Sunday, April 29, 2012

High School Seniors Can Apply for Performing Arts Scholarship

Connecticut high school seniors still can apply to audition for a scholarship through the Elizabeth Anne Carlson Performing Arts Foundation.

Deadline is May. 1. The auditions will be held May 19. For more information, visit or contact or 860-841-5894.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

$18 Million Endowment Will Make Yale Home for New Plays

Marc Damon Johnson and de'Adre Aziza in a scene from Good Goods, one of the new plays developed this season at Yale.
© Joan Marcus, 2012
Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre have received a transformational $18 million gift from the Robina Foundation that will permanently endow the creation of new plays and musicals for the American stage through the Binger Center for New Theatre.

“Since their founding, Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre have championed the development of playwrights and the production of new plays,” saidYale University President Richard C. Levin. “Yale serves as both classroom and laboratory for the theatre arts, launching new contributions from the University to the wider world. This extraordinarily generous gift from the Robina Foundation ensures that the School of Drama and Yale Rep will bring exciting innovation to the production of new theatre for generations to come.”

Established with a grant from the Robina Foundation in 2008, and supported by additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and individual donors, the Yale Center for New Theatre is an artist-driven initiative that devotes major resources to the commissioning, development, and production of new plays and musicals at Yale Rep and across the country. Among the Center’s programs, a key component is its Production Enhancement Fund, which provides financial support for productions at other theatres of works commissioned by and/or first produced at Yale Rep. The Center also facilitates residencies of playwrights and composers at Yale School of Drama.

“Over the past four years, under the inspired leadership of James Bundy, Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre have demonstrated tremendous thoughtfulness, innovation, and passion in developing a successful and viable model for the creation of new works for the American stage,” said Peter Karoff on behalf of the Robina Foundation. “The Robina Foundation gift to endow the Binger Center for New Theatre honors our donor’s great love of theatre. This gift is fundamentally an investment in creativity, and in the exciting and important role that theatre plays in the human experience. We hope our gift will inspire other donors to be bold, to be transformative, and to invest deeply in all of the arts at organizations and institutions across the country.”

This $18 million gift combines $3 million in operating funds with a $15 million gift for endowment. It follows a grant of $2.85 million from the Robina Foundation, which established the Yale Center for New Theatre in 2008, and an additional $950,000 gift made in 2010 to support the Center’s activities through June 30, 2012—bringing the Robina Foundation’s total giving to the Center to $21,800,000.

Effective today, the Yale Center for New Theatre has been renamed the Binger Center for New Theatre in honor of James H. Binger (1916-2004), the noted businessman, theatre impresario, and  philanthropist who created the Robina Foundation.

 “We are profoundly grateful to the Robina Foundation," Bundy said. "They have helped us to establish this program, assess its intrinsic ongoing value, envision its long-term impact on the American theatre, and now, to support the Center’s aims in perpetuity. We believe that these significant investments in artists themselves, in combination with robust production opportunities and the fostering of an artistic community, can and will promote vibrant new American plays and musicals for generations to come. It is an honor, in this effort, to commemorate the joyful generosity of James Binger—a great man of the theatre.”

“The early success of the center stems from our flexible capacity to tailor each process to meet the needs of our commissioned artists, putting resources directly in their hands," added Jennifer Kiger, associate artistic director of Yale Rep and director of New Play Programs. “The denter responds to the critical challenges of the field, providing meaningful compensation for writers—including both time to work and reasonable financial incentive to make live theatre—and significant production opportunities for ambitious new work that takes risks, including musicals and plays with larger casts.”


After graduating from Yale College, James Binger, Class of 1938, attended the University of Minnesota Law School, and joined Minneapolis’s Honeywell, Inc., in 1943, where he led the company through its remarkable expansion into the defense, aerospace, and computer industries in the various executive leadership roles he held from 1961 through 1978. Mr. Binger joined the board of directors of The McKnight Foundation, founded by his father-in-law William L. McKnight and run by his wife Virginia, in 1974. There, he was instrumental in extending the Foundation’s grantmaking into brain research, the arts, and international initiatives.

In 1976, James and Virginia Binger took over William L. McKnight’s struggling theatre enterprise, which they named Jujamcyn Theatres, after their three children: Judy, James, and Cynthia. The company grew to include five Broadway houses, presenting hits such as Angels in America and The Producers.  Mr. Binger also served as a director of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, a member of the executive committee of the League of American Theatres, and as a board member of the Guthrie Theater.

Mr. Binger established the Robina Foundation shortly before his death in 2004. The Foundation, based in Minnesota, seeks to positively impact critical social issues by encouraging innovation and financially supporting transformative projects of its four institutional partners chosen by the founder. The partners are Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN; The Council on Foreign Relations, New York, NY; University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN; and Yale University, New Haven, CT.


To date, the Binger Center for New Theatre has supported the work of more than thirty Yale Rep commissioned artists as well as the world premieres and subsequent productions of twelve new American plays and musicals—including this season’sBelleville by Amy Herzog, Good Goods by Christina Anderson, and The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno, and next season’s Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi, Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl, and Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff’s new adaptation ofIn a Year with 13 Moons by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, adapted by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff, was the first commissioned play supported by the Center to receive its world premiere at Yale Rep. In 2010,Notes had its West Coast premiere at La Jolla Playhouse and its New York premiere at Theatre for a New Audience, in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The Center has also supported the world premiere co-production of Rinne Groff’sCompulsion at Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, and The Public Theater; the world premiere of the Yale-commissionedOn the Levee by Marcus Gardley, Todd Almond, and Lear deBessonet at Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3; and the 2009 world premiere of Maggie-Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs’s musicalPOP! at Yale Rep and its City Theatre production this spring in Pittsburgh.
The complete list of Yale Rep commissioned artists includes David Adjmi, Todd Almond, Christina Anderson, Hilary Bell, Adam Bock, Bill Camp, Lear deBessonet, Will Eno, Marcus Gardley, Matt Gould, Kirsten Greenidge, Danai Gurira, Ann Marie Healy, Amy Herzog, Naomi Iizuka, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Carson Kreitzer, Dan LeFranc, Elizabeth Meriwether, Scott Murphy, Julie Marie Myatt, David LeFort Nugent, Lina Patel, Jay Reiss, Sarah Ruhl, Octavio Solis, Rebecca Taichman, Lucy Thurber, Alice Tuan, Paula Vogel, Kathryn Walat, Anne Washburn, Marisa Wegrzyn, and Robert Woodruff.

Beginning in the 2012-13 season, the programs of the Binger Center for New Theatre will include the Yale Institute for Music Theatre (Mark Brokaw, Artistic Director). Originally established in 2009 by Yale School of Drama and Yale School of Music, the Institute bridges the gap between training and the professional world for emerging composers, playwrights, lyricists, and librettists by providing them with an annual, intensive two-week lab at Yale to develop their original music theatre works.

The selections for the inaugural Yale Institute for Music Theatre were the book musicalssam i was with book, music, and lyrics by Sam Wessels and POP! with book and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Anna K. Jacobs and the operaInvisible Cities with score and libretto by Christopher Cerrone. The Institute’s other projects have includedThe Daughters with music and libretto by Shaina Taub, and Stuck Elevator with music by Byron Au Yong and libretto by Aaron Jafferis, in 2010, andMaren of Vardø with music by Jeff Myers and libretto by Royce Vavrek, Pregnancy Pactwith music by Julia Meinwald and book and lyrics by Gordon Leary, and The Profit of Creation with music by Tim Rosser and book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne, in 2011. The 2012 selections areMighty Five’s Infinite Funk Odyssey with music and lyrics by Zach Abramson and Derek Muro and book by Phil Aulie and Xaq Webb andMortality Play with music by Scotty Arnold and book and lyrics by Alana Jacoby.


In a Year with 13 Moons
By Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Adapted by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff
Directed by Robert Woodruff
Featuring Bill Camp
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, April 26-May 18, 2013

Dear Elizabeth
By Sarah Ruhl
A play in letters
from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell
and back again
Directed by Les Waters
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, November 30-December 22, 2012

Marie Antoinette
By David Adjmi
Directed by Rebecca Taichman
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere Co-Production: American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, MA), September 2012; Yale Repertory Theatre, October 26-November 17, 2012

By Kathryn Walat
Directed by Michael Michetti
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: The Theatre @ Boston Court (Pasadena, CA), October 13-November 11, 2012

The Realistic Joneses
By Will Eno
Directed by Sam Gold
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, April 20-May 12, 2012

Good Goods
By Christina Anderson
Directed by Tina Landau
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, February 3-25, 2012

Crowded Fire Theater (San Francisco, CA), May 31-June 23, 2012

By Amy Herzog
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, October 21-November 12, 2011

New York Theatre Workshop (New York, NY), February-March 2013
Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, IL), June 27-August 25, 2013

Bossa Nova
By Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Evan Yionoulis
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, November 26-December 18, 2010

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Book and Lyrics by Adam Bock & Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Based on the novel by Shirley Jackson
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, September 17-October 9, 2010

On the Levee
A Play with Music
Conceived and Directed by Lear deBessonet
Play by Marcus Gardley
Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre

World Premiere: LCT3 (Lincoln Center Theater, New York, NY), June 14-July 10, 2010

By Rinne Groff
Directed by Oskar Eustis
World Premiere Co-Production: Yale Repertory Theatre, January 29-February 28, 2010; Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Berkeley, CA), September 13-October 31, 2010; The Public Theater (New York, NY), February 1-March 13, 2011

Book and Lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman
Music by Anna K. Jacobs
Directed by Mark Brokaw
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, November 27-December 19, 2009

Studio Theatre (Washington, DC), July 13-August 7, 2011
City Theatre (Pittsburgh, PA), May 5-27, 2012

Notes from Underground
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
Adapted by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff
Based on a translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Directed by Robert Woodruff
Featuring Bill Camp
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, March 20-April 11, 2009

La Jolla Playhouse (La Jolla, CA), September 17-October 17, 2010
Theatre for a New Audience, in association with Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York, NY), November 7-28, 2010

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CT Arts Connection Wins First Place Award

Lauren Yarger with Alfred Uhry at last week's
Writers' Weekend at the Mark Twain
House in Hartford.
Enter to Win Peter & the Starcatcher Tickets!

Lauren Yarger has received a first-place award for editing for the web from the CT Press Club for The Connecticut Arts Connecetion.

She also won second place award for her feature of Connecticut playwright Matthew Lombardo (High, Looped, Tea at Five) and another first-place award for her web theater reviews of Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark and A Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo for her new York Theater site Reflections in the Light.
The awards will be presented at a dinner honoring Charley Monagan, author and Editor-in-Chief of Connecticut Magazine with the 11th Mark Twain Award on May 8 in Norwalk.
Reflections in the Light is celebrating with a ticket give-away to Broadway's Peter and the Starcatcher. To enter for a chance to win a voucher for two seats to the hit play about how Peter Pan came to be the boy who wouldn't grow up, send an email with your name and address and FAX number to  with the word STARCATCHER in the subject line by midnight April 30, 2012.  Tells us which reviews you have enjoyed this season. All entries will be placed in a drawing (one entree per email address, please).
Winners will be announced on May 1. A voucher for two tickets to a performance of Peter and the Starcatcher (starring "Smash's" Christian Borle, pictured below) at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City will be sent to the winner (two date selections can be requested and one will be confirmed by the theater. Tickets will be available for performances through June 1).
Kevin Del Aguila and Christian Borle (c)O&M Co

Westport Partners with Triangle Community Center for LGBT Night Out Series

Westport Country Playhouse will present “LGBT Night OUT,” for members of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender communities and allies, beginning on Thursday, May 3, and continuing on selected Thursdays throughout the 2012 season.
The evening will feature a pre-show cocktail party at 6:30 p.m., complete with appetizers, festive drinks, music and door prizes, followed by a performance at 8 p.m. of the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical, “Into the Woods,” the multiple Tony Award-winning musical that takes the audience to a beguiling place inspired by the Grimm fairy tales. The production is directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, and co-produced with Baltimore’s CENTERSTAGE.
“We’re thrilled to again be partnering with Triangle Community Center of Norwalk on the ‘LGBT Night OUT’ series after our inaugural series in 2011,” said David B. Byrd, Playhouse director of marketing. “We enjoy seeing both familiar faces and those new to the Playhouse in a welcoming environment for one and all.”
Appetizers for “LGBT Night OUT” will be provided by David’s Soundview Catering of Stamford, a premiere gourmet catering company serving Connecticut and New York since 1988. A selection of complimentary adult beverages will be available in addition to other offerings. Jay Stollman Entertainment will offer music during the cocktail party. Door prizes will be given away, including an “LGBT Night OUT” series subscription to Westport Country Playhouse.
Triangle Community Center, series partner, has been providing services for over 20 years that help strengthen the LGBT community’s sense of identity, pride and visibility. In addition, TCC works with the greater Fairfield County community to foster understanding and awareness of LGBT issues.
The Playhouse is joining with various community partners for each “LGBT Night OUT” this season. The May 3 event will feature community centers, including New Haven Pride Center, in addition to TCC. Each community partner will host an information table.
Upcoming LGBT Nights OUT are scheduled for June 14, in conjunction with a performance of “The Year of Magical Thinking,” based on the National Book Award Winner by Joan Didion, directed by Nicholas Martin and featuring Maureen Anderman; July 19 for Molière’s “Tartuffe,” a funny and wise farce, translated by Richard Wilbur, directed by David Kennedy; August 30 for the world premiere of “Harbor,” a comedy about a dysfunctional, loving family, by Chad Beguelin, directed by Mark Lamos; and October 11 for “A Raisin in the Sun,” the timeless classic about a black family in 1950s Southside Chicago and their quest for a piece of the American Dream, by Lorraine Hansberry, directed by Phylicia Rashad.
A preview video of Westport Country Playhouse’s “Into the Woods” is at: Twitter followers can join the conversation about “Into the Woods” by using hashtag #CSWCPWOODS. The production runs May 1 – 26.
Subscriptions are available for the 5-play LGBT Night OUT series at $150 each. Single tickets for LGBT Nights OUT are $35 each.
“Into the Woods” Corporate Partners are BNY Mellon and Northwest Mutual-Bender Financial Group; Production Sponsors are Barbara and John Samuelson and Helen Lee Henderson; Production Partners are Sandra and Neil DeFeo.
For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online 24/7 at Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), view Playhouse videos on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse) or get an insider’s peek on The Playhouse Blog (

Kids Can Shake it Up with Shakespeare This Summer at Long Wharf

Long Wharf Theatre announces auditions for its upcoming Shake-it-Up Shakespeare Summer Youth production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The play will be directed by Long Wharf Theatre’s Director of Education Annie DiMartino, with
musical direction by Carol Taubl. Performances will take place on August 23-26 on Stage II.
William Shakespeare’s classic tale of love and magic gets a fun new twist in this production for young performers. Lovers jump and jive their way through the magic of Shakespeare’s language while incorporating classic songs from the 1950s. Fairies slither and crawl their way through their animal kingdom while singing contemporary rock music. See what occurs when the two worlds collide, causing chaos and hilarious moments of mischief and misguided love.
The general auditions for Non-Equity performers age 15 to 21 will take place the week of June 18th - 22ndfrom noon to 4pm at Long Wharf Theatre. Invited call backs will take place on Saturday, June 23rd from 10am to 4pm, with actors performing physical work, learning music and cold reading scenes and monologues.
Auditions for the Ensemble will be held at Long Wharf Theatre, located at 222 Sargent Drive. Actors are asked to bring a headshot, resume, and prepare a memorized Shakespeare monologue no more than 90 seconds and 30 seconds of either a 1950s or contemporary rock song. Some suggested musical artists to explore are Florence and the Machine, Muse, Owl City, The Jamies, Roy Orbison, or Herman’s Hermits.
Performers with musical theatre experience and some classical training are encouraged to audition. If performers are proficient in a musical instrument (guitar, bass, piano, violin, cello) they should bring the instrument to the audition.
Rehearsals for the show will begin on July 9thand will take place on Mondays through Fridays from 1 to 4 pm.
Long Wharf Theatre is also starting a Shake-it-Up Apprentice Program for younger performers seeking additional musical and classical training.
Students will have the opportunity to spend August taking music, dance and acting classes in the morning while rehearsing A Midsummer Nights Dream in the afternoon. Apprentices will be cast in smaller roles in Midsummer, and will have the opportunity to showcase their talent through a special separate performance of songs and scenes.
Interested apprentices ages 11-16 are required to audition with potential ensemble members (same days and times). Apprentice auditions need not memorize a Shakespeare monologue, but can come with another text, such as a poem, a contemporary monologue, or a short story from a book. Apprentices must also sing at their auditions.
If accepted into the apprentice program, classes will begin July 30th and will take place Mondays through Fridays from 10am-12pm with show rehearsals immediately following at 1. Cost for the morning class sessions is $900 with the classes ending on August 17th. The week of August 20 -26th both ensemble and apprentice groups are required to attend technical and dress rehearsals leading to opening from 12-5pm.
To reserve an audition time, call 203-787-4282.

7th Annual Carlotta New Play Festival Set at Yale

Yale School of Drama has announced its seventh annual Carlotta Festival of New Plays, May 4 to 12 at the Iseman Theater (1156 Chapel Street, New Haven). The Festival is comprised of three fully-produced plays by graduating playwrights performed in repertory with 12 performances over nine days. 

The Festival will include a Professionals Weekend, May 11-12, specifically tailored to theatre industry professionals.  The Professionals Weekend package includes tickets to all three Carlotta Festival shows; a Friday afternoon happy hour; and Saturday morning breakfast and panel discussion featuring the Carlotta playwrights, Paula Vogel, and Dan LeFranc (author of the plays Sixty Miles to Silver Lake and The Big Meal) moderated by Amy Boratko, Yale Repertory Theatre literary manager. 

The panel discussion on Saturday is also open to the public.
Fox Play
By Jake Jeppson
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

Set design by Kristen Robinson
Costume design by Jennifer Salim
Lighting design by Solomon Weisbard
Sound design by Matt Otto
Projections Designer Michael F Bergmann
Dramaturgy by Whitney Dibo
Stage Management by Geoff Boronda

Cast: Mamoudou Athie, Jabari Brisport, Winston Duke, Michelle McGregor, Elia Monte-Brown, Mariko Nakasone, Paul Pryce, Sophie von Haselberg, Carly Zien

"The real myth is the myth of order."—James Prosek
Meet Franklin, a Sears shoe salesman committed to a life of solitude in the wake of his wife's death. Meet Sean, a brokenhearted fool and aspiring YouTube sensation. Franklin and Sean see no reason to engage with, well, anyone—that is, until inexplicable forces guide them to the haunted woods of Washington, DC, and reveal a world teeming with wonder. Told as a modern myth, Fox Play examines the cost of holding on to the past and the terror of moving forward.
Jake Jeppson is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama. His plays includeMiss Heimlich, Cover Me in Humanness, It’s Not Easy Being,and The Clearing, which is currently running at Axial Theater in Pleasantville, New York. Upcoming projects include a commission from the Eudora Welty Foundation to adapt Welty’s work for the stage and a project with designers at MIT that mixes quantum mechanics and the roots of tragedy. Jake has taught playwriting at Wesleyan University, the National Theater Institute, and the Orchard Project, where he also created and ran the nationally-sourced apprentice program Core Company. He is an Associate Artist at both eXchange and Door Ten. Jake’s non-fiction writing has appeared in the Washington Post Sunday Magazine and on He earned his BA from Middlebury College and studied at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

Petty Harbour
By Martyna Majok
Directed by Tea Alagić
Set design by Portia Elmer
Costume design by Maria Hooper
Lighting design by Masha Tsimring
Sound design by Keri A. Klick
Projections Designer Michael F Bergmann
Dramaturgy by Jessica Rizzo
Stage Management by Kirstin Hodges
Cast: Josiah Bania, Chris Bannow, Prema Cruz, Ceci Fernandez, Merlin Huff, Gabriel Levey, Dan O’Brien
"Why's all ye li'l flies got to prove ye've some meanin to the world by breakin a part of it?"
On the rocky shores of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, a house stands against a storm. Outside, the boats cling to their anchors and the sea churns, waiting. One by one, three banished sons return home and discover their fisherman father has turned the house that they grew up in into a church. Soon the roads will be flooded and the men will be sealed in as the wars, stories, sermons, songs, and drinking party begin. The King Lear of Petty Harbour, it seems, is not quite done with his throne.
Martyna Majokis a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama. She was born in Bytom, Poland, and aged in North Jersey and Chicago. Her play,Mouse in a Jar, has been produced at Red Tape Theatre in Chicago and The LIDA Project in Denver.the friendship of her thighs appeared at The Tank in NYC, in Russia (in Russian) at the Playwright and Director Center of Moscow, and at The Kennedy Center. She has been awarded the Merage Fellowship for the American Dream, The Olga and Paul Menn Award in Playwriting, the Jane Chambers Student Feminist Playwriting Prize, and a Ragdale residency. Her short play,After Hours Stan, has been produced in Boston and Chicago and published by Smith & Kraus. Martyna studied at The University of Chicago and has taught playwriting at Wesleyan, Yale, and The New Haven Co-Op High School. Martyna is working on her first musical and developing a play, reWilding, (seen this spring at Yale Cabaret) in Seattle with The Satori Group.
The Bachelors
By Caroline V. McGraw
Directed by Alexandru Mihail
Set design by Edward T. Morris
Costume design by Martin T. Schnellinger
Lighting design by Solomon Weisbard
Sound design by Junghoon Pi
Dramaturgy by Sarah Krasnow
Stage Management by Maria Cantin
Cast: Jack Moran, Mickey Theis, Mitchell Winter

"I love it when girls don't move. They don't know how good they look."
Inside a house, a house in a series on fraternity row, a house in which DVDs serve as coasters and drool stains the sofa, live three roommates far past their college days. A thousand girlfriends come and gone, a thousand parties attended, a thousand drinks downed—every night the same, until now. Tonight is pledge night on fraternity row, but it is not the blaring music that makes sleep impossible. Tonight, these bachelors will understand what their relationships have really gotten them.
Caroline V. Mcgraw is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama. Her plays includeThe Vaults, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, Debut Track One Chord One Verse One (or, The Shed), Thriftcrawl, Lovely Assistant, The King Is Dead, andTrade. Her writing has been produced and developed around the country, including at the Cherry Lane Theatre by Young Playwrights Inc., the Abingdon by Highwire Theatre, Yale Cabaret, New York Theatre Experiment, American University’s New Works Series, Cleveland Play House Next Stage Festival, F*It Club/Interborough Rep, WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory, AracaWorks, Theatre 4, and Washington Ensemble Theatre/One Coast Collaboration. She is the winner of the AracaWorks Graduate Playwriting Award forThe Vaults. She has been a Visiting Instructor in Theater at Wesleyan University. Caroline is a native of Cleveland, Ohio.
University Theatre, 222 York Street
Featuring playwrights Jake Jeppson, Martyna Majok, Caroline V. McGraw, Paula Vogel, andDan LeFranc (author of Sixty Miles to Silver Lake andThe Big Meal) and moderated by Amy Boratko, Yale Repertory Theatre Literary Manager.
Ticket and performance information:, 203-432-1234, 1120 Chapel Street (at York Street). 

The Professionals Weekend package is $50. For reservations and information about Professionals Weekend, visit the Professionals Weekend website,
or contact Kay Perdue Meadows at or 203-432-6647.

Hartford Groups Present a Discussion with Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler
The Mark Twain House & Museum, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and the World Affairs Council of Connecticut join together to present  A Discussion with Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and international activist in the effort to halt violence against women.

The event, held in conjunction with Hartford Public Library's "One Book, One Hartford" initiative, will take place at &;30 pm Sunday, May 6 at Cheney Hall in Manchester.
Ensler is best known for her landmark theater piece, The Vagina Monologues, but has become a feminist icon and an international activist working to stop violence against women in locations as far-flung as Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Congo, the Middle East and Asia. Her V-Day organization is now a global entity stopping violence against women while empowering "vagina warriors" to take control of their bodies, their lives and their communities.
A Discussion with Eve Ensler comes hot on the heels of the release of her new book, "I Am an Emotional Creature," which chronicles the inner lives of teenage girls -- and is the Hartford Public Library's "One Book, One Hartford" selection for 2012.

Ensler's work on stage and in the trenches has affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of women. She is the recipient of the 2011 Isabelle Stevenson special Tony Award recognizing her achievements and humanitarian efforts.
At the Cheney Hall event, Ensler will take part in a conversation with Katherine Kane, executive director of the Stowe Center, whose popular Salons and other events have frequently dealt with women's issues. A booksigning will follow the discussion.

Tickets are $45, or $40 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and the World Affairs Council of Connecticut as well as subscriber/members the Little Theatre of Manchester.  A special $75 ticket includes VIP seating and 6 pm reception with Ensler in the Silk Room at Cheney Hall. For tickets, call 860-647-9824 or go to

Wesleyan Theater Presents Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights

Wesleyan University’s Theater Department presents Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights,  Thursday, April 26 through Saturday, April 28 at 8 pm in the CFA Theater, 271 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown.

Tickets $8 for the general public; $5 for senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, and non-Wesleyan students; and $4 forWesleyan students and are available at, 860-685-3355, or at 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability.

Daniel Davis Prosperos at Hartford Stage

Daniel Davis
Tony Award nominee Daniel Davis, best known for his recent NYC roles in Classic Stage’s The Cherry Orchard, Lincoln Center’s The Invention of Love, and the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles, as well as six seasons as Niles the butler on TV’s “The Nanny, will make his Hartford Stage debut as Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest, playing May 10-June 10.

The play is the first selected by Hartford Stage's new Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak, who will direct.

One stormrages on the sea. Another storm rages inside of a man. Will Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, exact his revenge or forgive his foes? Shakespeare’s last play is a meditation on family, love, mercy,and—ultimately—the theatre itself.  The production is a journey filled with song, dance, masks and puppetry.

The Tempest cast features Noble Shropshire (Gonzalo), Bruce Turk (Trinculo), William Patrick Riley (Ferdinand),David Barlow (Sebastian), Michael Spencer- Davis (Stephano), Shirine Babb (Ariel), Sara Topham (Miranda), Joshua Dean  (Sailor/Spirit), Jonathan Lincoln Fried (Antonio), Christopher Randolph (KingAlonso), Ben Cole (Caliban), Alex Saffer  (Francisco/Boatswain), MarkFord (Sailor/Lord) , Jane Cracovaner  (Spirit/Goddess),  JillianGreenberg (Spirit/Goddess),and  Annastasia Duffany (Spirit/Goddess). 

The creative team includes Alexander Dodge, scenic design; Fabio Toblini, costume design; Michael Chybowski, lighting design; David Budries and Nathan A. Roberts, sound design and original music; Joshua Dean, aerial consultant.

Tickets: 860-527-5151 or

HSO Pops Performs Music of John Williams

Hartford Symphony Orchestra with Oscar Bustillo, guest conductor
Saturday, April 28 │ 8 pm
Mortensen Hall │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Program: Excerpts from John Williams’ film soundtracks, including Jaws, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Star Wars, Superman, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Schindler’s List, E.T., and Raiders of the Lost Ark plus fan favorites including Olympic Fanfare and Theme.

Tickets range in price from $20-$67.50. Student and children tickets are $10. $25 tickets are available for patrons age 40 and under.  To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact HSO ticket services at (860) 244-2999 or visit

Palace Paints Waterbury Blue

Photo courtesy of the Palace.
The Palace Theater is set to paint the town blue when the national tour of the uniquely colorful performance troupe Blue Man Group comes to Waterbury for three performances, May 22-24, at 7:30 pm.

Tickets for the show are $49 - $69 and can be purchased at 203-346-2000,, or in person at 100 East Main Street, Waterbury.  Groups of 15 or more qualify for discounted rates and should call the Group Sales hotline at 203-346-2011.

The group's first theatrical production to tour North America features classic Blue Man moments, as well as brand new content that will center on a proscenium-sized LED curtain and a high-resolution screen that creates an entirely new visual experience. They are best known for multi-media performances that feature three bald and blue characters who take the audience on a journey that is funny, intelligent and visually captivating.  Blue Man Group is accompanied by a live band.

Coming Up at the Quick Center

Fairfield University Orchestra in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of the Quick Center.
The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut, under the leadership of Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell, pays tribute to all soldiers, veterans, and their families in a special performance, "And the Bugles Sang . . ."   8 pm Saturday, April 28 at Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

In addition to the concert, there will be an art exhibition featuring a sampling of works by military veterans from various art therapy programs at VA Connecticut Healthcare on view in the lobby of the Quick Center. Tickets are $35. All active military and veterans receive a 25 percent discount.

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: 203-254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at

“Classical Meets Pops” at 7:30 pm Friday, April 27 at Fairfield University’s Gonzaga Auditorium. Music from a classic Broadway musical and even the soundtrack from an enormously popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) are on the evening’s diverse program. The Fairfield University Orchestra is made up of Fairfield University students, alumnae, and members of the community. Conducting is Jamie Ratcliffe, who leads the orchestra, and who received her MM in conducting from the University of Oregon where she participated in the prestigious Bach Festival. Admission is free.

The 8th annual Cinefest Fairfield takes place at 6 pm Saturday, May 5. It is an annual showcase for short films and videos produced by Fairfield University students in the New Media: Film, Television & Radio Program. Admission is free.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quick Hit Theater Review: I Left My Heart -- Music Theatre of CT

Christopher DeRosa, Johnny Orenberg and Jordan Wolfe. Photo: by Regina Madwed/Capitol Photo Interactive
I Left My Heart . . .: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett
Conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson
Directed by Kevin Connors
Musical Direction by Max Haymer
Music Theatre of Connecticut, Westport

More than 30 tunes made famous by Tony Bennett are combined with short stories about the singer by three performers (Christopher DeRosa, Johnny Orenberg and Jordan Wolfe) accompanied on stage by musicians Max Haymer, piano; Chris Johnson, drums; Dan Asher and Richa Zurkowsky, alternating bass in a brisk one-hour-10-minute revue.

A mostly grey-haired matinee audience the day I attended thoroughly enjoyed, smiling, bopping heads, tapping feet and singing along with classics like "Fly Me to the Moon," Night and Day," "That Old Black Magic," and of course, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
DeRosa has a nice singing voice and brings a stylish, confident smoothness to his solos. All three do a nice job of presenting Bennett's songs without trying to imitate him.
Scenic and technical designer Scott Holdredge gets kudos for creating a really terrific sound mix which allows us to hear all three voices harmonizing, all of the instruments and doesn't blow us out of our seats in the very tiny space.

The real star here, though, is the talented Haymer, skillfully tickling the ivories. He's great, whether providing accompaniment in the background or getting a chance to show off his jazz skills.

Though the voice blend nicely, Orenberg and Wolfe are weak on solos.

I Left My Heart runs through May 6 at MTC's studio theater, 246 Post Road East, Westport. Performances are Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 pm and 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets: $25-$45.
$5 off for seniors/students (subject to availability). Reservations suggested. Call 203-454-3883.
This show concludes the theater's 25th anniversary season. Just announced for next season: Next to Normal, Ancestral Voices and The Cole Porter Project. For information, visit

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Reporting from the Writers' Weekend at the Mark Twain House

Here are highlights of some of the events this weekend April 20-21, 2012:
Keynote with Lewis Lapham
Editor emeritus of Harper’s and editor of Lapham’s Quarterly
== His essays in Harper's were speculation on the current market and ideas. As editor he tried to hear the voice of each writer and to help him or her find what it was they were struggling to say. The subject, or political point of view of the piece weren't his first concern. Articles came out of a conversation between him and the writer. He didn't want to tell writers what to write and didn't want articles that were a result of a formula.
-- Good writers are willing to take advice.Good editors will take the time to give it. Good writers are grateful to receive it. Vanity won't hear criticism.
-- On the future of publishing:
Magazines will get smaller in circulation and more expensive in price. Those which survive will be the ones that find an audience. That audience doesn't has to be large to support the magazine.
Publishing now is set up on a corporate model geared toward making money, not publishing the best works. Smaller, independent imprints will survive.  The independent bookstore will flourish as the number of chain bookstores declines. The trend will be toward writers going directly to the audience through self publishing.
-- On writing advice:
The person who wants to be a writer will be a writer in spite of any advice. A writer can't be deterred. It's an adventure.
-- There is power in the written or spoken word. In the beginning was the word -- it is where everything begins.
Kickoff Speech 'The Craft' by John Cinch, author of 'Finn and Kings of the Earth'
What people don't (or won't) tell you:
-- Write because you must. You know you are a writer if you keep writing. It is easy to get discouraged. It is helpful to have someone who believes in you.
-- Decide what your goal is; keep improving. Don't be afraid to throw things away.
-- Write about what matters to you -- what you know and care about.
-- Read. Support other writers and bookstores. Read to expand your brain and to expand your respect for other people.
--Find a voice. It is how you want to sound. It can change.
-- Ignore advice you don't understand fully; ignore simplistic advice; take all advice with a grain of salt; get advice from lots of different people.
 -- Pay attention to pacing. With today's short attention spans, get to the point quickly.
-- Create vivid scenes for readers by immersing yourself in them.
-- Write toward an appropriate length.
Lary Bloom
Can Writing Be Taught?
Panel moderated by MTH's Steve Courtney featuring Lary Bloom, Susan Campbell, Carmen English, Susan Levine, Barbara Wysocki
-- Generally agreed that the desire to be a writer is innate, but the craft can be taught.
Susan Levine

-- Take classes, read the work of others. Learn about how people communicate and tell their stories.
-- Everything that happens to you today is a story you are trying to tell. Find ways to get people to listen to the story.

-- Write the most uninteresting, boring paragraph you can, or the most unpromising beginning to a story you can imagine. In the process, you will learn a lot about writing.
Playwrights Panel
Featuring Pulitzer-Prize Winners Alfred Uhry, A. R. Gurney and Donald Margulies. Moderated by Howard Sherman.
Alfred Uhry
On the process of their writing:

Gurney: Has the habit of writing by 9:30 every day. Takes the weekends off. Finds that much like a runner, he misses it if he goes a day without writing.
Margulies: Once felt he had to start the day looking at a blank page, but he stayed at home when his wife went back to work after their son was born and though there was a nanny, he soon found his schedule organized around his child. He labels his drafts "Bad First Draft," then can be surprised if they turn out to be any good.
Uhry: The process is slow for him. He can't control writing. He has no idea where his work comes from. The characters have to start talking to him.

On how they know whether what they are writing is good:
Margulies: He doesn't show anything unfinished to his wife. One "huh" can throw him behind for weeks. He organizes a reading so he can hear the characters voices and to hear them interact.
Uhry: Is shy about showing his work before it is finished.

Gurney: Every play has its own trajectory. Playwriting is a highly collaborative business -- he often is thinking of who might play a role while writing it.
Donald Margulies (at a CT Press Club event)
On who or what influenced their desire to be a writer:
Gurney: Always wanted to write. He remembers handing pages to his first-grade teacher.
Margulies: Has a visual art degree, but the first play he saw of his produced in college was life-changing. he wrote for Stiller and Meara for a while.

Uhry: His mom loved theater. In the theater, in the dark, just before the curtain goes up, he still gets excited.
Who are some newer, promising playwrights they like?
A.R. Gurney
Margulies: Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation); Amy Herzog (4,000 Years); Stephen Karam (The Sons of the Prophet).
Gurney: Leslye Headland (Assistance), Will Eno (The Realistic Jonses -- opening this week at Yale Rep); Adam Rapp (The Hallway Trilogy)
Uhry: Daniel Goldfarb (The Retributionists)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Trouble Begins with Twain and Native Americans

"The Trouble  Begins at 5:30," our popular series of free, after-work lectures on Twainian subjects, starts its spring season on Wednesday, May 2, with a lecture on Mark Twain's attitudes toward Native Americans presented by Dr. Kerry Driscoll of St. Joseph College, a Twain scholar who is nationally known for her expertise in the subject.
And what she's discovered in developing this expertise is not simple -- in fact, in a museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of a great writer who championed tolerance, a close look at his attitudes toward Native Americans can be downright uncomfortable.
"Twain holds iconic status in our culture," Dr. Driscoll has said. "He is often thought of as a racial progressive, but his own fiction, journalistic essays, and personal correspondence reveal the complex, and at times, racist attitudes he had regarding Native Americans."

Her presentation fits squarely into the themes of this spring and summer's "Race, Rage and Redemption" exhibits on the theme of racism, its history in America and the troubling visual images it has spawned. These include "A Sound Heart & a Deformed Conscience," on the evolution of Twain's racial attitudes, and "Hateful Things," an exhibit of racist imagery -- intended to generate conversation on race -- that has prompted strong emotional responses from its viewers. 

The spring and fall "Trouble Begins" lectures take their name from Twain's own posters for his lectures,  that read "The Trouble Begins at Eight." The early-evening timing is set to allow those working to attend, yet not keep them at it too late.

The event is free, with no reservations necessary. It begins with hot hors d'oeuvres and wine and coffee at 5 pm with the Trouble beginning at 5:30.

Driscoll is chair of the English Department at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, and the former executive coordinator of the Mark Twain Circle of America.  She is a frequent lecturer and workshop leader at The Mark Twain House & Museum, and is a featured contributor to many publications on Mark Twain, including Cosmopolitan Twain, published by the University of Missouri Press (2008).  She is presently writing a book titled "Mark Twain Among the Indians."

The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 9:30  am to 5:30 pm and Sunday, noon to 5:30 pm. (Closed Tuesdays through March.) For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit

Theatre Fairfield Offers Tennessee Williams Classic

For the final production of its 2011-2012 season, Theatre Fairfield, the resident production company of Fairfield University, presents one of the most iconic plays in the history of American theatre, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.

April 25-29, 2012
Wein Black Box Experimental Theatre
Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

For information, call the Quick Center Box Office at: (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

Sacred Heart Performs Spring Awakening

Sacred Heart University’s Theatre Arts Program (TAP) presents the musical Spring Awakening, winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Spring Awakening is scheduled for four performances tonight through April 22 on stage of the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Sacred Heart University, located at 5151 Park Avenue in Fairfield.

Connecticut student cast members include Jacqui Delgado (Stratford, CT), Erin Dugan (East Granby, CT), Danny Garel (New Fairfield, CT), Trevor Kelly (Wallingford, CT), Sarah Loso (Shelton, CT), Taylor Magnotti (Wallingford, CT), Ryan Menge (Bridgeport, CT) and Lindsay Shea (Portland, CT).

Spring Awakening is directed by Jerry Goehring, Executive Director, Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts, and choreographed by Simone DePaolo with musical direction by Leo P. Carusone.

Tickets: 203.371.7908; box office located in the lobby of the Edgerton Center (Open Mondays through Fridays from noon to 4 pm); Online at The box office also will be open two hours prior to each performance

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alliance of Black School Educators Forum Responds to Mark Twain House & Museum Exhibit, 'Hateful Things'

A sign of America's past -- and present? 'Hateful Things,' an exhibit of racist objects highlighting a terrible national failing is on display at the Mark Twain House.
'A Response to Negative Racial Propaganda' Features Panel of Noted Scholars on Issues Raised by Racist Imagery on Display
In conjunction with the current "Hateful Things" exhibition at The Mark Twain House & Museum -- a tough and disturbing look at racist imagery and its role in American history -- the Greater New England Alliance of Black School Educators is presenting an important forum of scholars responding to the exhibit on Saturday, April 28, from noon to 2 pm.

Titled "A Forum on The Response to Negative Racial Propaganda," the discussion will be held in the museum's Lincoln Financial Services Auditorium. It is presented by the Alliance in collaboration with The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. 

Partticipants include:
--Moderator: Olivia White, Executive Director of The Amistad Center for Art and Culture at The Wadsworth Athenaeum
-- Jeffrey Ogbar, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History, the University of Connecticut
-- Darlene Powell Garlington, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist and author
-- Shayla Nunnally, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science, the University of Connecticut
-- Wilmer Leon, Ph.D., political scientist and host of the Sirius XM Radio Program, Inside the Issues

A response will be provided by Craig Hotchkiss, Education Manager, The Mark Twain House & Museum, and Sonya Green, Program Coordinator, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

The event is free, but please call 860-280-3130 for reservations.

"Hateful Things" is part of "Race, Rage and Redemption," a series of exhibits and events at the museum intended to provoke discussion of the issues of race. It accompanies "A Sound Heart & a Deformed Conscience," an exploration of Mark Twain's views on race.

An additional exhibit in the museum's Great Hall, created by GNEABSE,  presents the positive side of the African American experience. This exhibit, "Hopeful Things," will be supplemented by artwork and essays done by Hartford English-Language Learner (ELL) high school students as positive personal responses to the negativity of the imagery in "Hateful Things." Savings bonds worth a total of $1,750 will be given to the top three winners of a juried contest.

"Hateful Things" and the related exhibits are open to the public during regular museum hours. Admission is free with a Mark Twain House tour, or may be viewed with a special museum-only admission of $5. A roster of related events -- films, lectures, discussions -- can be seen at

For more information contact Hotchkiss at 860-280-3146 or

Amistad Center Inspires Sunday Serenade

Concertmaster Leonid Sigal
with Leonid Sigal, artistic director and violin; Kate Mangiameli, soprano; Eric Dahlin, cello; Margreet Francis, piano
Sunday, April 22, 2012 │ 2:00 p.m.
Morgan Great Hall │Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Program: Maurice Ravel: Violin Sonata, Chansons madecasses (Madagascan Songs); Leonard Bernstein: “A Simple Song” from Mass and Dream with Me; Lukas Foss: Three American Songs; John Carter: Cantata of Spirituals for Voice and Piano; Henry Thacker Burleigh: Southland Sketches for Violin and Piano; Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Deep River
Ticket Information: Tickets are $30 ($25 for HSO Subscribers and Atheneum Members). Ticket price includes general admission to the Wadsworth Atheneum on the days of the concerts. To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact HSO ticket services at (860) 244-2999 or visit

Blue Man Group, John Tesh, Concerts Highlight May Calendar at Palace

The Blue Man Group. Photo courtesy of the Palace.
The Palace Theater in Waterbury has a May lineup that includes The Blue Man Group, John Tesh and concerts. A full listing of the month's events follows.

9:30 and 11:30 am
A whimsical blend of Science, puppets and laugh-out-loud audience participation, Mr. Molecule turns real science into real fun!  Best for grades 1-4.  Sponsored by Big Y World Class Market.
Tickets: $10

Premier Concerts with Manic Productions Present AN EVENING WITH CAKEWednesday, May 9
8 pm
Formed in the early 90s as an antagonistic answer to grunge, alternative rock band CAKE celebrate their 20th anniversary with the same defiant self-reliance and ever-inventive music that has made them a nation-state unto themselves.
Tickets: $52.50, $42.50, $37.50

7:30 pm
John Tesh and his Big Band Orchestra swing into town for a multi-media concert event featuring songs from the Great American Songbook, including “In the Mood,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Beyond the Sea,” and more.  Sponsored by Bank ofAmerica.
Tickets:$65, $45, $35

4 pm
An “Oscars-like” event, celebrating the yearlong work of middle and high school students, who were engaged in a variety of innovative, cutting-edge film programs in Connecticut.  This event is free and open to the public.

7 pm
By topically mocking everything from new wave to gangsta rap, popular song parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic has scored hit after hit including "Smells Like Nirvana," "Amish Paradise,” and more.
Tickets: $55, $45, $35, $25

CT Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and CT Lyric Opera present OTELLOSaturday, May 19
8 pm
In Verdi’s re-telling of Shakespeare’s play, the warrior Otello returns home from battle to find the treacherous Iago spinning a web of deceit and lies.  Presented with English supertitles, this fully staged co-production features an international cast of singers and a full orchestra.
Tickets: $65, $45, $20

7:30 pm
BLUE MAN GROUP is best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine comedy, music, and technology to produce a totally unique form of entertainment. Experience the Phenomenon. Sponsored by Webster Bank, WTNH/MyTV9, Power Station Events, Crystal Rock, CL&P, Yankee Gas, and Adam Broderick Salon and Spa.
Tickets: $69, $59, $49

Wednesday, May 30- 11:30a.m.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of E.L. Konigsburg’s Newbery Medal-winning classic, ArtsPower has created an enchanting new drama that follows Claudia Kincaid and her brother Jamie up the stone steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and right into the middle of an adventure. Best for grades 3-6.Sponsored by Big Y World Class Market.

Thursday, May 31
5:30 pm
Main Street Waterbury honors Jospeh A. Geary, chief of staff, office of the mayor, city of Waterbury by presenting him with the third annual Stephen R. Sasala, II Community Partnership Award.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hartford Stage -Commissioned 'Water By The Spoonful' Wins Pulitzer for Drama

Water By The Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, commissioned by Hartford Stage and the first play to  make it from the Aetna New Voices Fellowship to a fully staged production at the theater, has been awarded the 2012 Pulitzer prize for Drama.

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Other Desert Cities, by Jon Robin Baitz, about an affluent California couple whose daughter has written a memoir that threatens to reveal family secrets about her dead brother; and "Sons of the Prophet," by Stephen Karam, about a Lebanese-American family that blends comedy and tragedy in its examination of how suffering capriciously rains down on some and not others.   

Water by the Spoonful, by the author of In the Heights, also was named a finalist this year for the American Theater Critics Association for The American Theatre Critics Association's Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2011.

For a review of the play click here. For a list of all the Pulitzer winners for 2012, visit

O'Neill Theater Center Honors Michael Douglas Tonight

The White House at the O'Neill in Waterford.
The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center will honor long-time Trustee Michael Douglas' contributions to the American Theater at a star-studded event tonight in New York City.

The 12th Annual Monte Cristo Award will be presented to Douglas by his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. Red carpet begins at 6:30pm at the Edison Ballroom on West  47th Street, followed by a cocktail reception, dinner, and program.

Directed by Marc Bruni, the program will feature stage acts, videotributes, musical adaptations, and remarks by close friends and colleagues,paying homage to one of America’s most iconic film stars.   Program guests include Joel Schumacher,Lorne Michaels, performances by Colin Donnell, Laura Osnes, John Tartaglia andColman Domingo, and messages from Barbara Walters and Brian Williams.  O’Neill Executive Director Preston Whitewayand Chairman Tom Viertel will also take part in the evening.
Douglas, who credits the O’Neill with his acting start as a teenager inthe 1960s, has been a Trustee since 1980.

 “My time at the O’Neill is one ofthe greatest influences on my life and career”, says the film star. “Foran artist, it is a place unique in the world.”
The Monte Cristo Award is given to a prominent theater artist inrecognition of a  distinguished careerexemplifying Eugene O’Neill’s “pioneering spirit, unceasing artisticcommitment, and excellence.”  Pastrecipients of the Award include James Earl Jones, Harold Prince, Kevin Spacey,Wendy Wasserstein, and Douglas mentor, Karl Malden.
“It is a rare moment when theO’Neill can honor an individual with such far reaching impact on ourinstitution”, remarks Executive Director Preston Whiteway. “Michael Douglas defines the ethos of the Monte Cristo Award – pioneering, artisticexcellence, and a commitment to theater. His connection to the O’Neill and to founder George White is profound,and helped to make the O’Neill what it is today.  I look forward to a fabulous evening.”

For more information about the 12th Annual Monte CristoAward or the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, visit

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Teen Coming-of-Age Rock Story Spring Awakening Plays CT Rep

 Marisa Desa as Wendla (left), Will Graziano as Melchior (center) and Michael John Improta.  Photo by Gerry Goodstein.
Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present the Tony-Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, April 12 -28 in the Harriet S. Jorgensen, Storrs.
Spring Awakening was the first play penned by Frank Wedekind whose work generated considerable scandal and jail time for the writer. It is re-imagined by rockers Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater.

The story  follows a group of teenagers overwhelmed with hormones, feelings of desire and shame, and a total lack of understanding of sex, love and what it means to grow up. All of the young adults are floundering and at risk due to the puritanical rules forced on them by overbearing adult figures. Some of the teens are able to push through while others simply self-destruct. None of them escape without scars but all experience lessons about coming of age and life.
Director Vincent J. Cardinal said, “Like the original 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, this intoxicating coming of age rock musical intends to drop kick traditional conventions of theatre while telling the stories of a group of teens who are taking their first thrilling, terrifying, hopeful steps on the human journey.”

Spring Awakening won eight Tony awards including best musical and best score, as well as four drama desk awards including Outstanding Musical and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. 

For tickets and information, call 860-486-4226 or visit

John Tesh Swings Over to the Palace

Photo courtesy of the Palace.
Grammy nominated and four-time Emmy Award-winning musician John Tesh and his big band are “swinging” over to the Palace Theater inWaterbury for the multi-media concert eventJohn Tesh: Big Band Live! on Thursday, May 10, at 7:30p.m. Tickets for the event, presented by the Republican-American and sponsored by Bank of America, are $65, $45 and $35 and can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at, or in person at the Box Office,100 East Main Street inWaterbury, CT.  Groups of 15 or more qualify for discounted rates and should call the Group Sales hotline at 203-346-2011.
Sharing the stage with 14 performers, including a full blown ensemble and horn section, Tesh will sing classic favorites from the Great American Songbook including, “In the Mood,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Beyond the Sea,” and “The Way You Look Tonight.” An all around showman, Tesh will treat audiences with his engaging rapport, piano solos and a variety of original hits performed in the big band style.

Tesh’s 25-year career includes six hit public television specials, a string of #1 radio hits, and an award-winning syndicated radio show “Intelligence For Your Life,” which airs on more than 350 stations across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Tesh is also well known for his ten-year run as an anchor onEntertainment Tonight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fiddler Tour Opens Tonight at The Bushnell

The cast of Fiddler. Photo courtesy of The Bushnell.
“Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky a fiddler on the roof,” announces Tevye, a humble milkman from the Russian village of Anatevka. And so begins a tale of love and laughter, devotion and defiance . . . and changing traditions.

Fiddler on the Roof, the Tony Award-winning musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein,  begins its run in Hartford tonight at he Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and audiences will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Jerome Robbins’ original Broadway direction and choreography, starring veteran actor John Preece.   

Preece has performed in Fiddler more than 3,400 times, half of them in the role of Tevye. This is his 10th national tour of the show. 
Tevye’s wrestling with the new customs of a younger generation in turn-of-the-centuriy Tsarist Russia is punctuated by an unforgettable score that weaves the haunting strains of “Sunrise, Sunset” and the rousing “If I Were a Rich Man” with the exuberant “Matchmaker, Matchmaker”and triumphant “Tradition.” When his daughters choose suitors who defy his idea of a proper match, Tevye comes to realize, through a series of incidents that are at once comic and bittersweet, that his children will begin traditions of their own.

The production runs through Sunday in Mortensen Hall at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Tickets are $17 to $77 and can be purchased by calling 860-987-5900 or online at

Casting Announced For Goodspeed's Amazing Grace

Goodspeed Musicals has announced casting for the new musical Amazing Grace running May 17- June 10 at The Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT, Goodspeed’s home for developing new works.

From the theater:
Storms. Slavery. Romance. Redemption. Prepare to be swept away by this epic musical saga about John Newton, a rebellious slave trader, and the woman who never lost faith in him. While fighting the raging seas and his own despair, Newton’s life is suddenly transformed - igniting a quest to end the scourge of slavery. Based on a true story of the man who penned the world’s most recognizable song, it’s a powerful musical you will never forget.

Amazing Grace features music and lyrics by Christopher Smith and book by Arthur Giron and Christopher Smith.

Goodspeed Musicals, the first two-time Tony Award winning theatre in the country, is delighted to announce that the cast of Amazing Grace will be led by Chris Peluso who will play John Newton. Peluso appeared in Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, Lestat, and Assassins.Whitney Bashor will play Mary Catlett. Laiona Michelle will play Nanna/Ayotunde. Mike Evarsite will play Thomas/Keita. Captain Newton will be played by Dennis Parlato of Broadway’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Sound of Music, Chess, and A Chorus Line as well as Mrs. McThing at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre.

Major Gray will be played by Chris Hoch of Broadway’s La Cage aux Folles; Shrek The Musical;Spamalot; Dracula, the Musical; and Beauty and the Beast. Hoch also appeared in Goodspeed’s Caraboo, Princess of Javasu at The Norma Terris.

Harriet D. Foy will play The Princess. Ms. Foy appeared in Broadway’s The American Plan, Mamma Mia! and Once on This Island as well as in Goodspeed’s Good Sports at The Norma Terris Theatre.

The ensemble includes Jonathan Burke, Merideth Kaye Clark, Rheaume Crenshaw, Andrew Crowe, Tyrone Davis Jr., Rachael Ferrera,Liam Forde, Logan Rose Nelms, Adbur Rahim Jackson, Olivia Bowman Jackson, Allen Kendall, Alex Krasser, Kate Marilley, Danny Rothman, Gavriel Savit, Victoria Thornsbury, Paul Michael Valley, Charles E. Wallace, Toni Elizabeth White and Noah Zachary.

Amazing Grace will be directed by Gabriel Barre. Choreography will be by Benoit-Swan Pouffer.
The set will be designed by Beowulf Boritt, costumes will be designed by Toni-Leslie James.

Amazing Grace will run May 17 through June 10, 2012. Curtain times are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 pm., Thursday at 7:30 p.m.*, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm and Sunday at 2 and 6:30 pm (*Thurs. 8 pm only on May 17th).

Tickets: 860-873-8668;

Friday, April 6, 2012

Quick Hit Theater Review: Red – TheaterWorks

Jonathan Epstein and Thomas Leverton. Photo by Lanny Nagler
By John Logan
Directed by Tazewell Thompson

Cynical, angry artist Mark Rothko (Jonathan Epstein) hires a young idealistic assistant, Ken (Thomas Leverton) to work with him on his newest commission:  a series of four murals to hang in the newly constructed Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan. A smart dialogue about painting and about American society unfolds with the teacher-student relationship transitioning. Ken’s hopes that Rothko might be a friend, or even a mentor to replace the father he discovered murdered at a young age are dashed with every stroke of paint, however. The master’s vision for companionship extends only to the relationship between the paintings. The end result is always the same for him: tragedy. Rothko is struggling with the futility of life and with putting his brilliance on the walls of a commercial enterprise where its full meaning of the color red might or might not be comprehended by the capitalists dining beneath it.  

Epstein gives a nice portrait of the angry abstract impressionist. The dialogue is sharp and Rothko has us thinking not only about his complex character, but about the color red. We’ll never look at the color the same way again – it’s as complex in meaning, shade and infinite possibility as Rothko is. Set Designer Donald Eastman nicely creates the artist’s world: a two-leveled, dark, brick-walled studio that shuts out the world Rothko is trying to avoid. Large canvas paintings dominate the set nicely lighted by Stephen Quandt.

There isn’t any chemistry between the actors, so the portrait fails to glow with the full colors it might radiate if the elements blended together more. The famous scene from the 2010 Tony Award winning play, for example, where the two men feverishly paint a campus together, should look like a ballet as the men work with and around each other to create a pulsating red. Here, the men just appear to be quickly painting the canvas while Leverton (whose very clean-cut looks seem hard to buy for a young wannabe artist) bops up and down. The transition of Ken’s character into a sort of mentor for Rothko also isn’t fully realized as Tazewell allows stronger actor Epstein to dominate. 

Jazz music (J. Hagenbuckle, sound design) used between scene changes often is too abrupt, taking us out of the mood of the play, rather than enhancing it. 

Other information:
Connecticut premiere.

Red runs at TheaterWorks Hartford, 233 Pearl St. through May 6. For tickets and information: 860-527-7838 or

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