Monday, June 29, 2015

GALA BENEFIT PLANNED AT IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE





A  unique entertainment opportunity, a one night only affair, is being offered when world renowned artists David Pittsinger and his wife Patricia Schuman perform songs from the glorious Great American Songbook.  Imagine the immortal music of greats like George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein among others coming beautifully and rhythmically to life on Sunday, July 12  as an exclusive fundraiser for the benefit of the 100 plus year old Ivoryton Playhouse.

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a wine and cocktail reception, including a bountiful array of hors d'oeuvres.  The performance will start at 7 p.m. and a post reception with David and Patricia will follow with desserts and coffee.  Tickets are $125 and may be reserved by calling 860-767-7318, with special seating for patrons available.

A famous operatic performer, David Pittsinger recently received critical acclaim for his performance as Emile DeBecque in the Lincoln Center's Tony Award winning "South Pacific", a role he will be performing at the Ivoryton Playhouse throughout July, from Wednesday the 1st to Sunday, the 26th.This Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, taken from selected short stories in "Tales of the South Pacific" by James Michener, a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, is considered by many one of the greatest musicals of the twentieth century.  Composed by the writing pair, with co-writer Josh Logan, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950 as well as ten Tony Awards.

Pittsinger will play the older plantation owner Emile de Becque  who falls in love, across a crowded room, with the lovely and naive and much younger Ensign Nellie Forbush.  Classic songs like "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali Ha'i," "Happy Talk,"  "Younger Than Springtime" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" hopscotch their way through this emotional tale of prejudice and war.  Pittsinger's wife Patricia, a celebrated soprano, will play Bloody Mary, the outspoken island woman who advocates a happy marriage for her daughter while being enterprising and selling trinkets to the Navy men on the base.

A sincere invitation has been issued by Pittsinger who states, "Please join me and my wife Patricia for an intimate and personal celebration of the American Songbook, honoring Ivoryton Playhouse.  These iconic treasures, some of the most cherished in all of American Musical Theatre, reflect our love for each other, the stage, and the music that has shaped our lives."

The opening night of "South Pacific," on Wednesday, July 1, at 7:30 p.m, the Ivoryton Playhouse is inviting local veterans and currently serving military to a special
Honoring Our Veterans and Soldiers Night, with half price tickets to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project and Essex Veterans Memorial Hall.  Regular tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and can be secured by calling the Playhouse at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.  There will be no performances on the 4th of July and two additional Saturday matinees on July 18 and 25 and one additional matinee on Thursday, July 16.

Plan to immerse yourself in beautiful music as David Pittsinger and Patricia Schuman unite to perform American classics that illustrate their mutual love for each other and for the immortal songs of our heritage.

MAKE IT LEGAL WITH THAT CUTE BLONDE AT STONC




Elle Woods is perky, peppy and pretty, a princess in pink, but she is also perplexed and perturbed when her boyfriend Werner Huntington III unceremoniously dumps her for someone who is precocious and, more importantly, serious for his future political career. Once she understands she has been intellectually insulted, Elle decides to cash in on her preciousness and apply to Harvard Law School for admission to the class of 2005 to win Werner back. What results is the delightful “Legally Blonde The Musical” lighting up the stage of the Summer Theatre of New Canaan until Sunday, August 9.

Elle, a bouncy and ebullient Kara Dombrowski, with her little pup Bruiser, a chihuahua, at her side, doesn’t doubt for a nanosecond that she will gain admittance to the sacred ivy shrouded walls of Harvard. She rises to the academic challenge admirably, following her snobby jerk of an ex-boyfriend (Preston Ellis) right to the entrance door. He believes because she is blonde and beautiful, interested in fashion and being properly accessorized, that she is no more than party fluff.

Along the way to graduation and a degree in law, Elle acquires the help of a self-esteem coach in the body of a wise manicurist Paulette (Jodi Stevens), a sincere and really nice lawyer guy Emmett (Matthew Christian) as a new love interest, a less than scrupulous Professor of Law (Stephen Hope) and a new client Brooke (Shannon Mullen) to defend, a famous fitness personality who is accused of murdering her much older husband. Her personal Greek chorus of sorority sisters (Danielle Raniere, Katie Anderson and Alyssa Gomez) offer encouragement and support every dancing step of the way.

Pink, Elle’s signature color, is bountifully evident in her dress, shoes, purse, make-up, resume and computer, thanks to the costume designs of Lauren Gaston. She proves her legal smarts, that she is not a Malibu Barbie but, rather, a Brainiac Barbie, a fact which even Werner’s new girlfriend Viv (Kate Simone) admits. “Legally Blonde” has a book by Heather Hach, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, direction by Allegra Libonati and choreography by Doug Shankman.

For tickets ($45 and up), call 203-966-4634 or online at www.stonc.org. Performances are Thursday, Friday, Saturday  at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.
Plan to attend a trio of children's offerings, ($22 and up), of "Charlotte's Web," now through August 8, "Wizard of Oz" now through August 9 and "Cinderella, A Fairy's Tale" July 3-August 9. You can find STONC in a festive white tent on the grounds of Waveny Park, In New Canaan, at 11 Farm Road, behind New Canaan High School. The theatre recently produced a heartwarming abridged production of "Legally Blonde" with their most special DramaRama kids, where actors act as mentors and shadow the students 8-18 who have challenges.

Watch Elle help the underdog with her brilliant and fashionable plan of legal defense, do some fancy footwork with a jump rope, try Irish step dancing, and prove she is way more than Werner’s Pooh Bear. Just to see Bruiser the chihuahua and Rufus the bulldog race across the stage is worth the price of admission.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

GALA BENEFIT PLANNED AT IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE



 PATRICIA SCHUMAN AND DAVID PITTSINGER PERFORM AT IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE


A  unique entertainment opportunity, a one night only affair, is being offered when world renowned artists David Pittsinger and his wife Patricia Schuman perform songs from the glorious Great American Songbook.  Imagine the immortal music of greats like George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein among others come beautifully and rhythmically to life on Sunday, July 12  as an exclusive fundraiser for the benefit of the 100 plus year old Ivoryton Playhouse.

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a wine and cocktail reception, including a bountiful array of hors d'oeuvres.  The performance will begin at 7 p.m. and a post reception with David and Patricia will follow with desserts and coffee.  Tickets are $125 and may be reserved by calling 860-767-7318, with special seating for patrons available.

A famous operatic performer, David Pittsinger recently received critical acclaim for his performance as Emile DeBecque in the Lincoln Center's Tony Award winning "South Pacific", a role he will be performing at the Ivoryton Playhouse throughout July, from Wednesday the 1st to Sunday, the 26th.This Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, taken from selected short stories in "Tales of the South Pacific" by James Michener, a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, is considered by many one of the greatest musicals of the twentieth century.  Composed by the writing pair, with co-writer Josh Logan, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950 as well as ten Tony Awards.

Pittsinger will play the older plantation owner Emile de Becque  who falls in love, across a crowded room, with the lovely and naive and much younger Ensign Nellie Forbush.  Classic songs like "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali Ha'i," "Happy Talk,"  "Younger Than Springtime" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" hopscotch their way through this tale of prejudice and war.  Pittsinger's wife Patricia, a celebrated soprano, will play Bloody Mary, the outspoken island woman who advocates a happy marriage for her daughter while being enterprising and selling trinkets to the navy men on the base.

A sincere invitation has been issued by Pittsinger who states, "Please join me and my wife Patricia for an intimate and personal celebration of the American Songbook, honoring Ivoryton Playhouse.  These iconic treasures, some of the most cherished in all of American Musical Theatre, reflect our love for each other, the stage, and the music that has shaped our lives."

The opening night of "South Pacific," on Wednesday, July 1, at 7:30 p.m, the Ivoryton Playhouse is offering local veterans and currently serving military to a special night Honoring Our Veterans and Soldiers Night, with half price tickets to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project and Essex Veterans Memorial Hall.  Regular tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and can be secured by calling the Playhouse at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.  There will be no performances on the 4th of July and two additional Saturday matinees on July 18 and 25 and one additional matinee on Thursday, July 16.

Plan to immerse yourself in beautiful music as David Pittsinger and Patricia Schuman unite to perform American classics that illustrate their mutual love for each other and for the immortal songs of our heritage.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

“ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL” A DELIGHT AT ROWAYTON


Katie Wieland and suitors (above) and happy crowds (below) Photos by Marven Moss


When an arrogant and petulant youth, consumed with his own noble status, refuses to take as wife the daughter of a physician because she is not his equal in class, he runs off to war and she sets out to prove herself worthy of his love. A tiny clue to the conclusion of her pursuit is revealed in Shakespeare’s pithy title of “All’s Well That Ends Well.”

Until Sunday, June 28,  Shakespeare on the Sound in Rowayton invites you to play matchmaker in this comedy of lure, lust and love. The attractive and resourceful Helena, a remarkable Katie Wieland, lives as a ward of the Countess of Rossillion (Lizbeth Mackay ) and one day, providently, cures the King of France (David Logan Rankin) of a distressing illness, one his own doctors had been powerless to treat.
As a reward, the King arranges a reality show version of “The Bachelor” and allows Helena to choose her mate. Since she has long yearned after the Countess’s son Bertram (Oliver Lehne), her selection is easy. His acquiescence, however, proves resistant. He will marry her only because the King demands it, but she can never call him husband until she secures the ring from his finger and bears him a child.

When Bertram flees Paris for a war in Italy, the indomitable Helena sets off in his wake to prove herself worthy of the match.
A little comic relief is provided by Parolles (Griffin Stanton-Ameisen), a comrade in arms with Bertram, while Diana (Reanna Roane) and her mother (Paula Galloway) conspire to help Helena achieve her desired goals.

 Artistic director Mary B. Robinson has assembled a fine cast, dressed them in costumes courtesy of Grier Coleman, with original music by Robert Maggio and a unique circular set designed by Brian Prather to make this a delightfully entertaining tale by the bard.

The cost of a season of performances is $400,000, and this is Shakespeare on the Sound's twentieth, so donations are most welcome. Suggested are $20 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, with speacial reserved parking on site $50 , by calling 203-299-1300.  As you sit on the grassy edge of the river, picnicking on blankets and lawn chairs, under a setting sun and then a starry sky, you quickly learn the beauty of Pinkney Park.   Performances are Tuesday-Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Special kiddie shows occur from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The continent of Europe becomes the battlefield and the unlikely bedding place for an anxious and determined bride and her evasive and reluctant bridegroom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

REVEL IN THE MOONLIGHT WITH THE YALE SUMMER CABARET




Prepare to be sprinkled with fairy dust and don your gossamer wings as the Yale Summer Cabaret invites you to partake in a moonlight blushed evening of revelry and frolic.  On Saturday, June 27, starting at 8 p.m. and wandering all the way to the wee hours of 2 a.m., the cabaret actors and crew will be celebrating summer, the Bard good old William Shakespeare  and hosting a party to commemorate the success of their opening production of "Midsummer," their own unique nod to "A Midsummer's Night Dream."

With a theme of ROUGH MAGIC as its anthem, the cabaret will enlist all fairies of the forest to unite under a banner of fun and frivolity.  The entertainment includes but is not limited to a live band and DJ, a scavenger hunt and door prizes, plus inventive scenes from their plays.  You are encouraged to dress in a romantic and whimsical fashion, enjoy the wine and beer that will be for sale, sit in the moonlit garden, dance as if no one is watching and just have a good time.

This is as much a celebration of the love of theater as it is a fundraiser and no pre-purchase of tickets is necessary, as you can pay what you can at the door.  Go online to www.summercabaret.org or call 203-432-1566.  The music and merrymaking and a little mayhem are all yours for the taking.

 Now is the time for all good revelers to gather ye rosebuds and royal costumes and get ready to party.

Monday, June 22, 2015

JOIN THE MUSICAL REVOLUTION “HAIR”

When Jupiter aligns with Mars, as it will at West Hartford's Playhouse on Park until Sunday, July 19, you’ll be ready to experience the Age of Aquarius in all its colorful counter-culture splendor as “HAIR” explodes on the planet.  Grab your garlands of daisies, your love beads, your bell bottoms and prepare to experience that musical revolution known as “HAIR.”

If you have a tie-dyed shirt, a headband and a picket sign, you’ll feel right at home in the intimate space at Playhouse on Park where this James Rado and Gerome Ragni piece with the help of Galt McDermott, this “happening,” this American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is actively protesting against the establishment.

The Vietnam War is raging and these youth are advocating “make love, not war.”  When one of their own, Claude (Michael J. Walker) is drafted, his good buddies Berger (Ryan Connolly), Sheila (Tara Novie), Dionne (Kristen Jeter), Hud (Kameren Neal, Woof (Kevin Barlowski), Jeanie (Jessie MacBeth) Crissy (Lauren Monteleone) and Margaret Mead (Jose Plaza) give him helpful suggestions to avoid going.

The tribe is united in waging a vocal protest against all they see as wrong in America: racism, environmental issues, poverty, sexism, political corruption, violence and especially the bonfire that is Vietnam.

For director Sean Harris and choreographer Darlene Zoller, it was important to “put our own stamp on it.”  They wanted to “personalize it, taking the energy of the original forty plus year old production, give a solid nod to the 2006 revival, but make it “our own tribe, in our theater and concentrate on their relationships.”  They emphasized this “is not a time capsule…The deep and dark passions, the anger, the idealism and the love of personal freedoms are still here.  The relationships are still relevant today and are just as real as they were in 1968.  In our intimate space, the vulnerabilities are evident and the audience can immerse itself in it.”

“HAIR” is basically Claude’s story.  He must decide his own fate:  does he resist the draft or serve in a war he vehemently opposes?  Here the youth are empowered with their own voice to celebrate life.  Songs like “Aquarius,” “Good Morning, Starshine,” “Easy to be Hard,” and “Let the Sun Shine In” are anthems to the era and the issues.

For tickets ($25-35), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860- 523-5900, ext. 10 or online at www.playhouseonpark.org.
Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m, and Sunday at 2 p.m. with a Talk Back with the cast.  A special matinee will be Tuesday, June 30 at 2 p.m. ($32.50).  This show is recommended for ages 16 and up, due to brief nudity, strong language and drug use.

Check the website for a listing of the dance classes and summer youth acting and musical theater camp offerings.

Join the hallucination generation as it sends vibrations of electricity and energy, exhorting the world to “let the sun shine in,” and rid the globe of darkness and shadows.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

GOTTA CROW ABOUT "PETER PAN" AT UCONN

                                   RILEY COSTELLO AS PETER PAN

                                 TERRENCE MANN AS CAPTAIN HOOK (AND MR. DARLING)
Put on your magic flying shoes, sprinkle yourself with fairy dust and take off for the wondrous world called Neverland, where boys choose not to grow up. Come meet and share an  adventurous visit with that eternal youth, Peter Pan, who professes to dislike grown ups so much he vows never to be one.

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre at the University of Connecticut has assembled a truly superb production of J. M. Barrie‘s classic tale “Peter Pan The Musical” set to delight children and adults alike from Tuesday to Sunday, until July 3 at the Jorgensen Auditorium on the campus at Storrs. You are guaranteed to love everyone from Tinker Bell and the Darling children, Tiger Lily and her Indian tribe, Peter and his band of Lost Boys, ostriches and crocodiles, and all the residents of the island of Neverland except for the crochety and controlling devil of a ship captain, the wonderful Terrence Mann as Captain Hook.

When Peter Pan, the exceptional and talented Riley Costello and his luminous pal Tinker Bell fly through the bedroom window of the Darling children, Wendy (Maggie Bera), Michael (Atticus L. Burrello) and John (Troyer Coultas), all their lives are changed forever. Peter persuades them all to join him and he flies with his new friends to Neverland to meet the Lost Boys. There Wendy becomes “mother,” telling bedtime stories and sewing socks and pockets. On this island, they encounter a tribe of friendly Indians led by Tiger Lily (Annie Wallace) and a band of mean spirited pirates, including the ever smiling Smee (Jonathan Cobrda) led by Captain Hook.

Both Tinker Bell and Peter prove their courage, as the young audience gets to decide that fairies really exist by shouting and clapping their belief. Cassie Abate  directs and choreographs this charming story of one boy who defied the ordinary rules of childhood.

For tickets ($10-55) call Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Jorgensen Auditorium, University of Connecticut campus, Storrs at 860-486-2113. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Every dance from the tango to the tarantella to the waltz are deliciously lively and the songs composed by Carolyn Leigh, Morris Charlap, Betty Comden and Jule Styne are tempting you for some sing-along fun. As always, the scenery by Tim Brown, including projections, are great and the clever costumes by Lisa Loen are colorfully creative.

Take a child by the hand and fly off on a magical adventure, where crocodiles (Alessandro Viviano) tell time and big fluffy sheep dogs (Sean Ormond) serve as nursemaids.