Join Hands for Some Charming "Dancing Lessons"

BONNIE GOLDBERG

On National Dance Day, the last Saturday in July, many studios like Arthur Murray, will offer free dance instruction. Unfortunately, Ever Montgomery can't waltz or foxtrot around long enough to wait for July. He needs to learn to dance, preferably a fast moving one, today and he's willing to pay for the privilege.

Andrew Benator has captured the essence of Ever, all his charming quirks and idiosyncrasies, all his anxieties and angst, from his allergy to strawberries to his fear of intimacy. Ever Montgomery has Asberger's Syndrome, a form of autism, and he also has a mandatory social engagement: he is being honored by the National Autism Coalition. His work as a professor in environmental studies is being recognized.

In addition to having to give an acceptance speech, Ever is expected to dance, at least once, and, hence, is his dilemma. Willing to pay for the opportunity, he presents himself at the door of a fellow tenant in his apartment house with $2153 in cash, the equivalent of one week's salary for a Broadway dancer. Senga Quinn, a prickly Paige Davis, has been severely injured and her leg may never heal, casting her dreams as a dancer into chaos.

Playwright Mark St. Germain has put these two vulnerable souls on a collision course of human contact and TheaterWorks of Hartford is measuring their tentative and temper fueled steps in "Dancing Lessons" until Sunday, March 1.

Paige Davis' Senga is literally struggling to stay upright. Her body is betraying her and, since dancing is her life, she has been thrown into a tailspin that is devastating and depressing. When Ever pounds on her door demanding a one hour dance lesson, she is helpless to resist his desperation. What develops between these two lost and lonely souls is delightful to behold, under the carefully orchestrated direction of Julianne Boyd.

For tickets ($50-65), call TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at www.theaterworkshartford.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.. A free student matinee will take place Saturday, February 7 and a special weekday matinee at 11 a.m. will be held Thursday, February 12. Come early for the art gallery upstairs' display of posters by the Connecticut Historical Society.

The star of "Woody Sez," the music of Woody Guthrie, with present a double fundraiser "An Evening of Music with David Lutken," with special musical guest Antoine Silverman, on Sunday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Monday, February 23 at 7:30 pm. For tickets ($40 for concert, $75 for Sunday's 5:30 p.m. reception with the stars, an open bar and Hors d'oeuvres, call 860-527-7838.

Make room on your blue velvet dance card for this charming, heartwarming and poignant production as Ever and Senga discover the stars.

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