Second Women’s Playwright Initiative Set at Ivoryton Playhouse

The Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women will host a panel discussion and reception as part of the Second Women Playwrights Initiative at Ivoryton Playhouse. Laura Copland, director of new play development at the Playhouse, will moderate a panel comprised of the playwrights and directors participating in the initiative readings next month. The panel will be held at 4 pm Saturday, March 3 and will be followed by a reception at 5:30. There is no charge to attend the panel and reception for members of the LPTW. Non members may attend with a $5 cash donation at… read more

Actor Dorothy Stanley Comes Home to “Steel Magnolias”

by Bonnie Goldberg While some people catch a cold or the flu with great annoyance, Dorothy Stanley caught the acting “bug” with tremendous joy when she was four years old and it is still actively in her system.  She performed “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” as part of a dance recital, as a soloist, and her fate was sealed.  Now she is busy cruising the streets of West Hartford,  her hometown, reacquainting herself with the places she grew up visiting, as she prepares for a new role, that of Clairee, the mayor’s wife, in that sentimental Southern saga “Steel Magnolias” coming… read more


BY BONNIE GOLDBERG If the thought of snow boarding, skiing and skating are just chilly reminders of winter, ones you might prefer to ignore, then plan to warm up the winter month of January with a toasty and inviting weekend of theatrical magic. This year for the luckiest 13th time, Goodspeed Musicals is offering its annual Festival of New Musicals, produced by the Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre, and you are invited to unwrap your plaid scarves and take off your fuzzy mittens to enjoy all the fun and festivities. From Friday, January 12 to Sunday, January… read more

Frank Rizzo: My Top Connecticut Musicals Of The Past 40 Years

As with the plays I wrote about last month, I’ve often been asked to reveal my favorite musical among the thousands of shows I’ve seen over 40-plus years of theater-going in Connecticut. (Add another decade when I was a theater-obsessed boy catching musicals in New York.) The answer was always easy: A Chorus Line, only recently supplanted — or supplemented, as I prefer to say — by Hamilton. But when it comes to specifically Connecticut-produced musicals, it gets trickier to come up with a singular sensation. Or even 10 of them. Yes, I missed a few of the great ones… read more

Conversation with: Michael Preston

by Tim Leininger After 19 years, with Bill Raymond stepping down from the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Hartford Stage’s production of “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas,” running through Dec. 30, the company has looked inward, to the show’s own Mr. Marvel, Michael Preston, 59, of Hartford, as its new Christmas curmudgeon. I had the opportunity to sit down with the Ohio native who also is an acting teacher at Trinity College, and discuss his life, training, career, and taking over the role of Scrooge. Q: Where are you originally from? A: I was born in Granville,… read more

Jerod Haynes Switches From Ball to Plays With ‘Native Son’ At Yale Rep

by Frank Rizzo Growing up in Chicago, Jerod Haynes—who is starring as Bigger Thomas in the stage adaptation of Native Son at Yale Repertory Theatre—had no interest whatsoever in becoming an actor. Haynes’s dream centered on the basketball court and, for a while, it looked like that dream had a good chance of becoming true. “I dreamt of going to the NBA and I worked extremely hard at it,” says the young actor over lunch at New Haven’s Atticus Bookstore Café, during a break in rehearsals. A star athlete in a state championship high school team, Haynes received a scholarship… read more

Audiobooks’ George Guidall Talks About Talking

by Frank Rizzo The Chosen, a coming-of-age story set in the 1940s, is now playing at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre through Dec. 17. Adapted by Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok from the novel by Potok, the show centers on two young friends from rival yeshivas — both with demanding fathers — who learn to question their place in a fast-changing world. I asked one of the show’s stars, George Guidall, what makes an actor right to narrate audiobooks. Guidall should know. After all, his voice is the one you hear on more than 1,300 audiobooks. His narrations of classics such as Crime and… read more

Hartford Stage Introduces a New Scrooge

By Karen Isaacs, Two on the Aisle How do you take over a part that for 20 years has been play almost exclusively by one actor? Michael Preston is facing that dilemma as the new Scrooge in the Hartford Stage production of A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas, which runs through Sunday, Dec. 30.  Preston admitted that Bill Raymond, the former Scrooge who retired from the role last year, had been a hero of his. “It was great to work with him,” Preston said, referring to playing Mr. Marvel for several years in the production. But he… read more

The Musical Holiday — Carols, Pop Holiday Songs and Classical – Something for Everyone

By Karen Isaacs, Two on the Aisle  It’s a long standing tradition – the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Orchestra New England starts the holiday season with its Colonial Concert. Audience members are transported back to the colonial era where maestro James Sinclair will introduce them to the “latest” European music. This year’s concert, held at United Church on the Green, New Haven is on Saturday, Nov. 25. It will feature a “recent” symphony by Mr. Hayden, as well as a popular French song by Jean-Paul-Egide Maitini. Organist Walden Moor of Trinity Church on the Green is a guest artist. The audience… read more

This Year’s Holiday Offerings Include Classics and Contemporary Twists

By Karen Isaacs Two new Scrooges are gracing Connecticut stages this holiday season. Each will bring a new take on the classic character of Scrooge, and the story of A Christmas Carol. A new musical version of the story is at Goodspeed Musicals through Sunday, Dec. 24. A Connecticut Christmas Carol is the brainchild of LJ Fecho and Michael O’Flaherty, Goodspeed’s longtime music director. “We had the idea about two years ago,” O’Flaherty said. “We had done a very silly and fun Pennsylvania Dutch version a few years ago. Larry (the book is written by him) suggested setting it in… read more