Thursday, October 28, 2010

Theater Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying -- Goodspeed

The cast performs "The Great Big Brotherhood of Man. Photo by Diane Sobolewski.
Goodspeed Production Knows How to Succeed
By Lauren Yarger
It’s not clear how hard Brian Sears is actually trying, but he sure is a success playing a window washer who climbs to the top of the corporate ladder in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Goodspeed.

Director Greg Ganakas has assembled a strong cast who sings (music by Frank Loesser) and dances (clever and tight choreography by Kelli Barclay) their way through the silly tale of the rise of J. Pierpont Finch who succeeds in business by following the steps laid out in an instruction manual (the recorded voice of the narrator is supplied by Sen. Christopher Dodd -- is theater a new career path for the outgoing politician?) Finch also finds success in a romantic relationship with secretary Rosemary Pilkington (Natalie Bradshaw) on his journey.

The action takes place on a retro-looking, paneled set (the year is 1962, design by Adrian W. Jones), with period costumes by Gregory Gale. Lighting Designer Paul Miller lends a nice touch with a spotlight on a smirking Finch every time one of his manipulative get-ahead strategies earns him another advantage or promotion. It’s a fun show, staged nicely on the Goodspeed stage.

Standing out is a very funny Tom Deckman as Bud Frump, the wimpy nemesis of Finch who runs to his mother, the CEO’s sister, for help whenever he’s in trouble at the office.

Giving nice turns are Ronn Carroll as the company’s CEO J.B. Biggley, Nicolette Hart as Biggley’s bombshell mistress Hedy LaRue, who with a typing speed of 12 words a minute, isn’t very successful holding a position as a secretary in the company, and Jennifer Smith as Biggley’s uptight executive assistant Miss Jones.

On the musical side (Michael Flattery, direction), some tightening is needed as a number of vocals don’t come in on the right beat and voices on some ensemble numbers aren’t together. The orchestra does a nice job playing the Loesser score which includes familiar tunes like “I Believe in You” and “The Brotherhood of Man.”

This run continues through Nov. 28 at the opera house in east Haddam, CT. Performances are Wednesdays at 2 pm and 7 pm; Thursdays at 7:30 with select performances at 2; Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm and 8 pm; and Sundays at 2 pm with selected performances at 7:30 pm.

For tickets and more information, call 860-873-8668 or visit http://www.goodspeed.org/.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Theater Review: The Blue Man Group – The Bushnell

Photo copyright Blue Man Group
Pulsating Percussion, Vivid Visuals Drive Production
By Lauren Yarger
If you’re thinking about getting out the sun lamp to drive away the doldrums brought on by the dark mornings and earlier sunsets of fall, why not try a different kind of blues? The Blue Man Group, on tour this week at The Bushnell in Hartford, offers light – lots of it in different shapes and colors to stimulate your senses.

The show also features three all-blue men doing various silly gags, skillfully catching marshmallows in their mouths, drum painting and beating on various PVC pipe drum configurations amidst a backdrop of video and digital projections. Housed on the second story of the set are musicians directed by Byron Estep, who provide additional drumming and instrumentals for the electrically charged presentation.

Audience participation figures in as well, as the Blue Men, who never speak, enter the house and select participants for various segments. Those seated in the first few rows in front wear plastic ponchos to protect them from paint and other messy materials that fly free during the event. Video footage of the crowd is shown and the audience gets a chance to join in toward the end of the show.

Young and old seem to enjoy, but be forewarned. It’s loud. Really LOUD. The pulsating drumming will rock your seat. It’s 90 minutes with no intermission.

The show, created, written and directed by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink, has tours around the country and a long-running engagement still playing in New York. At the Bushnell, performances continue tonight and Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 pm and 8 pm and Sunday at 1 pm and 6:30 pm.

Tickets start at $17. Call 860-987-5959 or visit www.bushnell.org for more information.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Judith Ivey Returns to Long Wharf in Shirley Valentine

Tony Award winner Judith Ivey teams up again with Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein, the director of her Lucille Lortel Award winning performance in The Glass Menagerie, for the hit comedy Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell, on Long Wharf Theatre’s Stage II from Dec. 2 through Jan. 2.

The creative team is comprised of Frank Alberino (sets), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), Rui Rita (lights), Ryan Rumery (sound). Jason Hindelang is the stage manager.

Wondering what happened to the joy and vibrancy in her life, Shirley Valentine, an English housewife, finds herself talking to the walls. But when she is offered a chance to go to Greece, Shirley is introduced to the adventure, hope, laughs and ultimately, love she had been missing.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.longwharf.org/ or call 203-787-4282.

Shirley Valentine
• Dec. 2, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011
• Stage II
• Tickets: $45-$65
• Performance Schedule: Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesdays, at 2 pm and 7 pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 pm and 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm and 7 pm.

Schoolhouse Rock! Performs Live at Hartford Children's Theater

"Unpack Your Adjectives" and "Do theCirculation" at the Hartford Children's Theatre production of Schoolhouse Rock Live Nov. 5-14 at Hartford Children's Theater's Carriage House Theatre, 360 Farmington Ave.

Directed by HCT's Associate Artistic Director Ayla Kapiloff with musical direction by John DeNicola, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE is the debut production of HCT's new touring division HCT ON THE ROAD. The program will tour productions directly to schools within greater Hartford and beyond, furthering HCT's mission of providing access andexposure to high quality theatre to young audiences.

The EmmyAward-winning 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught history,grammar, math, science and politics through clever, tuneful songs is instructing a whole new generation. The show features music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg,Kathy Mandry, George Newall and Tom Yohe. The cast includes Justin Boudreau as "Tom," Christopher Cavallo as "Joe," Jamison Daniels as "George," Emely Larsonas "Dori," Meagan MacLeod as "Dina" and Tori Mooney as "Shulie."

Caitlin Sailer choreographs and serves as a swing. Performances The performance schedule is as follows: Friday, Nov. 5 at 7 pm; Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2 and 7 pm; Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2 pm; Friday,Nov. 12 at 7 pm; Saturday, Nov. 13 at 2 and 7 pm and Sunday,Nov. 14 at 2 pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $13 for children (13 and under) and senior citizens and are available online at www.hartfordchildrenstheatre.org.

For more information or to book aschool performance, call the HCT Box Office on 860-429-7970 ext.12.

Fly Over the Cuckoo's Nest at Ivoryton

Pictured: Solomon Landerman, Daniel Robert Sullivan and Andrea Maulella
Photograph by Anne Hudson
Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and its unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her, will open at Ivoryton Playhouse Nov. 3.
This cast includes Daniel Robert Sullivan as McMurphy and Andrea Maulella, who was last seen at the Playhouse as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, as Nurse Ratched. The play will be directed Peter Lockyer, a one-time resident of this area and past student of Valley Regional High School. A Broadway veteran, Peter has played the title role in Phantom of the Opera, and has recently finished performing in South Pacific at the Lincoln Center. Set design by Dan Nischan and lighting design by Doug Harry.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest runs Nov. 3-21. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30; Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $38 for adults, $33 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting http://www.ivorytonplayhouse.org/ .(Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St. in Ivoryton.

HSO's Chairman Has Issued a Challenge

David Roth, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, is challenging the community to increase its giving through the “Chairman’s Challenge.” He has pledged to match on a dollar-for-dollar basis any new or increased gifts made to the HSO by May 31, 2011, up to $500,000.

The search for a new music director for the HSO includes seven candidates making guest conductor appearances (four occurred during the 2009-10 season, and three are taking place in the 2010-11 season during October, November and December 2010). The successor to current Music Director Edward Cumming is expected to be announced in January 2011. Cumming will continue to lead the orchestra through the conclusion of the 2010-11 season (his ninth with the HSO) in June of 2011.

The HSO, marking its 67th season in 2010-11, is the second largest orchestra in New England and widely recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. Dedicated to the performance of live symphonic music and the presentation of quality education and community programs, each season the Hartford Symphony plays to audiences numbering approximately 125,000. Supported by more than 4,500 subscribers and 2,000 donors, the orchestra's extensive array of Musical Pathways educational activities serves more than 64,000 individuals in Hartford and surrounding communities annually. For more information about the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, visit http://www.hartfordsymphony.org/.

Palace Theater Bus Tours Hit the Road

The Palace Theater is hitting the road and inviting patrons to come along for the ride. The non-profit theater is organizing two different bus trips to the vibrant city of Providence, Rhode Island, where guests can experience the arts at the Waterbury venue’s sister theater, the Providence Performing Arts Center. Proceeds from the trips will benefit the Palace Theater Annual Fund.

The first bus trip will take patrons from Waterbury's Palace Theater to see a 3:30 pm matinee performance of the national tour of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a glittering production full of fun and surprises featuring the eye-high kicks of the world-famous Radio City Rockettes® on On Sunday, November 28.

The second bus trip will bring audiences of all ages to a 1 pm matinee of the Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation, Disney’s The Lion King on Sunday, Feb. 13.

Tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Disney’s The Lion King bust trips are $139 per person and include transportation to and from Waterbury, VIP seating and a cheese reception. The buses will stop for dinner at a location to be determined. Seating is limited and can be reserved by phone at 203-346-2000 or online at www.palacetheaterct.org.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Theater Review: The Diary of Anne Frank -- Westport

Front row, from left, Monica West (Miep Gies), Lou Liberatore (Mr. Dussel), Lauren Culpepper (Margot Frank), Steve Vinovich (Mr. Van Daan), Molly Ephraim (Anne Frank); back row, standing from left, Felicity Jones (Edith Frank), Mitch Greenberg (Otto Frank), Mimi Lieber (Mrs. Van Daan) and Ari Brand (Peter Van Daan) in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Westport Country Playhouse, now playing through October 30. (203) 227-4177. www.westportplayhouse.org Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Be Prepared to Leave the Theater and Be Transported to a Small Attic During World War II
By Lauren Yarger
The Westport Country Playhouse production of The Diary of Anne Frank is one of those rare experiences where the fourth wall vanishes and audience members are swept into the drama unfolding on stage so effectively, that in this case, you’d swear you’re hiding in a small attic in Amsterdam where the fear that you might be discovered by the Nazis is palpable.

The experience is the result of excellence in many elements of the production. Wendy Kesselman’s newly revised adaptation of Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett stage play about Anne’s two years of hiding with her family and other Jews during World War II focuses on emotions felt by the characters. It’s impossible not to feel what they feel.

Secondly, the small attic above her father’s former office is brought to vivid life by designer John Ezellthe. Multiple levels depict the living and common spaces shared by the Franks, the VanDaans and a dentist, Mr. Dussel, who joins the two families later. The walls, furniture and props all are drab. Bedding, linens and even the costumes (Wila Kim, designer) lend no color or life to the plight of those living in the attic and coiled barbed wire, high above in the rafters, is a constant reminder of the prisons that await outside the attic, which is accessed by stairs leading from below in front of the stage, completing the razing of the fourth wall.

Finally, but perhaps most effective in creating the experience, is the direction of Gerald Freedman. He coaxes winning performances from the actors and masterfully separates action taking place in one part of the attic from the day-to-day activities continued by others (the effect is aided by excellent lighting design by Travis McHale). The result is the creation of the audience as another entity in the drama taking place in the attic.

After a first act that is so engrossing, the characters stroll back onto stage as audience members return to their seats after intermission, cementing the feeling that we’re all in that attic together. We share the horror of a bombing raid, the chill of a radio address by Hitler, the sweeping joy of news that the Allies have invaded Normandy and the terror that every noise might bring the Nazis up the stairs.

Molly Ephraim’s Anne is a typical adolescent, annoying the Van Daans (Steve Vinovich, Mimi Lieber) with her constant chatter, high spirits and pranks -- all a contrast to her quieter sister, Margot (Lauren Culpepper), who is much more like their mother, Edith (Felicity Jones), against whom Anne rebels. She relates more to her father, Otto (Mitch Greenberg), and teases the Van Daans’ son, Peter (Ari Brand), with whom she shares a budding romance.

Providing supplies, news from the outside world and their only distraction from a life in hiding are Miep (Monica West) and Mr. Kraller (Allen McCullough), Otto’s former business partner. Rounding out the cast are Lou Liberatore as Dussel, Philip M. Gardner, Jack Kesy and Nicholas Wilder.

This production is a “don’t miss” of the season. It runs through Oct. 30 at the Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, Westport. For information and tickets, visit http://www.westportplayhouse.org/ or call 203-227-4177.

God of Carnage Opens TheaterWorks Season

TheaterWorks opens its 2010-2011 Season with the East Coast regional theater premiere of the blockbuster hit God of Carnageby Yasmina Reza.

A self-proclaimed "comedy of manners...without the manners", God of Carnage depicts a cocktail get-together of sophisticated parents discussing their misbehaving children. As discourse becomes debate, civility turns to absurdity and the evening rapidly degenerates into a hilarious brawl. With insults flying, all vestiges of adult behavior are eventually lost in a chaotic spiral of delicious devastation.

Winner of The Laurence Olivier Award as well the Tony Award for Best Play, God of Carnage took Broadway by storm during its extended New York run, earning knockout reviews and setting box office records.

Broadway star Candy Buckley headlines TheaterWorks' cast which also features Susan Bennett, Royce Johnson and Wynn Harmon. Directed by Tazewell Thompson, the show runs Nov. 12- Dec. 19.

The design team for God of Carnage includes Donald Eastman (Sets), Harry Nadal (Costumes), Marcus Doshi (Lights), and Fabian Obispo (Sound). Production Manager is Michael Lenaghan.

Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30 pm.; Fridays and
Saturdays at 8 pm, with weekend matinees at 2:30 pm. There is no performance on Thanksgiving.

Seats for God of Carnage are $40 for weeknights and matinees; $50 for Friday and Saturday evenings. Seating is general admission. There is a $12.50 service charge for center reserved seats. College-age student rush seats are $15 at show time with valid school ID (subject to availability). Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

For complete information and reservations, call TheaterWorks at 860-527-7838 or visit www.theaterworkshartford.org.

Subscriptions for TheaterWorks’ entire five-play 2010-2011 Season are $129 - less than $26 per play.

NEWLY REVISED SEASON
God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
Nov. 12 through Dec. 19, 2010

This by Melissa James Gibson
Jan. 21 through Feb. 27, 2011

A Steady Rain by Keith Huff
March 25 through May 8, 2011

Race by David Mamet
June 3 through July 10, 2011

The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck
Aug. 5 through Sept. 18, 2011

PARKING:
Discounted parking is available to TheaterWorks' patrons for $5 at CityPlace Garage (diagonally up Pearl Street from TheaterWorks).

ALL-FREE PERFORMANCE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS:
A free matinee for college students and faculty is offered Saturday, Nov. 20 at 2:30 pm. TheaterWorks' ALL-FREE performance is sponsored by Bank of America.

Wanda Sykes Heads November Events at Palace

The Palace Theater in Waterbury has something audiences of all ages can be thankful for with this November lineup. Tickets and gift certificates can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at www.palacetheaterct.org, or in person at the Palace Box Office, 100 East Main St. Groups of 20 or more qualify for discounted rates and should call the Group Sales hotline at 203-346-2002.

WANDA SYKES
Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 pm
Deemed "one of the funniest stand-up comics" by her peers and one of Entertainment Weekly's”25 Funniest People in America,” comedian Wanda Sykes brings her smart-witted stand-up to Waterbury. Sponsored by Bank of America and WCCT-TV.

THE MATH MANIAC SHOW
Friday, Nov. 5 at 9:30 and 11:30 am
If you want to add fun, subtract boredom, multiply test scores and keep your students’ undivided attention, then The Math Maniac Show is your answer to an A+ educational program.

Live Nation presents BRIAN REGAN
Thursday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 pm
Comedian Brian Regan is the perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality that fills theaters nationwide with fervent fans that span generations.

GUIDO’S ORCHESTRA
Saturday, Nov. 13 at 8 pm
Founded and led by the charismatic virtuoso violinist Guido Dieteren, Guido’s Orchestra is a vibrant contemporary fusion of classical and popular music.

LISA WILLIAMS
Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 pm
Join TV medium and clairvoyant Lisa Williams.

CT Virtuosi presents MOZART’S “THE MAGIC FLUTE”
Saturday, Nov. 20 at 8 pm
Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” is a fully staged co-production with the Connecticut Lyric Opera, and is performed by an international cast in the original language with English Sub-titles.

'Sweet' Sue Terry Heads HSO Jazz & Strings

HSO Jazz and Strings: A Tribute to Art Pepper’s Winter Moon Album
with “Sweet” Sue Terry, alto saxophone; Gene Bozzi, artistic director & drums; Rick Rozie, bass; and Walter Gwardyak, music arranger & piano

When: Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 at 8pm
Where: Immanuel Congregational Church, Hartford
What: Tracks from Art Pepper’s Winter Moon album and original charts by Sue Terry
How: Advance Tickets for preferred seating are $40; general admission is $20. Tickets at the door for preferred seating are $45; general admission is $25. Student tickets are $10. To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact HSO ticket services at (860) 244-2999 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Photographer Erickson Honored for 25 Years at Hartford Stage

Photographer T. Charles Erickson recently spoke at a reception in his honor at Hartford Stage, where a number of his works were on exhibit inconjuntion with the opening of the theater's renovated space and the current production of Antony & Cleopatra. Erickson is the photographer for productions at Hartford Stage (25 years) and other Connecticut theaters. Above, his image of Hallie Foote,Des Macke and Devon Abner in 2005's The Trip to Bountiful.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Theater Review: Ella, The Musical -- Long Wharf

Tina Fabrique as Ella. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Ella Fitzgerald's Life, Songs Merge on Stage
By Lauren Yarger
The scene: a stage of a concert hall in Nice, France, 1966. The star: Ella Fitzgerald (Tina Fabrique). The plot: Will the star, who just attended her beloved sister's funeral, be able to perform, especially after learning that her estranged son will be in the audience? The audience: you -- at Long Wharf Theatre's Mainstage.
Ella The Musical is a show combining a narrative of events in the singer's life with big band and jazz songs she made famous, like "Cheek to Cheek," Let's Call the whole Thing Off," Blue Skies" and "Lullaby of Birdland," to name a few of the 23 tunes included in the program conceived by Rob Ruggiero, who directs, and Dyke Garrison.
Helping unfold the tale are her manager, Norman Grantz (Harold Dixon) and her on-stage musicians (George Caldwell, piano, who also serves as music director, Ronny Harper, drums, Ron Hayes, trumpet and Cliff Kellam, who stands out with some solos on the trumpet) who double as some of the people the "first lady of song" meets along the way.
The first act, which includes a lot of narration about how Ella got her start, her two marriages and the relationship with her sister. It's a little slow moving, but the second act, which is staged as the Fitzgerald concert in Nice, is packed full of songs which have the audience tapping toes and bopping in the seats. Fabrique gives a nice turn as Ella and masters the scat singing which made her famous.
The show runs through Oct. 17. For information visit http://www.longwharf.org/ or call 203-787-4282

Theater Review: Everything the Traffic Will Allow -- MTC

Klea Blackhurst sings Ethel Merman.
Subtitled 'The Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman,' This Show Has That and Even More
By Lauren Yarger
"Everything the Traffic will Allow: The Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman" offers all that and even more -- Klea Blackhurst narrating and singing her way through an hour and a half of the life and songs of her idol. Watching Blackhurst enjoy Merman is almost as fun as enjoying the songs and stories themselves.
Blackhurst, in a vintage style black cocktail dress evoking memories of the Broadway legend, crams facts, anecdotes and songs originated in a Broadway show by Merman (that was the criteria for inclusion in the program) accompanied by Bruce Barnes on the piano. She does justice to them all and proves that there really is no business like show business when it comes to being able to live out your dream on stage.
After finishing an exhausting rendition of "Blow, Gabriel Blow" from Cole Porter's Anything Goes, Blackhurst quipped that it's just a little number she likes to do on days when she can't make it to the gym.
The show is fun and provides a nice variety of Merman's most well-known belting numbers as well as some less recognizable ballads.
It runs through Oct. 24 at Music Theatre of Connecticut, 246 Post Road East, Westport. For tickets and performance times, visit http://www.musictheatreofct.com/klea.html or call 203-454-3883.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Come Participate in Chat with Edward Albee

A Conversation with Edward Albee will be held 3 pm Friday, Oct. 22 at the Yale University Art Gallery McNeil Lecture Hall, 1111 Chapel St. at York Street.

The event is free and open to the public. No reservations are required: arrive early for best seating.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Albee will participate in a discussion moderated by Catherine Sheehy, resident dramaturg at Yale Repertory Theatre and Chair of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Department at Yale School of Drama.

Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of Albee’s A Delicate Balance directed by James Bundy, dean of Yale School of Drama and artistic director of Yale Repertory Theatre, begins performances that evening at 8. The cast features Kathleen Butler, John Carter, Kathleen Chalfant, Edward Herrmann, Ellen McLaughlin, and Keira Naughton.

Othello Continues at CT Rep

Othello (Brooks Brantly) is persuaded by the treacherous Iago (Kevin Coubal) in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s classic, Othello, being presented in the Nafe Katter Theatre Oct. 7 – 17, 2010. For tickets and information call 860-486-4226 or visit www.crt.uconn.edu. Photo by Kim Bova.

'People's Tenor' Celebrates Italian Heritage Month at Palace

World-renowned “People’s Tenor” and musical heartthrob Michael Amante will perform everything “From Pavarotti to Broadway” when he is joined by Connecticut’s own soprano, Marissa Famiglietti, to celebrate Italian-American Heritage month at the Palace Theater on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 8 pm.

Affectionately known as the “People’s Tenor,” Michael Amante has been crowned the “Prince of High C’s” for his remarkable ability to hit and sustain with ease one of the highest notes of a tenor’s voice. Singing since the age of five, he is gifted with a greater than four octave range and is considered a most versatile performer for his ability to sing in a variety of languages, including Italian, Spanish, Polish, French, German and Latin.

With a combination of good looks, romantic charm and emotionally charged singing, Amante has wowed audiences everywhere. He regularly records and performs in a vast array of styles, including Classical, Italian Art, Pop/Rock, Gospel and Broadway with a flair, finesse and finely crafted artistry that put this virtuoso vocalist firmly in his own class. Also known as “the Voice of the Mets” for singing opening and playoff games at the former Shea Stadium and the new Citi-Field, Amante has been hailed as “The Fourth Tenor,” by Regis Philbin, and deemed “The next Mario Lanza” by artist Tony Bennett.

Joining Amante on stage is Waterbury resident and soprano Marissa Famiglietti, who is scheduled to perform as a duet partner on several of Amante’s 2010 concert engagements. A frequent and versatile concert artist, Famiglietti was most recently heard in the role of Marguerite in Faust, conducted by legendary tenor Perry Price, with The Hillhouse Opera Company. Ms. Famiglietti made her debut singing the role of Suor Genovieffe in Suor Angelica with the Opera Theater of Connecticut, where she recently returned to sing the role of Annina in La Traviata this past August. Famiglietti’s recent appearances in Connecticut include Soprano Soloist in the Mozart Requiem with Musica Sacra at the Shrine of St. Anne, Guest Artist at the Waterbury Chorale’s Favorite Catholic Hymns at the Basillica of the Immaculate Conception, and the Pavarotti Tribute Concert at the Silas Bronson Library.

Before the performance, a 6 pm pre-show dinner will be held in the Poli Club, located on the mezzanine level of the theater. Dinner is $40 per member and $50 for non-members, which includes tax, service fee, coffee and tea. A cash bar is also available. Seating is limited and reservations may be made when purchasing tickets through the Box Office.

Tickets for Michael Amante: “From Pavarotti to Broadway” can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at www.palacetheaterct.org, or in person at the Palace Theater Box Office, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury. Groups of 20 or more qualify for discounted rates and should call the Group Sales hotline at 203-346-2002. For more information on becoming an EPASS member, contact the Box Office at 203-346-2000.

New Haven Students on Stage at Long Wharf

Long Wharf Theatre is partnering with the New Haven Public Schools to offer a pair of jazz concerts featuring some of the best student musicians the city has to offer.

Students from Hill Regional Career High School and Mauro-Sheridan Interdistrict Magnet School will be performing next week before two performances of the hit musical Ella. Hill Regional, led by Scott McCoy, will perform from 6 to 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Curtain is 7 pm. Mauro-Sheridan, led by Olivia Malin, will perform on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 2 to 2:30 pm – the performance of Ella will begin at 3.

To buy tickets to Ella, call 203-787-4282 or visit http://www.longwharf.org/. For information about Long Wharf Theatre’s education programming click on http://www.longwharf.org/education-2.

Auditions for Annie Set at Hartford Children's Theatre

Hartford Children's Theatre announces auditions for Annie, the second production in the 2010-2011 Family Main Stage Series "Pure Imagination," by appointment only, on Sunday, Oct. 24 from 11 am to 3 pm and Monday, Oct. 25 from 6 to 9 pm at HCT's Carriage House Theatre, 360 Farmington Avenue.

Under the direction of Artistic Director Ryan Ratelle,performances will take place Jan. 7-17, 2011. Roles are available for girls ages 8 - 12 as well as teenagers and adults age 13 and up. There are two roles available for girls ages 6 - 7. Audition sides are available online at http://www.hartfordchildrenstheatre.org./Performers should come prepared dance a short combination (as taught by the choreographer) and to sing 16 measures of an appropriate song of their choosing (you must provide sheet music for the accompanist.) Girls should not to sing from the Annie score that this call.

AUDITION TIMES ARE AS FOLLOWS: Sunday, Oct. 24 from 11 am to 1 pm. Children ages 8 - noon, 1 - 3 pm. Adults & Teenagers Monday, Oct.25 from 6 to 7:30 pm. Children ages 8 - 12 from 7:30 to 9 pm. Adults & Teenagers Auditions are by appointment only; there are a limited number of appointments available. To schedule an audition, call 860-249-7970. More info online at http://www.hartfordchildrenstheatre.org/.

Computer Glitch

Sorry-- a glitch on the dashboard resulted in some posts form another blog showing up here by mistake for a short period Tuesday morning. Our apologies to our subscribers who received them via email.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Theater Review: Broke-ology at TheaterWorks

Royce Johnson, Frank Faucette and David Pegram
Broken and Trying to Find a Fix That Works
By Lauren Yarger
Broke-ology is a new scientific theory Ennis King (Royce Johnson) has developed: the science of being broke and staying alive while being broke.

What he doesn’t realize when he laughingly defends his theory to his brother Malcolm (David Pegram), however, is that his family, depicted in Nathan Louis Jackson’s play directed by Tazewell Thompson at TheaterWorks, is a living proof.

Ennis, already stressed by working a job he hates to try to provide for his girlfriend and a baby on the way, is glad when Malcolm returns to their Kansas City, KS home after college at the University of Connecticut, presumably to help him care for their father, William (Frank Faucette), suffering from escalating Multiple Sclerosis.

Malcolm and his father have different plans, however. The son wants to return to Connecticut where he’s been offered a job that will help him in his goal of turning around urban neighborhoods, like this one in Kansas City, now on gang territory. William, plagued by dreams of being on a sinking boat, unable to save his family, doesn’t want to be dependent on either of the boys. He’d like to return to happy times, like when he and his late wife Sonia, first bought the house (a living room, kitchen and bathroom crammed onto the small stage by designer Luke Hegel Cantarella). When William believes Sonia (Gina Daniels) has been paying him visits, he gives the boys even more cause for concern.

Just beneath the loving, good-natured ribbing the men give each other while playing dominoes and pulling childish pranks lurks the question of how each can get “unstuck” without hurting any of the others. The rich performances and Tazewell’s tight direction make a poignant study of putting the needs of other above one’s self and just how far a father might be willing to go to do that.

The play runs through Oct. 24 Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm with weekend matinees at 2:30 at THeaterWorks, City Arts on Pearl, 233 Pearl St., Hartford. For tickets and information, call 860-527-7838 or visit www.theaterworkshartford.org.

Note: The play contains strong language.

Yale School Presents Eurydice

Yale School of Drama presents the following:

Eurydice by Jean Anouilh
Translated by Peter Meyer
Directed by Devin Brain
October 26-30 at the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St., New Haven

The performance schedule is at 8 pm with an additional 2 pm matinee on Oct. 30:
Tuesday, Oct. 26
Wednesday, Oct. 27
Thursday, Oct. 28
Friday, Oct. 29
Saturday, Oct. 30

Tickets, starting at $10, are available online at www.drama.yale.edu, by phone at 203-432-1234, and at the box office (1156 Chapel St. at York Street).

HSO Pops Goes Vegas


WHAT: HSO POPS! SERIES: POPS! GOES VEGAS
WHO: Steven Reineke, guest conductor; Joe Cassidy, Martin Preston, Allison Briner, Scott Beck, Jennifer Ladner & Anne Beck, guest artists
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 13 at 8 pm.
WHERE: Mortensen Hall at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts

Program: Luck Be A Lady; Big Spender; I Go to Rio; New York, New York; If He Walked Into My Life, Here’s to Las Vegas; The Lady is a Tramp; Fly Me to the Moon; and more

Ticket Information: Subscriptions to the 2010-2011 POPS! Series range in price from $150-$310. Single tickets range in price from $30-$65. Student tickets are $10. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact HSO ticket services at (860) 244-2999 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Last Days of Judas Iscariot at CT Rep

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, Oct. 28 – Nov. 7, in the Studio Theatre on the UConn Storrs campus.

Evening performances start at 7:30 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays. Matinee performances start at 2 pm.

Ticket prices range from $11- $29. For tickets and information, call 860-486-4226 or visit www.crt.uconn.edu.

Upcoming Events at the Palace Theater

The Black Crowes


Here's what's coming up this month at the Palace Theater, Waterbury:

ZOSO: THE ULTIMATE LED ZEPPELIN EXPERIENCE
Friday, October 8 – 8:00pm
ZOSO’s mastery of vintage instruments coupled with spot-on vocals, compelling stage persona, and astounding imagery recreate the magic of a true Zeppelin concert.

CELEBRATING QUEEN
Saturday, October 9 – 8:00pm
The best representation of Queen’s music since Freddy Mercury.

WE THE PEOPLE
Friday, October 15, 2010 – 9:30 am & 11:30 am
An all-new musical revue that brings American Civics lessons to life and makes Social Studies exciting and accessible for students.

WOMEN IN COMEDY STARRING LORETTA LAROCHE & FRIENDS
Saturday, October 16 – 8:00pm
A fabulous evening of laughter and entertainment with acclaimed author, humorist, and Emmy-nominated PBS star Loretta LaRoche and a few of her funniest female friends.

TOWER OF POWER
Friday, October 22 – 8:00pm
Famous for their songs "What is Hip?" and "You're Still a Young Man," Tower of Power is one of those rare bands who can claim to be the real deal, 100 proof, aged-to-perfection, ground zero Soul.

MICHAEL AMANTE
Saturday, October 23 – 8:00 pm
Internationally-acclaimed vocalist Michael Amante will be joined by Connecticut’s own Soprano, Marissa Famiglietti, and the Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra for a special evening in celebration of Italian-American Heritage Month.

AN EVENING WITH THE BLACK CROWES
Tuesday, October 26 – 7:30 pm
The evening will consist of a full hour and a half acoustic set followed by a full hour and a half electric set featuring the band’s best loved songs and catalogue picks.

For more information, visit: www.palacetheaterct.org.

Happenings at the Mark Twain House

Here are some upcoming events at the Mark Twain House in Hartford:

The Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours
Fridays and Saturdays Oct.8-30. Evening tours step off at 6 ,7, 8 and 9. Adult admission is $18; MTH&M members are $15; children under 16 are $13. Tours are not recommended for children under 10 years of age. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 860-280-3130.

Guests of The Graveyard Shift will receive no tricks, only treats when they visit The Mark Twain Museum Store - a trick-or-treat goodie and 10% off all purchases including a new glow-in-the-dark Graveyard Shift t-shirt.


Music & Truth: A Tribute to Twain
The Woodland Concert Series at Immanuel Congregational Church will present a performance of area artists in honor of the neighborhood's beloved Mark Twain Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 pm. The concert will feature acclaimed pianist Paul Bisaccia, Hartford Children's Theatre, choral ensemble Voce, and The Mark Twain House & Museum.

The evening's program will be a celebration of the music Samuel Clemens loved (and loathed) along with readings from his beloved works. Highlights will include selections from the musical The Apple Tree (based on Twain's "The Diaries of Adam & Eve"), spirituals and popular tunes from the Victorian Era, a world premiere of a piano piece by Hartford composer Dudley Buck, and a little sampling of Wagner - a composer who failed to measure up to Twain's standards ("...some of Wagner's operas bang on for six whole hours on a stretch!").

Immanuel Congregational Church is located at 10 Woodland St. near the intersection of Farmington Avenue (across from the Mark Twain House) in Hartford's West End. Free parking is available at 19 Woodland St. and The Mark Twain House & Museum parking lot.

Mark Twain & The Army of Darkness
On Saturday, October 30th at 4 p.m., The Mark Twain House & Museum has recruited three authors who have given Mark Twain's characters a mutant makeover, inflicting all sorts of blood-spattered trauma on Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and Huck's friend Jim.

Mark Twain & The Army of Darkness will be an opportunity for horror-comedy fans to m-eat the brains behind this barbaric brand of books: Don Borchert (Tor Publishing's recent release The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead), W. Bill Czolgosz (appearing via Skype, author of the forthcoming Simon & Schuster release Adventures of Huckleberry Finn & Zombie Jim) and Joe R. Lansdale (creator of IDW Publishing's forthcoming Classics Mutilated novella Dread Island). Attempting to keep the gore-filled frenzy at a minimum will be program moderator Sam Hatch, host of WWUH's Culture Dogs and frequent guest on 96.5TIC's Damon Scott Show and WNPR's Colin McEnroe Show. In addition, the audience will get a sneak peek at scenes from a new zombie movie being shot in Connecticut - Ninja Zombies!

What would Mark Twain make of the recent spate of undead torment being heaped upon classic literature? Evidence indicates he probably would have joined in the fun, at least as far as Jane Austen was concerned: "It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death." (Letter to W. D. Howells, January 18, 1909). He further states, "Everytime I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone." (Letter to Joseph Twichell, September 13,1898) Turnabout being fair play, Twain gets his own unnatural treatment with this spate of new books.

Macabre Macbeth in Basement
"Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble!" With these words, three witches foretell a dark fate for the Scottish soldier whose designs on the throne of Scotland will result in a bloody undoing for Macbeth and his infamous wife.

Capital Classics, a 20-year old theatrical troupe known for their popular outdoor Shakespeare Festival, have decided to revisit this cursed classic in an all-new "reader's theatre" adaptation of A Macabre Macbeththat will be performed in a decidedly spooky location -- the basement of the Mark Twain House -- for three performances only: Thursday, Oct. 28 at 8, Friday, Oct. 29 at 10:30 and Saturday, Oct. 30, at 10:30 pm.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 Sries Continues

Kathy Maher, Executive Director of The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, will be speaking Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 pm on "A Mark Twain Mystery: Mark Twain and P.T. Barnum."

Future "Troubles" include:
-- "A Mark Twain Mystery: What Happened to Charles Ethan Porter?" Wednesday, Oct. 20. Craig Hotchkiss, the Mark Twain House & Museum's education director, plumbs a fascinating mystery: What happened between Mark Twain and Charles Ethan Porter, a promising African American painter from Hartford whose art education in Paris was sponsored by the author, but who inexplicably fell out of Twain's favor so badly that his career went into severe decline?

-- "A Mark Twain Mystery: The Story of Elmira." Wednesday, Oct. 27. Barbara Snedecor, director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College in Elmira, NY, unravels the tale of the "other" Mark Twain House: Quarry Farm, the place where the Clemenses spent their summers while living in Hartford, and its particular creative effect on the author.

For information on the series, call Steve Courtney at 860-247-0998, Ext. 243.

The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sunday, noon-5:30 pm. For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit www.marktwainhouse.org.

Coming Up at Edgerton Center

Here's what's on tap this month at the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield:

Sunday, October 24
3 pm
BROADWAY BOYS


A collection of the hottest male voices currently working on the New York stage. Through their dynamic vocal prowess and redefining arrangements, the Broadway Boys add elements of Pop, Funk, Gospel, Jazz, and Folk to showtunes and classic pop songs as they explore harmonies rarely presented by Broadway singers.

Saturday, October 30
3pm
The American Legend Series
ERNEST BORGNINE


The legendary Ernest Borgnine, who was born in Hamden, and attended public school in New Haven will take the stage to reminisce about his career in film “From Here to Eternity,” “Marty,” and “Red”), television (”McHale’s Navy,” “Airwolf,” “A Grandpa for Christmas”) and stage (Harvey, Mrs. McThing) in an ‘Actors Studio-style’ presentation hosted by Jerry Goehring, executive director of The Edgerton Center. In addition to videos clips of his career, the afternoon will feature a talkback with Borgnine answering questions from the audience.

Reserved Tickets are $20, General Public; $15, student/Faculty/Staff; $15, Senior Citizens

Tickets may be purchased by Phone: Edgerton Center Box Office at 203-371-7908 (Mondays through Fridays from noon-4pm); In Person: at box office located in the lobby of the Edgerton Center. The box office will be open 2 hours prior to each performance; Online at http://www.edgertoncenter.org/.

Presented on the stage of the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Sacred Heart University , located at 5151 Park Avenue in Fairfield.

Second Weekend for Waiting for Lefty in Noanck

A second weekend of Emerson Theater Collaborative's production of Clifford Odets' play Waiting for Lefty run this weekend, Oct. 8 - 10 at the Latham Chester Store in Noank, CT.

Consisting of a series of related vignettes, the entire play is framed by the meeting of cab drivers who are planning a labor strike. The framing situation effectively utilizes the audience as part of the meeting. ETC asks that audience members bring a canned good to the performance to be donated to the local shelter/food pantry.

Camilla Ross directs. More information can be found at www.EmersonTheaterCollaborative.org.

James & Giant Peach Being Developed by Goodspeed

Fast Facts:
James and the Giant Peach
Music and Lyrics by: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Book by: Timothy Allen McDonald
Based on the Book by: Roald Dahl
Theatre: The Norma Terris Theatre, 33 North Main St., Chester, Connecticut
Director: Graciella Daniele
Choreographer: Michael Tracy / Pilobolus
Set Designer: Chris Barreca
Lighting Designer: Stephen Strawbridge
Music Director: Chris Fenwick
Dance Arrangements by: Sam Davis

Principals: Justin Lawrence Hall (James)
Ruth Gottschall (Spiker)
Denny Dillon (Sponge)
Steve Rosen (Marvo the Magician)
Ensemble: Nick Gaswirth (Centipede)
Jessica Hershberg
Chelsea Krombach (Mrs. Trotter / Ladybug)
Destan Owens (Earthworm)
Marissa Lindsay Palley
Nicholas Park
Jim Stanek (Mr. Trotter / Green Grasshopper)
Kate Wetherhead (Spider)
Minami Yusui

Pilobolus: Otis Cook, Edwin Olvera, Roberto Olvera, Annika Sheaff, Holly Shunky, Derek Stratton

Synopsis: When James is shipped off to live with his wretched aunts, he longs for a real family and a new home. All seems lost until he discovers a magical giant peach filled with a mix of fantastical creatures. Together with Green Grasshopper, Ladybug, Centipede and more, James embarks on a most extraordinary adventure sailing across the sea to distant lands.

Dates: Oct 21 – Nov 21, 2010

Performances: Wednesday at 2 and 7, Thursday at 7:30, Friday at 8, Saturday at 3 and 8 and Sunday at 2 and 6:30. Student Matinees: Tuesday, Nov 9, and Thursday, Nov 18, at 11 am. Special performance for student groups of 15+ only $29 per student.

Tickets: $42. Goodspeed Box Office (860.873.8668) or on-line at http://www.goodspeed.org/.

Wong, O'Hare Perform Selected Shorts at Long Wharf

Selected Shorts, a celebration of the short story, will be performed live on Long Wharf Theatre’s Mainstage Nov. 15, 2010 and March 14, 2011. R.J. Julia Booksellers, located in Madison, is a co-sponsor of the series.

Each week on local public radio stations, great actors from stage, screen and television bring short stories to life. Selected Shorts is an award-winning, one-hour program featuring readings of classic and new short fiction. One of the most popular series on the airwaves, this unique show is hosted by Isaiah Sheffer and produced for radio by Symphony Space and WNYC Radio.

Sheffer will be joined at Long Wharf Theatre by Tony winners and television stars B.D. Wong and Denis O’Hare, performing powerful, surprising and funny tales about identity, race, guilt and understanding by terrific contemporary American writers Sherman Alexie (War Dances), Percival Everett (I Am Not Sidney Poitier) and O. Henry winner John Biguenet.

This event was programmed in conjunction with the theatre’s production of The Train Driver, by Athol Fugard, running from Oct. 27-Nov. 21 on the Mainstage.

Wong won Tony and Drama Desk awards for his work in M. Butterfly. He also appeared on Broadway in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Pacific Overtures. He has performed extensively on television and film, most notable in the television series “Law & Order: SVU” and “Oz” and the films "Mulan," both "Father of the Bride" movies, "Executive Decision" and "Jurassic Park," among others.

O’Hare won Tony and Drama Desk awards for his work in Take Me Out and a Drama Desk Award for Sweet Charity. He also appeared on Broadway in Inherit the Wind, Cabaret and Assassins. He recently appeared in the television series “True Blood” and the films "Duplicity," "Charlie Wilson’s War," "Milk," "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men," and "Michael Clayton," among others.

Tickets are $25 and are available by visiting the new http://www.longwharf.org/ or by calling the Box Office at 203-787-4282. For more information about R.J. Julia Booksellers, visit www.rjjulia.com.

Move over Mad Men, Swanky, Stylish 60’s Satire Snaps onto the Stage at Goodspeed

Goodspeed Musicals’How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying runs through Nov. 28.

In this hysterical satire of American industry, an ambitious window-washer uses a bit of charm, a lot of flattery and a little self-help manual called How to Succeed… to zoom up from mail room clerk to executive suite boss. A triumph of musical theatre with a happy and witty score that includes ”The Company Way,” “I Believe in You” and “Brotherhood of Man” the musical won seven Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

How to Succeed… features music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, and a book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert based on the book by Shepherd Mead.

Visit www.goodspeed.org for performance schedule and production details including photos and a behind-the-scenes video.

Driving Miss Daisy Plays at Ivoryton

Rob Barnes, Steve Barron and Rebecca Hoodwin
Driving Miss Daisy, the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Alfred Uhry runs thru October 17th for 3 weeks. The film version won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and the play will get a Broadway production later this month starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave.
Performance times at Ivoryton are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm. Tickets are $38 for adults, $33 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by http://www.ivorytonplayhouse.org/. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Fugard's Train Driver Gets East Coast Premiere at Long Wharf

Long Wharf Theatre will present the East Coast premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver, directed by Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.

The play will run Oct. 27-Nov. 21 on the Mainstage. Curtain times are Tuesdays at 7, Wednesdays at 2 and 7, Thursdays and Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 3 and 8 and Sundays at 2 and 7. Tickets are $45-$70 with special discounts available.

Fugard’s newest play, which received its world premiere at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, South Africa in March, mines the depths and complications of the human heart. Roelf Visagie (Tony Award-nominee Harry Groener) wanders the graveyards of Port Elizabeth, searching among the unnamed ones for the final, nondescript resting place of a young woman he unintentionally killed. When Roelf looks for answers, he encounters a mysterious gravedigger named Simon (Drama Desk Award- winner Anthony Chisholm) who guides him towards tenuous and troubled understanding.

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 playwright. The theatre produced his first hit, Sizwe Banzi is Dead and, more recently Coming Home and Have You Seen Us?

“For me, [The Train Driver] is the biggest of them all. Everything I have written before has been a journey to this … refusing to allow the dead to pass into oblivion,” Fugard said.

Box office phone number: 203-787-4282
Website: www.longwharf.org
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.