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Connecticut Theater News
BECOMING DR. RUTH is Final Production of SQUARE ONE THEATRE’s 27th Season Anniversary Season
A play about the life-affirming spirit of Karola Ruth Siegel, the girl who would later become Dr. Ruth Westheimer
Square One Theatre concludes its current season with the stage production of Becoming Dr. Ruth, which is filled with the humor, honesty and life-affirming spirit of Karola Ruth Siegel, the girl who would later become Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Most everyone knows Dr. Ruth Westheimer from her career as America’s foremost pioneering sex therapist. However, very few know her backstory from fleeing Nazi Germany in the Kindertransport, to joining the Haganah, the Jewish underground freedom fighters in Jerusalem first as a scout and then a sniper, to her struggles to succeed as a single mother after coming to America. According to The New York Times "[Dr. Ruth's] story is certainly a stirring one…[and this is] an illuminating portrait." The New Yorker said "It's a simple premise, which is fascinating (and heartbreaking) all on its own. The playwright convincingly and humorously conveys Westheimer’s surprising dignity, courage, and resilience."
Becoming Dr. Ruth features the Square One Subscribers’ award-winning favorite Alice McMahon as Dr. Ruth and is directed by Tom Holehan.
Becoming Dr. Ruth opens on Thursday, May 4 (2017) and continues Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, May 21. Performances are literally on the stage of Stratford Academy located at 719 Birdseye Street in Stratford, Connecticut…off I-95 Exit 32 (northbound and southbound).
Becoming Dr. Ruth by Mark St. Germain is a great deal more than shortness jokes (Dr. Westheimer is 4 feet 7) and sexual humor. The script is sprinkled with both, but a tragic childhood lies behind her omnipresent broad smile and constant chirpiness. She was Karola Ruth Siegel, who was born in 1928 in Germany to Orthodox Jewish parents, less than five years before Hitler became chancellor. She was one of the lucky ones, because she was sent at age 10 to live in Switzerland as part of Kindertransport, a program that saved thousands of Jewish children.
When she moved to the United States, all it took was a radio show (“Sexually Speaking,” which began in 1980) to make her a star. Audiences fell in love with the idea of a petite matronly lady with a high-pitched, German-accented voice speaking frankly about personal sexual matters on the radio.
Alice McMahon’s Square One Theatre credits include: Good People, Olive and the Bitter Herbs, Southern Comforts, Rabbit Hole, Talking Heads, As It Is In Heaven, Wonderful World, Later Life, Not Waving, Hay Fever, Three Viewings. Other stage credits include: Love, Loss & What I Wore, Come Back, Little Sheba (Pound Ridge Theatre) And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Katonah Community Theatre) Deathtrap, Light Up the Sky, Barefoot in the Park, Invitation to a March (Country Players of Brookfield) and Blithe Spirit (Wilton Play Shop). She is the recipient of Square One Subscriber Awards for Outstanding Actress (Southern Comforts, Not Waving), Outstanding Featured Actress (Later Life). She is a graduate of American Academy of Dramatic Arts and holds a Masters of Theatre History from UConn and Masters of Library Science from Long Island University and is employed as librarian at Greenwich Library.
Playwright Mark St. Germain’s other plays include Freud’s Last Session, Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah, Best of Enemies, Camping with Henry and Tom and Out of Gas on Lover’s Leap. He is the recipient of Awards from Lucille Lortel, Off Broadway Alliance and Outer Critics Circle. In addition, he is an Associate Artist of the Barrington Stage Company, a member of the Dramatist Guild, the Writers Guild East, alumnus of New Dramatists and a member of the HB Playwrights Unit.
Performances of BECOMING DR. RUTH are: Thursday, May 4 (2017) at 7pm (time is correct), Friday, May 5 at 8pm, Saturday, May 6 (two performances) at 4pm (twilight matinee) and at 8pm, Sunday, May 7 at 2pm (matinee), Thursday, May 11 at 7pm (time is correct), Friday, May 12 at 8pm, Saturday, May 13 (two performances) at 4pm (twilight matinee) and at 8pm, Sunday, May 14 at 2pm (matinee). Thursday, May 18 at 7pm (time is correct), Friday, May 19 at 8pm, Saturday, May 20 (two performances) at 4pm (twilight matinee) and at 8pm, Sunday, May 21 at 2pm (matinee - final performance)
Single tickets are $20 for adults and $19 for senior citizens and students. Tickets may be purchased: By phone: Box Office at 203.375.8778 (24/7). Online at: squareonetheatre.com. In person: at box office 60 minutes prior to each performance.
All performances are literally on the stage of Stratford Academy located at 719 Birdseye Street in Stratford, Ct….off I-95 Exit 32 (northbound and southbound) in Stratford Center.
Connecticut Repertory Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical”
Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will stage “Shrek The Musical” to close out the 2016-2017 season. Margarett Perry will direct. Performances will be held in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre from April 20th through April 30th, 2017. For tickets and information please visit crt.uconn.edu or call (860) 486-2113.
Based on the award-winning DreamWorks animated film, “Shrek The Musical” is this season’s must-see musical for the entire family! Join our unlikely Ogre hero and his loyal steed, a wise cracking Donkey, as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful – if slightly temperamental – Princess Fiona from a fire breathing, love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad, a gang of homeless fairytale misfits, and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got the biggest, brightest all-singing, all-dancing musical extravaganza around! “Shrek The Musical” received eight 2009 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. “Shrek” is a joyous monster hit!
Director Margarett Perry says, “This is a story that is about when we don’t feel accepted and we want more – but we don’t think we’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. This story gives us hope to come out of our shell and find our truth and beauty as a person. It is so funny and so endearing.”
Perry added, “The challenge in bringing Shrek to the stage is to honor the original material – the book and the animated feature that we know and love. We have to create fairytale creatures that are not cartoons – but real people. Our team has done an incredible job creating these vivid fairytale characters, but they have a contemporary spin. They are just a little more relatable as we recognize a piece of ourselves in them. It has also been an incredible experience to create some of these characters with the collaboration of UCONN’s Puppet Arts department.”
Will Mann leads the cast as Shrek. His Broadway/New York credits include: “Memphis” (Bobby), “Honeymooners” (pre-Broadway) (Ensemble). National Tours: “Memphis” (Bobby), “Billy Elliot” (Mr. Braithwaite), “Joseph” (Judah) (dir/chor. Andy Blankenbuhler), “Elf” (Chadwick/Santa u/s) (Madison Square Garden), “Wonderful Town” (Valenti). Regional: “Ragtime” (Coalhouse), “Bella” (Mr. Dinwiddie) (world premiere), “Ever After” (Ensemble) (world premiere, dir. Kathleen Marshall). Movies/TV: “Ricki And The Flash”, “65th Annual Tony Awards”.
Desi Oakley stars as Fiona. Her Broadway credits include: “Wicked”, “Annie” (Original Revival Cast), and “Les Misérables”. National Tour: “Evita” (Eva Perón Alternate), “Wicked”. Regional: “Girlstar” (Tina), Signature Theatre; “The Little Mermaid” (Ariel), MTWichita. TV: “Gotham”, FOX. Original album: “Don’t Look Back” available on iTunes. BFA, University Of Michigan.
Mark Boyett plays Lord Farguaad. He has performed Off-Broadway in “Martin Luther On Trial” (Pearl Theater); “A Play On Words”, “Clean Alternatives” (59E59); “Old Wicked Songs” (Daryl Roth, Producer). Regional credits include: “Appomattox” (The Guthrie); “Dracula” (Pioneer Theater); “Arms and the Man”, “The Mystery of Irma Vep”, “The Turn of the Screw” (Triad State); “Love Song” (Cincinnati Playhouse); “Henry IV Parts 1 & 2” (American Repertory Theater); “Chesapeake” (Kitchen Theater); “The Cherry Orchard” (Pittsburgh Public); “A Dybbuk” (Denver Center); “Inexpressible Island” (Dallas Theater Center); “Wit” (Syracuse Stage); “The Retreat from Moscow” (The Human Race Theater); “Sister Carrie” (Indiana Rep). TV: “Royal Pains”; “Law & Order SVU”; “Pan Am”; MTV’s “One Bad Choice”.
PERFORMANCE AND TICKET INFORMATION
Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Select matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Single tickets are available now. Single tickets range from $7 to $36. All student tickets are only $7.
Children must be at least 4 years old to attend CRT productions. For additional ticket information or to charge tickets by phone, call 860.486.2113. All sales are final; no refunds. Play selections and performance dates are subject to change.
Please call the box office at 860.486.2113 for tickets and additional information or visit www.crt.uconn.edu for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change.
The Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre is located on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.
YALE REPERTORY THEATRE ANNOUNCES 2017-18 SEASON
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
By Henrik Ibsen
Translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh
Directed by James Bundy
By Nambi E. Kelley
Adapted from the Novel by Richard Wright
Directed by Seret Scott
Created by Rude Mechs
Commissioned by Yale Rep
FATHER COMES HOME FROM THE WARS, PARTS 1, 2 & 3
By Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Liz Diamond
By Guillermo Calderón
Directed by Evan Yionoulis
YALE REPERTORY THEATRE (James Bundy, Artistic Director; Victoria Nolan, Managing Director), the multiple Tony Award-winning theatre dedicated to the production of new plays and bold interpretations of classic works, has announced its 2017–18 Season.
Artistic Director James Bundy said, “I am delighted that we can look forward to a season of such scope and complexity, bringing internationally acclaimed artists and field leaders to New Haven, and offering Yale Rep audiences opportunities to witness vital perspectives on the world, particularly its literature, history, and politics.”
The season opens with An Enemy of the People (October 6–October 28), the political masterpiece by Henrik Ibsen, newly translated from the Norwegian by Paul Walsh, directed by James Bundy.
Nambi E. Kelley will make her Yale Rep debut with her critically-acclaimed play, Native Son (November 24–December 16), adapted from Richard Wright's iconic novel, directed by Seret Scott.
Rude Mechs, the Austin-based theatre collective whose work has been presented previously as part of Yale Rep's annual No Boundaries performance series, will debut Field Guide (January 26–February 17), a subversively funny riff on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.
Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 (March 16–April 7) reunites Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks and Resident Director Liz Diamond, who collaborated on Yale Rep’s world premieres of The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World and The America Play.
Resident Director Evan Yionoulis, who most recently staged Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, returns with Kiss (April 27–May 19), a new play by Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón, hailed by The New Yorker as “a true genius of the theatre.”
The events for Yale Rep’s annual No Boundaries performance series will be announced at a later date
Baby, the Musical Takes the Stage at DAC Weatherstone Studio
DAC Stage Spring Production Begins April 21
DAC Stage is proudly presenting Baby, the musical, by Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire. The spring production is directed by Carin Zakes and produced by Nova Hall, with musical direction by Dwayne Condon. Performances are on April 21, 22, 28, 29 and May 5 and 6 at 8 p.m., and April 23 and 30 at 2 p.m. in the DAC Weatherstone Studio.
Audiences won’t soon forget this story that examines how parents-to-be experience the emotional stresses and triumphs, as well as the desperate lows and comic highs that accompany the anticipation and arrival of a baby. Three couples work their way towards parenthood under three very different circumstances. There are college students, barely at the beginning of their adult lives; thirty-somethings, having trouble conceiving but determined to try; and middle aged parents, looking forward to seeing their last child graduate from college when a night of unexpected passion lands them back where they started.
Billy Shubeck and Hilary Webster play the youngest couple in the production: Danny Hopper and Lizzy Fields, while Jeffrey Aldana and Danielle A. Valdes portray the thirty-somethings, Nick and Pam Sakarian. The middle-aged couple consists of stage veteran Peter Green as Alan Mcnalley opposite Lisa Spielman as his wife Arlene. Ensemble roles include Jonathan Hall, Regina Elliott, Alison Soderquist, Beth Brandon, Michele Salustri, Julie Thaxter-Gourlay and Juan Londoño.
Baby is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for students at darienarts.org. For more information, call the DAC at (203) 655-8683. The DAC Weatherstone Studio is located at 2 Renshaw Road, behind Darien Town Hall.
Playhouse on Park Presents Arlene Hutton's The Last Train To Nibroc
Playhouse on Park presents Arlene Hutton's The Last Train To Nibroc, running April 26-May 14. Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder Sean Harris returns to direct this drama described by the Washington Post as an "intensely personal, but affecting play providing glimpses of an America weathering a crisis."
In December 1940, an eastbound cross-country train carries the bodies of the great American writers Nathanael West and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Also on board is May, who shares her seat with a charming young flyer, Raleigh. Religious and bookish, May plans to be a missionary. Raleigh has been given a medical discharge and, inspired by West and Fitzgerald, is heading to New York to be a writer. Discovering they are from neighboring Appalachian towns, Raleigh decides to change trains for Kentucky, promising to take May to the next Nibroc Festival. A funny, touching portrait of two people searching for happiness, this simply staged romance played to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Off-Broadway.
Starring in this production are Lilly Wilton (Playhouse on Park: Maggie, LEND ME A TENOR; Alabama Shakespeare Festival: Luciana THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, First Fairy A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and Cinderella CINDERELLA; Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey/Next Stage Ensemble: Hermia A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Elektra THE LIBATION BEARERS) as May and, making his Playhouse on Park debut, Joshua Wills (NY Theater: The Seagull [NY Classical Theatre]. Regional: The Orphan’s Home Cycle [Hartford Stage], The Happy Prince [Long Wharf], The Tempest [Capital Classics]. Elm Shakespeare: Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, Hamlet, The Matchmaker. Film/TV: Mindhunter [Netflix/ Dir. David Fincher]) as Raleigh.
Additionally, Harris collaborated with Hutton on the script for Kissed The Girls And Made Them Cry for Hall High which won Broadway World's Best New Work and was performed in New York City and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Hutton and Harris will visit Playhouse on Park for the Sunday, April 30 talkback session following the matinee performance.
Playhouse on Park's Young Professional Advisory Board will be hosting a Young Professionals Night Out in conjunction with The Last Train To Nibroc on Saturday, May 5. A wine and cheese networking reception will be held at 6:30pm at the Playhouse prior to the 8pm performance.
Preview performances are April 26 & 27, with all tickets priced at $17.50. Opening night is April 28 at 8pm, with a wine and cheese reception to begin at 7pm. Tickets range from $25-$40. Let's Go Arts, Senior, and Student Discounts available. Box office: 860-523-5900 x10. www.playhouseonpark.org. Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.
“TITANIC - THE MUSICAL” SETS SAIL AT BROAD BROOK OPERA HOUSE
Opera House Players, Inc. presents TITANIC - THE MUSICAL at the Broad Brook Opera House, 107 Main Street, Broad Brook, CT 06016 from May 5 through May 21 (Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm). Tickets available by calling the box office at 860-292-6068 or visiting www.operahouseplayers.org. Tickets: $21 (adults) and $17 (under 12/over 60). Discount available for groups of 15 or more.
Peter Stone, who wrote the book for the show says, “The musical play TITANIC examines the causes, the conditions and the characters involved in this ever-fascinating drama. This is the factual story of that ship - of her officers, crew and passengers, to be sure - but she will not, as has happened so many times before, serve as merely the background against which fictional, melodramatic narratives are recounted. The central character of our TITANIC is the Titanic herself.”
This production of TITANIC features a cast of over twenty actors directed by area performer/director Sharon FitzHenry with musical direction by Bill Martin.
Gift certificates and 2017-2018 season tickets available by calling the box office.
Downtown Cabaret Main Stage Theatre Presents IN THE HEIGHTS
The Downtown Cabaret Theatre’s Main Stage Theatre division (Producing Artistic Director, Eli Newsom) concludes its 2016/17 season with the Tony Award-winning musical IN THE HEIGHTS by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The production runs: April 28-May 21, Fridays @ 7:30pm, Saturdays @ 5pm & 8:15pm, Sundays @ 5:00pm
From the creators of the Broadway phenomenon HAMILTON, the multi-Tony Award-winning IN THE HEIGHTS tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood -- a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. IN THE HEIGHTS, the winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations is great for the whole family.
The all-local cast includes Jaden Bonfietti, Jessica Paige Braun, Marcelo Calderon, James Canal, Joe Cardozo, Josh Cardozo, Matthew Elliott, Ana Feliciano, Bonnie Gregson, Maytae Harge, Bobby Henry, Nick Kuell, Olivia Lincoln, Perry Liu, AJ Montgomery, Celia Ortiz, Julie Bell Petrak, Joyce Ramirez, Everton Ricketts, Olivia Rivera, Steffon Sampson, Mackenzie Sherrod, Madeleine Tommins, Leondra Smith-West, Renee Sutherland, Garth West, and Alexis Willoughby.
The production will feature Direction by Christy McIntosh-Newsom, Musical Direction by Eli Newsom, Choreography by Emily Frangipane, Scenic Design by William Russell Stark, Costume Design by Jessica Camarero, Lighting Design by Phill Hill, Projection Design by Ricky Mestre, and Sound Design by Chris Gensur.
For tickets and information visit MyCabaret.org or call the box office Mon - Fri, 10am – 5pm, (203) 576-1636 Option 0.
Ticket Prices: $21-28
The Downtown Cabaret Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Please inform the Box Office of any special needs when ordering tickets.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: By Phone: Box Office: 203-576-1636 Select Option “0” -- In Person: At DCT Box Office, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport, CT. Hours are Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, and 90 minutes prior to performances -- Online: www.MyCabaret.org -- By US Mail: Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport, CT 06604, Attn: Box Office -- Tickets, information, seating charts are available at MyCabaret.org
EXIT THE BODY Opens May 12 at Town Players
Spring is upon us, and we're thrilled to kick off our 2017 season with EXIT THE BODY, a farce by Fred Carmichael, on Friday May 12 at The Little Theatre.
First presented at the Dorset Playhouse in Dorset, Vermont on August 31, 1961 and directed by the playwright himself, EXIT THE BODY follows the tale of mystery novelist Crane Hammond who, looking for some peace and quiet away from the big city, rents a cottage in New England. Unfortunately, the cottage also happens to be the rendezvous point for a gang of jewel thieves. While husbands get mixed up and there is a seemingly endless parade of intruders, a body is found in the closet. Body number one disappears only to be replaced by body number two. Finally, events reach a climax at two in the morning when four couples who are strangers to each other turn up to search for the jewels.
Directed by Gene Golaszewski of Brookfield, EXIT THE BODY features the talents of Shawn Brown of Danbury, Jeffry Bukowski of Shelton, Deborah Burke of Stamford, Brooke Cassalia of Monroe, Barbara Disraeli of Brewster, NY, Timothy Huber of Danbury, Kathleen Kryspin of Brookfield, Ron Malyszka of Bridgewater, Kimberly Marcus of Danbury, and Mark Rubino of Bethel. The production crew includes co-producers Lynn Alexander of Southbury and Tracy Nashel of Newtown, stage manager Mark Rubino of Bethel, set designer Timothy Huebenthal of Southbury, and lighting designer Nick Kaye of Bethel.
EXIT THE BODY runs May 12 - June 3. Curtain times are 8 PM Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 PM matinees on May 21 & 28 and a performance on Thursday, June 1 at 8 PM. Tickets are $22; $18 for matinee performances.
Reservations may be made by visiting www.newtownplayers.org, or by calling the box office at 203-270-9144.
It’s 1945 -- Boot Camp in the Bayou!
Biloxi Blues by Neil Simon At the Ivoryton Playhouse
The Ivoryton Playhouse is leaving behind the music of Ol’ Blue Eyes and heading south to the steamy bayou country of Biloxi, Mississippi with the opening of Neil Simon’s BILOXI BLUES on April 26th. This semi-autobiographical play details his experiences as a young man in boot camp before he was shipped off to serve in the Second World War. BILOXI BLUES is the second chapter in what is known as his Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and preceding Broadway Bound, and is the only one in which Eugene is not the central character. BILOXI BLUES won the Tony Award when it opened on Broadway in 1985 and ran 524 performances.
Neil Simon’s hit play follows the adventures of Eugene Morris Jerome and his fellow Army inductees as they struggle through basic training near Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1943. An aspiring writer who sees himself as an outsider observing the craziness around him, Eugene hopes to somehow remain “neutral…like Switzerland” but finds himself having to make tough choices.
BILOXI BLUES is a comedy with real depth about young men growing up, learning about life and how to live together and finally, going off to war. These men are universal soldiers -- facing the same fears, anxieties, and loneliness that grip all young recruits about to encounter the ultimate test of combat. Mr. Simon brings his great sense of humor and humanity to every word of this magnificent play.
A film was also made of the play starring Matthew Broderick and directed by Mike Nichols with screenplay by Neil Simon.
BILOXI BLUES is directed by Sasha Bratt and features Zal Owen as Eugene, Alec Silberblatt as Arnold and Mike Mihm as Sergeant Toomey. Cast also includes Andee Buccheri, Conor M. Hamill, Ethan Kirschbaum, George Mayer, Moira O’Sullivan and Chandler Smith. Set design is by Glenn Bassett, lighting design by Tate R. Burmeister and costume design by Lisa Bebey.
BILOXI BLUES opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 26th and runs through May 14th 2017. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.
Tickets are $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.
JESUS COMES TO LOCAL THEATRE
Little Theatre of Manchester (LTM) continues its 2017 season with the musical theatre phenomenon Godspell. Parables vibrantly come to life in the beloved family-friendly musical based on The Gospel According to St. Matthew. This meaningful performance exemplifies the character Jesus and his disciples as they create a community while teaching tolerance and kindness. Life’s lessons are intertwined with an eclectic blend of songs, ranging in style from pop to vaudeville. LTM will produce the 2012 revival version that features updated, contemporary references and dazzling new arrangements by the composer of Wicked and Pippin, Stephen Schwartz.
Godspell runs April 7-9, 14-15, and 21-23 at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Rd, Manchester. Friday and Saturday evening performances will be held at 8:00 pm and Sunday matinees will be at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $25-$29 with discounts available for both seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 860-647-9824 or visiting www.littletheatreofmanchester.org. Manchester Community College students can receive a free general admission ticket with a valid student ID, and Greater Hartford Arts Council Let's GO Arts! members are eligible for 2-for-1 tickets.
With the book by John Michael Tebelak and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Godspell is composed of various musical acts where Jesus Christ recruits a group of followers and teaches them through song and dance. Conceived and originally directed by Tebelak, Godspell started as a college project performed by students at Carnegie Mellon and then moved to La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in Greenwich Village. It was here that Godspell caught the attention of some Off-Broadway producers who recruited the up and coming Schwartz to write song and lyric for the show.
Now, years later, the LTM production of Godspell is directed by Michael Forgetta of Simsbury, whose experience is no stranger to the show or its subject matter. Forgetta attended St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield for four years before deciding not to pursue the priesthood.
One of Forgetta’s earlier memories of the show was when he found his eldest sister’s copy of the musical. “I remember falling in love with the music and just dancing around the living room to it.” Forgetta has also played the role of Judas at Cigna’s now defunct Act One and Jesus with The Windsor Jesters.
The role of Jesus in Little Theatre’s will feature the debut of an actor new to LTM’s stage. Pediatric dentist Andrew Rosenstein of West Hartford has most recently been seen doing stand-up comedy at the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casinos and at the Broadway Comedy Club in New York City, but he believes those skills will transfer well to this new role. “There is a lot of improv in this show; the spontaneity of standup and being able to think on my feet will help.”
While Rosenstein has not been in a live musical since high school, he has plenty of experience acting, including a lead role in an independent short film titled “Suspicions.” He was also in an award-winning video named “Frank D. Kay-Professional Cavity” that he created while completing his Doctorate of Dental Medicine and Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry at the UConn School of Dental Medicine.
Currently practicing pediatric dentistry in West Hartford and North Windham, Rosenstein auditioned for the role after reading a story about the Little Theatre’s search for Jesus in local newspapers. “When Michael [Forgetta, director] called to offer the role, I accepted without a second thought. In these times, there couldn’t be a show more relevant. People are going to see that there are good people out there doing good things.”
The House of Blue Leaves
On April 21, The Sherman Playhouse will kick off its 2017 theatrical season with John Guare’s dark comedy, The House of Blue Leaves.
The play focuses on Artie Shaughnessy, an aspiring songwriter who wants to escape from his wife “Bananas,” elope with his mistress Bunny, and write a hit song to boot. In October 1965, when Pope Paul visits New York, Bunny convinces Artie to call his old school friend Billy, a film director in L.A., to ask for a job scoring Billy’s films. However, before Artie can reach Billy, Artie's son goes AWOL from the army with nefarious intentions. The ensuing events are hilarious, thought-provoking and chilling all at once.
The House of Blue Leaves is directed by Katherine Almquist of Sharon.
Area actors featured in the cast are Ron Thomas (Washington), John Fabiani (Watertown), Judy Sullivan (Bridgewater), Blythe Everett, Rufus De Rham (both Kent), Alex Desjardins, Jessica Gleason (both Sherman), Keli Solomon, Stacy-Lee Frome, and Erin Shaughnessy (all New Milford).
The House of Blue Leaves runs April 21,22 28,29,30 May 5,6,7 12,13,14 at 8:00 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays with three 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinees on April 30, May 7 and 14. Tickets are $24 for adults and $12 for children.
On Thursday, April 20, all patrons are invited to attend a "Half-Price Preview Night" at 8:00 p.m., where tickets are only $12. Students may see any performance for only $12 if they pay in cash only at the door and carry a valid student ID. Students may not make reservations in advance for a performance.
Reservations can be made online at shermanplayers.org or by calling the box office at (860) 354-3622. The Sherman Playhouse is a non-Equity theatre company located at 5 Route 39 North (next to the firehouse) in Sherman, CT.
Connecticut Repertory Theatre Announces 2017 Nutmeg Summer Series Lineup
Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) Artistic Director Terrence Mann and Executive Producer Matthew J. Pugliese are pleased to announce the lineup for the 2017 Nutmeg Summer Series. The first season under the artistic leadership of Mann will include “1776”, “Noises Off” and “Disney’s Newsies”. The Nutmeg Summer Series will run June 1 through July 16. Subscriptions are now on sale for 2017. Single tickets will go on sale April 1, 2017, and are available at crt.uconn.edu or call (860) 486 2113.
The summer series begins with Terrence Mann directing “1776” with a book by Peter Stone, and music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards. This Tony Award-winning musical dramatizes John Adams efforts to convince his colleagues in the continental Congress to vote to declare our independence from the crown. “1776” brings a human element to the founding fathers through an incredible score and award-winning script.
Artistic Director Terrence Mann offered, “’1776’ and its award winning script and score tells an intimate and gripping story of how our forefathers fought to create nation. A nation that almost didn’t happen! As poignant today as it was almost 50 years ago, the storytelling keeps you on the edge of your seat. ‘1776’ wraps you in a world of politics and humor while delivering a stunning message of hope and freedom!”
The second show will be one of the funniest plays written. “Noises Off” is a madcap hilarious farce written by Michael Frayn. CRT will welcome back Vincent Cardinal to direct this award-winning comedy. “Noises Off” watches the exploits of a troupe of traveling actors rehearsing and performing a flop called “Nothing’s On.” The antics and intrigue on and offstage make chaos for the cast on the eve of opening night. Doors will slam, love triangles will tangle and misplaced sardines create an uproarious, rollicking night of theatre in this play within a play.
The summer concludes with the theatrical adaptation of Disney’s musical film, “Disney’s Newsies”. Featuring a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, “Disney’s Newsies” tells the story of the “Newsboy Strike of 1899”. This fictionalized story explores themes of social injustice and exploitive labor, as the newsboys learn to harness their voice in this high octane, dance spectacular. CRT will “seize the day” and bring this fresh, new musical hot from Broadway and the National Tour circuit to Storrs.
Mann added, “Youth! Survival! Love! Politics!—all combine to make “Newsies” a tour de force musical story about the indomitability of the human spirit. It’s powerful, it’s passionate and full of heart!”
In his first year as Artistic Director, Mann says, “Six years ago Vince Cardinal brought me to Storrs for my first summer to do ‘My Fair Lady’ and ever since I've been trying to get back as often as I can. There is no greater joy than to be in a company of actors, young and old alike, whose sole purpose is to share the gift of great storytelling with folks who make it apart of their lives to support and nurture live theatre.”
All three musicals are performed in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut.
PERFORMANCE AND TICKET INFORMATION
Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Subscription package options range from $81-108. Student subscriptions are only $33. Single ticket prices range from $45 to $55, with discounted tickets available for students and seniors.