Bonnie Goldberg converses with Sarna Lapine abou Goodspeed’s newest musical, “You Are Here”

Sarna Lapine never aspired to be an actor or a playwright. This is despite the fact that she loves theater, literature and reading. She does love to analyze texts and is excited aboutt the way to take conversations and bring them to life. It’s not so surprising that Sarna Lapine has become a director, one who is sought after. For her apprenticeship, she served as associate director on Broadway for Bartlett Sher and she hasn’t looked back since.

Recently Sarna undertook her most ambitious project ever, overseeing a “really fabulous American play I always wanted to direct.” “.Photograph 51” was cool, satisfying and challenging. Combining philosophy and science, it concerned the first image ever of a double helix, to unlock DNA.” With a producer, set designer, interpreter and translator, she spent a year in Japan transforming her dream into reality once the rights to the piece finally became available.

Today she is working closer to home, at Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre in Chester, on a new project, one that has never been staged before: “You Are Here;” with book by Brian Hill and music and lyrics by Neil Bertram. This bittersweet musical asks the question “what if?” of Diana, a Chicago housewife in 1969.

July 20, 1969 is a signature day for Diana, not only does she witness on television a man historically walk on the moon for the first time, she takes a giant leap of her own. This late-in-life lady suddenly finds herself abandoning her existence in the suburbs with a cozy couch and kitchen, to strike out into a fast-paced world with a keen desire to discover herself. This housewife, with no children and a staid and stable husband, seeks to find who she is. No more quiet inner life for her.

Diana is being brought to life by Patti Cohenour, whom Sarna Lapine says “is carrying the part beautifully, with honesty, strength and vulnerability, just as the composers imagined.” In her journey of discovery, Diana is accompanied by three voices, Andrea Frierson, Stacia Fernandez and Dan Rosales. With her security net evaporated and a new to-do list in hand, Diana proves it’s never too late to change, in a deeply moving performance, that will surely touch the audience.

The message to the audience is to “step out of your comfort zone and try something new Live in the moment and start from where you are now.” The music is an “articulation of Diana’s experiential journey over a period of just four days.” To Lapine, directing a brand new work has special aspects, “the reward of embracing an unknown and making discoveries. This super professional cast is up for the challenges.”

For tickets ($49-54), call Goodspeed at 860-873-8668 or online at www.goodspeed.org. Performances will be at the Terris Theatre, 33 North Main Street, Chester from May 18 to June 10. Shows are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For Sarna Lapine, directing will never be boring. She is on her toes all the time, without any need for ballet shoes. She knows how to live in the moment, just like Diana, and she is not afraid to take a leap into the unknown.

TheaterWorks announces its 2018-2019 Season

HARTFORD, CT – May 13, 2018

Producing Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero announced today that TheaterWorks 2018-2019 Season will include The River by Jez Butterworth, A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath, Fully Committed by Becky Mode, and Actually by Anna Zeigler.  The fifth and final production will be announced shortly.

Rob said “I’m excited by the adventure this season – our renovation season – presents. It comes with challenges but we think it also offers great opportunities, creatively. Part of the season will be produced in different space and we’re looking forward to the challenges that brings us and our audience. We’ll share the same intimate experience but through a news lens. At the close of the season, we’ll welcome everyone back to 233 Pearl where the experience will be everything TheaterWorks audiences have always known plus so much more.”

TheaterWorks will close its 32nd season with The Invisible  Hand by Ayad Akhtar running May 24 through June 23 and Hand to God by Robert Askins running July 20-August 19, 2017.

For more information contact Freddie at 860.986.7466 or freddie@theaterworkshartford.org


THE RIVER
By Jez Butterworth
Directed by Rob Ruggiero
October 4 – November 11

On a moonless night in August when the sea trout are ready to run, a man brings his new girlfriend to the remote family cabin where he has come to fly-fish since he was a boy. But she’s not the only woman he has brought here – or indeed the last.  Erotic, chilling and poetic, The River asks: when we find each other, are we trying to recapture someone we once lost? In this haunting play from the 2015 Broadway season, we’re drawn into a world of love, loss, ritual and regret.

A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2
By Lucas Hnath
Directed Jenn Thompson
January 18 – February 24

Written by Tony Award nominee Lucas Hnath, A Doll’s House, Part 2 explores, in uproarious fashion, the emotional chaos that results when Nora Helmer (of Henrik Ibsen’s classic) returns to the home from which she exited fifteen years earlier. Nominated for 8 Tony Awards in 2017, including best new play, A Doll’s House, Part 2 is a whip-smart, contemporary comedy. Ibsen never could have imagined a Nora with as much humor and sharp wit.

FULLY COMMITTED 
By Becky Mode
Directed by Bill Fennelly
March 21 – April 21

Jamison Stern (The Legend of George McBride) returns in this devastatingly funny one act that follows a day in the life of Sam Peliczowski, an out-of-work actor who mans the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan’s number-one restaurant. Coercion, threats, bribes, histrionics—a cast of desperate callers will stop at nothing in their zeal to land the right table. Amid the barrage, Sam’s got his own needs to contend with—his recently widowed dad wants him home for Christmas, and he’s up for a choice part at Lincoln Center. While juggling scheming socialites, name-dropping wannabes, fickle celebrities and egomaniacal bosses, can he manage to look out for himself?

ACTUALLY
By Anna Ziegler
Directed by Taneisha Duggan
May 23 – June 23

At a raucous party during their freshman year at Princeton, Tom and Amber connect in ways that seem innocent enough at first. But as things progress, they find themselves in murky territory, with ramifications that could affect the rest of their lives. What actually happened between them? Tackling the highly charged topic of sexual consent, this play explores the intersection of gender and race on campus today, offering “a portrait of a generation” (The Boston Globe). This deeply felt, funny and thought-provoking play comes from fast-rising playwright Anna Ziegler.

TBA
July 25 – August 25

At First Performance of ‘My Fair Lady’ In New Haven, Drama Was Offstage

The snow was coming down. The turntables didn’t turn. The star refused to perform. The cast was dismissed, thinking that that night’s show would not go on.

Yet “My Fair Lady” opened improbably, triumphantly, to its first paying audience on that Saturday, Feb. 4, 1956, at the Shubert Theater here, making the night the stuff of theater legend.

The out-of-town circuit for shows destined for Broadway — and its pressure cooker atmosphere — has largely been replaced with the more measured pace of readings, workshops and developmental productions at regional theaters and presenting houses. The latest, highly anticipated revival of “My Fair Lady,” which opens Thursday at Lincoln Center Theater, was developed in-house. The weather forecast is expected to be more kind.

But in 1956, signs of trouble for the new musical, based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” came early. In the days before opening, the production’s turntables, a new kind of cable-driven stage device, failed to work properly.Tensions, too, were rising a few blocks away, inside the rehearsal hall at the Jewish Community Center.

Rex Harrison, the show’s Henry Higgins and marquee star, was looking increasingly nervous, as the 20-year-old Julie Andrews, who was to play Eliza Doolittle, was keeping her cool. In an era before microphones could supersize voices, actors had only their own vocal cords to project to the back of the theater, and Harrison — a novice to the Broadway musical, though he had sung in London shows decades before — was feeling insecure.

The show’s director, Moss Hart; its librettist and lyricist, Alan Jay Lerner; and its composer, Frederick Loewe, tried to reassure the temperamental actor, but when he faced an orchestra of 32 musicians in the 1,600-seat, two-balconied theater in a final rehearsal for that first public performance, he became overwhelmed.

CONTINUED

The World Premiere of The Flamingo Kid, a New Musical, Closes Hartford Stage 2018-19 Season

The 2018-19 season closes with the world premiere of the musical The Flamingo Kid (May 9 – June 2, 2019), based on the 1984 box-office hit film co-written and directed by the late Garry Marshall that helped make Matt Dillon a household name. The stage musical will be directed by Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Anastasia) and feature book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman (2014 Tony Award-Winner for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) and music by Scott Frankel (Grey Gardens, War Paint on Broadway). The Flamingo Kid will be Freedman’s first musical since A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder and Frankel’s next after War Paint, which earned him a Tony Award nomination and closed on Broadway last November.

In the summer of ’63, against the wishes of his father, Brooklyn teenager Jeffrey Willis leaves behind his blue-collar roots for an exciting job working the cabana at the colorful El Flamingo — a posh private club on Long Island. The music, the romance, and the beach are magical – until tensions grow between father and son when a slick club member takes Jeffrey under his wing.