First The Artful Dodger, Now Fagin For Donald Corren

Donald Corren remembers his first professional musical when, at the age of 10, his Uncle Ira took him to see a touring production of Oliver! in San Francisco, near his hometown of Stockton.

“Watching a bunch of young boys sing and dance and having a great time, it was my ‘I want to do that’ moment,” Corren says. He subsequently played the musical’s Artful Dodger in a high school production and now he has the lead as Fagin in Goodspeed Musical’s Oliver! which plays through Sept. 8.

“You have to love him,” he says of his rogue character that teaches a band of street kids to “pick a pocket or two.” “But Fagin in the [Charles Dickens] book is not particularly lovable.”

But in a musical, he says, the audience has to find something to like in a leading character. So does the actor.

“It’s his sense of humor,” Corren says, “and a sense that maybe he knows deep inside that he could be doing something better. You’ve got to touch that piece of heart in him because musicals are all about heart.”

And yes, he says, Uncle Ira will be there to see him in the starring role at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, coming full circle, after all these years.

Announcing: The 2018-2019 Season Ten at Playhouse on Park!

WEST HARTFORD – Select guests arrived to Playhouse on Park for an exclusive event recently announcing Season Ten at the non-profit professional theater that was founded by Executive Director Tracy Flater and Co-Artistic Directors Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller.

“It’s amazing to us that there are all of these other theaters that you could spend your nights with, and the fact that you’re here tonight means a ton, so thank you,” remarked Harris, who joined Flater and Zoller on the Playhouse stage via Skype. Regarding Season Ten, Harris remarked: “We think about our space, and these shows that we’re passionate about…each show becomes a communal, immersive experience.”

Season Ten opens with Rick Elice’s PETER AND THE STARCATCHER (music by Wayne Barker), a wildly theatrical, hilarious and innovative retelling of the century-old legend Peter Pan. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER playfully explores the depths of greed and despair and the bonds of friendship duty and love. Winner of 5 Tony Awards, a dozen brilliant actors play more than 100 unforgettable characters using their enormous talent, ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of imagination. Playhouse co-founder and co-artistic director Sean Harris is slated to direct this show, running September 12-October 14, 2018.

Running October 31-November 18, 2018 is Dale Wasserman’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. Ezra Barnes (The Diary of Anne Frank) will direct this boisterous, ribald and ultimately shattering story of a mental hospital’s inhabitants. When a brash new inmate arrives, the rigid program of the ward, which is headed by the tyrannical Nurse Ratched, is thrown up for grabs. In a world where sanity means conformity, and following the rules is the only way to survive, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is a powerful exploration of both the beauty and the danger of being an original. This Tony-award winning adaptation by Dale Wasserman pays homage to the original storytelling of the classic novel by Ken Kesey, while adding a chilling, poignant edge that captivates and enthralls audiences.

MURDER FOR TWO will run January 16th – February 3rd, 2019 and will certainly counter those New England winter doldrums with its blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery! The twist in this zany story is that one actor investigates the crime, and the other plays all of the suspects. And they BOTH play piano! This madcap mystery (book and music by Joe Kinosian; book and lyrics by Kellen Blair) is a 90-minute whodunit loaded with killer laughs. Hartt School Alumni Kyle Metzger to direct.
Four badass women lose their heads in Lauren Gunderson’s THE REVOLUTIONISTS, an irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in 1793 Paris. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, art and activism, feminism and terrorism, compatriots and chosen sisters, and how we actually go about changing the world. Running February 20-March 10, 2019.

Gleaned from the imagination of Co-Artistic Director Darlene Zoller, stop/time dance theater returns with another original show complete with dancing, singing and music, running from March 27th – April 7th, 2019. In their 16th season, stop/time will be sharing their take on classic and current movies which is sure to be an audience pleaser.

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV runs April 24th – May 12th, 2019. This award-winning play by Aaron Posner, based on the best-selling novel by Chaim Potok (the same writers of Playhouse on Park’s sold-out hit, THE CHOSEN) tells the story of Asher Lev, a young Jewish painter torn between his Hassidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his artistic promise. When his artistic genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents and community, young Asher realizes he must make a difficult choice between art and faith. This stirring adaptation of a modern classic presents a heartbreaking and triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist.

The Playhouse co-artistic directors, Sean Harris and Darlene Zoller (Cabaret, Hair, A Chorus Line), are lined up to direct The Scottsboro Boys, by John Kander, Fred Ebb and David Thompson (Chicago, Cabaret). The Scottsboro Boys has been hailed as one of the most visionary pieces ever to grace the Broadway stage. Nominated for a staggering twelve Tony Awards, THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS will have you tapping your toes and hollering for justice as the tables are turned on one of the most infamous events in American history: nine African-American men accused of a crime they did not commit. With its brilliant stew of performance styles and piercing new songs, it is truly a triumph of the American Musical Theatre.

Current subscribers may now renew their Mainstage Series Subscriptions. New subscriptions are also available for purchase. Individual tickets go on sale June 13. Contact the Box Office at 860-523-5900 x10 or visit www.playhouseonpark.org for more information. Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.

Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury Announces Their 2018-19 Mainstage Season

Semina De Laurentis, Artistic Director at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, has announced their 2018-19 Mainstage Season. She stated, “It’s all about the audience enjoying great plays, comedies, and musicals. We put a great equity season together that all ages will enjoy. Stop by and see us!”

The 28th Mainstage Season starts with Altar Boyz on September 26. All show performances run Thursday through Sunday with matinees at 2 PM and evenings at 8 PM. Doors and Devil’s Corner Bar open one hour before curtain. Discounted season subscriptions are available now through August 31. Special free food and drink nights are available on many evening and matinee performances. The theatre is located in historic Hamilton Park at 1 Plank Road in Waterbury. Free parking is available. Just off I-84. For information or tickets call the box office at 203-757-4676 or on their website.

 

September 26-Oct 21
ALTAR BOYZ Book by Kevin Del Aquilar; Music & Lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker
Meet Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham – aka the ALTAR BOYZ. They’re on a mission from above to put the “pop” back in piety, wooing legions of fans throughout their “Raise the Praise” tour. Next stop? Waterbury! Full of sharp parody, sinfully spectacular dancing, and irreverent humor, this heavenly boy-band is adored by audiences and critics alike. Uncontrollable laughs and lighthearted fun. This musical of pure delight will have you laughing and singing along. ALTAR BOYZ is destined to rock the masses of all denominations! “An energetic CROWD-PLEASER!” –Variety

 

November 8-December 2
RIP CORD By David Lindsay-Abaire
David Lindsay-Abaire’s ripping Ripcord is a deeply satisfying and entertaining story of two elderly women thrown together by a comic cosmic force possessed of a wicked sense of humor. A sunny room on an upper floor is prime real estate in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, so when the cantankerous Abby is forced to share her quarters with new-arrival Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary. “…. sweet-and-sour RIPCORD is great fun….larded with moments of surprise, both wacky and more substantial. When the play gets serious, it’s genuinely moving.” — Time Out NY “A show to treasure….” Deadline

 

January 31-February 24
GEORGE AND GRACIE: PART II
A nostalgic and hilarious look back at the famous husband and wife comedy team: George Burns and Gracie Allen. R. Bruce Connelly and Semina De Laurentis reunite in a sequel to the triumphant 2017 production: GEORGE & GRACIE: THE EARLY YEARS. Experience the delight as these two award-winning actors bring to life the unique comedy of the early years of Burns and Allen in this special theatrical event just for Seven Angels. Once again, join George and Gracie, their neighbors Blanche and Harry and other guests in this all new sequel production. GEORGE & GRACIE: PART II is to benefit Seven Angels Theatre educational and HALO Awards program.

 

March 14-April 7
FIRST DATE Book by Austin Winsberg | Music and Lyrics: Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. When blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. In a delightful and unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and conversational land mines. Can this couple turn what could be a dating disaster into something special before the check arrives? “A winning crowd pleaser delivered with comic verve and charm. This is one first date you don’t want to end!” — NY1 “Sassy, madcap fun.” – Associated Press

 

April 25-May 19
THE WHO’S TOMMY Book by Des McAnuff, Pete Townsend. Music by Pete Townsend. Based on the iconic 1969 rock concept album, The Who’s TOMMY is an exhilarating story of hope, healing and the human spirit. The story of the pinball-playing, deaf, dumb and blind boy who triumphs over his adversities has inspired, amazed and puzzled audiences for more than 40 years. This five-time Tony Award-winning musical was translated to the stage by theatrical wizard, Des McAnuff, into a high-energy, one-of-a-kind theatrical event, you don’t want to miss.

Pillow Talking’s Video Interview with TERRENCE MANN

Terrence Man is a true Renaissance Man (no pun intended). Actor, singer, dancer, director, producer, teacher — you name it, he’s done it — film, television, and of course, theatre. Terry graciously took time out of his busy schedule as Artistic Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s 2018 Nutmeg Summer Series where he is soon to be starring in Sweeney Todd (and later directing Jesus Christ Superstar) to chat with us about “show business” as well as “the business of show.”