and strong-willed mother, Lady. In the split second when she locks eyes with Lady in the mirror before a dinner party, Dee—now 30 years old and still torn between her mother's expectations and a former lover’s ideals of authenticity—comes face to face with a choice that will determine her future.

August Wilson’s
THE PIANO LESSON
Directed by Liesl Tommy
Jan. 28-Feb. 19, 2011
Yale Repertory Theatre

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson returns to Yale Rep, where it had its world premiere in 1987.

Pittsburgh, 1936. An ornately carved upright piano sits in the home of Berniece Charles, who plans to pass it along to her daughter. But her brother, Boy Willie, has another plan for the prized, hard-won heirloom: to sell it for the hard cash to buy the same Mississippi land that their family once worked as slaves. The Piano Lesson is the intimate story of a brother and sister and their struggle to embrace or deny their epic inheritance.The Piano Lesson was one of six plays in August Wilson’s 10-play cycle chronicling the African-American experience in the 20th century to premiere at Yale Rep. Director Liesl Tommy made her Yale Rep debut with the critically-acclaimed production of Eclipsed in 2009.


William Shakespeare’s
ROMEO AND JULIET
Directed by Shana Cooper
March 11-April 2, 2011
University Theatre

Bounding between festive celebrations and bloody duels to the death, battles of wit and soaring romanticism, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is the world’s greatest and most enduring love story. From their first shy glances to their last heartbreaking kiss, the star-crossed teenagers choose each other in spite of their feuding families’ ancient grudge, as their love races towards a final confrontation with fate. This bold new production of Shakespeare’s timeless romance introduces Yale Rep audiences to director Shana Cooper, a co-founder of the New Theater House, whose work also includes productions at the Oregon, California, and Washington Shakespeare Festivals. This is Yale Rep’s 2010-2011 WILL POWER! production. The run includes four 10:30 am performances available only to middle and high school student groups. For information on WILL POWER! performances, please contact Ruth M. Feldman at 203-432-8425 or rm.feldman@yale.edu.


U.S. Premiere
AUTUMN SONATA
By Ingmar Bergman
Directed by Robert Woodruff

April 15-May 7, 2011
Yale Repertory Theatre
Director Robert Woodruff, whose Yale Rep productions include 2009’s Notes from Underground and this season’s Battle of Black and Dogs, returns with the US premiere stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata. Charlotte, a celebrated classical pianist who has forged a successful career at the expense of her family, attempts to reconcile with her daughter Eva, whom she has not seen in seven years. Over the course of one evening, they confront their darkest feelings and resentments. A tightly-wound psychological study of the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, Autumn Sonata reveals that living and loving—like mastering notes on a piano—are skills that must be practiced every day.
Widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Ingmar Bergman wrote and directed such landmark films as The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, and Scenes from a Marriage.

Yale Repertory Theatre offers a variety of subscription packages for audiences to enjoy the entire season, starting at less than $30 per ticket.

Subscriptions are available at http://www.yalerep.org/, by phone 203-432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office (1120 Chapel St.) during regular business hours (Monday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm Saturday noon to 5 pm and until 8 pm on all performance evenings).

Group Sales are available beginning Aug. 2 by calling (203) 432-1572. Individual tickets for the entire season will go on sale on Aug. 30.

Carlotta Fest at Yale

The Fifth Annual Carlotta Festival of New Plays will be offered at Yale School of Drama May 7 to 16 at the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St., New Haven.

The Carlotta Festival is comprised of three fully-produced plays by graduating playwrights performed in repertory with 12 performances over 10 days.
The festival is named for Carlotta Monterey, the widow of Eugene O’Neill, who chose Yale University Press as the publisher of her late husband’s masterpiece Long Day’s Journey into Night. The proceeds from this publication support playwriting at Yale University.

The plays featured this year are Elijah by Michael Mitnick, The Things are Against Us [Les Choses Sont Contre Nous] by Susan Soon He Stanton, and Every Other Hamlet In The Universe by Kimberly Rosenstock.

Arsenic & Old Lace Auditions Set at Ivoryton

The Ivoryton Playhouse will holding non-Equity and Equity auditions for all role(adult male and female) for a June production of Arsenic & Old Lace on Friday, April 9 from 2 to 8 pm at the Rehearsal Studio, 24 Main St., Centerbrook. The show runs from June 9 - 27; rehearsals begin May 25.

Prepare a short comedic monologue or use the sides available online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Bring a picture and resume, stapled together. Call 860-767-7318 for appointment.
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)

Blog Archive

Copyright Notice

All contents are copyrighted © Lauren Yarger 2009-2016. All rights reserved.