Thursday, September 27, 2012

October Happenings Set at The Kate

 October Events are scheduled at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main St. Old Saybrook. For tickets and more information, visit or call 877-503-1286.
Event: Salt Marsh Opera- Rigoletto
Date: Friday, October 5 through Sunday, October 7
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $65 / $60 / $50
Event: 2ndAnnual Dinner and a Show
Date: Saturday, October 6
Time: 8:00 p.m,
Price: $250 / $350 / $500
Event: National Theater- The Last of the Haussmans
Date: Thursday, October 11
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $20
Event: Anne Heaton
Date: Friday, October 12
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Price: $22
Event: Jimmy Webb
Date: Saturday, October 13
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Price: $40 / $45
Event: L’Ellisir D’Amore
Date: Saturday, October 13
Time: 12:55 p.m.
Price: $28
Event: Zoe Keating
Date: Sunday, October 14
Time: 3:00
Price: $25
Event: 92 St Y: Tom Friedman
Date: Tuesday, October 16
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $10
Event: L’Elisir D’Amore Encore
Date: Tuesday, October 16
Time: 12:55 pm
Price: $25
Event: Fred Won’t Move Out- Movie with Elliot Gould
Date: Thursday, October 18
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $8
Event: Kate Classic: State of the Union
Date: Friday, October 19
Time: 2:00, 4:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Price: $8
Event: Mystic Ballet’s GRAB- Genuine Resurrection of the Artistic Bond
Date: Saturday, October 20
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Price: $40 / $45
Event: Patty’s Green
Date: Sunday, October 21
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Price: $10
Event: Suzy Bogguss
Date: Friday, October 26
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Price: $40 / $35
Event: Small Town Concert Series- Americana
Date: Saturday, October 27
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Price: $25
Event: Otello
Date: Saturday, October 27
Time: 12:55 pm
Price: $28
Event: The Velveteen Rabbit
Date: Sunday, October 28
Time: 1:00 pm
Price: $10 child / $15 adult
Event: Jennifer Warnes
Date: Sunday, October 28
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Price: $55 / $50

HSO Pays Tribute to Jazz Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard

Brian Lynch. Photo courtesy of HSO.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra 2012-2013 Jazz and Strings Series will begin with a tribute to legendary trumpeter Freddie Hubbard at First Light: A Tribute to Freddie Hubbard on Friday, November 2, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at the Theater of the Performing Arts at the Learning Corridor in Hartford.

Featuring Grammy award winning trumpeter Brian Lynch on Hubbard’s solo lines, other performers for this concert will include Jazz and Strings Artistic Director and HSO principal timpanist Gene Bozzi, HSO bassist Rick Rozie, frequent HSO arranger and pianist Walter Gwardyak, members of the HSO string section, and dance majors from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

Freddie Hubbard was one of the greatest hard-bop trumpeters of his era and was perhaps one of the greatest trumpeters ever to play in the jazz idiom (and arguably the most influential). He launched into mainstream popularity with his release of one of the first soul-jazz crossover albums “First Light.” The HSO will recreate some of Don Sebesky's masterful arrangements for classical and jazz instruments, such as “Lonely Town” and “First Light,” as well as some of Hubbard’s hard bop classics, including "Arietis" and "Bolivia." To highlight the unique rhythmic elements of Hubbard’s style, the HSO and Lynch will be joined by more than a dozen dance majors from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts on “First Light” and “Sky Dive.”

A respected insider and emergent legend within both the hardcore straight ahead and Latin Jazz communities, Grammy Award© Winner Brian Lynch is as comfortable negotiating the complexities of clave with Afro-Caribbean pioneer Eddie Palmieri as he is swinging through advanced harmony with bebop maestro Phil Woods. He has been a valued collaborator with jazz artists such as Benny Golson, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Charles McPherson; Latin music icons as diverse as Hector LaVoe and Lila Downs; and pop luminaries such as Prince. His talents have been recognized by Downbeat Critics (#3 Trumpet, 2011) and Readers Polls; highly rated reviews for his work in Downbeat, Jazziz and Jazz Times; 2005 and 2007 Grammy award nominations, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and Meet The Composer.

Info and tickets:(860) 244-2999 or visit

More Connecticut Arts Connections You Won't Want to Miss

Mary Wilson

The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart University opens its Retro Concert Series with Mary Wilson of The Supremes – Live in Concert! on stage on Friday, Oct. 5 at 8 pm. Tickets ($40 - General Public; $25 – Students/Faculty/Staff/Senior Citizens) may be purchased at 203-371-7908 (Mondays through Fridays from noon to 4 pm; at the lobby of the Edgerton Center two hours prior to each performance or online at
The deadline for submissions will be October 1 for Hartford Stage's Annual Young Playwrights' Competition, Write On, for students in grades 9-12. Students are asked to submit an idea inspired by a topic that is important to them and relevant in their world. Entries include characters, setting, and as much of the story as possible. Students can submit their idea at For the selected playwrights, Hartford Stage's Education Department will help with the rest. There will be 5-6 students chosen to participate in the program and winners will be notified during the week of Oct. 8. Winning playwrights sit in on rehearsals for Hartford Stage's Brand: New Festival, participate in writing workshops lead by Hartford Stage's Aetna New Voices Fellow, and see their own plays performed for the public by professional actors and directors. Professional playwrights who have worked with the writers in the Write On program include Marcus Gardley, Will Power, Hana Sharif, Quiara Hudes, Michael Elyanow, Daniel Beaty and Luis Alfaro. This year, the writers in the Write On program will work with Aetna New Voices Fellow, Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man).
Live Radio Drama: “Criminals and Evil Deeds” 8 pm Friday, Sept. 28, 2012; 3 and 8 pm Saturday, Sept. 29. Wien Experimental Theatre, Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
Tickets: $25. (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396).
Westport Country Playhouse will present an education and community engagement initiative, “What Happens to a Dream Deferred: Lorraine Hansberry and A Raisin in the Sun", in conjunction with the Playhouse’s production of Hansberry’s landmark drama, directed by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad. Scheduled now through Nov. 3, the initiative will offer speakers, panel discussions, talkbacks, film screenings, art exhibits, and more, to explore the playwright and her creation – the historical context, contemporary relevance, and lasting influence. The enrichment programs are designed to deepen the audience’s experience of the play. 203-227-4177, 888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Tickets are available online at
Casting has been announced for The Great American Mousical, to be directed by Julie Andrews in a developmental run Nov. 8 - Dec. 2 at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre in Chester. The diva Adelaide will be played by Emily Skinner; Harold will be played by Paul Carlin. Larry Cahnwill play Emil; Toby will be the Box Office (860.873.8668), open seven days a week, or on-line at by Laura Jordan; Pippin will be played by Noah E. Galvin and Curly will be played by Christian Delcroix . Alessa Neeck will play Wendy. Rose will be played by Allie Schauer, Sky will be played by Jeremiah James, Hysterium will be played by Caesar Samayoa and David Beach will play Henry.
Legendary ESPN sportscaster Bob Ley will be the celebrity host and auctioneer for Swing for the Arts, a spectacular evening of dining and dancing to benefit the Farmington Valley Arts Center (FVAC) Friday, Oct. 19 from 7 to 11 pm.  Swing for the Arts is the FVAC's largest fundraising event of the year, and with Ley emceeing the festivities, the non-profit is hoping to hit it out of the park at a critical time in its history. The Avon-based arts organization, established nearly 40 years ago to bring about greater public awareness of practicing, professional artists and to further quality arts education, will use proceeds to hire an Executive Director to guide the organization as it looks toward the future.
Arts supporters will spend a memorable Friday night feasting on creative fare at historic Belle Terrace at Avon Old Farms and dancing as the Street Vipers play the hot hits of the '60s through today. This (almost) all-attorney, nine-piece rock band appears at just a handful of charitable events each year. Tickets, which are $100 per person, include an expansive dinner and four-hour open bar, dancing and a chance to bid on fabulous auction items. Reservations must be made by calling 860-678-1867. Each ticket includes a $48 tax-deductible charitable donation to the FVAC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides arts-related programs and opportunities for thousands in the region each year. Belle Terrace at Avon Old Farms is located at One Nod Road in Avon, Connecticut. For information about the event and sponsorship opportunities, visit or call 860-678-1867.

Casting Set for Hartford Stage Production Featuring Baryshnikov

Hartford stage has announced casting for the world premiere stage adaptation of Anton Chekhov's Man in a Case, featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov Feb. 21-March 24.

The cast of Man in a Case will include Baryshnikov, who appeared on Broadway in Metamorphosis (Tony Award-nomination and a Drama Critics Award). Off-Broadway credits include In Paris (Ely and Edyth Broad Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center Festival and 2011-12 International Tour), Beckett Shorts (New York Theatre Workshop) and Forbidden Christmas or The Doctor and the Patient (Lincoln Center Festival). He has appeared in the films White Nights, The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez, Company Business and The Turning Point (Oscar nomination, Best Supporting Actor). Awards include: Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award and rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honor. He is the Artistic Director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York.

The cast also will also include Jess Barbagallo, Tymberly Canale, Chris Giarmo and Aaron Mattocks. Jess Barbagallo has performed withBig Dance Theater, Theater of a Two-Headed Calf and The Builders Association, and credits include Fiabe Italiane (John Turturro), An Oresteia (Paul Lazar/Brian Kulick) and MilkMilkLemonade (John Conkel/The Management). 

Tymberly Canale has been a collaborator and performer with Big Dance Theater since 1995 and recently portrayed Euripedes' Queen Alkestis in Big Dance Theater's Supernatural Wife. Chris Giarmo is an artist and designer who has performed with Big Dance Theater since 2005 and recently performed in and composed choral music for Big Dance Theater's Supernatural Wife. Aaron Mattocks is an associate artist with Big Dance Theater, a puppeteer with Phantom Limb Company and has been a member of OtherShore since 2009.

For tickets call Hartford Stage at 860.527.5151 or visit

Playhouse Gala

Nathan Lane was a surprise guest at a gala honoring Terrence McNally. In the background: Mary-Mitchell Campbell, music director. Tyne Daly and Richard Thomas hosted the event which benefits Westport Country Playhouse and its work on stage, with schools, and throughout the community

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Long Wharf's Asher Lev Will Play Off-Broadway

From the Long Wharf production: Ari Brand, Melissa Miller and Mark Nelson. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Based on the best-selling novel by Chaim Potok (The Chosen), My Name is Asher Lev, the new play by Aaron Posner, which was presented last season at Long Wharf Theatre, will begin New York Off-Broadway performances at the Westside Theatre (407 W. 43rdSt.) Nov. 8 with opening night set for Nov, 28.
Set in post-war Brooklyn, My Name is Asher Lev tells the powerful story of a boy prodigy who must paint at any cost -- against the will of family, community and tradition. It is a luminous portrait of a young artist with a universal theme to follow our passion. Read the review of the Long Wharf production here.

Ari Brand, who played Asher Lev in the Long Wharf production, will recreate the title role Off-Broadway. Additional cast members will be announced shortly.

Led by Director Gordon Edelstein (Long Wharf Theater Artistic Director, The Road to Mecca, Glass Menagerie), the distinguished creative team includes set design by Eugene Lee (Wicked, Ragtime); lighting design by James F. Ingalls (Glengarry Glen Ross); costume design by Ilona Somogyi (Clybourne Park)and original music/sound design by John Gromada (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, The Columnist). Darren Bagert is lead producer.

My Name is Asher Lev is the newest play to transfer to the New York stage from the Long Wharf Theatre. More than 30 Long Wharf productions have moved to Broadway and Off-Broadway, including: Wit (Pulitzer Prize), The Shadow Box (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play), Hughie, American Buffalo, The Gin Game (Pulitzer Prize), and Streamers.

Tickets for the 18-week limited engagement of My Name is Asher Lev at the Westside Theatre are on sale at or by calling 212.239.6200. Specially priced tickets will be offered for all performances for as low as $36. 

For more information visit:

Morrissey, Morissette and More on Tap at the Palace

The Palace Theater in Waterbury is gearing up for October events.

Tickets can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online at or in person at the Box Office at 100 East Main Street. Groups of 15 or more may qualify for discounted rates and should call the Group Sales hotline at 203-346-2011.
Premier Concerts presentsAN EVENING WITH MORRISSEY
Saturday, October 6 – 8pm
Acclaimed English singer and lyricist Morrissey performs greatest hits from his legendary catalog, as well as new unreleased songs.
Tickets: $62/ $52/ $42
Alanis Morissette
Premier Concerts presentsAlanis MorisSette: GUARDIAN ANGEL TOURFriday, October 19 – 7:30pm
Boasting over 20 years in the music industry, seven-time Grammy winner Alanis Morissette performs songs from her newest albumHavoc and Bright Lights, as well as her catalog of hits.
Tickets:$102.50/ $57.50/ $47.50
Woodbury Ballet presentsDRACULA
Friday, October 20 – 8pmA ballet based on Bram Stokers’ chilling story of good, evil, romance, seduction and sacrifice featuring a deliciously dangerous musical score that will have audiences biting for more.
PRoFESSOR gizmo’s fun & science show(Best for grades K-6)
Wednesday, October 24 – 9:30 am & 11:30 am
Using bright, colorful, and larger-than-life props, Professor Gizmo presents a series of whimsical and imaginative funny science demonstrations that keep children and adults engaged and rolling with laughter.
Friday, October 26 – 7pm
Masters of magic theatre, Kevin and Cindy Spencer perform an extensive repertoire of magical mysteries featuring spectacle, drama, and danger. Prepare to be mystified!Sponsored by Naugatuck Savings Bank and Special Olympic Connecticut.Tickets: $50/ $25

Berloni Hounds Broadway Bound

For a particular casting search for the upcoming Broadway engagement of A Christmas Story, The Musical, producers have called off the hounds …literally. The production has announced that Pete and Lily, two bloodhounds rescued and trained by Connecticut animal trainer William Berloni, will make their Broadway debuts as the rambunctious Bumpus Hounds, who infamously set out to torment Ralphie’s Old Man and disrupt Christmas dinner.

The new musical, based on the 1983 movie perennial, will play a Nov. 5 – Dec. 30 holiday engagement at the Lunt-Fontaine Theatre in New York. Opening night is Monday, Nov. 19. Tickets are now on sale at www.AChristmasStoryTheMuscial.comor

“Offstage, Pete and Lily are a sweet, well-mannered pair of bloodhounds,” says Berloni. “The two (who have a clear bond indicating that they may even be siblings) were discovered in Canada at Ontario Bloodhound Rescue. I have since transported the pair to my farm in Connecticut where training has begun. In October, they will move to Manhattan, where an apartment has been secured for them so they can explore NYC before starting rehearsals with the cast.”

For a feature on Berloni, click here.

News from the Mark Twain House

Novel Workshop, Special Guests and More Planned in October

Susan Schoenberger
Novelist Susan Schoenberger's afternoon workshop last spring on finding that 'big idea' for your novel, and making it marketable, filled up quickly -- so quickly that we had to schedule a second session, which filled up just as quickly.
There's a demand out there, so this fall we're running the workshop again.
"Turning Your Great Idea Into a Marketable Manuscript," a Saturday Afternoon Writing Workshop with Susan Schoenberger. will be held Saturday, October 13, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Acclaimed novelist Schoenberger (A Watershed Year) will lead a special three-hour workshop with a small group. Included in the workshop will be exercises in "free-writing" and discussion of practicalities.
Schoenberger says she will provide "advice about listening to your gut on the best place to start...I want to focus on getting the importance of the first pages and help participants get over the hump of getting started."
The second part of the session will focus on the challenge of crafting an idea weighty enough to sustain a full-length novel. The afternoon will not be a one-way experience: There will be opportunities for participants to share their ideas and workshop with Schoenberger and each other.
Fee for the session is $40. Enrollment is limited to 18. Call 860-280-3130 early to reserve a spot.
Susan Schoenberger's first novel had not even been published when it was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal in the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
A Watershed Year, published by Guideposts last year to critical acclaim, treats issues of friendship lost through death -- yet not lost; and the heartbreak and redemption that arise from a woman's quest to adopt a four-year-old boy in Russia.
Schoenberger, a longtime editor at the Hartford Courant and the Baltimore Sun, as well as a published essayist and short story writer, writes "with subtle humor and grace," in the words of bestselling author Julia Fay (Shelter Me). Patti Callahan Henry (Driftwood Summer) writes: "Susan Schoenberger takes us to the softer places of the heart where love -- in all its forms and glory -- transforms grief into grace."
Schoenberger recently announced a two-book deal with Amazon Publishing: Amazon will re-release A Watershed Year under its imprint and also bought her forthcoming novel -- an amazing achievement for a first-time novelist.
Writing at The Mark Twain House is a three-year-old program that offers intensive instruction in writing at the home of one of America's greatest authors.
This fall it offers two more Saturday afternoon writing workshops: award-winning memoirist Susan Campbell on "The Life You Really Lived: Memoir-Writing, Personal Essays, and the Stuff That Holds the World Together" (October 20); and a second Susan Schoenberger session on "Strategies for Finding a Literary Agent" ( November 3)/
It also offers six-week classes with Susan Campbell on non-fiction and Mary-Ann Tirone Smith on fiction from November 7 to December 19. (registration deadline October 22). For information, go to Or you may contact Writing Program Director Julia Pistell ( or Steve Courtney (,

In addition, author Stephen Dau (The Book of Jonas) presents "The Creative Writing Process: The Art and the Business of Writing for Publication" in a Writing at the Mark Twain House Saturday Afternoon Writing Workshop on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 1 to 4 pm.
On Friday, Sept. 28  from 5:30 to 9:30 pm  the fifth annual "Tapping Into Twain" Oktoberfest offers a selection of locally produced beer, artisan ales and food from local restaurants -- including pizza, pasta, jambalaya, sliders and pulled pork. Music provided by Daniel Heath-Ringrose and DJ Jeffrey Willard Mainville III. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door ($40 for Mark Twain House & Museum members). A designated driver ticket is $20. All tickets include beer, food and the coveted, complimentary Tapping Into Twain pint glass. Last year sold out, so call 860-280-3130 or go to as soon as possible.

Joseph Roswell Hawley was editor and part owner of the Hartford Courant, lawyer, antislavery crusader, founder of the Connecticut Republican Party, Civil War general -- and governor, Congressman and Senator. He was also Mark Twain' neighbor and friend. Twain stumped for Hawley during his campaigns, but later fell out with him over a contoversial Presidential election.
But Hawley the man was an extraordinary character, from his role in the battlefields of Florida and Reconstruction South Carolina to the battles he fought in the Senate to guarantee the Chinese the right to immigrate to the United States. His wife, Harriet Foote Hawley, was a Civil War hero as well as she worked in hospitals during the war and taught former slaves afterward.
Superior Court judge and historian the Hon. Henry S. Cohn is a local expert on Hawley's varied career. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Cohn will speak on Hawley and his friendship with Twain in the continuing Election Year Edition of "The Trouble Begins at 5:30," the Mark Twain House & Museum's free, after-work series of lectures and discussions on Twainian subjects. Cohn has made an extensive study of Hawley, his life and his times, and brings a fresh view to the two men's fascinating relationship.
"Mark Twain and Joseph R. Hawley, Senator, Governor and Republican Leader of the Gilded Age" is a free event. While the lectures begin at 5:30. audiences like to gather for the reception beforehand at 5:00, which includes hors d'oeuvres, wine and coffee.

More News:
In a special event presented in conjunction with the Hartford Medical Society, geared toward the medical community and everyone else interested in health and wisdom, The Mark Twain House & Museum will welcome the foremost authority on Twain's medical interests, K. Patrick Ober, M.D., on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Dr, Ober's topic will be "What Mark Twain Would Tell Us About Medicine (If He Were With Us Today)." He will also share some of his current research, which bears directly on the Mark Twain House and how an odd Victorian theory about health and drains may have sparked an 1881 rebuilding project at the house.
The talk is free, and will be held at 5:30 pm after a 5 pm reception.
Nook Farm Book Club, the popular collaboration between The Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, continues Thursday, Oct. 4 with a discussion of Tom Perrotta's novel "Election."
The book, set in a New Jersey high school during a student election, conveys adolescence as it often is--sometimes painful and frequently awkward. This is a novel of teenagers on the brink of adulthood, and is probably best appreciated by grownups with enough perspective on their own adolescent experiences to be able to take the bitter with the sweet.
The discussion will be held at The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave. Hartford Thursday, Oct. 4. The event is free. A 5pm reception will be followed by the 5:30 discussion and book signing with the author. Registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.
Reports of ghostly apparitions, mysterious bangs, cigar smoke and other unexplained phenomena, featured on Syfy's Ghost Hunters, have led us to reprise our popular Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours in October.

Tours are on Friday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 6; Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13; Thursday, Oct. 18, Friday, Oct. 19, Saturday, Oct. 20; Thursday, Oct. 25, Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27.
Tour times are limited: 6 , 7, 8 and 9 pm. Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours are by reservation only, and sell out quickly. Call early: 860-280-3130.
Tickets are $20 for adults 17 and up; $16 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum and an unlucky $13 for children 16 and under. Tours are not recommended for children under 10. 

The Museum celebrates the release of "Sailor Twain," by Mark Siegel on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 7 to 8:30 pm. The event is free and will be followed by a book signing.


Connecticut Arts Connections This Week

Just in time for Halloween, Woodbury Ballet Theatre presents Dracula at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, on Saturday, October 20, at 8 p.m. Tickets are$48, $38, and $28 and can be purchased by phone at 203-346-2000, online, or at the Box Office, 100 East Main Street in Waterbury.

Based on Bram Stokers chilling story of good, evil, romance, seduction and sacrifice, the hauntingly beautiful ballet features a deliciously dangerous musical score that will have audiences on the edge of their seat and biting for more.

Directors Randyl Errica and Justin Sherwood have recreated this ballet to reflect the age-old theme of good and evil. After researching books, films, and anthologies, the issue of human verses monster became very clear to them in many different portrayals of Dracula. As a vampire, his survival is intertwined with evil as his necessity to remain in existence can only be satisfied by the extraction of life from goodness. This ballet delineates Dracula’s innate romantic side through his passion and love for Mina that encompassed him for 2000 years. The life-line of “goodness” is choreographed through the continuous return of the “Mourners,” women in black grieving the loss of humanity in Dracula, while searching for the white light of spirituality and the release of the monster.

After the performance, the Woodbury Ballet and the Arts and Culture Collaborative of Greater Waterbury will host a post-show champagne reception fundraiser in the mezzanine lobby for an additional $22. A bottle of Vampire Wine will be complimentary with the purchase of a VIP ticket.

In an effort to create greater accessibility for students and encourage their attendance throughout the run of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play, A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad at Westport Country Playhouse, tickets for students will be $15 at all performances. The play is appropriate for ages 12 and up. The student ticket access program is supported in part by a grant from The Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation. A valid student ID will be required. Performances are October 9 through November 3, Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Students may call the Playhouse box office at (203) 227-4177, or stop by the Playhouse at 25 Powers Court, Westport, between noon and 6 pm, to purchase $15 tickets. In addition, educators are eligible for 50 percent discounts at all performances.

A new production of David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross, will be staged next month in the Wien Experimental Theatre at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University. Performances take place at 8 pm Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 3- 6. Following each performance, the play’s production team and faculty members discuss the play. Tickets are $20 and 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 The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Visit

Hartford Stage presents "A Grand Night for Singing," an evening of cabaret and a fundraising event to benefit Hartford Stage on Thursday, Sept. 27. The performance will be at 7:30 pm and a reception follows at 8:45.

Joanna Settle to Leave Shakespeare on the Sound

Joanna Settle will step down as artistic director of Shakespeare on the Sound

Settle directed four successful productions for the company, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo & Juliet. Settle drew nationally renowned acting and creative teams to the company during her tenure, including the composers Stew and Heidi Rodewald (Passing Strange), who brought their singular talents to providing original music and, in the case of Romeo & Juliet, new text for the productions Settle helmed. In addition, Settle founded the Shakespeare on the Sound Apprentice Company.

The company performs free under the stars at Pinkney Park in Rowayton and Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich .

Monday, September 24, 2012

Yale School of Drama Announces Season

Yale School of Drama has announced the new season including three vividly imagined theatrical productions that explore our struggles—vain or victorious, intimate or epic—to become who we believe we are meant to be.

Adapted from Euripides by Benjamin Fainstein
Conceived and Directed by Jack Tamburri
October 30-November 3, 2012
Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street

A king sacrifices his daughter to a goddess so he can wage an interstellar war. But the goddess intervenes and instead exiles the girl to a life of servitude light years from home. Years later, Princess Iphigenia, like her father, must choose between duty and desire—and her choice will have consequences beyond the bounds of space and time. Inspired by the electrifying imagery of comic book legend Jack Kirby, this new adaptation of two tragedies by Euripides takes us on a cosmic journey to a galaxy where gods and heroes are real, but their destinies have not yet been written.

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed by Ethan Heard
December 14-20, 2012
University Theatre, 222 York Street 

In 1884, George Seurat painted a masterpiece by holding fast to his personal vision and disregarding everything (and everybody) else. Celebrated as a genius today, he died alone, without having ever sold a single canvas. A century later, another artist named George is adrift, despite great success. Accomplished and desired, he’s lost touch with his inspiration—why, he wonders, does he make art at all? In today's culture of success and celebrity, Sondheim and Lapine's landmark musical poses a fundamental question about the "art of making art": how can an artist both stay true to himself and share his vision with the world?

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Margot Bordelon
January 22-26, 2013
Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street

In a tropical outpost of Queen Victoria's glorious Empire, Betty is the perfect wife and mother of an upstanding colonial family. Fast forward 100 years to the urban jungle of contemporary London. Betty and her children must redefine themselves in a world of rapidly changing social norms. Renowned playwright Caryl Churchill's hilarious and politically charged satire still challenges our assumptions about gender, sexuality, race and family, and urges us to question the roles we play and the forces that shape us. 

May 6-15, 2013
Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street

Three new plays by the graduating class of Yale School of Drama playwrights, performed in rotating repertory.

Carlotta Festival play titles will be announced.

Tickets, starting at $10, are available online at, by phone at (203) 432-1234, and in person at the Box Office (1120 Chapel Street at York Street).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ivoryton Adds Performance to 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do' Run

R. Bruce Connelly, Leah Monzillo, Sheila Coyle, Christopher De Rosa, Scott Scaffidi, Melanie Souza. Photo: T. Rick Jones
Ivoryton Playhouse has added an extra performance for the run of Breaking Up is Hard to Do.

The musical tells the story of Lois and Marge, two friends from Brooklyn in search of good times and romance over one wild Labor Day weekend. Marge's fiancé has called off their wedding. Her best friend, Lois, is determined to cheer her up and find her a new man, so they head for the Catskills and Esther's Paradise Resort. They fall for the seductive charms of the resort’s crooner heartthrob, Del DelMonaco, while true love in the form of geeky cabana boy and secret songwriter, Gabe, waits forlornly in the wings. Add a healthy dollop of Borscht Belt shtick with comedian – emcee, Harvey Feldman and his secret love, Esther, and you have the perfect recipe for a great night out.

Journey back to a more innocent time and relive summers gone by with all the trials, tribulations of teenage life and love with 18 Neil Sedaka classics, including “Where the Boys Are”, “Sweet Sixteen”, “Calendar Girl”, and, of course, the chart-topping title song.

Directed by Jacqui Hubbard, choreography by Caitlin Sailer and musical direction by John DeNicola. The set design is by Tony Andrea, lighting design by Marcus Abbott, and costumes by LisaMarie Harry. Cast includes Christopher DeRosa, Leah Monzillo, Sheila Coyle, Scott Scaffidi, Melanie Souza and R. Bruce Connelly.

Breaking up Is Hard To Do opens in Ivoryton on Sept. 26 and runs through Oct. 14. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm. Matinee performances are already selling out so we have added an extra performance at 2 pm on Saturday, Oct. 13. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main St., Ivoryton.

Yale Opens Season with American Night

Yale Rep opens the season with American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose, written by Richard Montoya, developed by Culture Clash and Jo Bonney, and directed by Shana Cooper. Sept. 21- Oct.  13 at the University Theatre, 222 York St.

American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose features choreography by Ken Roht, scenic design by Kristen Robinson, costume design by Martin Schnellinger, lighting design by Masha Tsimring, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, projection design by Paul Lieber, dramaturgy by Lauren Dubowski, vocal and dialect coaching by Beth McGuire, singing coaching by Vicki Shaghoian, and stage management by James Mountcastle.

The cast is Austin Durant, Deidrie Henry, Felicity Jones, James Hiroyuki Liao, Gregory Linington, René Millán, Richard Montoya, Richard Ruiz and Nicole Shalhoub.

What's it about?

As Juan José (René Millán) feverishly studies for his citizenship exam, his obsession to pass takes him on a fantastical odyssey through US history guided by a handful of unsung citizens who made courageous choices in some of the country’s toughest times. It is a provocative, irreverent, and hilarious mix of past and present, stereotype and truth.

Tickets and information:

Tickets range from $20-96, and are available online at, by phone at (203) 432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office (1120 Chapel Street, at York Street). Student, senior, and group rates are also available.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Theater Review: Mary Poppins -- The Bushnell

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Photo: Deen Van Meer
A Jolly, and Not-So-Jolly Holiday with Mary
By Lauren Yarger
Old familiar tunes like “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Jolly Holiday” and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” harmonize with new tunes penned to bulk out a Broadway musical. The result is the Disney and Cameron Mackintosh version of Mary Poppins making a tour stop at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford through Sept. 23. 

Madeline Trumble flies into the title role here (literally) as the mysterious nanny who works her magic on the unruly Banks household in London at the turn of the 20th century. Michael and Jane (Eli Tokash and Julianna Rigoglioso the night I attended) are incorrigible – too much for their insecure mother, Winifred (full-voiced Elizabeth Broadhurst) or busy banker father, George (Michael Dean Morgan) to handle. Mary arrives on the scene with her never-empty bag of magical surprises and when she teams up with chimney-sweep friend Bert (Con O’Shea-Creal), fun ensues. 

The kids fly kites in the park, visit London’s rooftops and the stars, dance with statues that come to life, indulge at a candy shop owned by Mrs. Corry (Tonya Thompson) and soon everything is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (this number, along with full tapping “Step in Time,” is a show stopper, performed with gusto -- and spelling prompts -- to choreography by Matthew Bourne, who also serves as co-director with Director Richard Eyre). 

But everything isn’t super, really. George doesn’t have time for his kids He talks negatively about his wife who isn’t schooled in how to take her place in society and makes a couple of questionable lending decisions that could cost him his career at the bank (depicted in sharp angles on a quick-change set by Bob Crowley that gives surprising depth and height).  When Mary leaves, opening the door for George’s former nanny, the strict and brutal Miss Andrew (Karen Murphy) to take over, things go downhill fast further upsetting the Banks and their housekeeper Mrs. Brill (a humorous Tregoney Shepherd). 

Can Mary’s magic and a lucky handshake from Bert make everything OK again? 
Given that this is a Disney musical, the answer to that should be easy, but in this rendition of the P.L. Travers story (on which the 1964 Disney musical starring Julie Andrew and Dick Van Dyke was based),  some of the telling in Julian Fellowes book is more “British” – darker -- than we might expect. George is downright unpleasant. In an angry physical encounter with his father, Michael is left holding his arm as though injured. The scene is realistic, but perhaps a tad harsh for the very young kids in the audience.  

Costume and lighting effects (Crowley and Natasha Katz, design) that create the realistic-looking park statues deserve kudos, but the choreography that has Neleus (Leeds Hill) and his sculpture friends doing ballet borders on the absurd.  The scenes where the statues and dolls come to life have a creepy feel to them in a sharp contrast to the otherwise typical, over-the-top cutsey direction that gives a too-large spoonful of sugar. You can almost imagine a finger inserted in the dimples of the two youngsters as they pose and smile to evoke “awwws” but the dolls are seeking vengeance for the cruel treatment they have received…. 

Fellowes’ script, which adds some elements from the children’s books and eliminates some from the movie,  is rather choppy and speeds along in places at whiplash pace (despite a fairly long 2:40 run time), so if you aren’t up on the story of Mary Poppins, you might not follow easily, particularly in the first several scenes. The night I attended, a fire alarm, triggered by haze effects in the show, forced an evacuation of the building right in the middle of the most moving number, “Feed the Birds,”  and resulted in an even longer evening. (Note, start times for this run are different: 7:30 Tuesday through Saturday and 6:30 on Sunday). 

The musical, which originated in 2004 in London’s West end, still is running on Broadway (where Crowley’s scenic design won a 2006 Tony Award). The sets for the tour are a scaled-back version retaining detail, but made simpler for travel.
Mary Poppins runs through Sept. 23; (note different times for this run) Tuesday through Saturday 7:30 pm , Saturday at 2 pm; Sunday at 1:30 and 6:30 pm; Tickets $20-$90, (860) 987-5900 or

Monday, September 10, 2012

Connecticut Arts Connections This Week

Long Wharf Theatre is holding open auditions for Equity and non-Equity actors this month. Local EQUITY actors, ages 18+, are invited to audition for the 2012/2013 Season at the Tony Award-winning Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT. Actors will be seen at the theater from 10 am to 1:30pm and 2:30 to 6 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and Thursday, Sept. 20.
Local NON-EQUITY actorswill be seen at the theatre from 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Actors should prepare one classical monologue and one contemporary monologue, not to exceed three minutes in combined length. All actors should bring a current resume and headshot. While walk-ins will be accommodated, appointments are recommended and may be made beginning today by calling the Long Wharf Box Office at 203-787-4282 between 10 am and 5 pm. For more information:

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Featuring the Music of Neil Sedaka
Sept. 26– Oct. 14
Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main St., Ivoryton. Tickets: 860-767-7318; $40 adults/ $35 seniors/ $20 students/$15 children
Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm; Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturdayevenings at 8 pm.
Dalton Ghetti's 300 Tears Photo:
 Sloan T. Howard Photography
Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art, commemorates the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 by presenting the exhibition Dalton Ghetti: 9-11 Memorial (3000 Tears), which opens on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, and is on view through October 13, 2012. This exhibition marks the launch of the Bellarmine Museum’s new “pop-up” art series, which highlights contemporary works by dynamic artists with little advance notice, at unpredictable intervals and for just a few weeks at a time, all for the greater enrichment and enjoyment of Bellarmine Museum’s diverse audiences. Mr. Ghetti’s exhibition includes 3000 Tears, his tribute to 9/11, as well as three other works: Twin Towers, 2007, Sewing Needle and Spool, 2003, and Church, 1990.
Artist Dalton M. Ghetti (b.1961) was deeply affected by the events on September 11, 2001; so much so that he was moved to create a memorial to honor the fallen by carving one teardrop every day for each of the victims. Averaging 300 teardrops per year, it took him 10 years to carve the 3,000 teardrops necessary to complete this project, entitled 3000 Tears. Using only his bare hands and a razor blade, and working without the benefit of a magnifying glass or other optical device, the Bridgeport, CT artist, whose studio is located in the Black Rock section of the city, carved individual teardrops from the graphite of pencils he found in streets and on sidewalks. The teardrops, each of which took nearly one hour to carve, are no larger than single grains of rice. Combined, they make one large, two-dimensional dark teardrop against a white background.
The 13th annual Breaking Ground Dance Series presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Dance Department opens with two performances by the New York-based artist alliance ZviDance, featuring the Connecticut premiere of the work "Zoom" on Friday, Sept. 14 and Saturday, Sept. 15 at 8 pm in the CFA Theater, located at 271 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. "Zoom" was created by ZviDance’s Artistic Director Zvi Gotheiner, the company’s eight dancers, video designer Tal Yarden, composer Scott Killan and lighting designer Mark London.  There will be a pre-performance talk with ZviDance Artistic Director Zvi Gotheiner on Friday, September 14 at 7:30pm in CFA Hall, located at 287 Washington Terrace.
Voices of Afganistan. Photo courtesy of Wesleyan
 The 38th annual Crowell Concert Series presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Music Department opens with the New England premiere performance by the group “Voices of Afghanistan” on Friday, Sept. 28 at 8 pm in Crowell Concert Hall located at 50 Wyllys Avenue on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. The concert also serves as the initial event of the year-long campus and community-wide exploration “Music & Public Life."

The 13th annual Outside the Box Theater Series presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Theater Department opens with an interactive performance by the Brooklyn-based group Anonymous Ensemble, featuring the New England premiere of the work "Liebe Love Amour!" on Saturday, September 22 at 8pm in the CFA Theater, located at 271 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown. In "Liebe Love Amour!" the audience’s stories become part of the fabric of the piece as they help guide the spontaneous “choose-your-own-adventure” narrative, which is told by Jessica Weinstein ‘02, Eamonn Farrell, and Liz Davito, along with music composed by William Antoniou.

For more information on these Wesleyan programs call (860) 685-3355, or visit

Hartford Symphony Orchestra Listings October-December

 Conductor Carolyn Kuan. Photo: Steven Laschever
HSO AT A GLANCE: OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2012Editors: Please update calendar listings to include the upcoming Hartford Symphony Orchestra events listed below. For more information about any particular event, please contact Katie Bonner at

with Carolyn Kuan, Music Director & conductor; Hartford Chorale- Richard Coffey, music director; Kang Hua Singers of Greater Hartford- Chai-lun Yueh, artistic director; Farmington High School Choir- Leslie Isme, director; Guanqun Yu, soprano; Melody Wilson, mezzo soprano; Laurence Broderick, tenor; Yunpeng Wang, baritone
Thursday, October 11, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 12, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 13, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 14, 2012 │ 3:00 p.m.
Belding Theater │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
The HSO begins its 69th season with two choral masterpieces: Symphony No. 9 is Beethoven at his most revolutionary and philosophical – including its exuberant finale, the “Ode to Joy” chorus. Xian’s Yellow River Cantata, with its famous “Ode to the Yellow River,” is one of China’s quintessential and most celebrated choral works.

with Carolyn Kuan, Music Director & conductor; Lynn Dillies, illusionist
Saturday, October 20, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Mortensen Hall │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
The HSO brings out all its musical tricks in this magical evening of Halloween family fun. Magic at the Symphony will meld the majesty of symphonic music with the mystery and grace of master illusionist Lyn Dillies to create a truly unique entertainment experience.

with Brian Lynch, trumpet; Gene Bozzi, artistic director and drums; Edward Rozie, bass; Walter Gwardyak, arranger and piano
Friday, November 2, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Theater for the Performing Arts at the Learning Corridor│Free Secure Parking
The HSO will join with trumpeter Jon Faddis in a tribute to this 1971 album, considered to be a modern classic.

with Carolyn Kuan, Music Director & conductor; Tony Spada, electric guitar
Thursday November 8, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 9, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 10, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 11, 2012 │ 3:00 p.m.
Belding Theater │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Appalachian Spring has endured as one of America’s most beloved orchestral works, with its memorable conclusion based on the Shaker hymn, “Simple Gifts.” Hear Carolyn Kuan conduct the beautiful original orchestration, along with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, drawn from Bohemian folk music, and Daugherty’s Gee’s Bend, which takes its bluesy inspiration from the spirituals, quilts and quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.


with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, guest artists
Saturday, November 17, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Mortensen Hall │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Grab your “King of Swing” and “Go Daddy O” to see the HSO and guest artists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy take a New Orleans-style twist on the legendary big bands and swing orchestras. “Retro hep-cat cool.” – Rolling Stone. “The music picks up a beat and doesn’t let go.” – Everett Daily Herald.

with Leonid Sigal, artistic director and concertmaster; Michael Wheeler, HSO principal viola; Eric Dahlin, HSO assistant principal cello; Edward Rozie, HSO principal bass; Greig Shearer, HSO principal flute; Heather Taylor, HSO principal oboe; Curt Blood, HSO principal clarinet; Barbara Hill, HSO principal horn; Margreet Francis, HSO principal piano
Sunday, November 18, 2012 │ 2:00 p.m.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
In conjunction with the exhibition Medieval to Monet: French Paintings in the Wadsworth Atheneum, enjoy four centuries of music by French composers Couperin, Pleyel, Debussy and Ravel performed by HSO principal musicians. These paintings, drawings and pastels, some rarely on view, represent every major period in French artistic practice from the 15th to the 19th centuries and include works by the country’s leading artists such as Poussin, Chardin, Boucher, Delacroix, Monet and Vuillard.

with Joel Smirnoff, conductor; Michael Wheeler, viola
Thursday, November 29, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 30, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 1, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 2, 2012 │ 3:00 p.m.
Belding Theater │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Eminent Julliard String Quartet violinist and conductor Joel Smirnoff will make his HSO debut leading some of the most memorable string compositions in the world, as well as Tchaikovsky’s rich and evocative Symphony No. 1, “Winter Daydreams.”

with Richard Coffey, guest conductor; CONCORA- Richard Coffey, artistic director
Friday, December 14, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 15, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Asylum Hill Congregational Church
HSO and CONCORA come together in an intimate and inspirational setting to perform one of the most famous choral works ever written- Handel’s Messiah- featuring the sensational “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Ticket Information: $35 General Admission

with Carolyn Kuan, conductor; Cirque de la Symphonie, guest artists
Saturday, December 22, 2012 │ 3:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Mortensen Hall │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
The HSO’s holiday experience will rise to new heights as Cirque de la Symphonie performs on and above the stage. Hear holiday favorites while experiencing an awe-inspiring performance as the circus meets the symphony. Stunning aerial feats, strong-men, mind-boggling contortionists and juggling acts will take your breath away as HSO celebrates the magic and the spirit of the season with the ultimate holiday extravaganza.

Ticket Information: To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact HSO ticket services at (860)244-2999 or visit
-Subscriptions to the 2012-2013 Masterworks Series range in price from $283.50-$560.50; single tickets range in price from $35.50-$70.50.
-Subscriptions to the 2012-2013 Pops Series range in price from $111 to $337; single tickets range in price from $20-$67.50.
-Subscriptions to the 2012-2013 Sunday Serenades Series are $64; single 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.
-Subscriptions to the 2012-2013 Jazz and Strings Series are $104 for center orchestra seating and $54 for general orchestra seating; single tickets are $40 for center orchestra seating and $20 for general orchestra seating.
-Tickets to Handel’s Messiah are $35 for general admission.
-A limited number of $25 tickets are available for patrons age 40 and under at the Masterworks and Pops Series’ Saturday performances. Student tickets, available for Masterworks, Pops, and Jazz and Strings concerts, are $10.
-Single tickets will be available for purchase starting Monday, August 20, 2012.

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-2013 season is sponsored by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism. The 2012-2013 Masterworks Series is sponsored by MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional concert support from Cigna, Hartford Hospital, and the Katherine K. McLane and Henry R. McLane Charitable Trust. The HSO 2012-2013 POPS! Series is presented by United Technologies Corporation, with additional concert support from Hartford Hospital and Prudential Retirement. The 2012-2013 Sunday Serenades Series is sponsored in part by The Saunders Foundation Music Endowment at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

CT Rep to Present Theresa Rebeck's New Play with Political Theme

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present the regional premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s new play O Beautiful, Oct. 4 – 14 in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, Storrs. For tickets and information, call 860-486-2113 and visit

O Beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves . . . In our age of cyber-bullying and aggressive patriotism remember those lyrics – or else! Theresa Rebeck, Broadway playwright (Mauritius, Seminar, Dead Accounts), creator of the TV series Smash and Pulitzer prize finalist, pens a theatrically inventive mash up of contemporary American life and the history that got us to this politically polarized age. Its fiercely funny story explores the lives of high school students, teachers, and their families as they cope in a world of real personal problems and extremist ideological rhetoric that gets so heated that Jesus, Saint Paul, Joan of Arc, John Adams, Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin, among others, show up to weigh in and mix it up. Alternately sweet and fiery, and as topical as tonight’s newscast, O Beautiful lands the complex realities of our culture squarely on the stage deck in an electrifying blend of ancient characters, founding fathers and your neighborhood high school. Warning: This show includes political, social and religious content that some will find challenging, maybe even offensive. Don’t miss it!

Lennie Ryan is a shy high-school student who, to impress a girl, decides to sing “O Beautiful” at his school’s annual talent school.  Unfortunately, nerves get the better of him and he makes a mess of the lyrics. Already unpopular, the other students seize the opportunity to ruthlessly and relentlessly bully him. The girl in question, Alice Fletcher, is dealing with issues of her own. She has recently become pregnant in an incident some might consider date rape, and can only find comfort and advice from Jesus, a character in the play.

The story is interlaced with a “Glenn Beck” styled character conducting interviews with Founding Fathers. We see how the volatile rhetoric influences the lives of the families depicted in the story.  

Director Joseph Hanreddy said, “O Beautiful is a profoundly moving and piercingly funny play about the nation’s divided political heart.  We are working to bring to life a play that is as current as today’s headlines and featuring the unique voice and theatrical vision of one of America’s leading dramatists as she joins the political conversation leading up to Election Day.”

Hanreddy has directed original and contemporary plays, as well as classics by Shakespeare, Schiller, Chekhov, Pirandello, Gogol, Oscar Wilde, John Millington Synge, Farquhar, and W.S. Gilbert as well as authoring several dramatic adaptations and acting in productions. His recent work includes directing Moliere’s The Misanthrope at the Pearl Theater in New York, nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival and The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead for the Writer’s Theater in Chicago, currently nominated for a Jeff Award and Private Lives and Macbeth for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. This year he has directed Ten Chimneys and his adaptation of A Christmas Carol at the Milwaukee Rep. andOur Country’s Good for the REP/Delaware. Joe’s stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice(with JR Sullivan) has been performed at CRT as well as many major regional theaters in the US including the Oregon and Utah Shakespeare festivals, the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts, South Coast Repertory Theater, and the Roundhouse Theater. Joe served as the artistic director of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and the Madison Repertory Theater. He founded the Ensemble Theater Company in Santa Barbara, CA and has taught actors, directors and designers at Northwestern University, the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware and the Milwaukee and Madison campuses of University of Wisconsin.

The Design team includes: Tim Golebiewski, Scenic Designer; Tiffany Delligatti, Costume Designer; Sean Nicholl, Lighting Designer; and Michael Freyer, Sound Designer.

Casting Set for Sister George at Long Wharf

Betsy Aidem, Clea Alsip and Olga Merediz join Kathleen Turner in Long Wharf Theatre’s production of The Killing of Sister George, by Frank Marcus and adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher.

Kathleen Turner
The show will take place on the newly renovated Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Mainstage Theatre from November 28 through December 23, 2012.
By day June Buckridge (Turner) plays Sister George tending to the sick and poor on the radio hit “Applehurst.”By night, she chews on cigars, swills gin and lets nothing and no one stand in her way, including her long suffering “secretary” Childie. When“Applehurst”’s ratings plummet, Sister George is shuffled meekly off to the Great Beyond. June refuses to go quietly from her starring perch, however, in this bawdy and witty comedy.
Alsipwill play the role of Childie, Aidem will play Mercy Croft, and Merediz will play Madame Xenia. In addition to playing June Buckridge, Turner will direct. Alsip, Aidem and Merediz are making their Long Wharf Theatre debuts.
Aidem, a 2007 Obie winner for Sustained Excellence of Performance, has appeared in numerous productions Off-Broadway, including Dreams of Flying, Dreams of Falling; Celebration, and Sea of Tranquility at Atlantic; The Metal Children and Mary Rose at The Vineyard; Crooked, Women’s Project, Stone Cold Dead Serious, Edge Theater at Chashama; The Triple Happiness, Second Stage; Good Thing, The New Group; The Butterfly Collection, Playwright’s Horizons; Luminescence Dating, EST; Pera Palas, McGinn Cazalle; Steel Magnolias, Lortel; A Lie of the Mind, Promenade;Escape from Happiness, Naked Angels; Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, MCC; Road, Lincoln Center Theater; Balm in Gilead, Circle Rep and Minetta Lane. Regionally, she has appeared at Dorset Theatre Festival, George Street Playhouse, The Huntington Theatre, Williamstown, and Hartford Stage, among many others. Her television and film credits include “The Big C,” “Smash,” multiple“ Law and Orders, “The West Wing”, “Sex and the City,” “The High Life,” “The Good Wife,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Rescue Me.” Film: Margaret, The Bleeding House, Arbitrage, The Oranges, You Can Count on Me, Motherhood, Music of the Heart, and Winter Passing.
Alsip recently appeared in Brace Yourself (BTF, dir. James Naughton), Lewis Black's One Slight Hitch (George Street and Williamstown), Six Degrees of Separation (Williamstown), and the regional premiere of The Motherf****r with the Hat (TheaterWorks Hartford). Her New York credits include L(y)re (Ars Nova), boom!, Emperor Antony, Orpheus Descending, and the world premiere of Tony Kushner’s Henry Box Brown (NYU Grad Acting). Her film and television appearances include the upcoming season of “Boardwalk Empire,” The Little Tin Man, Bumbloods, Strangers, and Crystal Sessions.
Olga Merediz is best known for originating the role of “Abuela Claudia” in the Broadway musical In The Heights, a performance for which she received a Tony award nomination. Additional Broadway credits include Reckless at MTC, Mamma Mia, Man of La Mancha (Original Revival cast), Les Miserables, and The Human Comedy. Her most recent films include The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,The Place Beyond the Pines, alongside Ryan Gosling, Remember Me, andMr. Popper’s Penguins. Other film credits include Changing Lanes, Music of the Heart, Evita, Centerstage, K- Pax, City of Hope, Isn’t She Great among others. She has also appeared in TV shows including “Royal Pains,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order: SVU,” and “Pan Am.”
For more information about the show, visit or call 203-787-4282.

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