Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Theater Review: The 12 -- Goodspeed


The cast of Goodspeed's THE 12. Photo: Diane Sobolewski

The 12

Music and Lyrics by Neil Berg
Book and Lyrics by Robert Schenkkan
Directed by John Doyle
Goodspeed Musicals 
Through Oct. 29, 2023

By Lauren Yarger

A compelling story about religion without an agenda? In the theater world, 
this is nothing short of a miracle!

But with a book and lyrics by Robert Schenkkan, told to the beat of a pop-rock score
and lyrics from Neil Berg, that is exactly what Goodspeed Musical audiences witness
in The 12, a moving story of how Jesus’s disciples walk through a journey of sorrow
and faith following his death.

This tale, emotionally staged by Director John Doyle (who doubles as scenic designer), 
focuses on the disciples as they hide out in the upper room (an abandoned industrial
space covered in graffiti) after the crucifixion of Jesus (called Teacher, rather than by name).
They arrive devastated, angry, uncertain and scared about what will happen to them if they
are identified as being affiliated with Jesus. They have conflicts with each other, as well as
a crisis of faith over the loss of their leader. For those not up to speed on who the 12 were,
they are listed in a neat cheat sheet in the show program (which offers more details than here):

  • Andrew (Wonza Johnson), a fisherman
  •  “Bart” (Robert Morrison) a.k.a. Bartholomew
  •  James (Kelvin Moon Loh), brother of John
  •  “Jimmy” (Etai Benson) the other James, often called the brother of Jesus
  •  John (Kyle Scatliffe) brother of James
  • Matt (F. Michale Haynie) the tax collector Matthew
  • Pete (Akron Lanier Watson) Simon Peter, brother of Andrew
  • Phil (Brandon J. Ellis) Philip, friend of Bartholomew
  • Simon (Gregory Treco) the zealot
  •  “Tee” (Mel Johnson Jr.) a.k.a. Thaddeus
  •  “Tom” (Wesley Taylor) doubting Thomas
For those of you who are counting, Judas doesn’t make an appearance.
The action takes place after his death too – possibly at the hands
of one of the group.
The 12th disciple completing a last-supper tableau, subtly created by Doyle, is Mary
Magdalene (Adrienne Walker), called “Mags” by Jimmy, who might be more than just
a friend, and the rest. In a nice choice, Mary, the mother of Jesus (Rema Webb), also gets
some stage time and the two women have some of the most moving and melodic songs
of the production.

Mags sings:

So much pain

Heart so sore

Thoughts so bleak

Please, no more.

Neared his tomb

Lightening flashed;

Heard a savage roar.

The earth rose up!

An awful sound.

Choked by dust

Fell to the ground.

I heard the stones go crashing by;

Terrified that I would die.

The shaking stopped

Then broke the dawn

Revealed his grave -

The rock was gone.

Powerful stuff in there.

The storytelling, even with some more modern elements like guitars on stage and police
sirens blaring while the disciples wear more modern looking clothing in dark hues
(Ann Hould-Ward, costumes), never loses its way because it stays anchored in the scriptures
and pure human emotion to which everyone can relate. Who hasn’t suffered a devastating
loss? Who hasn’t felt betrayed? Who hasn’t felt terrified of what lies ahead? If you ever have
experienced a real-life nightmare from which you can’t awaken, you’ll relate to the emotions
being expressed by each character. Excellent storytelling by Schenkkan (who has a Pulitzer
for The Kentucky Cycle and a Tony for All the Way.)

This also isn’t a feel-good, just-have-faith tale either. There is no attempt to convert or
condemn. Much like God himself, the creators of this work give free choice. What you
believe is up to you (and this show will unlikely offend regardless of what religion you
follow). Instead, they offer a genuine story of human emotion and the search for something
in which to believe, then cling to, even when faith has been dashed. Despite their renewed
hope, the disciples are very much aware of the price they will pay for following their beliefs.
When they leave the safety of their hideout to go out into the world to share their faith, it’s an
inspiring moment, thanks to the direction of Doyle who brings his Tony-award-winning
experience -- and apparently some long-ago hopes of becoming a priest -- to this project.

Honesty, I kept waiting for the story to veer off in the way most Christian-hostile theater
does: Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers and had a child; Jesus never claimed to be
the son of God or was illegitimate and it all was a ruse by Mary to avoid hide her
pre-wedding sexual activity; Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead and the disciples
carried out a hoax, etc. But it never did. And Thomas, with his many doubts and questions,
gives a voice to those watching who might be skeptical, whether or not they come from a
believing background:

·      “Where’s the proof?”

·      “Could have been a coincidence…”

·      “What if he made a mistake?"

  •  "Why did he have to die?"

The 12 is a Godspell/Jesus Christ Superstar for a new generation. It had a successful run
in Denver, where it won a Henry Award for Outstanding New Musical. You can catch it
at Goodspeed in East Haddam, CT through Oct. 29. Or, if prayers are answered, perhaps
someday on Broadway.

Additional credits: Greg Jarrett, Music Supervisor/Orchestrator; Adam Souza, Music
Director; Ben Covello, Associate Music Director; Japhy Weideman, Lighting Designer;
Jay Hilton, Sound Designer.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Theater Review: Six at the Bushnell


The North American SIX Aragon Tour. Photo: Joan Marcus.

By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
Directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage 
Choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille
The Bushnell, Hartford
through Sunday, Jan. 22

By Lauren Yarger
The state of theater still is hanging in the balance after the pandemic as tourists still aren't returning in full force and even locals are avoiding New York City in the face of rising crime and spiking Covid numbers.

So I find that I am getting more and more questions about the quality of tours hitting regional theaters as people decide whether to see shows closer to home. This week I had the opportunity to catch the North American tour of SIX which won a number of awards after finally opening post pandemic on Broadway (this show had been scheduled to open the night Broadway officially went dark  in March 2022). I had caught it the week before, then saw it again when in opened in 2021 and I loved it both times. The soundtrack is a favorite. So after recommending it so many times, I wanted to see how the tour held up myself. I wasn't disappointed in the show which plays the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday.

The touring cast features Khaila Wilcoxon as Catherine of Aragon, Storm Lever as Anne Boleyn, Jasmine Forsberg as Jane Seymour, Olivia Donalson as Anna of Cleves, Didi Romero as Katherine Howard, and Gabriela Carrillo as Catherine Parr. The cast also includes Kelsee Kimmel, Erin Ramirez, Cassie Silva and Kelly Denice Taylor.  The actresses all hit the notes. The biggest differences here are in playing to a larger house -- some of the oomph of the score is diffused. Lighting here needs a few tweaks as some segments were very dark. Otherwise, what you experiemce on Broadway is pretty much  the same as these ex-wives of Henry VIII duke it out reality-show style to determine who had it the worst married to one of England's most notorious monarchs and will win the Queen of the Castle crown. 

Each queen gets a solo to tell her tragic tale (and each one is an homage to a modern pop music diva).

Here's my review from the NY show if you want the details. Some of the lyrics, quite clever, but quick, are hard to catch, so pick up a CD of the soundtrack available for sale in the Bushnell lobby to bring you up to speed either before or after you take in the show.

This tour plays Columbus, OH, Fort Myers, FL, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los ANgeles, Costa Mesa, CA and San Diego. A second tour plays other cities across the US. Click here for info.

NY Review:
Laugh-out-loud jokes and loud, pounding music are not exactly what come to mind when pondering the plight of Henry VIII's six unfortunate wives, but you will find yourself laughing and bopping to the beat while enjoying SIX: The Musical,  Broadway's exciting version of the West End hit by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss.

Directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage, these six women finally get their moment in the spotlight, both in the story and on stage. SIX was one of the tragedies of the pandemic, set to open on the night Broadway went dark back in March 2020. Now, back to tell their stories, the wives compete in a reality-TV mode to see who has the most tragic story from her time as one of the wives of Henry. They each have a song (all done beltingly or balladly beautifully and in homage to pop song divas) which explain the theme of their experiences: divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.

Here's a short history lesson for those of you who aren't up on the six wives of Henry VIII:
Catherine of Aragon was Henry's first wife, but when she couldn't produce a male heir, Henry turned his eye to the bewitching Anne Boleyn. When the pope wouldn't grant him an annulment, he declared himself the head of the new Church of England, got rid of Catherine (divorced) and married Anne any way.  Unfortunately for Anne, she too only produced a girl (the future Queen Elizabeth I), so Henry got rid of her (beheaded) and married Jane Seymour. Henry got his desired son and male heir but lost Jane who suffered complications in childbirth (died). 

Next, Henry saw a portrait of Anne of Cleves and summoned her to England to become wife number four. She didn't look all that fetching in person, however, so Henry decided he wanted out of the marriage (divorce), set her up in a nice palace and called her "sister" instead of wife. The king, who was SO good at making spousal-type decisions, decided a child bride would be a good idea and married Anne Boleyn's cousin, Katherine Howard. Plagued by gout, obesity and probably a host of other illnesses, Henry wasn't exactly in prime baby-making condition, but he still expected a spare male heir from young Katherine. She turned to some younger male friends to help seal the deal, but the plan backfired when she was caught cheating.  So long, Katherine (beheaded). Finally, Henry chose mature, pious Catherine Parr for his sixth queen. About five years later, he died. She was the only one who survived. 

In such a tragic story, Marlow and Moss find lots of humor. And they manage to modernize women from the 16th century to create an exciting energizing show that appeals to young audience members (there were lots at the Brooks Atkinson the night I attended) with color-blind casting  for those wanting to see persons of color, rather than historically accurate portrayals on stage. Carrie-Anne Ingrouille's choreography is energetic and hasn't lost any of its oomph with alterations made with Covid safety in mind. Costumes by Gabreiella Slade are bright and brilliant; the set (Emma Bailey, design) is simple and houses the all-female band, the “Ladies in Waiting.” Tim Deiling's lighting design competes the set for the reality-show concert theme, which thankfully isn't overdone. 

The pop music is loud, percussion-driven and fun. I bought the soundtrack after seeing and loving the show in March of 2020 and it's a favorite (Catherine Parr's solo "I Don't Need Your Love" is the weakest, as though after pounding out so many great tunes, the songwriters just didn't have enough energy to come up with one more.) Most of the others are catchy and will have you humming them long after you leave the theater.

Getting the soundtrack in advance isn't a bad idea. The lyrics are quite clever and vital to the storytelling, but the sound on stage (Paul Gatehouse) doesn't always pick them up and if you don't know Henry's story or all the words to the songs, you could feel like you are missing something in this fast-paced 80 minutes with no intermission.  The score features orchestrations by Tom Curran with music supervision and vocal arrangements by Joe Beighton and US Music Supervision by Roberta Duchak.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Drama Brings Character to Life at Tessa Afshar Book Launch


The Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT will host a virtual Book Launch for "Jewel of the Nile" by award-winning, biblical-fiction author Tessa Afshar and you are invited! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021
7 pm
RSVP required:
Tessa will be joined in conversation by Producer and Playwright Lauren Yarger (Gracewell Productions), who has adapted a one-act drama from the book for presentation during the launch. Bringing main character Charilene to life will be actress Nyah Ajeya.

About Jewel of the Nile:
Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush. In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters—including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.

About the Author:
Tessa Afshar is the bestselling author of biblical and inspirational historical fiction, including Land of Silence, which won an INSPY Award and was voted by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016, and Harvest of Gold, which won a Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Christian Book Award for fiction. In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year by the FamilyFiction-sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards. Tessa’s first book-length Bible study, The Way Home: God’s Invitation to New Beginnings, based on the book of Ruth, was released in June, 2020, alongside optional videos of the same title. The Way Home recently won the ECPA Book of the Year for Bible Studies for 2021. Tessa was born in the Middle East and lived there for the first 14 years of her life. She then moved to England, where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds a Master of Divinity from Yale, where she was elected as the co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School for one year. She served in women and prayer ministries for 20 years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker.

About the Moderator
Lauren Yarger is a producer and playwright (member of the Dramatists Guild of America). She has written several dinner theaters and revues as well as the book for an award-winning musical version of A Christmas Carol. She produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene which toured nationally for three years before closing in New York and is Owner/Producer at Gracewell Productions where she has several projects in the works, including a reading series beginning in Fall 2021 at the Palace Theater in Waterbury. She is Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women and a member of its Board of Directors in New York. She has been a critic covering New York and Connecticut theater with the Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards) and the Drama Desk (former vice president).

About the Actress

Nyah Ajeya, an actor and singer from Baltimore, where she was a Featured Young Artist. There she was an assistant musical director for a production of The Wiz at Johns Hopkins and performed in showcases. A BFA student in acting, film, television and theater at Long Island University in Brooklyn, Nyah also has television and film credits. She jokes that her biggest talent is having the ability to turn any song into a bad country song.

Autographed copies of the book may be purchased in advance or during the launch.
Attending the launch is free, whether or not you buy a book, but an RSVP is required.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Dorothy Lyman Play Gets Zoom Readings

 THE KEYS, a new play by Dorothy Lyman ("Mama's Family," "All My Children"), will have two readings on Zoom, produced by Pat Flicker Addiss and Lauren Yarger.

, a story of fear, love and hope in the time of Covid, is directed by Elinor Renfield. A talkback will follow the readings scheduled for:

Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4 pm Eastern

Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 pm Eastern

RSVP to:

Slots are limited. Don't delay!

Margaret (Lyman) and Gil (Tim Jerome) meet over the balconies of their condos in the Florida Keys during the Covid lockdown. As their relationship develops, they struggle with memories of what their golden years were supposed to look like while focusing on a fearful, distanced, "safe" reality. The key to happiness might just include letting go and taking some risks.

This timely play is ideal for presentation beginning this spring as theaters begin to re-open. The two actors are separated on one set.

Dorothy Lyman (Playwright, Margaret)

An Emmy award -winning actress, Ms. Lyman is also a theatre and television director (75 episodes of THE NANNY for CBS) and a filmmaker as well as playwright. She is most widely known for her TV roles in "Mama's Family" and "All My Children."

Tim Jerome (Gil) is an actor, singer, Founding President of MainStreet Musicals, National Music Theater Network, and NYMF. He has been performing professionally on-stage since 1968 with 18 Broadway shows (one Tony nomination) and 12 feature films to his credit. He also has performed in regional theaters and on tour throughout the country exclusively in principle roles. e American Guild of Musical Artists.

Elinor Renfield (Director) After completing a scholarship year at The Central School for Speech and Drama in London, she began her graduate work in Theatre and Film at CUNY (Hunter College) where she received an MA. Her thirty year career as a stage director has included work on Broadway, Off Broadway and in Regional Theaters.

Stage Directions: Jeanne Lauren Smith; Technical Director: Brennan Lowery.

Produced by Pat Flicker Addiss (Pat Addiss Productions, LLC) and Lauren Yarger (Gracewell Productions LLC)

Monday, July 20, 2020

CT Chapter Toasts the Vote

Emma Palzere-Rae performs an excerpt of her one-woman play, The Woodhull Project, about 1872 Presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull.

Toast the Vote!
Join the CT Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women for three online play-excerpt readings to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the vote.
July 22, 2020 -- The Woodhull Project by Emma Palzere-Rae

Aug. 12, 2020 -- Lifting As We Climb by Charlene A. Donaghy. Inspired by Mary Eliza Church Terrell. Commissioned for WomenKind 2020. Reading by Jackie Davis.

Sept. 23, 2020 -- Susan B. by Toby Armour
Each session will be held from 5 to 6 pm (Eastern). Playwrights will be on hand for Q & A following the presentations, which will be moderated by Virginia Wolf. Bring a glass of champagne or your favorite beverage to toast the pioneers who led the way to winning the vote for women. We are looking forward to seeing you online!

You must RSVP for each session you wish to attend. If you are not a member of the League, please enter BWW when prompted for the name of the memebr who invited you. Verified attendees will receive a Zoom link to attend the session closer to the date. If you register, but then find you cannot attend, please cancel your reservation here on Eventbrite so the slot may be given to someone else. Slots for each session are limited.


The Woodhull Project by Emma Palzere-Rae*
July 22
Known as a Free Lover, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to speak before U.S. Congress, the first woman to open a stock brokerage firm, the first woman to publish a newspaper, and the first woman to run for U.S. president. You won't want to miss the chance to meet this woman who was written out of history as she visits "here and now" from 1872 to reflect on politics and women's rights through a flashback or two of her extraordinary and scandalous life.

Lifting As We Climb By Charlene A. Donaghy
Inspired by Mary Eliza Church Terrell
Aug, 12, 2020
Excerpt will be read by Jackie Davis.

Mary Eliza Church Terrell was a well-known African-American activist who championed racial equality and women's suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th century. An Oberlin College graduate, Terrell was part of the rising black middle and upper class who used their position to fight racial discrimination.

Synopsis: The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting American women the right to vote, is making 1920 a banner year for suffragists. Ratification power sits in the hands of white Tennessee legislators and, in order to appease them, white suffragists have distanced themselves from African American suffragists. Mary Church Terrell, a founding member of the National Association of Colored Women, racial equality activist, and ardent suffragist who has worked alongside her white counterparts, discovers this when she and her sisters-in-arms are asked to curb their activities. Now Mary must decide her future role in the movement and in a relationship with women she trusted, answering the question: did these women break faith for their own sakes or were they acting for the greater good?

Susan B. by Toby Armour*
Sept. 23, 2020
Why did Susan B. Anthony became a suffragist instead of a Quaker minister? Her decision is revealed in the reading of a new play titled "Susan B." by award-winning playwright Toby Armour.

Toby is the national winner of the Lewis Prize and is the playwright in residence at the Fringe Theatre in Key West, Florida. Her plays have been presented in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta as well as London, Edinburgh and Tipperary, Ireland. "Susan B." is the first part of Armour's latest work titled "Aunt Susan and Her Tennessee Waltz." The two-part play will premiere at the Theater for the New City in New York in January, 2020.

* CT Chapter member

Charlene A. Donaghy's plays have been produced and awarded from New York to Los Angeles, in Great Britain and Canada. Hansen Publishing Group publishes Charlene's play collection: Bones of Home and Other Plays. Other publications include Best American Short Plays (3x), Best Ten Minute Plays 2018, 25*10-Minute Plays for Teens, and Estrogenius, a Celebration of Female Voices (2x). Charlene is Producing Director of the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival and Festival Director of the Warner International Playwrights Festival. She is co-founder of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education Judith Royer Award of Excellence in Playwriting. She teaches playwriting, fiction writing, and theater at University of Nebraska Omaha, is a founding member of Boston's Proscenium Playwrights, a core member of NYC's 9th Floor Playwrights' and Artists' Collective, a member of The Playwrights Center, and The Dramatists Guild of America where she served as a Regional Representative for six years. Ms. Donaghy is a breast cancer survivor and holds true Tennessee Williams words in "Camino Real" Make Voyages! Attempt them! There's nothing else.

Jackie Davis* is an actor, director and choreographer working primarily on the east coast. She can be seen as abolitionist, Susan Robbins in Colombia Pictures' Film, Little Women (credited as JM Davis). Jackie is a member of Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild. She is currently part of the production team of From a Distance, a web-series, taking place in these days of COVID19. Notable theatrical directing credits include Race, Ruined, and For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Notable theatrical choreography projects include Dance Nation, The Wiz and Caroline or Change. She is the founding artistic director of New Urban Theater Laboratory, where she produced and directed five years of new works in Massachusetts. Ms. Davis is involved in all three disciplines, theater, television and film. She was most recently seen on stage in Trinity Repertory Company's production of A tale of two cities.

Emma Palzere-Rae Emma Palzere-Rae is an actor, playwright, director, and producer. She spent 15 years in the NYC theater community, where she began producing one-woman plays and founded Be Well Productions and the Womenkind Festival. She is dedicated to telling untold women's stories through theater and believes in the healing power of theater. Emma's plays include Aunt Hattie's House, about what compelled Harriet Beecher Stowe to pen Uncle Tom's Cabin, Live from the Milky Way... It's Gilda Radner!, A Nice Place to Visit, and The Woodhull Project. Her one-woman plays tour throughout the country. Ms. Palzere-Rae is the former Artistic Director of Plays for Living, a theater for social change repertory company formerly located in NYC, and is the current Associate Director at Artreach, Inc. (Norwich, CT), which provides arts programming to adults living with mental illness. She is a member of Actor's Equity and the Dramatists Guild, where she serves as the Regional Representative for New England - West.

Toby Armour has spent much of her life in theater- as stagehand, dancer, choreographer, dance company director, theater director, and playwright. Her plays have been done in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, elsewhere in this country, as well as London, Scotland and Ireland. She holds a doctorate in history and is a national award-winning playwright (The Lewis Prize) and Jerome Fellow, many of whose works are based on oral history and stories of community. Her plays about early New Haven are up on vimeo, as is Zebra telling the story of the famous Zebra in Stubb's painting at the Yale New Haven British Art Center. Part One of Susan B. and Her Tennessee Waltz has been live-streamed by Theater for the New City. The complete play will be presented by Theater for the New City this Fall or as soon as our new world permits.

Virginia Wolf, moderator
Ginny is a member of the Steering Committee for the CT Chapter of LPTW. She is host of “SpotLight, Radio Reveling in the Arts and Entertainment”, Thursdays at 12:30 on WLIS/WMRD (, covering arts and entertainment throughout Connecticut.  During this “intermission”, she is dedicating the show to storytelling, but looks forward to getting back to normal whenever it’s possible!

In addition, Virginia is founder of Herstory Theater, generally dedicated to bringing to life the unsung heroines of history, as well as producing a host of additional projects that both celebrate women and history, and a simple love of theater and performing (learn more at; works as a voiceover artist and audio book narrator; steps in as Katy Leary for the Living History Tours at the Mark Twain House and Museum; and can be found on stage whenever/wherever someone casts her!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Join Mark Twain House for an Evening with Jan Karon

Millions of readers have found comfort and joy in Jan Karon’s Mitford Years novels since the first one, At Home in Mitford, was published in 1994. Join us for a special evening online with the New York Times #1 best-selling author herself in conversation with writer and producer Lauren Yarger as they discuss Karon’s successful career as a writer and the wonderful books she has produced over the years.
Click here to register for the visit which will be held online at 6 om Eastern Thursday, May 7.
The talk is a fundraiser for The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, the historic house museum devoted to the life and legacy of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), who lived there from 1874 to 1891, the height of his writing career and personal life.
"My favorite benefit to come from quarantine and self-isolation," says Jan, "is the internet as a great platform for entering each other’s living spaces. I have loved seeing John Legend at home—check out that piano!—and Anthony Hopkins with his huge cat and Jim Gaffigan’s chandeliers and five red-headed kids."
"So, how great for you to sit home in your favorite chair while you see Lauren and me at home in our favorite chairs. No masks! You can even cough If you must! No need to drive anywhere and find a parking place and sit in a public venue with the a/c turned on high. We can enjoy all kinds of entertainment by the interconnection of living rooms. I think we’re on to something."

Lauren Yarger is a writer and producer in New York and Connecticut, serving in leadership for the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama Desk, and the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and owns Gracewell Productions, which produces inspiring works of theater, literature, and the arts. She is a long-time, devoted fan of the Mitford Years series!

Copies of Karon's books At Home in Mitford, To Be Where You Are, and Bathed in Prayer will be available for purchase.

We look forward to seeing you and sharing this time together!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Updates on What is Happening at CT Theaters During Covid Virus Shutdown

Here are some updates on what's happening around the state's professional theaters:

ACT (Contemporary Theater of CT)
  • Cancelled the remainder of the 2019-2010 season.
  • Shows and events are cancelled through May, including the Broadway tour of Dear Evan Hansen.
  • Cancelled the 2020 Nutmeg Summer Season.
  • Candide has been cancelled and South Pacific has been moved to the fall. It will be the sole musical produced this year, instead of the usual three. The summer production of the new musical Anne of Green Gables will move to the 2021 season.
  • Hartford Stage has decided to reschedule the run of Ah, Wilderness! (originally scheduled May 7-31) to Oct. 22–Nov.15, 2020 and The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) (originally scheduled June 11-21) to Oct. 1-11, 2020.
  • Hartford Stage cancelled remaining performances of Jane Eyre. the entire run of The King’s Speech and its fundraising gala for the 2019-2020 season. 
  • Positions have been eliminated and furloughed resulting in a decrease of 70 percent of operating staff
  • Four shows have been announced for 2020-2021, the first full season selected by  new Artistic Director Melia Bensussen.
  • Forbidden Broadway (tentatively re-scheduled beginning May 27) and The Great Gatsby were cancelled. 
  • Cancellation of Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady  and and Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap  along with education and community programs.  
  • with cancellation of the 2019/20 season and the  2020 Gala celebration the theater is projecting a loss of more than $750,000. STaffing positions have been eliminated and others have been furloughed and/or have had hours cut. 

  • Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino scheduled for April 22 - May 10, 2020 has been cancelled.
  • All Playhouse Theatre Academy classes follow their corresponding towns’ school emergency closing schedules. All classes and class showcases have been cancelled through Sunday, April 19.
  • Stop/time dance theater’s production of DIVAS originally scheduled for March 25 - April 5, 2020 and then postponed until April 29- May 10 has been postponed again. The new dates are tbd.
  • Always a Bridesmaid and The Wedding Singer were cancelled.
  • Summer 2020 series beginning in June still appears to be on sale.
  • All events are cancelled through April 30.
  • An abbreviated 2020 season, with three plays instead of the usual five, was previously announced to begin in July, but now, the entire 2020 season has been postponed to 2021 when a five-play season will run from mid-April through mid-November, built around a re-imagining of the Tony Award-winning musical Ain’t Misbehavin’, which was originally scheduled for this season. Pending availability of artists, design teams, and licensing, other productions previously announced for 2020 may be produced next year.
  • Additional online activities are planned on Facebook Live, like tonight's Living Room Concert with David Lutken (Woody Sez).
  • Postponing its 2020 season until spring 2021, due to the global pandemic. All programming will move to 2021, including the season’s five main productions, Script in Hand Playreading series, Family Festivities presentations, and the New Works Initiative. This year would have marked the historic, professional theater’s 90th season. Since its founding in 1931, the Playhouse has been closed for only four seasons, from 1942 through 1945, during World War II.
  • Cancelled the remainder of the 2019-2020 season.

  • The 25th anniversary year will feature a variety of online artistic experiences, virtual food experiences, cell phone-guided walking tours, and various NEA Big Read activities. The virtual Ideas programming centered on the theme “Democracy: We the People” will feature interactive events and conversations with vital thinkers, including 2012 Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, award-winning scholar Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, NEA Big Read Author Stephanie Burt, and renowned writer Anand Giridharadas. All programming will be free. 
  • Virtual and physically distanced programming will begin online in the coming weeks on a rolling basis. Details will be announced weekly and will be shared on the Festival’s website,
  • The 2020 Monte Cristo Award previously planned for Sunday, April 19, 2020 in New York City has been postponed. Ticket & table buyers will be contacted directly. Additional details will be announced at a future date.
  • At present, there are no planned changes to the 2020 Summer Season. ​​​​​

Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)
--- A R T S ---

Blog Archive

Copyright Notice

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