Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Be in the Room Where it Happens!

Joseph Morales and Company - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018
Single tickets for the Connecticut tour stop of Hamilton will go on-sale to the public on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 9 am at www.bushnell.org and at The Bushnell Box Office, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Tickets will be available for performances Dec.11 –  30, 2018.       

There is a maximum purchase limit of four (4) tickets per account for the engagement.  When tickets go on sale, prices will range from $68.50 to $198.50 with a select number of $498.50 premium seats available for all performances (plus applicable service fees).  There will be a lottery for forty (40) $10 seats for all performances. Details will be announced closer to the engagement.

Tickets will NOT be available for purchase by phone.  Additional seats will be made available for sale closer to the engagement. 

Hamilton, inspred by Ron Chernow's bestselling biographyis the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies, who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda's score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, the musical is the story of America then, as told by America now. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical n 2016 and continues to be one of Broadway's hardest-to-get tickets -- with people willling to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to be in the room where it happens.

Miranda wrote the book, music and lyrcis. Direction is by Thomas Kail, choreography is by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations is by Alex Lacamoire, This ceative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award Winning Best Musical In the Heights.

Other credits: scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

On Vacation

Taking a much-needed break. Will be back online with reviews of Connecticut theater  shortly.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Age of Innocence, Rags Top CT Critics Circle Awards

Photo: Marie Reynolds
The world premiere of Hartford Stage’s The Age of Innocence and a revised version of the musical Rags from Goodspeed Musicals took top honors at the Connecticut Critics Circle Awards Monday.

The event, which celebrated the ’17-’18 theater season, was held at Westport Country Playhouse.

Awards for outstanding actors in a musical went to Samantha Massell in Goodspeed’s Rags and Jamie LaVerdiere in  Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production of 1776.

Awards for outstanding actors in a play went to Reg Rogers in Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of An Enemy of the People and Isabelle Barbier in Playhouse on Park’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank.

Top directing awards went to Terrence Mann for CT Repertory’s 1776 and Ezra Barnes for Playhouse on Park’s The Diary of Anne Frank.

Outstanding ensemble award went to TheaterWorks’ production of The Wolves;  The debut award went to Megan O’Callaghan  for The Bridges of Madison County and Fun Home, both at Music Theatre of Connecticut. The outstanding solo honor was awarded to Elizabeth Stahlmann for Westport Country Playhouse's Grounded. Kelli Barclay won for her choreography for Goodspeed Musicals’ The Will Rogers Follies.

Michael O’Flaherty, longtime music director for Goodspeed Musicals, received the Tom Killen Award for lifetime service to the theater from Donna Lynn Cooper Hilton, a producer at Goodspeed.

Receiving special awards were New London’s Flock Theatre for its production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Monte Cristo Cottage; the Broadway Method Academy of Fairfield; and Billy Bivona, who composed and performed original music for TheaterWork’s production of Constellations.

The outstanding featured actress award in a musical award went to Jodi Stevens for Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s Singin’ in the Rain. There was a tie for outstanding featured actor in a musical, with honors going to Matt Faucher for Goodspeed Musicals’ Oklahoma! and to Cory Candelet for Ivoryton Playhouse’s The Fantasticks.

The award for outstanding featured actors in a play went to Peter Francis James for Westport Country Playhouse’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and to Judith Ivey for Long Wharf Theatre’s world premiere of Fireflies.

Design awards went to Fitz Patton for sound and Matthew Richards for lighting for Westport Country Playhouse’s Appropriate; Linda Cho for costumes for Hartford Stage’s The Age of Innocence; Yana Birykova for projections for Westport Country Playhouse’s Grounded and David Lewis, for set design for Playhouse on Park’s The Diary of Anne Frank.

Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas, stars of TheaterWorks’ Christmas on the Rocks, presided over the event.

Friday, June 8, 2018

CT Theater Review: Flyin' West -- Westport Country Playhouse

L-R:  Brittany Bradford, Michael Chenevert, Keona Welch, Edward O’Blenis, Brenda Pressley, and Nikiya Mathis. Photo: Carol Rosegg
Flyin' West
By Pearl Cleage
Directed by Seret Scott
Westport Country Playhouse
Through June 16

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
A wonderfully written play by Pearl Cleage, which debuted more than a quarter of a century ago and is set in set in 1898, but contains a message of the human spirit that is right at home in 2018.

A group of close-knit women has embraced a new life in the all-black community of Nicodemus, Kansas. Fanny Dove (Brittany Bradford), Sophie Washington (Nikiya Mathis) and Minnie Dove Charles (Keona Welch) are all sisters, bound by their trip to freedom in Kansas after suffering hardship and prejudice in Memphis. For their matriarch, Miss Leah (Brenda Pressley) the concept of freedom is one she has acquired. The memories and cruelty of being a slave, where she was used for breeding and saw 10 children sold into bondage, are still fresh. The group is reunited when Minnie and her husband, Frank (Michael Chenevert) arrive from London for a visit. They also welcome Will Parish (Edward O'Blenis), their neighbor and Fannie's suitor,  to their fold. Happiness turns to alarm, however, when the harsh realities of Minnie and Frank's relationship emerge and when he threatens to sell the couple's portion of the homestead to white land speculators.

What Are the Highlights?
It's an excellent play with excellent performances, lovingly directed by Seret Scott. The women are developed and distinct: Sophie's follow-the-rules attitude is a contrast to Fannie's sweet optimism. Their fierce love for Minnie is evident and Miss Leah applies a wisdom acquired through the years to affect a solution. Frank and Will are contrasts as well: the former a selfish, abusive man and the latter who makes the object of his affection feel loved and honored.

What Are the Lowlights?
None for the production itself, which is one of the best I have seen at Westport. The violence and prejudice these women have experienced is hard to take, however, especially when they refer to them as matter-of-factly as one might in recounting a trip to the grocery store. Something that is part if life and expected. It's chilling, but written is such a moving way that the audience feels a part of the women's story. Let's just say that there is mirth and support when Frank gets what is coming to him.

More information:
Flyin’ West" plants itself in our hearts at Westport Country Playhouse, 20 Powers Court, Westport, through June 16. Performances are Tuesday at 7 pm, Wednesday at 2 and 8 pm., Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 3 and 8 pm. and Sunday at 3 pm. Single tickets start at $30: westportplayhouse.org, 203-227-4177.

Cleage is an Atlanta-based writer whose work has won commercial acceptance and critical praise in several genres. She is an award-winning playwright of a dozen works including Blues for an Alabama Sky. She is also a bestselling author whose first novel, “What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day,” was an Oprah Book Club pick and spent nine weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

The design team includes Marjorie Bradley Kellogg, scenic design; Heidi Leigh Hanson, costume design; Stephen Strawbridge, lighting design; and Frederick Kennedy, sound design.

Open Captions (June 10), Backstage Pass (June 13), Playhouse Happy Hour (June 14), and Thursday TalkBack (June 14). 

CT Repertory Offers Sign Language Performances for Nutmeg Series Productions

Seth Rudetsky in DISASTER! Photo by Gerry Goodstein.
Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) announces that each show of its 2018 Nutmeg Summer Series -- Disaster!, Sweeney Todd: A Musical Thriller in Concert, and Jesus Christ Superstar, will have performances interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL) through a partnership with UConn’s Center for Students (CSD) with Disabilities. 

ASL interpreted performances will take place during the Saturday matinee performances on June 16 for Disaster!, June 30 for Sweeney Todd: A Musical Thriller in Concert, and July 21 Jesus Christ Superstar.

The first show of the series, Disaster! (through June 16), is created by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick, with musical arrangements and scoring by Joseph Joubert and song arrangements by Seth Rudetsky. 

It’s 1979 and what begins as a night of boogie fever at the floating casino and discotheque quickly changes to a panic as the ship succumbs to multiple disasters, including earthquakes, tidal waves and infernos. This comedic homage to the disaster movies of the 70s features creator Rudetsky alongside Connecticut native Maggie McDowell, who appeared in Disaster in both of its New York runs, Ange Schworer and Anne L. Nathan.

Peter Flynn directs Sweeney Todd: A Musical Thriller in Concert (June 21 – July 1), the Tony-Award winning tale of love, murder, and revenge set against the backdrop of 19th century London. CRT Artistic Director Terrence Mann performs as the title character alongside Broadway Veterans Liz Larsen (Nellie Lovett) of Broadway’s Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, The Most Happy Fella, and Hairspray, and Andrea Burns (Beggar Woman) of Broadway’s On Your Feet and In The Heights.

The Summer Series will close with Jesus Christ Superstar (July 12 – 22). A timeless work with an incredible score, set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, gets a fresh new vision from Artistic Director Terrence Mann and choreography Tony Award-nominee Christopher d’Amboise (CRT’s Newsies). This electric musical stars CRT debut Alex Prakken (Jesus), Broadway star Ryan Vona (Judas), and CRT Nutmeg Summer Series returner Jonathan Cobrda (Pontius Pilate), previously from Les Miserables: A Musical Celebration and Peter and the Starcatcher.

Evening performances start at 7:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 9 on Fridays and Saturdays. Matinee performances start at 2  on Saturdays and Sundays. Subscription package options range from $84 to $117. Single tickets prices start at $48. Discounts are available for seniors and students. crt.uconn.edu

The Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre is located on the campus of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, CT.

Summer Sounds with the HSO Start Tonight

Lisa Wiliamson.
Photo: Courtesy of HSO
Hartford Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Series 
Carmina Burana: Festival of Fate
Friday – Sunday, June 8-10, 2018
Belding Theater at The Bushnell
Friday & Saturday 8pm│Sunday 3pm

Ticket Information: Tickets begin at $38. Student tickets are $10 and $25 tickets are available on Saturday evening for patrons age 40 and under. To purchase tickets or for more information, please call 860-987-5900 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org

FeaturingCarolyn Kuan conductor
Hartford Chorale Richard Coffey, music director
Connecticut Children’s Chorus 
Meredith Neumann, director
Lisa Williamson 
David Guzman 
Tyler Duncan 

Clyne Masquerade
Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Carmina Burana

Ticket holders are invited to attend a free Festival of Fate two hours prior to each performance and during intermission. This event will include performers from Sea Tea Improv, a prize wheel, a fortune teller, a Tarot card reader, a photo booth, and specialty drinks. Grand Prize Sponsor is Foxwoods Resort Casino. 

Carmina Burana: Festival of Fate is sponsored by the United Bank Foundation. 

Celebrate Juneteenth!

Juneteenth Gala

"The Evolution of Emancipation"

Friday, June 15, 2018  
Premier Reception - 7 pm | Gala - 8 pm to Midnight

Guest Emcee
Lorenzo Hall
Fox 61
Music Spun By
DJ Ronn P & DJ Dane

2018 Spirit of Juneteenth Honoring

Connecticut State Treasurer
Denise L. Nappier

Arts Advocate & Administrator
Jonathan Bruce

Musician & Producer
Alvin B. Carter, Jr.

For a full listing of events visit

New Paradigm Theatre's Hunchback will Benefit Burn Foundation

Riding on the heels of New Paradigm Theatre’s (NPT) sold-out, multi-ethnic production of Oliver-Reinvented, in 2016 and Peter Pan in 2017 at Fairfield Theatre’s Warehouse space, NPT will continue its “collective impact” productions, bridging the gap between the arts and the local community, with the musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame Aug. 18-19.

Young people of all abilities will participate side-by-side with Broadway pros to create this production. Emmy and Oscar winner Paul Bogaev will again be the musical producer as well as playing a leading role. TV and Stage veterans Scott Bryce and Jodi Stevens will co-direct.

New Paradigm, a company well-known for its inventive productions that are presented with multi-cultural, multi- generational and multi-gendered casting, has chosen Connecticut Burns Care Foundation as its unity “partner non profit.” For 40 years, CBCF has worked to support burn survivors as well as to present programs for education and advocacy to prevent burn injuries.

For more info and ticket information, visit www.nptheatre.org.

Wiliamstown Theatre Festival LineUp Set

Coming up at the Williamstown Theatre Festival:

Main Stage

The Closet | June 26 - July 14
By Douglas Carter Beane

Inspired by Francis Veber’s play Le Placard
Directed by Mark Brokaw
with Ben Ahlers, Brooks Ashmanskas, Raymond Bokhour, Matthew Broderick, Will Cobbs, Ann Harada, and Jessica Hecht

Tony Award winner and Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Matthew Broderick stars in this world premiere comedy by Douglas Carter Beane, inspired by Le Placard, the French comedy by Academy Award nominee Francis Veber. Martin O’Reilly (Broderick) is stuck in Scranton in a dead-end job, his marriage is over, and his son won’t return his calls. His only friend is his eternally optimistic co-worker (Tony nominee Jessica Hecht), who can’t bake enough muffins to stave off her romantic longings. When a stranger (Tony nominee Brooks Ashmanskas) sashays into their world, he drags Martin—and everyone around him—out of their respective closets. Helmed by Mark Brokaw, this contemporary satire breaks the chains of political correctness and celebrates the possibility of finding authenticity and love (and show tunes) in unexpected places.

By special arrangement with Simon Friend, Burnt Umber Productions and Scott Landis


Lempicka | July 19 - August 1
Book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer Music by Matt Gould

Choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly

Directed by Rachel Chavkin
with Carmen Cusack, Eden Espinosa, Natalie Joy Johnson, Justin Gregory Lopez, Azudi Onyejekwe, Steven Rattazzi, Michael McCorry Rose, Andrew Samonsky, Nathaniel Stampley, Kay Trinidad, and Rachel Tucker

Featuring Tony nominee Carmen Cusack and Eden Espinosa, this world premiere musical is directed by Tony nominee Rachel Chavkin, with music by Matt Gould and book and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer. Fleeing the Russian revolution and leaving behind a world of opulence and wealth, aristocrat Tamara de Lempicka (Espinosa) and her beloved husband Tadeusz (Andrew Samonsky) are forced to make a new life. In the rising tide of fascism, Tamara takes to painting to survive, and when she meets the free-spirited Rafaela (Cusack), a prostitute on the fringes of Parisian society, she's torn between the life she cherishes with her husband and the passion, ambition, and possibility awoken in her by her new muse. Inspired by the life of the artist who transformed herself from penniless refugee to star of the art world when the world itself teetered on chaos, Lempicka looks at the beauty and danger of one painter pursuing it all.

By special arrangement with Seaview Productions and Marathon Live Entertainment

The Member of the Wedding | August 5 - August 19
By Carson McCullers

Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch

With Ben Ahlers, Leon Addison Brown, Vinie Burrows, Will Cobbs, Tavi Gevinson, Louisa Jacobson, Tom Pecinka, Liv Rooth, Roslyn Ruff, Logan Schuyler Smith, and James Waterston.

Gaye Taylor Upchurch directs this revival of Carson McCullers' beloved play. On the eve of a family wedding in 1945, housekeeper Berenice Sadie Brown (Roslyn Ruff) can’t calm the nerves of her 12-year-old charge, Frankie (Tavi Gevinson). Berenice has raised Frankie and her cousin John Henry (Logan Schuyler Smith) as though they are her own children. But as their companion, playfellow, and mother figure, Berenice is suddenly struggling to protect them from the harsh, racially motivated injustices lurking just outside their Southern home. This cherished American work explores the complicated reality of a thoughtful and hard-working woman caught between two worlds.

The Member of the Wedding is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Nikos Stage

The Sound Inside | June 27 - July 8
By Adam Rapp
Directed by David Cromer

with Will Hochman and Mary-Louise Parker

Emmy, Golden Globe, and Tony Award winner Mary-Louise Parker stars in this world premiere play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp, directed by David Cromer. Bella Baird (Parker) is an accomplished professor at an Ivy League university who prizes her solitude. But when she faces a challenge she cannot tackle alone, she allies herself with a brilliant and mysterious student, Christopher (Will Hochman). Intensely intimate and deeply moving, this haunting play probes the question of what one person can do for another.

Artney Jackson | July 11 - July 22
By James Anthony Tyler
Directed by Laura Savia

with Joshua Boone, Alfie Fuller, Christopher Livingston, Portia, and Ray Anthony Thomas

In this world premiere play by James Anthony Tyler, Artney Jackson (Ray Anthony Thomas) is a devoted mentor, a respected employee at the local cable company, and an enthusiastic teller of “dad jokes.” After twenty-five years, he is finally up for promotion: he can almost taste the possibility of becoming a manager. Over the course of one week, Artney’s decades-old routine is shattered when his son makes plans to move out of their home, the higher-ups test his resolve to lead, and co-workers show their true colors. Will Artney Jackson overcome the turmoil and rise up? Directed by WTF Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia, this funny and touching play examines what it really means to give it your all at the office!

Seared | July 25 - August 4
By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

with Tré Davis, Michael Esper, Steven Pasquale, and Krysta Rodriguez

Chef Harry (Steven Pasquale) is a genius in the kitchen; his scallops are the “it” dish in Brooklyn. His business partner, Mike (Michael Esper), wants to expand their restaurant, but Harry sees that as selling out. When a shrewd consultant (Krysta Rodriguez) is brought in to make the case for expansion, Harry boils over. Can their most devoted employee (Tré Davis) help to put the lid back on? Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel directs this new fit-for-foodies comedy by critically acclaimed playwright Theresa Rebeck, which grapples with the intersection of creativity and commerce.

Dangerous House | August 8 - August 19
By Jen Silverman
Directed by Saheem Ali

with Phillip James Brannon, Michael Braun, Alfie Fuller, and Samira Wiley

Noxolo (Alfie Fuller) is an aspiring footballer from Cape Town who moved to London for a fresh start. With the World Cup coming to South Africa and the mounting sense that her ex-lover, Pretty (Emmy nominee Samira Wiley), is in peril, she is pulled back. Will Noxolo risk her safety to unravel the secrets of a life she swore to leave behind? Saheem Ali directs Jen Silverman's new play that asks what one woman can do for her people, for her nation, and for the love of her life.


The WTF Box Office is now open. Tickets may be purchased online at www.wtfestival.org, by phone, or in person at the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance Box Office at 1000 Main St (Route 2), Williamstown, MA 01267. The WTF Box Office phone number is 413.458.3253.

For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together to create a thrilling summer festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, and offers a rich array of accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS, Late-Night Cabarets, along with readings and workshops of new plays. Under artistic director Mandy Greenfield, the Festival launched a New Play and Musical Commissioning Program through which theatre artists including Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justine Levine, Matthew Lopez, Marsha Norman, Jiehae Park, Zoe Sarnak and Benjamin Scheuer, among others, are creating new work year-round. The Festival runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at the Festival fill theatres in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, Living on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Musical, respectively. In addition, the Festival’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Drama) and Actually played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs at Manhattan Theatre Club, and the 2015 production of Paradise Blue is currently playing at Signature Theatre in New York.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

CT Critics Circle Announces Award Nominations

For information about the awards, which will be held Monday, June 11 at Westport Country Playhouse, visit ctcritics.org/awards/
Outstanding Production – Musical
Oklahoma! – Goodspeed Musicals
Million Dollar Quartet – Seven Angels
Rags – Goodspeed Musicals
1776 – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Fun Home – Music Theatre of Connecticut

Outstanding Production – Play
An Enemy of the People – Yale Repertory Theatre
The Diary of Anne Frank – Playhouse on Park
The Chosen – Long Wharf Theatre
Fireflies – Long Wharf Theatre
Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 – Yale Repertory Theatre
The Age of Innocence – Hartford Stage

Outstanding Debut
Shannon Keegan (The Wolves) – TheaterWorks
Megan O’Callaghan (The Bridges of Madison County and Fun Home) – Music Theatre of Connecticut
Noah Kierserman (Newsies) – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble
Cast of Avenue Q – Playhouse on Park
Cast of The Wolves – TheaterWorks
Cast of The Chosen – Long Wharf Theatre
Cast of The Game’s Afoot – Ivoryton Playhouse

Outstanding Projections
Yana Birykova (Grounded) – Westport Country Playhouse
Luke Cantarella (Rags) – Goodspeed Musicals
Lucas Clopton & Darron Alley (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) – Hartford Stage
Wladimiro A. Woyno R. (Kiss) – Yale Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Sound
Frederick Kennedy (Native Son) – Repertory Theatre
Kate Marvin (Grounded) – Westport Country Playhouse
Fitz Patton (Appropriate) – Westport Country Playhouse
Jane Shaw (A Lesson from Aloes) – Hartford Stage
Robert Kaplowitz (Office Hour) – Long Wharf Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design
Linda Cho (Rags) – Goodspeed Musicals
Linda Cho (The Age of Innocence) – Hartford Stage
Joshua Pearson (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) – Hartford Stage
Fabian Fidel Aguilar (Romeo & Juliet) – Westport Country Playhouse
Leon Dobkowski (The Legend of Georgia McBride) – TheaterWorks

Outstanding Lighting
Ben Stanton (The Age of Innocence) – Hartford Stage
Michael Chybowski (1776) – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Stephen Strawbridge (Native Son) – Yale Repertory Theatre
Matthew Richards (Appropriate) – Westport Country Playhouse
Yi Zhao (Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 and 3) – Yale Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Set Design
Emona Stoykova (An Enemy of the People) – Yale Repertory Theatre
Alexander Dodge (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) – Hartford Stage
Andrew Boyce (Appropriate) – Westport Country Playhouse
David Lewis (The Diary of Anne Frank) – Playhouse on Park
Martin Scott Marchitto (The Fantasticks) – Ivoryton Playhouse

Outstanding Choreography
Katie Spelman (Oklahoma!) – Goodspeed Musicals
Christopher d’Amboise (Newsies) – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Kelli Barclay (The Will Rogers Follies) – Goodspeed Musicals
Todd L. Underwood (Saturday Night Fever) – Ivoryton Playhouse

Outstanding Featured Actor – Musical
Matt Faucher (Oklahoma) – Goodspeed Musicals
Joe Callahan (Million Dollar Quartet) Ivoryton Playhouse
Sean MacLaughlin (Rags) – Goodspeed Musicals
David Garrison (The Will Rogers Follies) – Goodspeed Musicals
Cory Candelet (The Fantasticks) – Ivoryton Playhouse

Outstanding Featured Actress – Musical
Jodi Stevens (Singin’ in the Rain) – Summer Theater of New Canaan
Gizel Jimenez (Oklahoma!) – Goodspeed Musicals
Nora Fox (Saturday Night Fever) – Ivoryton Playhouse
Megan O’Callaghan (Fun Home) – Music Theatre of Connecticut
Kimberly Immanuel (The Fantasticks) – Ivoryton Playhouse

Outstanding Featured Actress – Play
Judith Ivy (Fireflies) – Long Wharf Theatre
Darrie Lawrence (The Age of Innocence) – Hartford Stage
Carly Polistina (The Crucible) – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Sierra Boggess (The Age of Innocence) – Hartford Stage
Helen Cespedes (The Age of Innocence) – Hartford Stage

Outstanding Featured Actor – Play
James Cusati-Moyer (Kiss) – Yale Repertory Theatre
Peter Francis James (Romeo & Juliet) – Westport Country Playhouse
Tom Pecinka (Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3) – Yale Repertory
David Hiatt (Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3) – Yale Repertory
Jason Bowen (Native Son) – Yale Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Director – Musical
Terrence Mann (1776 ) – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Jenn Thompson (Oklahoma!) – Goodspeed Musicals
Kevin Connors (Fun Home) – Music Theatre of Connecticut
Rob Ruggiero (Rags) – Goodspeed Musicals
Brian Feehan (The Fantasticks) – Ivoryton Playhouse

Outstanding Director – Play
James Bundy (An Enemy of the People) – Yale Repertory Theatre
Seret Scott (Native Son ) – Yale Repertory Theatre
Ezra Barnes (The Diary of Anne Frank) – Playhouse on Park
Eric Ort (The Wolves) – TheaterWorks
Doug Hughes (The Age of Innocence) – Hartford Stage

Outstanding Actor – Musical
Jamie LaVerdiere (1776) – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
Rhett Guter (Oklahoma!) – Goodspeed Musicals
Jim Schubin (Newsies) – Connecticut Repertory Theatre
David Pittsinger (The Fantasticks) – Ivoryton Playhouse
Michael Notardonato (Saturday Night Fever) – Ivoryton Playhouse

Outstanding Actress – Musical
Samantha Massell (Rags) – Goodspeed Musicals
Mia Pinero (West Side Story) – Ivoryton Playhouse
Juliet Lambert Pratt (The Bridges of Madison County) – Music Theatre of Connecticut
Samantha Bruce (Oklahoma!) – Goodspeed Musicals
Annabelle Fox (Singin’ in the Rain) – Summer Theatre of New Canaan

Outstanding Actor – Play
Reg Rogers (An Enemy of the People) – Yale Repertory Theatre
Jerod Haynes (Native Son) – Yale Repertory Theatre
Jamison Stern (The Legend of Georgia McBride) – TheaterWorks
Boyd Gaines (The Age of Innocence) – Hartford Stage
Daniel Chung (Office Hour) – Long Wharf Theatre

Outstanding Actress – Play
Jackie Chung (Office Hour) – Long Wharf Theatre
Isabelle Barbier (The Diary of Anne Frank) – Playhouse on Park
Mia Dillon (Seder) – Hartford Stage
Jane Alexander (Fireflies) – Long Wharf Theatre
Cecelia Riddett (The Revisionist) – Playhouse on Park

Tom Killen Award
Michael O’Flaherty

Outstanding Solo Performance
Elizabeth Stahlmann (Grounded) – Westport Country Playhouse

Special Awards
To Be Announced

CT Theater Review: The Will Rogers Follies -- Goodspeed

David M. Lutken. Photo: Diane Sobolewski
The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Review
Book by Peter Stone
Music Composed and Arranged by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Directed by Don Stephenson
Choreographed by Kelli Barclay
Goodspeed Opera House
Through June 21

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
It's a light-hearted romp through the thoughts and musings of Will Rogers (the multi-talented David M Lutken, who delighted here in Connecticut and Off-Broadway in Woody Sez.)

This show, which offers some insight in to the entertainer's life, including his marriage to Betty Blake (Catherine Walker) opened on Broadway in 1991 and features music by Cy Coleman, Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and a book by Peter Stone. The Zigfeld Follies provide the backdrop (designed by Walt Spangler) for the story as well as costuming by Ilona Somogyi and Choreography by Kelli Barclay, who provides lots of tap dancing..

What Are the Highlights?
Lutken is always a delight. He's completely likable and entertains with his soft, comforting voice, often accompanying himself on any number of instruments. He and Walker have good rapport. Rogers quotes are projected (design by Michael Clark) and the Lighting Design by Rob Denton is superb.One number with moonlight and starlight also offers spotlights on characters and colors to help set the mood. Well done!

What Are the Lowlights?
Besides a draggy pace, the material seems dated. Even though Will comments on newspaper headlines and tell s us "nothing can hurt more than telling the truth," somehow the dialogue doesn't feel contemporary and jokes fall flat. Political digs don't rally the audience. Lutken manages to carry the show, however, sometimes chiding the audience for not getting a joke right away. Don Stephenson's staging seems to want to over compensate.

More Information:
The Will Rogers Follies plays at Goodspeed's Opera House,  6 Main Street, East Haddam, CT, through June 21. Performances are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 pm; Thursday at 7:30 pm (with select performances at 2pm); Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 3 and 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm (with select performances at 6:30 pm). Tickets: goodspeed.org; 860.873.8668.

Additional casting:
David Garrison (Clem Rogers), Brooke Lacy (Ziegfeld’s Favorite), Dewey Caddell (Wiley Post),
Ben Stone-Zelman (Will Rogers Jr.), Riley Briggs (Mary Rogers), Brendan Reilly Harris (Jimmy Rogers), Nathan Horne (Freddy Rogers), James Naughton (Voice of Ziegfeld)
Ensemble: Michael Biren; Aaron Burr; Sarah Fagan; Kaitlyn Frank; Brad Frenette; Emily Jeanne Phillips; Kelly Sheehan; Karilyn Ashley Surratt; Caitlin Wilayto; Borris York; Mallory Davis;
Patrick Heffernan

Additional Credits:
Sound Designer: Jay Hilton; Music Director: Michael O’Flaherty; Assistant Music Director: William J. Thomas; Orchestrations: Dan DeLange

CT Theater Review: Love Never Dies -- The Bushnell

Meghan Picerno and Gardar Thor Cortes, Photo: Joan Marcus

Love Never Dies
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Additional Lyrics by Charles Hart
Choreography by Graeme Murphy AO
Directed by Simon Phillips

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
The sequel to Andrew Lloyd-Webber's long running, multi-award winning Phantom of the Opera (still playing in New York after more than 30 years). It's 1907, 10 years after the tragic events in the labyrinth beneath the Paris Opera House when the Phantom (Gardar Thor Cortes) vanished. The young soprano, Chritine Daae (Meghan Picerno) was finally free of the mentor who tormented her soul with operatic compositions and she married her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, vicomte de Chagny (Christian Harmston). But all is not as it seems. The phantom escaped, thanks to his ally, Madame Giry (Karen Mason) and her daughter, Meg (Mary Michael Batterson), and has relocated to New York's Coney Island, where he blends in with a bunch of circus freaks as part of a vaudevillian circus show. 

In need of money, because an unhappy Raoul has hit hard times (after hitting the bottle pretty hard), Christine accepts an invitation from Oscar Hammerstein to sing in New York. When the couple and their young son, Gustave (Jake Heston Miller) arrive in the USA, however, they discover that the phantom has re-entered their lives. He uses threats against her son to get Christine to agree to sing his music and his attention for his old flame sets off thoughts of jealousy and revenge for Madame Giry and Meg.

What Are the Highlights?
Very strong vocals and a pleasing score from Sir Webber, even if it doesn't come close to matching the original. Still, some songs contain exquisite melodies and odd and haunting notes (the title song will create an ear worm). The stand-out performance comes from young Miller, who is about as perfect a child actor as I ever have seen. He has an angelic voice and an easy, natural way on stage. I kind of wish this story could have been all about him.

The sound (Mick Potter, design), notoriously a problem at the Bushnell, this time is perfection.

What Are the Lowlights?
The book. What a poor sequel. What a poor form of storytelling. If the first act has you feeling dissatisfied (and weak, predictable lyrics by Glenn Slater contribute to this state), the second act is min=blowingly bad. I felt like my brain exploded from all of the re-write possibilities that filled it. Any one of them would have created a more satisfying story and given characters more development. As it is, we have no idea why anyone does anything. Some action is so ridiculous (and looks so with Simon Phillip's direction) that it is laughable, including what is supposed to be a very dramatic ending. Gaston Leroux (who wrote the novel on which the original was based), we're wishing you were somehow here again.

To avoid spoilers, I don't feel I can fill in details, but if you are a fan of Phantom, which I definitely am, having seen it numerous times since it took Broadway by storm in 1988, I can't help but warn you that you probably will be disappointed. One mystery can be revealed, however: why this show has toured nationally and internationally, but never come to Broadway. The answer: because in its present state it would be massacred by the critics. Instead, the show can benefit from fans (there are more than 40 million who have seen Phantom) who will venture out to see a sequel to a favorite. Just remember. You have been warmed.

More Information:
Love Never Dies (but maybe it should. . . ) at the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. Performances are Wednesday, Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 2 and 8 pm; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 pm. Tickets; bushnell.org.

Additional casting:
Katarina Kemp (Fleck), Steven Petrovich (Gangle), Richard Koons (Squelch)
Ensemble: Chelsey Arce, Erin Chupinsky, Diana DiMarzio, Tyler Donahue, Yesy Garcia, Alyssa Giannetti, Michael Gillis, Tamar Greene, Natalia Lepore Hagan, Lauren Lukacek, Alyssa McAnany, Rachel Anne Moore, Bronson Norris Murphy, Dave Schoonover, Adam Soniak, John Swapshire IV, Kelly Swint, Lucas John Thompson, Correy West and Arthur Wise. 

The new touring production reflects an extensive re-working of the material by an Australian creative team for the original Australian premiere in 2011. New set and costume designs by Gabriela Tylesova, choreography by Graeme Murphy, lighting design by Nick Schlieper.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Elm Free Shakespeare Announces 23rd Season

Click Here for details! 

CT Theater Review: The Age of Innocence -- Hartford stage

Sierra Boggess (front), Sara Norton, Deirdre Madigan. Photo: T Charles Erickson
The Age of Innocence
By Edith Wharton
Adapted for the stage by Douglas McGrath
Directed by Doug Hughes
Harttford Stage
Through May 6

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
Boyd Gaines and Sierra Bogess head an excellent production of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, adapted for the stage by Douglas McGrath (this is a co-production with the McCarter Theatre Center).  It's a disturbing love story set in the Victorian era, where the rules of upper-class society can be as stifling as the corsets worn by the women (lovely period costumes are designed by Linda Cho).

Gaines is an older version of himself -- Newland Archer (Andrew Veenstra), a young attorney who marries innocent May Welland (Helen Cespedes) despite his growing attraction and feelings for the exciting Countess Ellen Olenska (Boggess), who has returned to New York following a scandal with her husband, whom she has left in Europe. Society won't tolerate another scandal, but the dream about how they might be together. The story won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 and remains relevant in 2018 because it is more about human nature and relationships than it is about the time period. People don't live in a bubble, Newland says. Actions affect others. How do you choose between love and honor? That applies today very well.

What Are the Highlights?
A sumptuous production, meticulously directed by Doug Hughes -- even better than the 1993 film that starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. A simple turn by a character can change the scene from the street to an apartment setting (as beautifully designed by John Lee Beatty, who manages to create a simple design that invokes the elegant and extravagant look of the time period. A pianist (Yan Li) blends into the scenery to provide accompaniment for an impromptu duet.

Cespedes mesmerizes as a dichotomy of May which is at once an innocent and naive, helpless female while at the same an intelligent woman fully capable of protecting herself. the chemistry between Bogess and Veenstra is intense and we feel their frustration and pain. Best yet is Gaines, who reflecting back on the events of his life, rounds out the character with wisdom and humor. Also making us laugh is Darrie Lawrence who plays May's grandmother and family matriarch Mrs. Manson Mingott. Quite delightful.

What Are the Lowlights?
None. Go see it.

More information:

McGrath is a personal favorite. He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, one of the best books for a "jukebox" style musical on Broadway. His first film as a writer and director was his adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow -- another favorite, which I think is better than the novel.

Hughes, former artistic director at Long Wharf, also is a favorite director. He won the 2005 Tony Award for Doubt and received a Tony Award nomination for the play Frozen, which is one of the most riveting productions I ever have seen. He also directed Ayad Akhtar’s Junk on Broadway this season -- look for more nominations there.

Performances of The Age of Innocence continue through May 6 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church st., Hartford, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets: www.hartfordstage.org; 860-527-5151.

Audio Described Performance— 2 pm Saturday, April 28 for patrons who are blind or have low vision — free service with admission.

Additional casting:
Deirdre Madigan, Haviland Morris, Josh Salt, Tony Ward, Nick Wyman. Haviland Morris

Sara Norton, Dan Owens, Sara Schwab, Alessandro Gian Viviano, students from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, are cast in the Ensemble.

Additional credits:
Lighting Designer Ben Stanton; Sound Design and Original Music by Mark Bennett

CT Theater Review: The Revisionist -- Playhouse on Park

Cecelia Riddett and Carl Howell . Photo:Curt Henderson
The Revisionist
By Jesse Eisenberg
Directed by Sasha Bratt
Playhouse on Park
Through April 29

What's It All About?
The New England premiere of Jesse Eisenberg's play about family ties. David (Carl Howell) is a young book writer way past his deadline, so he shows up in Poland at the home of his 75-year-old second cousin, Maria (Cecelia Riddett), where he hopes to find some peace and quiet to revise his manuscript. Maria, who is so excited to have a visit from a family member, doesn't want to leave David alone, however. She wants to take him site seeing, to prepare big meas for him and to share family history. The old widow doesn't get many visitors, except for Zenon (Sebastian Buczyk), a friend who takes her in cab to run errands. Family is everything to Maria. Portraits cover the walls of her small flat (designed by Emily Nichols), especially since she lost most of hers in the Holocaust. But David shows little interest until one night, the two loosen up over some Vodka and some unsettling secrets find their way out of the family closet.

What Are the Highlights?
Tight direction by Sasha Bratt allows strong performances by Howel and Riddett to find their legs. The relationship between the two is dynamic and interesting to watch in its development.

What Are The Lowlights?
Eisenberg's play loses direction in the second act and we're not exactly sure where it is taking us.

More Information:
Each Sunday matinee includes a talkback with the cast and director. A special Tuesday matinee has been planned for April 24 at 2 pm. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm;
Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm through April 29 at Playhouse on Park,  244 Park Road, West Hartford. Tickets are $30-$40: www.playhouseonpark.org; 860-523-5900 x10.

Friday, April 13, 2018

CT Review: An Evening with James Mapes

An Evening With James Mapes
Fairfield Theatre Company

By Lauren Yarger
In the midst of the crazy end-of-theater-season schedule, I took a break to see a show I have been wanting to see for years: Master of the Imagination, featuring James Mapes, an actor, entertainer and showman, who recently performed a one-night-only performance of the show at Fairfield Theater Company's Stage One.

A Connecticut resident, Mapes delights with an evening of applied imagination -- what you might think of as mind reading -- rounded out with hypnosis, storytelling, humor and just a dash of magic. The show recently was performed as a fundraiser on hurricane-ravaged St. Thomas where he and his wife have a home.

A video with a welcome from Anthony Hopkins as well as island scenes shown to the tune of "Cheeseburger in Paradise" get the evening off to a fun start. Mapes states up front that he's not a  psychic. Instead, he uses suggestion and persuasion and the results are quite entertaining thanks to participation by audience members who allow Mapes to play with their subconscious minds.

In one demonstration, Mapes let's the audience in on secrets for being able to tell when a person is lying. He gives a number of $20 bills to a participant and takes one back each time the volunteer is caught in a lie. At the Fairfield show, Mapes had selected an audience member very skilled in deception and he lost one of the bills -- something that doesn't happen very often, he tells us. Roaring his hearty laugh, which brightens the performance throughout, Mapes accepted defeat while explaining how he missed -- what facial features or eye contact might have suggested truth. 

Suddenly a man walked down the aisle and up on stage. He apparently had attended a previous show hosted by Mapes years ago when the hypnotist embedded a subconscious suggestion compelling the man to follow directions should he ever hear a particular prompt. Hearing the right words in dialogue during the show in Fairfield, the man followed the suggestion came forward and stepped up on stage. He had no idea that he had done so.

An extended hypnosis and age regression demonstration fills most of the second act of the show, which runs more than two hours. At Mapes's suggestion, people fall asleep on command and are unable to remember their own names. During intermission, audience members talked with each speculating on how Mapes had done some of his "tricks." The informal atmosphere allows the audience to feel like they are enjoying an evening with a friend and questions are welcome during the show as well.

Mapes's talent isn't limited to the stage, where he has presented several version of the show including A Journey to the Imagination. He puts his more than 40 years of studying human behavior into action as a motivational speaker working with major corporations like British Airways, Sprint, IBM and others whose employees have enjoyed his "Imagine That!," "True Leadership" or "Mind Over Body" programs. He has entertained government agencies and even was flown to Saudi Arabia where he amazed a sheikh. He also works with cancer patients to minimize pain and beeding during procedures.

His book, "Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner's Guide to the Mind," deals with how to make quick,  positive change in one's life and his latest, "Imagine That: Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance" shows readers how to apply imagination to productivity.

For more information, visit mastertheimagination.comwww.jamesmapes.com.

Full disclosure: Mapes's wife, Susan Granger, is a theater critic colleague.

Monday, March 26, 2018

CT Theater Review: The Legend of Georgia McBride -- TheaterWorks

Austin Thomas and Jamison Stern. Photo: Lanny Nagler.
The Legend of Georgia McBride
By Matthew Lopez
Directed by Rob Ruggiero
Choreography by Ralph Perkins
Through April 22

By Lauren Yarger
A washed-up Elvis impersonator finds himself as a drag queen performer in this play with music from The Whipping Man playwright Matthew Lopez getting a run at TheaterWorks.

Casey(Austin Thomas) and his wife, Jo (Samaria Nixon-Fleming) are trying to get by on her waitress tips and what he earns as an Elvis impersonator at Cleo's, a dive nightclub run by Eddie (J. Tucker Smith) in the Florida Panhandle. Just when they find out they are expecting, Casey finds out that Eddie is replacing him with a drag-queen act headlined by Miss Tracey Mills (Jamison Stern) and Rexy -- short for Anorexia Nervosa -- (Nik Alexander, who also doubles as the couple's landlord, Jason, who is about to evict them for not paying the rent).

Casey is given the option of bar tending to earn a few bucks, but when Rexy gets drunk and can't go on, Tracey gives Casey a quick how-to in drag queen lip syncing and a star is born. Well, it actually takes some practice and Director Rob Ruggiero expertly captures humor and growth during this sequence, and suddenly Rexy is out and Tracey and her new creation -- Georgia McBride -- are packing them in at Cleo's. There is one problem, though, Casey hasn't told Jo how he's really making a living. Is it because he is embarrassed, or because he is enjoying his new persona too much?

Part of the evening's entertainment (runt time is one hour and 45 minutes without intermission) includes a lengthy drag queen show brought to life by Choreography by Ralph Perkins and Paul Tate dePoo III's set design (it moves quickly from backstage at the club to Casey and Jo's apartment to center stage) lighted by the always excellent John Lasiter. Special kudos go to Costume Designer Leon Dobkowski and Wig Designer Mark Adam Rampmeyer, who create many looks for the guys dressing as gals.

Georgia McBride works on becoming a legend at TheaterWorks,  233 Pearl St., Hartford. The theater warns this show is for ages 14 and up. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm. Tickets are $45-$70: theaterworkshartford.org.

Additional credit:
Assistant Director, Eric Ort; Sound Design, Ed Chapman.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Calling All Old Theater Lovers!

Centennial Memorial Temple

You are invited to an open house to see an art deco theater now available for rental in New York.

The Centennial Memorial Temple on 14th Street is a step back into the past. Built in 1929 at the Salvation Army's headquarters at 120 W. 14th St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues to honor the 100th anniversary of its founder, William Booth, this state-of-the-art performance hall was designated a New York City landmark in 2017.

The theater is available for all kinds of events including  film shoots, concerts, corporate meetings, movie screenings, fundraisers, graduations and town hall meetings. The theater seats 1,347 while Railton Hall, located under the auditorium, can host up to 100 guests and Mumford Hall, right below Railton, is available for groups of up to 220 for an intimate luncheon, corporate meeting or staff training.

CMT’s technical staff members have won Grammy Awards, worked on the Oscars, served on crews for top recording artists like Sting and the Foo Fighters, toured with Broadway shows and staffed production crews at major TV studios. All proceeds from the rental of our spaces are used to support The Salvation Army’s more than 100 programs and services in the Greater New York area, which serve more than a million at-risk adults, children, and families each year.

If you are unable to attend the open house April 10 from 10 am to noon, you may arrange a private tour. To RSVP for the open house, to arrange a tour or for more information, call 212-337-7339 or visit salvationarmyny.org/openhouse.

All proceeds from the rental of our spaces are used to support The Salvation Army’s more than 100 programs and services in the Greater New York area, which serve more than a million at-risk adults, children, and families each year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

CT Theater Review: Baskerville -- Long Wharf

Owen, Pearce, Moggridge, Livingston
By Ken Ludwig
Directed by Brendon Fox
Long Wharf Theatre
Through March 25

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
It's Ken Ludwig's comic twist on the Sherlock Holmes (Alex Moggridge) mystery "The Hound of the Baskervilles."  Holmes and his trusty assistant, Dr. Watson (Daniel Pearce) offer their assistance to unravel a mystery around a fatal heart attack might actually be murder and a hideous, huge hound who may be the culprit. Think "The 39 Steps," with it's silly humor and gags, only not quite as engaging.

What Are the Highlights?
An able supporting cast doubling, tripling and more to bring to life numerous characters. The cast includes Kelly Hutchinson (Actress 1), Christopher Livingston (Actor 2), Brian Owen (Actor 1).

What Are the Lowlights?
It's a fun time at the theater, but the most annoying thing for me was that the actor playing Watson resembled what I expect Watson to look like and vice versa. I had to stop and re-gear my thoughts several times because I kept getting them confused.

More information:
Baskerville is elementary at Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven, through March 25. longwharf.org

The creative team includes Tim Mackabee (set design), Lex Liang (costume design), Robert Wierzel (lighting design), Victoria Deiorio (sound design)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hamilton Releases New Cast Photos

Mandy Gonzalez, Lexi Lawson and Joanna A. Jones. Photo: Joan Marcus
Michael Luwoye. Photo: Joan Marcus

James Monroe Iglehart and Thayne Jasperson.
Photo Joan Marcus
And before you ask (and many of you do quite regularly), no I have not reviewed these folks. I was invited to review the show Off-Broadway at the Public Theater with the original cast, but have not had the pleasure of seeing it on Broadway. Read that review, which put the show in our Top Picks category, here.  There still is a very long wait for tickets. Try the lottery here.

For more information about the show, visit hamiltonmusical.com/new-york/. For information about whether a tour is coming to your city, visit www.broadway.org/tours/details/hamilton,673. The show is scheduled to come to The Bushnell in Hartford next season. Look for more information Monday, following the Bushnell's 2018-2019 Broadway season announcement.

Opportunities to Work for Connecticut Arts Organizations

The Connecticut Office of the Arts has launched its 2018 Arts Workforce Initiative designed to provide internship opportunities for Connecticut college students, emerging professionals and military veterans at Connecticut not-for-profit arts and cultural organizations. 

A total of 28 individuals will be placed with selected host organizations for a 10-week, paid internship June 4-Aug. 17, 2018.

To be eligible for an AWI Internship, individuals must:
Be a Connecticut resident 
Demonstrate a financial need 
Align with the Office of the Arts' READI Framework
Have availability to successfully complete the program
Specialize in or wish to grow professionally in the following categories: arts administration, arts presenting/curating, media arts, performing arts, visual arts, arts education, and literary arts
Be enrolled in an accredited college or university or be an emerging arts professional (for the "40 and Under" Category)
Be a veteran of the US Armed Forces (for the "Veterans in the Arts" Category)
Apply here. Applications must be received no later than midnight Sunday, April 8, 2018.

To be eligible as an AWI Host Organization, an organization must:
  • Be a not-for-profit Connecticut arts/cultural organization
  • Be able to provide an internship opportunity within the following categories: arts administration, arts presenting/curating, media arts, performing arts, visual arts, arts education, and literary arts
  • Be able to provide a hands-on and engaging internship opportunity 
  • Be in alignment with and display an understanding of COA's READI Framework
  • Be able to accommodate an intern or interns from June 4, 2018 through August 17, 2018
  • Be committed to ensuring that the intern or interns complete(s) the required 250 hours
Apply here to be a host organization. Applications must be received no later than midnight Sunday, April 8, 2018.

For more information:
Contact Adriane Jefferson at 860-500-2328 or via email

Due to the enormous success of the AWI pilot program in FY17, COA has committed to expanding the Arts Workforce Initiative in 2018. The number of interns has more than doubled from 12 to 28 and the application process is now open to all Connecticut not-for-profit arts and cultural organizations that can provide a hands-on and engaging internship opportunity in the arts.

Last year, during the pilot phase of the Arts Workforce Initiative, 12 individuals successfully completed internships with the following organizations:
Hartbeat Ensemble, Hartford
TheaterWorks, Hartford
Neighborhood Studios, Bridgeport
The Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford
The Writer's Block Ink, New London
The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven
Expressiones, New London
The Amistad Center for Arts and Culture, Hartford
City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport
The Judy Dworin Performance Project, Hartford
The Autorino Center at St. Joseph’s College, West Hartford

The Workforce Initiative is funded by the Connecticut Office of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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