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. ​​​​​

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Theater, Arts Events Cancelled Due to Corona Virus Concerns

Helen Sadler, Steve Routman, Grayson DeJesus in Jane Eyre at Hartford Stage. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Broadway will be dark until April 12 due to concerns about the Corona Virus. Connecticut theaters are affected as well. Here is a list of closings for theaters and arts events around the state. Check back as the listing will be updated:

 😷The CT Forum is postponing the Debating Immigration Forum on March 19 due to the serious public health concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Ticket holders have been advised to hold onto their tickets for a  reschedule of this Forum to a later date.

😷Weston Playhouse Theatre has cancelled all events through April 10, including this Saturday’s performance by Upstate at Walker Farm. 

😷Womenkind 2020 produced by Clinton Arts Council (CT) cancelled in March.

😷Ivoryton Playhouse has cancelled the opening show of its season FORBIDDEN BROADWAY COMES TO IVORYTON and hopes to open THE GREAT GATSBY on April 22 as planned.

😷TheaterWorks has cancelled all shows and events as of Monday March 16. This includes all remaining performances of EVERY BRILLIANT THING as well as the upcoming production of THE CAKE (though they hope to present both in the future). They anticipate re-opening our in early June in time to present the fourth and fifth shows of the current season as scheduled.

😷Elm Shakespeare Co. Is suspending all face-to-face programming including artist-in-residency programs, Teen Troupe, after school programs, and committee meetings until at least April 5. Look for online activities and instruction.

😷Music Theatre of Connecticut has rescheduled its production of BUDDY - THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY, originally scheduled to run March 20 – April 5, 2020. The new BUDDY dates are Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 31, 2020. Tickets will be transferred to the new dates.

😷Westport Country Playhouse:
the following upcoming performances have been canceled:
Sunday, March 15
Family Festivities production of The Pout-Pout Fish. Ticket holders will receive a call from our box office and will be moved to one of the future Family Festivities productions in our 2020-2021 Family Festivities season.
Friday, March 20
Connecticut Dance School has canceled their 2020 benefit, Dances to Celebrate Spring and Your Passion for Ballet!, scheduled for March 20. Refunds will be issued to all ticket holders. Please contact Connecticut Dance School at (203) 384-2492 with further questions.
Saturday, March 21
Broadway Method Academy has canceled their 2019 Gala, Night of a Thousand Stars, which had been rescheduled to March 21. Please contact Broadway Method Academy at (203) 675-3526 for more information.
As of today, we have not made the decision to cancel or postpone future events after March 21, including our Script in Hand reading of Mrs. Mannerly, scheduled for Monday, March 23.

😷This Weekend’s performances of Elvis My Way at The Goodspeed are

😷Act of Connecticut has cancelled its production of Nickel Mines.

😷The Bushnell is closed through April 30.  They are working to reschedule performances.  Regular updates to patrons will be made via email and on the website at

😷Long Wharf has decided to discontinue its production of The Chinese Lady. "We view the prospect of pressing forward as irresponsible and are committed to prioritizing the wellbeing of our community."

😷The Palace Theatre in Waterbury has cancelled all upcoming performances through April 30.

😷The Kate in Old Saybrook  is postponing performances through April 30, 2020.

😷The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry will be closed and all performances, forums, space rentals, workshops, and tours will be cancelled from March 14 through April 6, 2020.

😷Hartford Symphony Orchestra is cancelling this weekend’s performances of Dvorak’s Eighth (March 13-15), the Discovery Concert Series performance of Exploring Emotions on March 18, and the HSO Family Series event at Farmington Public Library on March 22. The Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert performances on March 28 will be rescheduled. Cancelled April performances include the Discovery Concert Series Link Up: The Orchestra Moves performance on April 8, and Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky April 17-19.

Patrons who have tickets to Dvorak’s Eighth or Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky should contact the Box Office at 860-987-5900 to exchange into any remaining HSO performance in the 2019-2020 season, receive a credit for HSO tickets, donate tickets back to the HSO, or get a refund. Patrons who have tickets to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert will be contacted shortly about a rescheduled date, and tickets for the March 28 performances will be valid on the new date.

😷Hartford Stage:
Based on recommendations from state and local government in response to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, Hartford Stage is canceling all remaining performances of Jane Eyre (March 12-14) and the run of The King’s Speech, scheduled for March 19 through April 19.
Tickets for Jane Eyre and The King’s Speech can be exchanged into performances of Ah, Wilderness! (May 7 – 31) or The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) (June 11 – 21). All exchange fees will be waived. Alternatively, tickets can be donated back to Hartford Stage, a 501(c)(3) organization, as a tax-deductible contribution at a time of increased financial challenges for the performing arts industry.

😷All on-campus events and exhibitions at Weslyan have been canceled until further notice as a preventive measure. The University will continue to update the website with the latest available information.

Anyone who purchased tickets in advance will be issued a refund from the box office starting next week and artists who were scheduled to perform this spring will be compensated. We encourage patrons to utilize their refund to re-invest in the arts through a donation, album, artwork, or ticket to a future performance. If patrons have any questions or concerns, or would like to donate their tickets to the Center for the Arts, they can email or call 860-685-3355 Monday through Friday from 11am to 3pm.

😷Seven at CT College March 31 has been cancelled.

😷Following updated guidance from Yale University on Tuesday evening, March 10, in response to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, James Bundy, Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre, has annodra44ddzeffunced that the final two productions of the season, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, directed by Carl Cofield, and Testmatch by Kate Attwell, directed by Margot Bordelon, have been canceled.

While the University’s March 7 guidance––which states that groups of 100 or less are safe to continue provided there is ample room for individuals to spread out as they are comfortable­­––remains in effect, the additional new measures, currently in effect through April 5, seek to minimize close-proximity interaction among members of the Yale community.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Learn the Inside Scoop on Playwriting from Some Insiders

Have you ever thought about writing a play? Have you written a play, but wonder how to get it produced? Have you done some other type of writing and wonder whether you can make the switch to playwright?

Come get the scoop on writing for the stage when the CT Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women and the Dramatists Guild’s Western New England Region host Inside Playwriting, a panel between sessions of Ivoryton Playhouse’s Women’s Playwright Initiative Saturday, Feb. 22.

Panelists include TV writer and playwright Susan Cinoman, Broadway Producer and playwright Tracey Knight Narang, Director Shellen Lubin, Emmy-Award-Winning Actress and Playwright Dorothy Lyman, Director and Artist/Playwright Kato McNickle. Playwright Emma Palzere Rae, the Dramatists Guild Regional Rep, will moderate.

The panel is open to ticketholders for the initiative, which will feature four play readings in two sessions at the playhouse, 103 Main St. Ivoryton.

At 2 pm:

Savior by Sharon Goldner
Directed by Kate Katcher
Two modern moms at a yoga class dealing with an absurd yet very familiar situation, – what do you do when your five year old tells you he is the messiah?

1200 miles from Jerome by Crystal V. Rhodes
Directed by Kathryn Markey
During World War II, a mother, her two daughters, a young school teacher and a fourteen year old Japanese American fugitive from a “Relocation Camp” are forced to flee the town of Jerome, Arkansas headed to New York City. The journey is over 1200 miles of roads where African Americans aren’t allowed to sleep in most hotels, eat in most restaurants, use restroom facilities or purchase gas at many stations. It is a trip filled with danger, one that could prove to mean the difference between life and death.

At  7 pm:

Court by Holly Arsenault
Directed by Jacqueline Hubbard
An intimate look at divorce and custody battles from a child’s unique, funny and raw perspective.

Deanna and Paul by Dagney Kerr
Directed by Missy Burmeister
Deanna’s a quirky waitress with a strict no tipping policy. Paul’s a surly customer with a tight lid on his heart. Their lonely worlds collide one day in a small-town diner, where one cup of coffee can change everything.

To purchase tickets for the Women Playwrights Festival call 860-767-7318 or go to League members should contact to find out about discounted tickets.

Regular single ticket prices: $20 adult; $15 senior; $10 student for one performance. Buy tickets for both performances for $30 adult; $25 senior; $10 student

About the Panelists:

Susan Cinoman

Susan Cinoman is a playwright and screenwriter whose work is published and produced internationally. For television, she is the creator of the recurring character, Miss Cinoman, on ABC’s, “The Goldbergs” and a frequent writer and contributor. Her one- act play, Fitting Rooms, (Applause Books) is included in Best Short Plays and is produced internationally. Other productions are Cinoman and Rebeck and Gin and Bitters, Off Broadway. Her play Sweet Sand, produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre has been recently published. Two plays were made into award-winning independent films: “Love and Class in Connecticut” and “All Me, All the Time” have screened at film festivals throughout New England. Cinoman is the recipient of the Maxwell Anderson Playwrights Prize, The Aristos Award, Theatre Ariel Award, Best Connecticut Filmmaker of 2007, Ivoryton Playhouse Writing Award and the Guilford Prize in Drama for her new play, Guenevere.

Tracey Knight Narang

Tracey Knight Narang is a producer of the groundbreaking Broadway revival of Rogers and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! (Tony Award), and the highly anticipated new musical Sing Street opening on Broadway in April. In addition to producing and investing, Narang’s play To Each Their Own, received critical acclaim at FringeNYC 2015. See coined the term “Subway Etiquette“ after publishing her book “Subway Etiquette: The Straphanger’s Guide to Underground Conduct.” Narang is a member of the Board of Directors of New York City Center, and the Vice President of the Board of the Actors’ Equity Foundation.

Shellen Lubin

Shellen Lubin directed Gloria Bond Clunie's Buck Naked in the first Women Playwrights Initiative at Ivoryton. As a director/dramaturg assisting in the development of new plays, she has directed across the country, recently working on projects with Lanie Robertson, Stuart Warmflash, Stephanie Satie, Susan Merson, and Amy Oestreicher at multiple venues. Her own plays have been produced and workshopped at Manhattan Class Company, Public Theatre, Pacific Resident Theatre, Hubbard Hall, West Coast Ensemble, American Jewish Theatre, and more. Her songs have been featured on radio and cable TV, in Milos Forman’s first American film, “Taking Off,” in numerous cabaret acts including her own, and in a one-hour special on WBAI-FM, Shellen Lubin - Songwriter/Singer. She also teaches and coaches actors, singers, and writers both privately and as a guest artist. Proud member of DG, SDC, AEA, Co-President - League of Professional Theatre Women, Past President - Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, chair - Women Playwrights Initiative - National Theatre Conference. @SHLubin

Dorothy Lyman

Emmy award -winning actress Dorothy Lyman is known for her roles on “Another World,” “All My Children,” “Generations” and “Mama's Family,” but she also is a director (75 episodes of “The Nanny” for CBS), a filmmaker and a playwright. Her first film, shot in Delaware County An Enemy of the People, “The Northern Kingdom,” is available on Netflix, as is her second film, “Split Ends.” A documentary on aging, “Janet’s Class,” is seeking distribution. Lyman produced and directed “Enemy,” her adaptation of Ibsen’s (2016), and her full-length plays A Rage In Tenure (2017) and Soft Landing (2018) at Teatro Santa Ana in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She can be seen on the HBO series “Divorce” and in guest star roles on other episodic TV shows.

Kato McNickle

Kato McNickle is a Connecticut-based playwright, director, and artist. A graduate of Brown University and holds a degree in Ancient Studies specializing in Greco-Roman and Sanskrit performance and continue to study the connection between art, perception, neuroscience, and performance. They have taught playwriting at the University of Connecticut, and writing and comic making at Artreach, Inc. in Norwich, CT. They are chair of the New London Artistic Council; Vice-President of the Mystic Paper Beasts Mask & Puppetry Company; producer of the Mayfly 24-Hour Theater in New London, and a member Dramatist Guild and the Star Wars Fan Club.

Emma Palzere-Rae, Moderator

Emma Palzere-Rae (actress, playwright, director and producer), founder of Be Well Productions which produces her original touring one-woman shows include The Woodhull Project and Aunt Hattie’s House. She is co-founder of The Way of the Labyrinth Playwrights Retreat, the former artistic director of Plays for Living (NYC), and currently associate director at Artreach, Inc. (Norwich). She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, where she is the regional rep for New England West. Recent stage roles include Mother Miriam in Agnes of God (Madison Lyric Stage), Essie Miller in Ah, Wilderness! (East Lynne Theater Company), Sister Aloysius in Doubt (Emerson Theater Collaborative). At Mystic Seaport she co-directs and performed in Lantern Light Tours and Nautical Nightmares.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

CT Theater Women Gather for Holiday Lunch, Play Excerpts

Brian Yarger, left, and John J. Cronin in a production of A Christmas Carol by Lauren Yarger and Dan Jessie.
Join the Little Match Girl, Scrooge, Holiday Networking Fun at CT Theater Women Lunch Friday in Westbrook

Friday, Dec. 6
noon-2 pm
Westbrook Inn 

The CT Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women will present three excerpts from plays with holiday themes by Connecticut authors at a networking lunch noon Friday at the charming Westbrook Inn.

Chapter Steering Committee member Susan Cinoman will curate the event and introduce her new play reading initiative at the Inn, Sips and Scripts. Reservations are required.
  • The Little Match Girl 
On the streets of London during the Industrial Revolution, a hungry yet loving street waif has a strange moment with a kind pub owner. By Susan Cinoman.
  • Joy Meets Girl
Addie, a journalist finds love despite her new found cynicism. By Kimberly Hill 
  • Scrooge Monologue
A new take on the classic character, it wouldn't be the holidays without a few words from our favorite misanthrope.  By Chapter Co-Founder Lauren Yarger

Make a reservation at this link by Wednesday, Dec. 4: Men and women are welcome to attend.

Registrants will be sent instructions about payment to confirm your seat. The lunch/play presentation event will be $25 for chapter members and $30 for non members. Lunch with a vegetarian option will be provided.


Bill Arnold of Windsor, CT is a 45-year veteran of the stage as well as a playwright and set designer/builder for the Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain. Bill always enjoys letting the voices in his head come out to play.

Barbara Hentschel  played Mrs. Eynsford Hill in Legacy Theatre’s production of Pygmalion. Favorite roles: Queen Gertrude in Hamlet (Legacy Theatre)Lady Montague in Romeo & Juliet, directed by Mark Lamos (Westport Country Playhouse), Katharine in Love’s Labour’s Lost (Woodstock Shakespeare Festival, NY), Ride the Tiger (Long Wharf Theatre), Apple Season (Ivoryton Playhouse, WPI), Laura in The Glass Menagerie (MLS, CT) and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (MLS, CT). Barbara earned her BA in Theatre from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and has an MFA in acting from The Actors Studio Drama School, NYC. Barbara coaches privately and has worked on staff as a Resident Teaching Artist for Long Wharf Theatre.

Emilie Roberts in NYC Emilie created leading roles in five original musicals and appeared in As You Like It, Scapin and others.  Regionally, she starred in Deathtrap, The Respectful Prostitute, She Loves Me, Oklahoma, The Robber Bridegroom, A Threepenny Opera, and played supporting roles in 8 shows at Summer Theatre of New Canaan.  A graduate of Juilliard, Emilie performed in operas and musical revues across the country, & is currently professor of voice & acting at the University of Bridgeport.

Kimberly Squires Off-Off Broadway – The Players Theatre: The Difference by Jack Rushton. Regional --  Greenwich Theatre Co: Bee Keeper/Seven Easy Pieces by Jack Rushton; The National Arts Club; Danse Macabre by Steven Otfinoski and The Girl in the Red Dress by Frederick Stoppel, music by Art Garfunkle; The Players Club The Lives of Shakespeare Trilogy by MJ Schaefe. Kim and her husband, Allan Zeller, produced/starred in their two-person show: Zeller and Squires – Delightful Differences in New Haven. Founding member, former Amarante’s Dinner Theatre. Member: AEA, SAG-AFTRA.

Allan Zeller has worked in theater, film, television and radio for more than 35 years. Theaters include the Sacramento Theatre Co, CitiArts Theatre, Theatre Artists of Marin, Roger Rocha’s Penguin Rep. Stray Kats Theatre and the Players Theatre in New York.  Recently Allan appeared at the new Greenwich Theatre Company in Greenwich, CT playing multiple roles in Seven Easy Pieces by Jack Rushton. In October, Allan was seen at the Actors’ Temple Theatre in New York as Dr. Benjamin Simon in the new play The Interrupted Journey by Elizabeth Fuller and Joe Vig and at the National Arts Club as Joseph Stalin in the new play Danse Macabre by Stephen Otfinoski. Allan has an MFA in acting from UC Davis.

Susan Cinoman is a playwright and screenwriter whose work is published and produced internationally. She began as a comedy writer and performer in the all-woman comedy group, “The Soubrettes,” in Philadelphia which resulted in one of its hit songs playing on the local radio, “Bimbo Rap.” Her story “Mama Drama” was featured on the hit ABC comedy “The Goldbergs” in the 2014- 15 season. Her one act play Fitting Rooms has been called “a great American one act” and is featured in Applause Books' “Best Short Plays of 1996”. Her Off-Broadway plays include Gin and Bitters and Cinoman and Rebeck, which was hailed as “an evening of talent and promise” by The New York Times. Her plays have received numerous workshop productions at The Ensemble Studio Theatre and Naked Angels. The plays Beds and Truth and Sex were recently made into short films by Akvarious Productions in Mumbai, India. Work in development includes the screenplay My Girlfriend at the Time (directed by Susan Seidelman); the pilot, "Blackmail U." (co-written with ABC Family writer Andrea Abbate); the new play Love and Class in Connecticut (directed by Karen Carpenter of Love, Loss and What I Wore). Cinoman’s new play Guenevere is being developed as part of the Women’s Playwright Initiative at the Ivortyon Playhouse. She is the recipient of The Best Connecticut Filmmaker Award in 2009; The Best Narrative Film at New England Film and Video Festival; an Official Selection by The International Berkshire Film Festival; The Maxwell Anderson Playwrights Prize, and The Aristos Award with Theresa Rebeck. Susan lives with her husband in Connecticut. They have two daughters, a cat, a dog and a horse.
Kimberly Hill wrote for a number of TV series including “Cheers,” “Family Ties,” “One Day at a Time,” “Empty Nest,” “All is Forgiven,” “Facts of Life,” “EZ Streets,” “The Tortelli’s,” “Lateline” and “E.R.” – the comedy.  She created and wrote pilots under contract to Paramount and for NBC. Kim also produced or served as a consultant on some of these series and more, including “Due South,” before she went into rehab at Yale Divinity School – where she got a masters degree. She is currently writing plays.

Lauren Yarger As a theater critic, Lauren Yarger is a member of the Outer Critics Circle, the American Theatre Critics Association and previously served as Vice President and voting member of the Drama Desk. She is Co-Founder of the League of Professional Theater Women's Connecticut Chapter. As a producer/writer (member of the Dramatists Guild of America), Lauren has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events.  She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story," was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's Reading Room Series in New York in 2018. She is Owner/Producer at Gracewell Productions LLC and is a partner in Major Chord Productions, which is developing two musicals for touring. Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Intensive and other training and was a Fellow at the O'Neill Theater Center's National Critics Institute. She also reviews books for Publishers Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 
and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 

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