Monday, September 28, 2015

Connecticut Arts Connections

Carol Fred Thornley IV and Robert Hannon Davis. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
HARTFORD STAGE will host a sensory-friendly performance of its annual holiday classic, A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets for this special performance are 50 percent off regular ticket prices, starting at $18.50, and will go on sale Monday, September 28, 2015 at noon.
Hartford Stage was the first theatre in Connecticut to offer this type of performance for the community last year. Sensory-friendly performances are designed to create a theatre experience that is welcoming to all families of children with autism or other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities.
United Technologies is the exclusive Presenting Sponsor for A Christmas Carol. Additional funding to support the sensory-friendly performance is provided by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Grant – as recommended by The Right Track Fund, as well as a generous contribution from an anonymous donor. Hartford Stage also extends special thanks to Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative for serving as an advisor (www.tdf.org/autism).
The storyline and basic structure of A Christmas Carol will remain intact, but several important changes were implemented last year to help make the experience comforting and fun for those with sensory sensitivities. Overhead lights will remain lit but dimmed, and audience members are encouraged to move around during the performance as needed. There will also be a reduction in loud or jarring noises, flashing/strobe lights, and startling effects that are part of the production. Sensory support tools such as blankets, stress balls and ear plugs are offered to patrons, and a designated quiet area will be available. Trained staff and volunteers will be on hand throughout the performance to offer assistance.
To help prepare for their Hartford Stage visit, families can access free resource materials including a social story (a visual guide designed to detail the various social interactions, situations, and behaviors that occur during a visit to the theatre) and a comprehensive performance guide on the Hartford Stage website. These tools will help individuals with sensory sensitivities prepare to enjoy the play without any fear or uncertainty. A dedicated page on the Hartford Stage website is available to provide additional resources.
To purchase tickets for the sensory-friendly performance, call the Hartford Stage Box Office at 860-527-5151 or order online at http://www.hartfordstage.org/sensory-friendly. The Hartford Stage production of A Christmas Carol is recommended for children ages 8 and older.

Christina Anderson is the 2015-16 Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage. Anderson’s plays include The Ashes Under Gait CityGood Goods,Man in LoveBlacktop SkyHollow RootsHow to Catch Creation, and Drip. Her work has appeared at The Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Penumbra, Yale Rep, A.C.T., The Public Theatre, Crowded Fire, and other theatres across the country. Anderson received a BA from Brown University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama’s Playwriting Program. She serves as an Assistant Professor of Playwriting at SUNY-Purchase College. Anderson has been recognized with two PoNY (Playwrights of New York) nominations, the Schwarzman Legacy Scholarship, two Susan Smith Blackburn nominations, the Lorraine Hansberry Award (American College Theatre Festival), and a Wasserstein Prize nomination. A 2011 Woursell Prize finalist (University of Vienna), Anderson has held the Lucille Lortel Fellowship at Brown University, the Van Lier Playwriting Fellowship with New Dramatists, and served as the 2011/12 Playwright-in-Residence at Magic Theatre (National New Play Network) and the 2011 National Playwrights’ Conference Residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.

Photo courtesy of the Palace
THE PALACE THEATER in Waterbury is expanding its monthly tour program this October to offer patrons a full afternoon of classic architecture and classic theater.

In addition to selling $5.00 tickets for the venue’s monthly history tour on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11a.m., the Box Office is also offering a special tour package that includes an orchestra ticket to the afternoon’s Webster Broadway Series matinee performance of the musical comedy classic 42ND STREET.

Following a guided tour of the theater, customers that purchased the tour package will enjoy light refreshments in the venue’s Poli Club lounge before attending the 2p.m. performance of 42ND STREET. Package price is $63.50 per person and must be paid in full one week before the tour date. Reservations for both the individual tour and tour package can be made online at www.palacetheaterctorg,by phone at 203-346-2000 or in person at the Box Office, 100 East Main St. in Waterbury.

Each Palace tour is approximately 90 minutes and is led by a team of engaging volunteers well-versed in the theater’s rich history, architectural design and entertaining anecdotal information. In addition to exploring the theater, Poli Club and lobby spaces, patrons will visit the star dressing rooms and view the venue’s backstage murals that were painted and signed by past performers and Broadway touring companies.

It is important to note that each walking tour covers five floors of history and architecture, including grand staircases from the 1920’s. While elevator access is available, guests with walking disabilities or health concerns are asked to inform the Box Office ahead of time, so that the tour guides can make the proper accommodations, or offer a modified program featuring a 30-minute tour of the main floor and a 60-minute visual presentation.

Cardboard Explosion by Brad Shur
THE BALLARD INSTITUTE AND MUSEUM OF PUPPETRY and the UConn Puppet Arts Program will present the 2015 UConn Fall Puppet Slam on Saturday, October 3 at 8:00 p.m. in UConn’s J. Louis von der Mehden Recital Hall. The UConn Fall Puppet Slam will feature short works by professional puppeteers, including Massachusetts-based puppeteers Brad Shur and Madison J. Cripps, as well as new works by talented students from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program. The UConn Fall Puppet Slam is supported by the Puppet Slam Network.

The Puppet Slam movement is a nation-wide flowering of short puppet productions for adult audiences, encouraged by the Puppet Slam Network created by Heather Henson and Marsian De Lellis. UConn Puppet Slams have been taking place since 2008, thanks to the generous support of the Network.

The UConn Fall Puppet Slam is free and open to the public; donations are greatly appreciated. The event will take place in the J. Louis von der Mehden Recital Hall located at 875 Coventry Rd, Storrs, CT. These performances are recommended for mature audiences. For more information, call the Ballard Institute at (860) 486-8580, visit bimp.uconn.edu, or email us at bimp@uconn.edu.
Arthur Miller. Photo: Courtesy of WCP
WESTPORT COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE will present a community engagement initiative, “The Individual & American Society: Celebrating Arthur Miller at One Hundred,” through Oct. 26. The series of events, many of which are free-of-charge, will run concurrently with the Playhouse’s production of Miller’s Broken Glass, directed by Mark Lamos. The Tony Award-nominated play takes place at the time of Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass, in Nazi Germany, as a Brooklyn Jewish couple’s marriage begins to shatter. Programming will include speakers, discussions, workshops, films, family events, and a month-long lobby exhibit, as well as events off-campus. The enrichment programs are designed to deepen the audience’s experience of the play.


A complete calendar of community engagement events with details, dates, times, and locations, is available on-line at westportplayhouse.org, or a special brochure may be requested by calling 203-227-4177.

Event highlights include speaking engagements by Arthur Miller scholars Susan Abbotson, author of “The Critical Companion to Arthur Miller” and “The Student Companion to Arthur Miller,” and Stephen Marino, founding editor of “The Arthur Miller Journal,” on Sunday October 11, following the 3 p.m. performance of “Broken Glass”; Rita B. Gabis, author of “A Guest at the Shooter’s Banquet,” on Tuesday, October 13, noon, at Westport Library; World War II child survivor Aleena Rieger, author of “I Didn’t Tell Them Anything,” on Wednesday, October 14, 6:30 p.m., in WCP’s Sheffer Studio; and J.J. Goldberg, editor-at-large of “The Forward,” on Sunday, October 18, following the 3 p.m. performance.

In addition, there will be an Artistic Directors Forum, sharing personal insights into Miller’s work, with WCP’s Mark Lamos, Yale Repertory Theatre’s James Bundy, and O’Neill National Playwrights Conference’s Wendy Goldberg, on Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 pm at the Playhouse.

Film screenings of Miller’s works, followed by talkbacks, will include “Focus,” starring William H. Macy and Laura Dern, on Saturday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m., at Unitarian Church in Westport; and “The Crucible,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Joan Allen, and Paul Scofield, on Monday, October 5, 7 p.m., in WCP’s Sheffer Studio.

Arthur Miller’s 100th birthday on Saturday, Oct. 17 will be celebrated with refreshments in the WCP lobby prior to the 3 pm performance of Broken Glass.


The Norwalk Library will host a book discussion group around Miller’s 1945 novel “Focus,” on Thursday, September 24, at noon; and Norwalk Community College will present a student/faculty forum celebrating Miller on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 2:30 pm.

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

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