Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quick Hit Theater Review: Next to Normal -- The Bushnell

Photo from the Broadway production.

Next to Normal
The Bushnell
By Tom Ktt and Brian Yorgey
Directed by Michael Greif

A family tries to cope as the mom, Diana (Alice Ripley), battles bi-polar disorder and depression. She sees doctors (played by Jeremy Kushner), but the constant juggling of medications and treatments takes its toll on Diana as well as everyone else in the family. Daughter Natalie (Emma Hunton) experiments with drugs and a boyfriend, Henry (Preston Sadleir) in an attempt to escape her "normal" home life. Husband Dan (Asa Somers) tries to reach the woman with whom he fell in love, even while their son Gabe (Curt Hansen) pulls her in a different direction.


• The score and lyrics are compelling. The musical won the 2009 Tony Award for best score and musical and the 2010 Pultizer Prize for drama. Ripley, who is starring inthe tour, won the 2009 Best Actress.
• The casting of this tour is great.

• Ripley is struggling with some severe vocal strain. I fully expected to hear an announcement at intermission that the understudy would continue. She still gives a moving and compassionate performance, but her vocals really miss. Time to rest. Hitting all of those high belts for so long is taking its toll.

• The tour fails to capture the intensity of the Broadway staging. Mark Wendland's set seems compressed and while we get the idea that it is the frame for the family's house, we don't fully realize that it represents the interior of Diana's mind as well. The band plays the score, but doesn't infuse the music with the intense emotions portrayed. The result is a production that lacks cohesiveness to draw the audience into the drama and make it personal. Many will simply think it's, well ... depressing.

Next to Normal runs through April 3. For tickets and information, visit

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Arts & Ideas Fest Events Listed

“Across Borders, Beyond Time” is the theme of the
2011 International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which will be presented
June 11-25 at various sites in New Haven.

The Silk Road Ensemble with artistic director Yo-Yo Ma opens the 16th
annual Festival with a free concert on the New Haven Green on
Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.

Taking its name from the fabled trade routes of antiquity that linked
East to West, this collective of musicians, arrangers, and composers
is dedicated to preserving authentic classical traditions while
nourishing global connections. The Silk Road Ensemble has commissioned
more than 60 compositions and recorded five albums since its founding
in 2000 by Yo-Yo Ma. The musical adventurer and educator received the
Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., from
President Barack Obama in February.

The performance marks the Silk Road Ensemble’s Connecticut debut and
the superstar cellist’s first appearance in the state since 2007.

“We have developed a bond of mutual respect, friendship, and trust
that is palpable every time we’re on stage,” said Ma of the Ensemble.

“Just as the Silk Road Ensemble resplendently illuminates the 2011
Festival theme, two other main stage events also address matters of
culture, history, and collective memory and perceptions, but in
different and provocative ways,” said Mary Lou Aleskie, Executive
Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan,” a co-production by Druid Theatre of Galway
and Atlantic Theater Company of New York that received rave reviews
off-Broadway in 2008, will be presented at Yale’s University Theatre,
June 15-19. Druid is currently touring the U.S. with this work as part
of “Imagine Ireland,” an initiative of Culture Ireland celebrating a
year of Irish arts in America, 2011.

This wickedly mordant and irreverent comedy is by Martin McDonagh
(2006 Academy Award winner for his live action short “Six Shooter” and
2008 Academy Award nominee for his first feature film “In Bruges”).
Set on an island off Ireland’s Atlantic coast in 1934, it tells of
nine eccentrics who endure, if not attempt to enliven, the suffocating
monotony of provincial life. For the orphan teen called “Cripple
Billy” because of a deformed leg and useless arm, opportunity for
escape appears when a Hollywood movie company lands on an adjacent
island to film a documentary.

The American tour features a new cast which, as in 2008, is directed
by Garry Hynes, Druid’s artistic director. Hynes discovered McDonagh’s
talent in 1996, and she has been a leading interpreter of his stage
work since then. (In 1998, Hynes became the first woman director to
win a Tony Award, and the Druid cast garnered three more for the
Broadway production of McDonagh’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.”)

Given Druid’s international success in staging McDonagh’s plays, Hynes
noted that “it is true to say that Martin takes perceptions of Ireland
and punctures them.”

The body politic and body politics of race, gender, and sexuality are
recurring subjects in works by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company,
which will perform two programs at Yale’s University Theatre, June

The first evening, entitled “Body Against Body,” consists of grappling
duets rooted in contact improvisation, first choreographed and last
performed more than 30 years ago by Jones and Zane (the latter who
died of AIDS-related causes in 1988), which proclaimed their arrival
in New York’s experimental dance scene. This will be followed by two
performances of “Serenade/The Proposition,” a dance-theater piece that
draws upon the writings of Abraham Lincoln and his contemporaries
juxtaposed with Jones’s memories as a child of African American
migrant farm workers. Dense with images conveying multiple allusions
to past and present, the work pulses with a robust, raw turbulence
within its rigorously structured form.

“The Civil War is used as a mirror to our fractious time,” said
choreographer, director, and writer Bill T. Jones, who is a 2010
Kennedy Center Honoree, a two-time Tony Award-winning choreographer
(“Spring Awakening” and “Fela!”), recipient of a 1994 MacArthur
“Genius” Award, and many honorary doctorates, including one from Yale

According to Aleskie, these main stage performances inspired related
“immersion experiences” that are reflected in many of the “Ideas”
programs. In addition to “Across Borders, Beyond Time,” these are
“Imagine Ireland” and “Freedom’s Journey,” the latter being an
exploration of slavery and emancipation, civil rights and justice.

The Festival will present an eclectic array of dance, music, theater,
and music-theater works, free concerts on the New Haven Green, and
family-friendly interactive events.

Susan Marshall & Company will perform “Adamantine” and unveil a video
installation, created especially for the Festival, of Marshall’s
“Frame Dances” at the Frederick Iseman Theater, June 15-18. During the
live performance, the dancers move fearlessly in an unpredictable,
unyielding environment that alternates between light and dark, shadow
and reflection, to upend audience expectations altogether. “Frame
Dances” will be available for viewing before and after performances of

The Courtyard Concert series, June 14-16, showcases New York’s Bang On
A Can All-Stars, playing music by indie rockers Brian Eno, Thurston
Moore (Sonic Youth) Dave Longstreth (Dirty Projectors) and Bryce
Dessner (The National); Benin-born Afro-jazz guitarist and vocalist
Lionel Loueke; and Haiti’s singer-songwriter Emeline Michel.

Jack Hitt, best known for telling both funny and investigative stories
on the public radio show “This American Life,” presents a new solo
theater work entitled “Making Up the Truth,” in which he wonders, “Why
do these things always happen to me?,” June 21-24 at Long Wharf
Theatre’s Stage II.

A theatrical staging of the one-man opera “Soldier Songs,” composed by
David T. Little, sung by baritone David Adam Moore, and performed by
the ensemble Newspeak, takes place June 23-25 at the Frederick Iseman
Theater. A gripping and haunting examination of the loss of young
men’s innocence, “Soldier Songs” is based on Little’s interviews with
veterans who served in World War II through Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Folks of all ages will flock to the New Haven Green for joy-filled,
free concerts by Jose Condé backed by the nu Latin groove and the
Cosmic Jibaros as the opener (June 12); Canadian fiddler Natalie
MacMaster (June 18); The Ebony Hillbillies on a double bill with the
kid-friendly Americana band The Deedle Deedle Dees (June 19); and the
Afro-pop group Freshlyground with the Mandingo Ambassadors as the
opener (June 25).

Family events designed to entertain children will be held the opening
weekend of the Festival.

Toddlers to seven-year-olds — and grown ups, too — will revel in “Baby
Loves Salsa,” a celebration in Spanish and English of Afro-Latin song
and dance from singer-songwriter Jose Condé, on June 12 at the
University Theatre.

Children will grasp the building blocks of design, urban planning, and
sustainability in a creative playtime called “Box City.” Cardboard and
art supplies will be provided, as well as inspiring music and
spellbinding storytellers. This free, community-binding activity will
be held on June 11 and 12 at a location to be announced in April.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas will announce “Ideas”
programs and many other free events in the coming weeks. For updates,

The 2011 International Festival of Arts & Ideas receives major
sponsorship support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture &
Tourism, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Foxwoods, New
Haven Register, WTNH, and Yale University.

Festival members may purchase tickets in advance of the general public
through April 3. For details about membership benefits, visit or call 203-498-3758.
The box office opens to the general public on Tuesday, April 5. For
tickets, visit; call 203-562-5666 or 888-736-2663; or
stop by the Shubert Theater, 247 College Street, New Haven.

The calendar of main stage performances follows.



Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.
The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma
Elm Street Stage, New Haven Green, Free

Tuesday, June 14 at 8 p.m.
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Yale Law School Courtyard, 127 Wall Street, $30

Wednesday, June 15 at 8 p.m.
Lionel Loueke
Yale Law School Courtyard, 127 Wall Street, $30

June 15 – 18: Wednesday – Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m.
Susan Marshall & Company: “Adamantine”
Frederick Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street, $25
Note: Viewings of the video installation of Marshall’s “Frame Dances”
are Wednesday – Friday at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 6

June 15 – 19: Wednesday – Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.,
Sunday at 3 p.m.
Druid and Atlantic Theater Company: “The Cripple of Inishmaan”
Yale University Theatre, 222 York Street, $40

Thursday, June 16 at 8 p.m.
Emeline Michel
Yale Law School Courtyard, 127 Wall Street, $30

June 16-18
Yale Institute for Music Theatre
Workshop readings of three works in development, to be announced in April.
Off Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway, $15

Tuesday, June 21 – Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m.
Jack Hitt: “Making Up the Truth”
Long Wharf Theatre Stage II, 222 Sargent Drive, $25

Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company: “Body Against Body”
Yale University Theatre, 222 York Street, $40

Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 25 at 3 p.m.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company: “Serenade/The Proposition”
Yale University Theatre, 222 York Street, $40

June 23-25: Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m.
David T. Little: “Soldier Songs”
Frederick Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street, $25

Family Events

Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, 12 – 5 p.m.
“Box City”
Imagine the ideal place to live, work, and play, then join hundreds of
other families in applying basic principles of design, urban planning,
and sustainability to build a model city out of cardboard and recycled
materials. Find inspiration and entertainment in music and
storytelling throughout the afternoon. Boxes and art supplies will be
Venue TBA in April, free

Saturday, June 12 at 3 p.m.
“Baby Loves Salsa”
Toddlers to seven-year-olds will revel in this bi-lingual song and
dance celebration of Afro-Latin rhythms by singer-songwriter Jose
University Theatre, 222 York Street, $15 adults, $10 children.

Free on the New Haven Green

Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m.
The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Sunday, June 12
Cosmic Jibaros, 6 p.m.
Jose Condé with the nu Latin groove, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 18 at 7 p.m.
Natalie MacMaster

Sunday, June 19
The Deedle Deedle Dees, 6 p.m.
Ebony Hillbillies, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 25
Mandingo Ambassadors, 7 p.m.
Freshlyground, 8 p.m.

HSO 2011-2012 Masterworks Series

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2011-2012 Masterworks Series.

Thursday, October 20, 2011, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, October 21 & 22, 2011, 8pm
Sunday, October 23, 2011, 3pm
Belding Theater
Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Behzod Abduraimov, piano
For her dynamic Masterworks premiere, Carolyn Kuan has selected the daring Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 (written as a showpiece for Beethoven himself) and the big, brassy Mahler Symphony No. 1 (also known as the “Titan”).

Thursday, November 10, 2011, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, November 11 & 12, 2011, 8pm
Sunday, November 13, 2011, 3pm
Belding Theater
Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Singers from Yale Opera, Doris Yarick Cross, artistic director
A special semi-staged production of complete scenes from classic operas – featuring future leading artists from the Yale Opera program at the Yale School of Music.

Thursday, December 1, 2011, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, December 2 & 3, 2011, 8pm
Sunday, December 4, 2011, 3pm
Belding TheaterRichard Coffey, guest conductor
Hartford Chorale, Richard Coffey, music director
Soloists to be announced
Richard Coffey describes this festive holiday-themed program as “exuberant, magical, mystical, moving, jubilant, and sometimes raucous,” with selections including Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite, Glinka Overture to Russlan and Ludmilla, and Vaughan Williams Hodie.

Thursday, January 5, 2012, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, January 6 & 7, 2012, 8pm
Sunday, January 8, 2012, 3pm
Belding TheaterCarolyn Kuan, conductor
Shodekeh, beatboxer
Celebrate the inspirational power that symphonic music holds for all time and all ages. Brahms Symphony No. 1 was composed over a period of 15 years! Beatboxing artist Shodekeh will apply his virtuoso vocal acrobatics to a concerto, Fujiko’s Fairy Tale by Finnish composer Jan Mikael Vainio. And you’ll have the opportunity to choose the opening piece through an online vote!
Thursday, February 9, 2012, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, February 10 & 11, 2012, 8pm
Sunday, February 12, 2012, 3pm
Belding TheaterAlexander Mickelthwate conductor
Gilad Karni, viola
Praised throughout the world for his tone and interpretation, Gilad Karni’s technique and musicality have earned him countless honors. He joins the HSO to perform the Penderecki Concerto for Viola, in a concert that also includes Wagner Prelude to Die Meistersinger and Beethoven Symphony No. 5.

Thursday, March 8, 2012, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, March 9 & 10, 2012, 8pm
Sunday, March 11, 2012, 3pm
Belding Theater
Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Sirena Huang, violin
HSO’s first Artist In Residence Sirena Huang returns to accompany our new Maestra and the orchestra in interpreting works of the Russian masters, including Mussorgsky Night on Bald Mountain, Shostakovich Symphony No. 9 and Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.

Thursday, April 12, 2012, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, April 13 & 14, 2012, 8pm
Sunday, April 15, 2012, 3pm
Belding Theater
Gerard Schwarz, conductor
Julian Schwarz, cello
Following in the footsteps of the world-renowned Maestro, his 19-year-old son is already outstanding. “My father is the musician that I am always trying to be,” Julian says. “His time and absolute devotion to each piece…it’s eye-opening and intimidating.” Hear their musical legacy come alive on the Dvořák Cello Concerto, Sibelius Symphony No. 2, and more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012, 7:30pm
Friday & Saturday, May 11 & 12, 2012, 8pm
Sunday, May 13, 2012, 3pm
Belding Theater
Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Teo Gheorghiu, pianoIts Russian title means “passionate” or “emotional.” Tchaikovsky wrote, “The ultimate essence ... of the symphony is Life.” Experience the emotional range of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 Pathétique, along with the jubilant Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 and the melodious Barber Essay for Orchestra No. 2.

Friday & Saturday, June 1 & 2, 2012, 8pm
Mortensen Hall
Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Leonid Sigal, violin
Hartford Chorale, Richard Coffey, music director
The season will conclude with Orff’s epic cycle. Based on the medieval collection of poems, Carmina Burana forms a scenic and magical cantata of singers, choruses, instruments and images, including its best-known movement, "O Fortuna," that opens and closes the piece. The program will also include Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 with HSO concertmaster Leonid Sigal.

Ticket Information:
· Subscription prices range from $282.50 to $559.50 per seat, including tickets for all nine concerts (prices include applicable fees)
· A six-concert “pick six” Masterworks subscription is also available upon request
· Current subscribers should renew their subscriptions by April 29 by mail or calling 860.244.2999
· New subscriptions will be available June 6
· Tickets for individual concerts on sale August 15; single ticket prices range from $34.50 to $69.50.

Eric Ting Featured at Critics Meeting

Long Wharf Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting will speak at a meeting of the Connecticut Critics Circle Sunday, March 27.

The program, at the Stratford Public Library, is free and open to the public. Ting will talk about the director’s role at the venerable New Haven theatre and his most recent work on the new play Agnes Under the Big Top. Ting is in his seventh season at Long Wharf, his fourth as Associate Artistic Director.

Light refreshments courtesy of the Friends of Square One will be provided in the Lovell Room of the library, located at 2203 Main St. For further information call 203-385-4162 or visit

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Posts Resume March 23

We're away on business this week without internet access, so news posts about Connecticut theater and arts organizations will resume March 23.

Crowns-- Ct Rep

Archive Review--
Crowns: A Worthy Coronet Revives UConn Summer SeriesBy Lauren Yarger
“Hatitude” links a tough, soul-searching, hip hopping African-American woman with her roots and church sisters through their traditions of wearing hats in Regina Taylor’s musical Crowns which restarts Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Nutmeg Summer Series at the University of Connecticut.

Crowns is a celebration of all kinds of hats, big and small, bright, feathered and flowered, but the musical’s brim covers much more. It’s also a celebration of black women, of their enduring strength and of their common traditions and culture. Taylor adapted the script from a collection of oral stories compiled in a book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry. Set on a wooden planked, peaked set bringing to mind a church (Felix E. Cochren, scenic design) various stories are related and embellished as the actors, ably directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris, adorn themselves with the many hats displayed around the set (and with bold and imaginatively serviceable costumes by Reggie Ray).

Connecting all of the stories is Yolanda (Shannon Antalan), a sad, troubled Brooklyn teen sent to South Carolina to stay with her grandmother, Mother Shaw (Chandra Currelley) following a tragedy. She wears her dead brother’s baseball hat with the cap turned backwards, a “crown” that clashes with her grandmother’s culture in which the women revere hats, often owning hundreds. They share “hattitude” with Yolanda for wearing, lending or even touching them.
When the church women share their own stories of love, loss and discrimination (the hats trigger the memories), their differences fade.

“Our crowns have been bought and paid for. We just need to wear them,” Yolanda is told.
Though the journey she experiences a funeral, a baptism and a wedding and finds identity with and acceptance by the other hat-wearing women. Ronald McCall, Crystal Fox, Roz White, Valerie Payton and Terry Burrell round out the very talented ensemble who lend strong vocals to the hymns and other existing material (the opening rap number is original). Just two musicians, director William Hubbard and Otis Gould, provide a full spirited accompaniment of piano and percussion to the foot-stomping, hand clapping good time gospel.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quick Hit Theater Review: Agnes Under the Big Top -- Long Wharf

Francesca Choy-Kee and Laura Esterman. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Agnes Under the Big Top
Long Wharf Theatre
By Aditi Brennan Kapil
Directed by Eric Ting

The crossing of the lives of some immigrants making a go of their dreams in America. Storyteller Agnes (Francesca Choy-Kee) would rather be back home in Liberia taking care of her son Eugene, but instead she cares for wealthy, bedridden Ella (Laura Easterman), who contantly leaves messages on her son's answering machine begging him to take an interest in her life. Sharing the care duties with Agnes is Roza (Gergana Mellin), a mute Bulgarian woman who suffers constant verbal abuse from her husband, Shipkov (Michael Cullen), who used to be the ringmaster of the Bulgarian circus where he and Roza worked before coming to America. He trains Happy (Eshan Bay), an Indian rock star wannabee on his fourth job since coming to his new country, how to drive a subway train, the sounds of which are drummed by Busker (Sam Ghosh) and accompanied by neat lighting effects (Tyler Micoleau) on Frank Alberino's imaginative set to simulate on oncoming train.

• Choy-Kee is compelling as the mother trying to come up with a painless way to tell her son she'll never see him again. A terrific performance.
• Cullen is chilling as the abusive, yet engaging former ringmaster.
• Ting's direction is both tight and flowing to create a nice storyboard.
• The set is really cool.

• The play has a very confusing beginning. It takes a while to figure out what's going on, who these people are, what they have to do with each other and why we should care.
• Once all that gets settled, the middle is interesting, but we never really find out everything we'd like to.

Agnes runs through april 3 on Stage II. For tickets, call 203-787-4282 or visit

Friday, March 11, 2011

Theater Review: Divine Rivalry -- Hartford Stage

Peter Strauss (photo by T. Charles Erickson ) stars in Hartford Stage's world premiere of Michael Kramer's Divine Rivalry playing through March 20. For the review, visit

Yale Announces 2011-2012 Season

Yal Rep's 2011-2012 season will include the world premieres of Belleville by Amy Herzog and The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno; Sarah Ruhl’s new version of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters; Molière’s A Doctor in Spite of Himself, adapted by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp; and William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. A third world premiere play will be announced soon.

By Anton ChekhovA New Version by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Les Waters
A co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre

September 16-October 8, 2011
Opening Night: September 22
University Theatre (222 York Street)

Discover the humor and heartbreak of one of the world’s greatest plays, revealed through the lyricism of two leading voices in contemporary theatre: two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl and director Les Waters, whose acclaimed collaborations include Eurydice at Yale Rep and the Tony Award-nominated In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) on Broadway.

Transplanted from their beloved Moscow to a provincial Russian town, three sisters—school teacher Olga, unhappily married Masha, idealistic Irina—yearn for the city of their childhood, where they imagine their lives will be transformed and fulfilled. Three Sisters is the portrait of a family grappling with the bittersweet distance between reality and dreams.

World PremiereBELLEVILLE By Amy Herzog
Directed by Anne Kauffman
October 21-November 12, 2011
Opening Night: October 27
Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel Street)

Amy Herzog, author of After the Revolution—heralded by The New York Times as “engrossing and incisive” and one of the Ten Best New Plays of 2010—makes her Yale Rep debut with Belleville. The world premiere will be directed by OBIE Award winner Anne Kauffman, who recently staged We Have Always Lived in the Castle at Yale Rep.

Young Americans Zack and Abby have the perfect ex-pat life in Paris: a funky bohemian apartment in up-and-coming Belleville; a stable marriage; and Zack’s noble mission to fight pediatric AIDS. But when Abby finds Zack at home one afternoon when he’s supposed to be at work, the questions and answers that follow shake the foundation of their seemingly beautiful life.

By MolièreAdapted by Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp
Directed by Christopher Bayes
November 25-December 17, 2011
Opening Night: December 1
Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel Street)

“Playing doctor” takes on a whole new meaning as a marital squabble escalates into comic pandemonium. The spirited Martine exacts revenge on her scoundrel of a husband, Sganarelle, by convincing the town that he’s the best doctor around and that he can cure any ailment. But the trickster turns the tables on his wife—and everyone else—with his own definition of “in sickness and in health.”

Bursting with slapstick physical comedy, naughty innuendo, and irreverent hijinks, A Doctor in Spite of Himself marks the return to Yale Rep of Christopher Bayes and Steven Epp.

February 3-25, 2012
Opening Night: February 9
Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel Street)

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Liz Diamond

March 16-April 7, 2012
Opening Night: March 22
University Theatre (222 York Street)

Suspicious that his wife Hermione has been unfaithful, King Leontes of Sicilia imprisons the queen, orders the death of her suspected lover, and banishes his own newborn daughter. But callous hearts are redeemed—and broken ones mended—when the abandoned orphan falls in love with a Bohemian prince. The Winter’s Tale leaps from darkest tragedy to lighthearted romance and a truly magical conclusion.

OBIE Award-winning Resident Director Liz Diamond, whose recent productions at Yale Rep include the acclaimed American premiere of Happy Now? by Lucinda Coxon, delves deep into a trunk of old-fashioned stagecraft to bring to life the Bard’s surprising tale of blinding jealousy and forgiveness.

Please note: The Winter’s Tale is Yale Rep’s 2011-2012 WILL POWER! production. The run includes three 10: am performances available only to middle and high school student groups. For information on WILL POWER! performances, please contact Ruth M. Feldman at (203) 432-8425 or

By Will Eno
Directed by Sam Gold
April 20-May 12, 2012
Opening Night: April 26
Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel Street)

Meet Bob and Jennifer, and their new neighbors John and Sally, two suburban couples who have more in common than their identical homes and the same last name on their mailboxes.

'Golden Boys' Avalon, Fabian, Rydell Play the Palace

“Golden Boys” Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell, three of the most popular teen idols of the '50s and '60s, bring their golden vocals to the Palace Theater in Waterbury for a night of nostalgia and good old fashioned rock n’ roll on Saturday, April 2, at 8 pm.

The Golden Boys spotlights each of the performers and their all-time greatest hits, including Fabian’s "Turn Me Loose," "Tiger," and "I'm A Man;” Avalon’s "Venus," "De De Dinah," and "Bobby Sox to Stockings;” and Rydell’s "Volare," "Wild One,” and "Kissin' Time."

Before the concert, a 6 pm pre-show dinner will be held in the Poli Club, located in the mezzanine level of the theater. Dinner is $40 per member and $50 for non-members, which includes tax, service fee, coffee and tea. A cash bar is also available. Seating is limited and reservations may be made when purchasing tickets through the Box Office. WDRC 1240AM morning radio personality Brad Davis will also be on hand preshow to greet patrons in the lobby and welcome the show.

Tickets can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at, or in person at the Palace Theater Box Office, 100 East Main St. Groups of 20 or more qualify for discounted rates and should call 203-346-2002.

HSO Presents 'Night at the Opera'

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will perform a program of arias, choruses, overtures and more at “A Night at the Opera” on Friday, April 1 at 8 pm in the Belding Theater at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.

Led by former Connecticut Opera Artostoc Director Willie Anthony Waters and joined by guest soprano Mary Dunleavy, this program will feature music from Puccini’s La bohème and Madama Butterfly, Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and more. The concert will also feature a chorus of local singers under the direction of Neely Bruce.

"I have put together a night of opera favorites that will showcase the beautiful diversity of this incredible art form," Waters said. "From Puccini to Johann Strauss to Verdi, this will be a program of music that is both entertaining and soulful. We will be joined by the immensely talented Mary Dunleavy, one of Connecticut Opera's most beloved artists."

A native of Old Saybrook,Dunleavy’s 2010-11 season includes the lead soprano in New York City Opera's revival of Strauss' Intermezzo, the soprano soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Richmond Symphony, and her first Marguerite in Faust with Opera Birmingham, followed by further performances of the role in North Carolina Opera's inaugural season. Future seasons will include an appearance in a new production with L’Opéra de Montréal, and returns to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera and to The Dallas Opera.

Tickets range from $30 to $62. Student tickets are $10. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 860-244-2999 or visit

Writers Can Retreat in Colebrook

Five writers seeking a spring retreat will get a chance to put pen to paper (or warm up their laptops) at the Rock Hall Luxe Lodging in Colebrook. From Friday, April 1 to Sunday, April 3 writers will enjoy the scenic luxury lodging and gourmet food for which Rock Hall is famous. The weekend includes long periods of writing time, interrupted only by an intimate discussion of Twain's writing style from scholars at the Mark Twain House & Museum and readings from Connecticut writers.

This program is supported by Writing at the Mark Twain House, an initiative to include more writing programs at the museum. Since its inception, Writing at the Mark Twain House has run highly successful writing workshops and a blog by the same name.

This idyllic writing weekend comes with a membership to The Mark Twain House & Museum and ends with a tour of the Twain's mansion in Hartford. Twain himself often escaped his Hartford home for more peaceful and private settings in which to write. The Mark Twain House is sponsoring this escape from busy everyday life, and to allow local and national writers the chance to follow in Twain's footsteps.

Cost for the Writers' Weekend is $725 or $800 (depending on the type of room) and includes lodging, most meals, internet access, lectures and museum membership. Call 860-379-2230 for Writers' Weekend availability and reservations. Only five spots available.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Long Wharf Collects Household Goods for IRIS

Long Wharf Theatre is partnering with IRIS – Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services – to seek essential home supplies for refugee families arriving in the United States.

A collection drive will take place at the theatre, located at 222 Sargent Drive during the run of Agnes Under the Big Top through April 3 on Stage II. Agnes Under the Big Top, a new play by Aditi Brennan Kapil, tells the story of a group of contemporary immigrants trying to make a new and better life in an unnamed American city.

In order to help people arriving in the country set up their homes, IRIS needs microwaves, pots, pans, kitchenware, including dishes, glasses and utensils. In addition, gently used sheets and towels, alarm clocks, tool kits, flashlights, first aid kits, and personal toiletries would be helpful. “This year IRIS expects to set up at least 30 apartments for new Americans in the New Haven area,” said Chris George, executive director of IRIS.

For more information about Agnes Under the Big Top, go to or call 203-787-4282. For more information about IRIS, visit or call 203-562-2095.

Laugh with the Class Clown at Hartford Children's Theatre

Thomas Beebe. Photo Credit: Thomas Giroir
Lucas Cott is the most rambunctious pupil in Mrs. Hockaday's 4th-grade class. He flings pencils and cracks jokes when things seem a bit dull and he always forgets to raise his hand.
When Lucas suggests a circus theme for the end-of-the-year class play, he sees his chance to show Mrs. Hockaday that he can be a realringleader. Can he convince his teacher or will he always be the "classclown?"
Adapted for the stage from her celebrated 1987 Morrow JuniorBooks (now HarperCollins) book of the same name, Johanna Hurwitz's Class Clown presented by Hartford Children's Theatre is a warm and funny story about a boy who learns that there's a time and place for everything - even humor.
Performance dates and times are as follows:
March 11 at 7 pm; March 12 at 2 and 7 pm; March 13 at 2 pm; March 18 at 7 pm; March 19 at 2 amd 7 pm; March 20 at 2 pm.
Tickets are $18 for adults & $13 for seniors and students 17 and under and are available online at Call 860-249-7970 for more information.
A milk and cookie party to meet the author will follow the Friday,March 11 opening night performance. The festivities will include abrief "Page to Stage" Talk-Back, the opportunity to purchase a copy of the book that inspired the play and have it signed by the author while enjoying cookies and treats from popular Hartford and West Hartford bakeries.

Tony Yazbeck Heads 'My One & Only' Cast at Goodspeed

Broadway veteran Tony Yazbeck will play love-struck aviator Captain Billy Buck Chandler in Goodspeed Musicals My One And Only opening April 15.

The show features music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and book by Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer. Edythe Herbert will be played by Gabrielle Ruiz.

Other casting has been announced for the following roles: Prince Nicolai, Khris Lewin; Mickey, Kirsten Wyatt; Reverend J.D. Montgomery, Trent Armand Kendall; Mr. Magix, Alde Lewis, Jr.; The New Rhythm Boys, Victor J. Wisehart and Michael Ramey. Vasthy E. Mompoint of Broadway’s Mary Poppins, Hot Feet, and Good Vibrations will play New Rhythm Girl.

My One And Only will be directed by Ray Roderick who returns to Goodspeed where he directed 42nd Street, Singin’ in the Rain, and Double Trouble at The Norma Terris Theatre. Choreographer for this production will be Kelli Barclay who will return to Goodspeed after choreographing last year’s How to Succeed

My One And Only will run April 15 through June 25. Tickets are available through the Box Office (860-873-8668) or on-line at

And ask about these Special Events:

Girls’ Night Out: Friday, April 15, 7 pm.

Wine Tasting: Sunday, April 17 at 5 pm.

Kids Nights: April 20 and 21 at 7:30 pm; April 22 at 8 pm. Introduce your favorite young person to the magic of musical theatre. Each adult who buys a regular-priced ticket on the specified dates may purchase a $15 ticket for a child age 5 to 18. Meet the cast after the April 22 performance for autographs.

Meet the Cast: Take part in a lively discussion with the cast after the Thursday evening performances on May 12 and 26 and June 9. Meet the Cast events are free with a ticket to that evening’s performance.

Goodspeed Dining Cruise/Theatre Package: Enjoy springtime on the Connecticut River. Includes a leisurely cruise and sumptuous buffet aboard the Lady Katharine and ticket to the show.

Friday Dinner Theatre Package: Includes dinner at the Gelston House (located next door to the Opera House) and a ticket to the 8:00 pm performance. April 29 – June 24. Only $69!

Global Health & Arts at Long Wharf Looks at Understanding, Tackling Cancer

Medicine and the arts intersect in a day-long exploration of cancer, one of the world’s most challenging diseases, at Long Wharf Theatre’s 2011 Global Health and the Arts event, entitled Understanding and Tackling Cancer in the 21st Century, held on Friday, April 1.

This unique event begins at 9 am with opening remarks from Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein, David Scheer, president Of Scheer & Company and chair of the event, Dr. Thomas Lynch, Physician-in-Chief of the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and event co-chair, and Dr. Robert Alpern, the dean of the Yale Medical School. In addition, there will be keynote addresses by Sid Mukherjee, author of “Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” and Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Representatives from Pfizer, Novartis, Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, Nektar Therapeutics, Celgene Global Health, AstraZeneca, Covidien, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Yale University, Harvard University and Columbia University, will discuss subjects including cancer treatment, technology development, prevention and innovation. Long Wharf Theatre’s artistic department will also present brief scenes throughout the day from plays dealing with the subject of cancer.

Long Wharf Theatre’s third annual Global Health & the Arts initiative is built on the faith that scientists and artists have something to say to each other – that in our attempt to understand the world around us, and the working of our own bodies and minds, that we need both science and the arts. Global Health & the Arts integrates a symposium on an important health issue with a play involving that health issue. A distinguished group of thought leaders from the worlds of academia, science, industry, and the arts will explore issues and developments in the world of cancer research, treatment, along with the social impact of the disease.

Following dinner, the theatrical component of the day will be a performance of Agnes Under the Big Top, a new play by an up-and-coming, important voice in American theatre, Aditi Brennan Kapil. A lively post-performance panel will invite open discussion. Global Health & the Arts: Understanding and Tackling Cancer in the 21st Century will explore the history, science, treatments, emerging developments, and human impact of this complicated, many-faced disease.

Past events have been remarkable for the caliber of the participants, the poignancy and humanity of the play, and the sense of enlightened community that emerged throughout the day. Additionally, a sense of hopefulness permeates the event as we focus on diseases that were once considered fatal, intractable, and are now increasingly treatable and manageable. This year’s event will be no exception, as we explore the vast headway that has been made in our understanding and treatment of cancer in the 21st century.

For more information about the event visit or call 203-787-4282. Tickets are $150.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

HSO Announces Talcott Moutnain and Next Pops! Series

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra's 2011 Talcott Mountain Music Festival will take place on five consecutive Friday evenings from June 24 to July 22 at the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows located on Iron Horse Boulevard.

This will be the festival’s 16th season. Concerts atarts at 7:30 pm. The five concerts in the festival will include:

· A classical program to begin the summer, to be selected and conducted by Music Director-Designate, Carolyn Kuan, on June 24, followed by a fireworks presentation

· Celebrate America, the HSO’s annual Independence Day celebration will take place on July 1, also conducted by Maestra Kuan and followed by fireworks

· New Orleans-based swing band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, will join the HSO on July 8

· The orchestra will present a musical tribute to The Music of Michael Jackson on July 15

· The festival will finish with A Symphonic Surfin’ Safari featuring California beach band, Papa Doo Run Run, joining the HSO on July 22

The 2011-12 HSO POPS! Series will include six concerts to be presented between October 2011 and June 2012 on Saturdays in Mortensen Hall at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut. The 2011-12 season will mark the 68th year of the HSO performing at The Bushnell. The six concerts in the series will include:

Steppin’ Out Live with Ben Vereen, featuring the legendary stage and screen performer joining the HSO on Oct. 15 at 8pm

The annual Holiday POPS! Spectacular will feature a new festive program to be selected and conducted by Kuan, with 3 pm and 8 pm performances on Dec. 10.

Aerialist and acrobatic artists, Cirque de la Symphonie, will present a new show also to be conducted by Kuan on Feb. 18, 2012 at 8 pm.

A Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration will feature beloved Irish-American tenor, Robert White, with the HSO on March 17, 2012 at 8 pm.

The orchestra will perform The Music of John Williams on April 28, 2012 at 8 pm to commemorate the prolific composer’s 40 years of film music and in celebration of his 80th birthday

The series will conclude with Live and Let Die – A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney, featuring the HSO and guest artist Tony Kishman performing Beatles, Wings and solo hits on June 9, 2012 at 8 pm

High School Musical Awards Program Seeks Evaluators

The Spirit of Broadway Theater is seeking qualified evaluators for its 2011 CT High School Musical Theater Awards (CHSMTA) program which honors excellence in the production of high school musical theatre.

Positions are seasonal from March to June 2011 and evaluators are needed from all across the state of Connecticut.

This program sends a panel of three evaluators to review each of the 20 registered high school musical productions throughout the state. Evaluators submit nomination recommendations in 19 performance and production categories (i.e. Outstanding Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading Role, Outstanding Scenic Achievement, Outstanding Achievement by a Chorus, etc...). Nominations are announced in early May and followed by a Tony Awards style, black-tie gala on Monday, June 6 at The Palace Theater in Waterbury.

The corps of evaluators will be comprised of theatre educators as well as representatives from CT professional and community theatres, presenting halls and arts education organizations. All evaluators should hold a minimum of a BFA or BA degree in theatre, music, dance or a related area, and should ideally have experience in directing or mounting high school musicals. Interested persons without a degree, but with comparable work experience, may apply and will be considered on an individual basis.

An ideal candidate, according to a press release, would be an active or retired middle or high school musical theatre teacher/director whose school is not participating in the awards program as an entrant. Candidates other than teachers should have extensive work experience in one of the arts disciplines on a professional basis, and have a strong sense of objectivity. They must be able to effectively evaluate student performances and production values. All candidates must be outstanding writers with the ability to effectively communicate their impressions in a constructive manner. Also, a candidate must already be an avid theatre-goer and should possess a wide knowledge of the canon of American Musical Theatre.

All evaluators must be fluent in Microsoft Word and must have an email address to receive communications and submit performance reports as attachments. Only applicants with computer literacy and internet access will be considered. In addition, evaluators must attend an orientation and adjudication training workshop at 10 am Saturday, March 5 at The Spirit of Broadway Theater, Norwich. All candidates must be available and willing to commit to attending at least two high school musicals on the weekends during the course of the competition between March and the end of May 2011. Lastly, applicants should be available to attend the final evaluator meeting 10 am, Saturday, May 7 at Spirit of Broadway Theater.

CHSMTA Adjudicators will receive complimentary tickets to participating schools musicals. Tickets to the awards ceremony will be offered to adjudicators at the school rate of $10. per ticket. Limit 4 per adjudicator. Adjudicators will also be offered the opportunity to present an award.

Interested individuals should email Brett A. Bernardini, producer, at, or apply by mail to The Spirit of Broadway Theater, 24 Chestnut Street, Norwich, CT 06360 or fax to 860.859.2672.

Carolyn Kuan Leads HSO This Month

with Carolyn Kuan, music director-designate; Barbara Hill, French horn
Thursday, March 17 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 18 at 8 pm
Saturday, March 19 at 8 pm
Sunday, March 20 at 3 pm
Belding Theater, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts

Maestra Kuan will lead a pre-concert chat one hour before each performance.
Program: Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; John Adams: The Chairman Dances (Foxtrot for Orchestra); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4

Ticket Information: Tickets range in price from $30-$65. Student tickets are $10. Prices do not include applicable fees. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 860-244-2999 or visit

Concora Celebrates Rite of Spring Saturday

Concora, Connecticut’s premier professional choir, will invite music enthusiasts to a night of dancing, dinner, live jazz and more at The Rite of Swing II on Saturday, March 5, from 6:30 to 11 pm at The Farmington Club.

This stylish gala will feature dinner, wine & dessert provided by The Farmington Club. Attendees will be able to dance the night away to the sounds of jazz pianist Walter Gwardyak and the New England Jazz Ensemble with guest performer Rob Zappulla and bid on an enticing array of silent and live auction items. A surprise guest celebrity auctioneer and master of ceremonies will complete the evening’s festivities. All proceeds from this event will benefit Concora’s musical events and community outreach programs throughout Connecticut.

Tickets to Rite of Swing II range in price from $75-$250. Call 860-293-0567 for reservations and donation level information.

Nutmeg Summer Theater Offers 3 Musicals

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will offer three productions in the Nutmeg Summer Series between June 2 and July 17.

Two musicals defined by distinct American eras, Guys & Dolls and My Fair Lady, (with Broadway legend Terrence Mann performing as Professor Henry Higgins) are matched with Seussical, a musical based on the most famous books of Dr. Seuss. All three productions are available as a subscription. Single tickets will go on sale March 14.

Mann who originated the roles of Rum Tum Tugger in Cats, Javert in Les Miserables, and the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway, will lead My Fair Lady's cast which includes CRT favorite and UConn alumni Richard Ruiz as the irrepressibly funny Alfred Dolittle. Broadway star Charlotte D’Amboise, fresh from starring as Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway, will choreograph.

In Seussical, Steve Hayes will play Horton the elephant and Bradford Scobie will play the Cat in the Hat.


Evening performances start at 7:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and at 8 on Fridays and Saturdays. Matinee performances start at 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Subscription package options range from $30 to $90. Single ticket prices range from $10 to $39.

Call 860-486-4226 for tickets and additional information or visit for specific show dates and times.

The Irish & How They Got That way Returns to Ivoryton

What? The Irish…and How They Got That Way By Frank McCourt

Where? The Ivoryton Playhouse,103 Main St., Ivoryton

When? March 16 – April 3; Wednesday & Sunday matinees at 2pm; Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 7:30pm; Friday & Saturday evenings at 8pm

How? Tickets: 860-767-7318; $40 adults/ $35 seniors/ $20 students/$15 children

O'Neill Center Mourns Loss of Max Wilk

Max Wilk, author, playwright, film and television writer, and long time dramaturg for the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill THeater Center in Waterford passed away at the age of 90 on Feb,19 at his home in Westport. HIs work with the National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Center spanned nearly three decades.

While at the O’Neill, Wilk helped both emerging and established playwrights refine their plays, working with some of modern theater’s top luminaries including: Pulitzer Prize winners August Wilson and John Patrick Shanley; Lee Blessing; OyamO; James Yoshimura; Jeffrey Hatcher; Wendy McLeod; Doug Wright; Willy Holtzman; Judy GeBauer; Charles Shulman; Sam Hunter; Ursula Rani Sarma; and Lucy Caldwell.

Amy Saltz, a frequent director for the conference said, “Max loved the O'Neill and he loved show business. He was smart and sassy and blunt. He had great knowledge and experience, both of which he was anxious to share,” she continued “I was at the O'Neill for 17 summers and he was there every year and long after, helping writers, offering support, and demanding the best of everyone. He made an indelible impression and will be missed.”

Preston Whiteway, executive director, said “Max will remain a legend at the O’Neill always. His intelligence, wit, and friendship shaped the O’Neill and the National Playwrights Conference for decades, impacting hundreds of playwrights and the American theater itself. I will miss Max holding court on the porch, and his insights, which were invariably correct.”

Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg added, “Max's contribution to the National Playwrights Conference is immeasurable. He was a true fixture in our community. He lent his dramaturgical gifts to countless plays, supporting many of our country's finest playwrights with great intelligence and great humor. He will be profoundly missed.”

Wilk graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1941. He toured with Irving Berlin’s This is the Army and wrote training films in the First Motion Picture Unit AAF. After the war, Wilk continued his impressive career as playwright, scriptwriter, and television scriptwriter writing for all types of media. He was author of three Broadway shows, Small Wonder in 1948-49, Cloud 7 in 1958, and A Musical Jubilee in 1975-76. He also the author of Mr. Williams and Ms. Wood which he adapted for the stage from his book “Represented by Audrey Wood” which he co-wrote with Wood. Additionally, he authored the book for "The Yellow Submarine," which featured The Beatles, as well as "They're Playing Our Song: The Truth Behind the Words and Music of Three Generations," "OK! The Story Of Oklahoma!: A Celebration of America's Most Beloved Musical" and "The Golden Age of Television: Notes from the Survivors" among many others.

Wilk won Emmy and Peabody awards for his two-hour television show "The Fabulous Fifties." Overall, he was the author of 19 books, four films, three produced plays and countless television shows and magazine articles.

A memorial service to celebrate Wilk's life is being planned by the family in Westport for April and the O’Neill is planning a gathering during its 2011 summer season. More details will follow.

What's on Stage at Westport This Season?

Westport Country Playhouse’s 2011 season will include five productions:
  • Beyond Therapy, a wicked, and wickedly funny look at the days and nights of the young and single, written by Christopher Durang and directed by David Kennedy, April 26 – May 14;
  • The Circle, the scintillating comedy of manners, written by W. Somerset Maugham and directed by Nicholas Martin, June 7–25
  • Lips Together, Teeth Apart, a comedy about people struggling against their limitations, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Mark Lamos July 12-30
  • Suddenly Last Summer, the poetic, sensual and evocative drama written by Tennessee Williams and directed by David Kennedy, Aug. 23–Sept. 10
  • Twelfth Night, or What You Will, the beguiling comedy/romance by William Shakespeare and directed by Lamos, Oct. 11- 29.

For more information or ticket purchases, call the box office at 203-227-4177. toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets may be purchased online at

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