Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cast Anounced for Long Wharf's Fantasticks

Long Wharf Theatre announces the cast of its upcoming production of The Fantasticks, book and lyrics by Tom Jones, music by Harvey Schmidt, directed by Amanda Dehnert. The play will run from Oct. 7-Nov. 1 on Mainstage.

This hit musical, the longest running Off-Broadway musical in history, tells the story of Luisa and Matt, a pair entering the bloom of their youth. Their fathers, scheming to encourage their budding love, hire the trickster El Gallo to "thwart" their romance. By moonlight, Matt and Luisa fall hard for each other. However, can their romance survive the sunlight? The cast includes Ray DeMattis, Jessica Grove, William Parry, David Nathan Perlow, Dan Sharkey, Michael Sharon, and Jonathan Randell Silver.

For more information about Long Wharf Theatre events or to purchase tickets, visit or call 203-787-4282.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jane Alexander, Stockard Channing Complete Westport Season Lineup

Jane Alexander and Stockard Channing will appear in Sir David Hare’s The Breath of Life at Westport Country Playhouse, Sept. 29 through Oct. 17. Mark Lamos, artistic director will direct. “The Breath of Life” will be the final production in the Playhouse’s six-play 2009 season.

“The Breath of Life” is a tale of two seasoned women, whose lives are interwoven through their relationship with a pivotal, yet offstage, male character, Martin. Madeleine Palmer, played by Ms. Alexander, is a retired curator, living alone on the Isle of Wight. One day to her door comes Frances Beale, played by Ms. Channing, a woman she has met only once, who is now enjoying sudden success, later in life, as a popular novelist. Over the course of one day and one night, the two women reflect on their lives and their relationship with Martin, their joint obsession.

Jane Alexander received a Tony Award for Broadway’s “The Great White Hope,” and Tony Award nominations for “Honour,” “The Sisters Rosensweig,” “The Visit,” “First Monday in October,” “Find Your Way Home” and “6 Rms Riv Vu.” She also received a Drama Desk and Theatre World Award for “The Great White Hope” and an Obie for “The Sisters Rosensweig.” She is a four-time Oscar nominee for the films “Testament,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “All the President’s Men” and “The Great White Hope.” On television, she won an Emmy Award for the movie “Playing for Time” and a Television Critic’s Circle Award for her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt in “Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.”

She received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Showtime’s "Carry Me Home," directed by her son Jace Alexander. She received the Emmy Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie” for her portrayal of “Sara Roosevelt” in HBO’s “Warm Springs.” Ms. Alexander is the author of “Command Performance: An Actress in the Theater of Politics,” documenting her tenure as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1993-1997.

Stockard Channing’s extensive theatre credits include “Joe Egg” (Tony Award, Drama Desk nomination), “Hapgood” (Drama Desk nomination), “Love Letters” (original cast), “Woman in Mind” (Drama Desk Award), “The Rink,” “The Golden Age,” “They're Playing Our Song,” “Little Foxes,” and her work in “The Lion in Winter,” “House of Blue Leaves” (Drama Desk nomination), “Four Baboons Adoring the Sun,” and “Six Degrees of Separation” (Drama Desk nomination) earned her four Tony Award nominations. For “Six Degrees...” she received an Obie Award and Drama League Award for Performance of the Year as well as an Olivier Award nomination when she performed the play in London.

When she recreated her “Six Degrees...” role for film, she was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Other film credits include “Bright Young Things,” “Must Love Dogs,” “The Business of Strangers” (AFI Film Award nomination), “Where the Heart Is,” “Practical Magic,” “Twilight,” “The First Wives' Club,” “Smoke” (SAG nomination), “Moll Flanders,” “Heartburn,” “Grease” (People's Choice Award), “Isn't She Great?” and the upcoming “Sparkle,” and “Multiple Sarcasms.” In 2002, Ms. Channing won two Emmy Awards for her roles as First Lady Abby Bartlet on NBC’s “The West Wing,” and for the role of Judy Shepard in “The Matthew Shepard Story,” for which she also received a Screen Actors Guild Award. She received a 2005 Daytime Emmy Award for her role in “Jack.”

The production team includes Michael Yeargan (Tony and Drama Desk Awards for “South Pacific”), set design; Robert Wierzel (Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Westport Country Playhouse’s “Of Mice and Men”), lighting design; Greg Hennigan, original music and sound design; Elizabeth Smith, dialect consultant; Janet Foster, C.S.A., casting; and Lloyd Davis, Jr., production stage manager.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Camelot at Goodspeed

Marissa McGowan, left, and Mollie Vogt-Welch
in Goodspeed Musicals CAMELOT. Photo by Diane Sobolewski.

Marissa McGowan's Shining Moment
By Lauren Yarger
Marissa McGowan has replaced Erin Davie as Guenevere in Goodspeed Musicals' Camelot, running through Sept. 19 at the opera house in East Hadaam and if you haven't seen this production yet, or if you didn't have a chance to see McGowan in the role, it's well wortht he trip.
Director Rob Ruggiero has amassed a very strong vocal ensemble to tell Lerner and Loewe's musical story of King arthur's round table. He focuses on the love story between Guenevere and Lancelot, and their feelings of love and lyalty for Arthur and it' very effective, giving the show some real depth and structure.

McGowan, who previously appeared at Goodspeed in last season's Big River (also directed by Ruggiero) and who performed the roles of Eponine and Cosette in Les Miserables on Broadway, is fantastic. When I attended and saw the understudy notice in the program, I was not happy, but my dismay soon turned to joy when McGowan took the stage.

Fast facts about Camelot:
Music by: Frederick Loewe
Book and Lyrics by: Alan Jay Lerner

Choreographer: Ralph Perkins
Set Designer: Michael Schweikardt
Costume Coordinator: Alejo Vietti
Lighting Designer: John Lasiter
Music Director: Michael O’Flaherty
Assistant Music Director: F. Wade Russo
Orchestrations: Dan DeLange
Bradley Dean (Arthur)

Maxime de Toledo (Lancelot)

Adam Shonkwiler (Mordred)

Ronn Carroll (Pellinore)

Herman Petras (Merlyn)

Charles Everett Crocco (Tom of Warwick)

Background: Camelot by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe is based on T. H. White’s literary version of the legend, The Once and Future King. The original 1960 production, directed by Moss Hart, ran on Broadway for 873 performances, winning four Tony Awards and spawning several revivals, foreign productions and a 1967 film version.

The original Broadway cast included Julie Andrews, Richard Burton and Roddy McDowall as well as Robert Goulet in his first Broadway role. John Cullum also made his Broadway debut as Sir Dinadan and Bruce Yarnell was Sir Lionel.

Synopsis: Experience “one brief shining moment” that was Camelot. Relive the enduring legend of King Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table in an enchanting fable of chivalry, honor, and brotherhood. Dazzling and spellbinding with sweeping romance and historic grandeur, this classic musical speaks to our time and for all time. The celebrated score includes the classics “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” and “Camelot.” Winner of 4 Tony Awards.
Performances: Wednesday at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Thursday at 7:30 pm, (with select performances at 2 pm), Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm (with select performances at 6:30 pm.).

Tickets: Goodspeed Box Office (860.873.8668) or on-line at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2 Local Girls Sought for 'Emmet Otter'

Goodspeed Musicals is holding auditions for local Non-Equity child actors (GIRLS between ages 12-14) for its upcoming production of Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter. Auditions will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 10 am to 1 pm at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT.

Auditions are for the role and understudy of Jane – Jane is a typical, modern 14 year old, jaded and above it all, who has lost the meaning of Christmas but eventually finds it again. Actresses need to have a contemporary pop sound and move well. All auditions are by appointment only. Appointments may be made starting immediately b calling Company Management at (860) 873-8664, ext. 387, Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm.

Interested performers should bring a resume, photo and sheet music and be prepared to sing two short numbers: an up-tempo song and a ballad. Music must be legible and in the proper key (No lead sheets please). An accompanist will be provided. Those auditioning also will be asked to read a scene that will be provided.

Candidates must be available for rehearsals Nov. 10 – Dec. 4, 2009 and performances at the Goodspeed Opera House Dec. 5, 2009 – Jan. 3, 2010. Rehearsals and performances occur in East Haddam, CT. Candidates must be Non-Equity for the rehearsal and performance period.

Performers of all ethnicities are strongly encouraged to audition.

For more information, contact Elisa Hale (ext. 323) or Dan McMahon (ext. 324) at 860.873.8664, or

Cast, Creative Team set for Yale Rep's 'Master Builder'

Yale Rep has announced the cast and creative team for The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen, running Sept. 18-Oct. 10 at the university theater. The cast of The Master Builder includes Bill Buell (Doctor Herdal), David Chandler (Halvard Solness), Susan Heyward (Hilda Wangel), Robert Hogan (Knut Brovik), Slate Holmgren (Ragnar Brovik), Felicity Jones (Aline Solness), and Irene Sofia Lucio (Kaja Fosli).

The show features sets by Timothy Brown, costumes by Katherine Akiko Day, lighting by Paul Whitaker, sound and original music by Scott L. Nielsen, dramaturgy by Maya Cantu and Colin Mannex, and stage management by James Mountcastle.

Summary: Halvard Solness, a brilliantly successful architect, has willed his unspoken desire into reality at every turn—but not without a price. Now he lives in fear that the next generation will rise up and cast him aside. When Hilda Wangel, a bewitching young woman, arrives to collect on a decade-old debt, she breathes new life into the Solness home but also rekindles painful memories. Will she help him reach the pinnacle, or will she be the one to finally knock the Master Builder from his tower?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Westport Country Playhouse Announces 80th Anniversary Season

Westport Country Playhouse will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2010, staging a season of five productions including musicals, comedy and drama. The 2010 season will be the first official season of artistic programming by Mark Lamos (pictured right), who was appointed Playhouse artistic director last February.

"It was an exciting challenge to create the 80th-anniversary season for this historic Playhouse," said Lamos. "First of all, I wanted to continue the tradition of theater for our community with as wide a variety of plays and musicals as possible---some celebratory, some profound, others really joyful and inspiring, even daring. We want to open up avenues into a bright new future now, and hopefully this season will lead the way.”

“Our 80th-anniversary celebration has a unique lineup: two musicals, one grand, the other intimate; two of the greatest plays of the 20th century, one based on one of the most important and beloved books ever written; and a yet to be announced contemporary comedy that will bring a little edge to our proceedings,” Lamos continued. “I'm eager to share these shows with the communities that make up our audiences, and the artists who love our theater; and I look forward with enthusiasm to taking the first steps into a new beginning for the Westport Country Playhouse.”

The musical comedy, She Loves Me, will begin the celebratory season, April 27 through May 15. Lamos will direct the classic, which features score and book by the team that created Fiddler on the Roof.

The plot involves Georg and Amalia, who are madly in love. They just don’t realize it yet. Caught up in a feud at the perfumery where they work, neither suspects that the other is their anonymous romantic pen pal. Book is by Joe Masterhoff; music by Jerry Bock; lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The show was the inspiration for the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film, "You've Got Mail.”

A TBA production is scheduled for June 1 through June 19. According to Lamos, the play will be “a bright, smart new contemporary comedy hit.”

Happy Days by Samuel Beckett, the Nobel Prize-winning author of Waiting for Godot, recently revived on Broadway to wide acclaim, will run July 6-24, directed by Lamos. Beckett’s masterpiece, the story of one woman’s cheerful optimism in the face of a trifling universe, is among the most inspiring and exhilarating explorations of what it means to be alive.

The musical I Do! I Do! will be staged Aug. 10-28. Written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, composers of The Fantasticks, the endearing story spans 50 years in the marriage of Agnes and Michael. One man, one woman and a captivating musical score encompass all the richness and variety of experience inherent in taking the plunge into a life spent with someone you love.

A timeless and powerful classic, The Diary of Anne Frank, by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly revised by Wendy Kesselman, will play Sept. 28 through Oct. 16. During the Second World War, Anne Frank and her family go into hiding to escape the Nazis. Her account of the time spent in a small Amsterdam attic remains among the greatest personal stories from the darkest moment in history, and one of the most compelling coming of age tales ever told.

The 2010 performance schedule is Tuesday at 8 pm, Wednesday at 2 and 8 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 4 and 8 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Special series feature Previews, A Taste of Tuesdays, Opening Nights, Thursday TalkBack, Sunday Symposium, Backstage Pass and Open Captioning.

For ticket information, visit

Monday, August 3, 2009

Emmet Otter Returns to Goodspeed

Goodspeed Musicals, the only two time Tony Award winning theatre in the country, is proud to announce the return of last year’s hit musical production Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter.

Families across Connecticut are invited to continue this holiday tradition complimented by the beauty of the Goodspeed Opera House bedecked for the season. “Last year audiences experienced the joy and magic of Christmastime in this idyllic holiday setting. It truly is the perfect backdrop for such a timeless tale,” Executive Director Michael Price commented, “Emmet and Ma’s story of giving is one we are excited to share once again with audiences. The wonderful music, charming characters, and a cast of exceptional performers make for a festive celebration for all ages.” Emmet Otter will run Dec. through Jan. 3, 2010, at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut.

This year a new special event has been added: Breakfast with Santa at the Gelston House available for matinees on Dec. 6, 13, 20 and 24 at 10 am prior to the noon performance. Call the Box Office for details.

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