“Elton Undressed” Coming to Theaterworks – Bonnie Goldberg

Reginald Kenneth Dwight was born in 1947 in England to a supportive mother and a disinterested father. It wasn’t until his mother divorced and remarried that he was encouraged to pursue a musical career. At seven years of age, after performing for family and at parties for several previous years, he was given formal piano lessons. Early on, he admitted to being inspired and influenced by Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. After hearing them, he stated “I didn’t ever want to be anything else.” This singer, composer and pianist who has enjoyed a spectacular six decade career, sold over… read more

Discovering the Backyard Theater Ensemble – Stuart Brown

We continue our series on spotlighting some of the non-Equity theaters in Connecticut. I put questions to Kailee Ostroski, President of the Backyard Theater Ensemble – https://www.backyardtheater.org/. Their upcoming production is Caryl Churchill’s “A Number,” which will play the first two weekends in April. Tell me about the Backyard Theater Ensemble. Backyard Theater Ensemble is a collaboration of artists devoting their time, experience, and resources to produce theater that inspires, challenges, and entertains both performers and audiences. Our volunteers each fulfill multiple roles on stage, behind the scenes, and in the community. These roles capitalize on members’ talents while also… read more

The Arts at Angeloria’s – Nancy Sasso Janis

I recently interviewed Angeloria “Lori” Holm, the Artistic Director of The Arts at Angeloria’s, LLC, a unique venue situated on nearly three acres in Southington, CT. This hidden gem has resumed producing live theatrical productions, after surviving despite COVID protocols. I asked Lori, a talented community theater performer as well, about how her beautiful theatrical space came into being, how she managed to weather COVID restrictions, and what is coming up at her venue. As I recommend in nearly every review I have written about the many shows I have experiences at A@A, do not leave the grounds without touring… read more

Waitress Coming to CT – by Bonnie Goldberg

Serving customers at a restaurant can be a fun or frustrating situation, depending on who is taking your order. Whether you desire a fancy five-course dinner or just a slice of blueberry pie with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, your pleasure in your meal depends often as much on the server who brings it as it does on the food itself. If you are lucky, you might have Jenna wait on you and if you truly fortunate you might be feasting on a generous slice of one of her perfectly baked pies. Jenna has the reputation to… read more

Angry, Raucous & Shamelessly Gorgeous – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

What options might you have if you are an acclaimed avant-garde performer who has left America, the land of your success, for a quarter of a century and now want to make a triumphant return? For Anna Campbell who flamboyantly secured her career performing “Naked Wilson,” a recitation of the male voices of playwright August Wilson while unclothed, the time is ripe. Now she has an invitation to perform at an Atlanta arts festival and she views it as a welcome gift. To enter the fascinating world of Ms. Campbell, as brought to compelling life by the talents of Terry… read more

CT Theaters Offer Holiday Options – Karen Isaacs

Are you anticipating the holiday rush with pleasure? Or are you already feeling stressed? No matter your answer, A Christmas Survival Guide at Ivoryton Playhouse is just the ticket. Artistic Director Jacqui Hubbard was looking for something different as a holiday offering and found this intimate revue that has had a had a successful off-Broadway run and been performed around the country. “I was looking for something funny but meaningful,” Hubbard said. “Traditional but modern.” She thinks this revue featuring a cast of five is a treat for the whole family and will make the holiday fun. The premise of… read more

Actress Janet Dacal leads The Band’s Visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: The national tour of “The Band’s Visit” will be performing at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts through November 21. In 2016, when Goodspeed Musicals sponsored a gala in honor of the extraordinary actress Chita Rivera, I had the opportunity to meet Janet Dacal, who was one of the lead actors in the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” being produced at Goodspeed. As luck would have it, Janet and I sat next to each other. Right away we started shifting between English to Spanish. She asked, “Are you Cuban?” My accent gave me away. A few minutes later… read more

Goodspeed Musicals Announces 2022 Season

Goodspeed Musicals has announced four exciting productions for the Tony Award-winning theatre’s 2022 season. Now in her second season as Goodspeed’s Artistic Director, Donna Lynn Hilton shared, “It is truly thrilling to announce a new Goodspeed season filled with engaging and moving musicals that will appeal to our loyal audiences and attract new theatregoers to the Goodspeed experience. We begin with an intimate production of a classic musical that is both engrossing and familiar, then the long awaited world premiere musical from a story loved by multiple generations, continue with a new production of a tap dance extravaganza and finish… read more

Interview with Matthew Lopez by CT Critics Member Bessy Reyna

For many years, Matthew Lopez has been a Latino playwright whose many plays were produced in Hartford Stage and TheaterWorks. Each time one of his plays is presented, he has been generous enough with his time to grant me an interview or to meet with me. Hartford, in particular, has nurtured his talent, not only producing his plays but also having received the support of the Aetna Playwrights program in 2012, providing him with a residency to continue working on his plays. Both the Aetna Playwrights program in 2012, and productions of his play, have, according to Lopez, given him… read more

Young Critics Mentor Program – Nancy Sasso Janis (reprinted from The Waterbury-Republican)

The program is structured to train college students to become theater critics. It partners a current member of the Critics Circle with a college student who is interested in learning to write professional-quality theater reviews. Mentoring young critics was the brainchild of Dr. Brooks Appelbaum, a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle since 2015, who now teaches in the First Year Writing Program, the First Year Seminar Program and the Drama Program at Quinnipiac University. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and earned her Ph.D. in English literature from Cornell. Two purposes of the program are to usher… read more