Monday, September 21, 2020

DAVID ARROW STARS IN HIS OWN WORK ON ROBERT F. KENNEDY


 

 

AFTER ACTOR AND WRITER DAVID ARROW WAS INVITED TO PLAY ROBERT KENNEDY IN A PLAY “RFK “ BY JACK HOLMES, HE DID EXTENSIVE RESEARCH, READING AT LEAST FORTY BOOKS ON THE SUBJECT.  HE DECIDED TO PEN HIS OWN VERSION OF THE POLITICIAN, FOCUSING ON THE PIVOTAL YEAR 1968

WHEN HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT.  THE RESULT IS “KENNEDY:  BOBBY’S LAST CRUSADE” SHOWCASED AND STREAMED BY WEST HARTFORD’S PLAYHOUSE ON PARK RECENTLY. 

 

THIS ONE MAN SHOW THAT DAVID ARRROW TACKLES BRILLIANTLY IS BASED ON THE LAST THREE MONTHS OF RFK’S LIFE, BEFORE HE IS TRAGICALLY ASSASSINATED MOMENTS AFTER VICTORIOUSLY WINNING THE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY AGAINST EUGENE MCCARTY AT THE AMBASSADOR HOTAL IN LOS ANGELES.

 

DAVID ARROW BEARS A STRIKING RESEMBLANCE TO THIS “FOLK HERO” IN PERSONA AND VOICE, WITH A STRONG BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS ACCENT.  HE PORTRAYS JOHN F. KENNEDY’S YOUNGER BROTHER, SO OFTEN IN JFK’S SHADOW, HERE HE ASSERTS HIMSELF AS A CHAMPION OF THE PEOPLE, THE POOR AND DISENFRANCISED,  AN OPPONENT OF THE VIETNAM WAR AND A LEADER AGAINST DIVISION AND VIOLENCE.  HE QUESTIONED WHETHER HE WAS THE MAN TO DEFEAT LYNDON JOHNSON AND GENE MCCARTHY AND IF HE HAD ENTERED THE RACE TOO LATE?

 

RFK BELIEVED THE COUNTRY WAS ON THE WRONG COURSE AND HE WANTED TO USE HIS CAREER AS A LAWYER AND AS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO MAKE MUCH NEEDED CHANGES. THOUGH HE HATED MAKING SPEECHES, HE IS BUSY CROSSING THE COUNTRY TO PLEAD HIS CASE TO BUILD AMERICA FOR THE FUTURE, VISITING 12 STATES IN 2 WEEKS.  THEN TWO EVENTS GALVANIZE HIM:  LBJ DECLARES HE WILL NOT RUN FOR REELECTION AND MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. IS KILLED BY AN ASSASSIN IN MEMPHIS.

 

RFK KNEW THERE WOULD BE GUNS BETWEEN HIM AND THE WHITE HOUSE.   HE FELT THE MILITARY COULD NOT SAVE AMERICA.  ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, HE FELT PEOPLE NEEDED TO SEE AND HEAR HIM AND KNOW HE WAS GENUINE.  AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME, HAVING WON THE CALIFORNIA PRIMARY, HE KNEW THE PEOPLE WERE THERE FOR HIM, WANTING HIM TO RIGHT THE COUNTRY’S WRONGS.  WE WILL NEVER KNOW IF HE COULD HAVE SUCCEEDED IN THAT IMPOSSIBLE QUEST.

 

RFK WAS A SYMBOL OF “MODERN AMERICAN LIBERALISM” WHO ADVOCATED FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND USED HIS IMPERFECTIONS TO CRAFT A CAMPAIGN FOR A BETTER AMERICA.  ERIC NIGHTINGALE DIRECTS THIS SLICE OF REALISM WITH A STRONG HAND. THE PLAY CAN BE STEAMED UNTIL OCTOBER 4 FOR $20 BY CALLING PLAYHOUSE ON PARK AT 860-523-5900 EXT.10. THE PLAY WILL BE SCREENED AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS PARK ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 AND AT

INGERSOL POP-UP DRIVE-IN ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4.  FUTURE PLAYS WILL BE “ALL IS CALM” SET IN 1914 AT CHRISTMAS AND  “CHILDREN OF PARADISE” SET IN HEAVEN.  THE THEME FOR THE PLAYHOUSE’S TWELTH SEASON IS, APPROPRIATELY, HOP

Sunday, September 13, 2020

RESERVE YOUR SEAT BEFORE EVERY ONE IS “FULLY COMMITTED”

 

If ever there were a person who could effectively use the eight arms of an octopus, it would be Sam the out- of- work actor who takes the tedious job of reservation agent at a trendy Manhattan restaurant. It’s the Christmas season and everyone and anyone wants a coveted table for themselves to see and be seen. Sam, played effectively and convincingly by the talented Matt Densky, has the dubious honor of fielding the requests as to who is worthy of a chair and table.

This is a one man show where the lead actor plays somewhere between thirty and forty roles, all delightfully, from the bombastic chef to the numerous actors, V.I.P.s, tourists, even Mafia dons who call incessantly wanting to dine. A hearty welcome back to Music Theater of Connecticut of Norwalk for being one of the first locations to offer live theater during the pandemic. Hallelujah!

You have the unique and pleasurable opportunity to witness this event first hand in Becky Mode’s challenging comedy “Fully Committed.” 

Of course, the smaller the portions the bigger the price tag and the more unusual the offerings created daily by the Chef, who is temperamental to the extreme, the more desirable they seem. Sam has to be a master juggler to answer the multiple phones and confess the eatery is booked at least three months in advance, hence the comment about being “fully committed.”

Playwright Becky Mode has nailed with pinpoint accuracy the craziness and caginess of the customers who seek a reserved table at the current hot spot. Densky plays them all, insiders like the egotistical chef and snide maitre ‘d and outsiders like Gwyneth Paltrow’s fawning assistant and demanding Mafia men who are willing to pay extravagantly to get a table. Densky assumes all the mannerisms and accents as he balances family, friends, acting competitors and wannabe customers of the chichi global fusion cuisine his restaurant specializes in serving.

Sam fields phone calls like a pro, handles messy emergencies without breaking too much of a sweat and ends up satisfying most of his contacts as the jolly Christmas spirit adds a little more urgency to his multi-tasking. Kevin Connors directs this behind the scenes romp into restaurant ramekins and rigors, on a detailed restaurant basement set designed by Jessie Lizotte, while Jim Schilling serves as stage manager.

For tickets ($35-65), call Music Theater of CT, 509 Westport Avenue, Route 1, Norwalk at 203-454-3883. Performances are weekends until September 27, Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in a safe socially distanced environment. If you prefer, you can watch the performance from your home by streaming, for $25. Now is the time to plan to see a dramatic play about Robert Kennedy, the years 1964-68, “RFK,” October 23-November 8 and, just in time for the holidays, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” December 11-20.

Reserve a V. I. P. seat for this hectic holiday hilarity as Sam the man tries to fill requests from the sublime to the ridiculous.

      

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

THE HILL-STEAD MUSEUM SHINES ITS THEATRICAL LIGHTS THIS SUMMER



As the sun sets on a warm summer afternoon, when you want to celebrate the season and settle outdoors for an evening of entertainment, when you want to forget the state of the world during the time of Covid, what better place to head
than the lovely pastoral setting at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington.  On such a recent evening, I took my chair, my mask and a friend and we sat on the lawn, on one of the museum’s 152 lush green acres, to enjoy an evening of
Cabaret songs courtesy of the singing group The Falsetti Four.  Under the auspices of West Hartford’s intimate Playhouse on Park, with the generous support of the Hill-Stead Museum, the entire summer has been dotted with many
sparkling opportunities to bring a treasured moment of music or theater to life. This was just such an evening.

Safe in our little pod, with food to nibble and drinks to imbibe, we watched the sun go down as the Falsetti Four gloriously sang show tunes. With a following from their Friday Night performances at BlueBack Square in West Hartford, the troupe included 
Rick Fountain, Amanda Forker, Carolyn Burke, Hillary Ekwall and young, talented high schooler Stephanie Reuning-Scherer whose dad Jonathan was there flashing the keyboards to every number.  Tunes ranged from show biz favorites like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to
cute numbers about the mistake of dying your hair blue only to have it turn green to a one woman birthday party celebration.  Whether sentimental or sassy, the performances were Broadway level enjoyable.

The Hill-Stead is also entertaining benefit dinners on the lawn,”Theodate & Tyler,” as farm-to-table experiences into September  Other events include a Playhouse on Park Dance Party with Darlene Zoller on Wednesday, September 16 and a
 Playwrights Reading Series on Wednesday, September 23.  Other entertainment performances are the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Stage, a Concert Among the Acres, a Painting Class run by the Museum and the Sonia Plumb Dance Company
in September and in October the Hartford Stage and the Farmington Land Trust Raptor Program.  Visit https://www.hillstead.org/ for dates, times and prices.

  The Museum is now open for guided tours from Thursday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Treat yourself to an evening outdoors as the sunshine turns to star shine and you get to remember why you love theater.


 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

TEN REASONS

TEN REASONS YOU KNOW YOU’VE ENDURED THE COVID 19 VIRUS TOO LONG ARE:

YOU HAIR LOOKS LIKE A REJECTED BIRD’S NEST

YOU ARE NOW ON INTIMATE RELATIONS WITH YOUR REFRIGERATOR

YOUR COUCH HAS A PERMANENT RESERVATION SIGN IN FRONT OF THE TV JUST LIKE DR. SHELDON COOPER ON “THE BIG BANG THEORY”

IT HARDLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE CHANGING FROM YOUR NIGHTTIME PAJAMAS TO YOUR DAYTIME ONES

YOU SPEND HALF YOUR LIFE ZOOMING AND RE-ZOOMING

THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR WEEK IS A TRIP TO BUY CHOCOLATES AND JUJYFRUIT CANDY AT THE DOLLAR STORE

YOU HAVE TO FORCE YOURSELF TO GET OUT OF BED EVERY MORNING BECAUSE THERE IS SO LITTLE TO LOOK FORWARD TO DOING AGAIN AND AGAIN

THE CHANGING OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT HOW TO OR NOT TO SURVIVE THE VIRUS CHANGE WITH EVERY EMAIL

YOU LEARN HOW TO SPELL QUARANTINE AND PANDEMIC EVEN THOUGH

YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW EITHER

YOU LOOK TO DR. FAUCCI AND RANDY RAINBOW AS YOUR GURUS OF KNOWLEDGE

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

RANDOM COVID 19 THOUGHTS



WHERE HAVE ALLTHE FLOWERS GONE? WE ARE CURRENTLY TRAPPED IN AN ARTIFICIAL WORLD WHERE LITTLE MAKES SENSE AND WE HAVE LESS CONTROL OVER EVENTS THAN USUAL. WE ARE INDEBTED TO DOCTORS, NURSES, TEACHERS AND ALL THE SERVICE PROVIDERS WHO STAND ON THE FRONTLINES TO KEEP US SAFE, FED AND CARED FOR. 

ONE ADVANTAGE TO THIS CRISIS, TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, IS THAT WE HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED A GUN SHOOTING IN MONTHS.  OUR AIR IS CLEANER DUE TO THE LACK OF MILLIONS OF CARS ON THE ROAD.  PEOPLE ARE MEETING NEIGHBORS AND HELPING OTHERS EVEN WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND WEARING PROTECTIVE GEAR.

WORKING FROM HOME OR NOT WORKING AT ALL HAS BECOME THE NORM AND MANY STATES ARE CAUTIOUSLY OPENING UP IN AN ATTEMPT TO RETURN TO SOME LEVEL OF NORMALCY. CONNECTICUT IS, THANKFULLY, THE LAST TO OPEN ITS FLOOD GATES.

SO WE SIT AND WAIT WITH GRATITUDE AND GRAYING HAIR THAT WE HAVE FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO HOLD ON TO, EVEN IF ONLY VIRTUALLY.

THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS.

Monday, March 23, 2020

A CELEBRATION OF LOVE AT SEVEN ANGELS THEATRE


 
When four true friends impulsively pledge at  their senior prom to be at each other’s weddings as bridesmaids, none of them realize the commitment they are making. The number of ugly dresses they are promising to wear, the need to convince each reluctant bride to proceed with the ceremony, the bride who will exercise her right to throw the bouquet every year or so, the ones who change their minds mid-ceremony and the ones who regret their choices three decades later are all destined to be present.
 
If you’ve ever questioned the institution of marriage or spent years dreaming of happily ever after, there is much to find humor in in this Jones Hope Wooten comedy
“Always a Bridesmaid” at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury.  Due to the current health crisis, the show will be postponed and hopefully reopen in the near future.  Watch for the announcement.
 
Meanwhile the Laurelton Oaks Country Club is hopping with matrimonial business, under the management of Sedalia Ellicot (Joyce Jeffrey) who desperately wants to quarantee perfection in the bridal department. She doesn’t have any idea that this latest bunch of beauties will try her patience to the bone.
 
These hopelessly romantic gals are all ready and able to fulfill their obligations to each other and don those less than beautiful garments and assist in every way possible their best friend down the aisle, even if they have known the prospective groom all of two weeks.
 
Monette (Stacey Harris)  is taking advantage of promises when she dons a white dress three years in a row.  Her daydreams about a special love fest play like the reruns of “Ground Hogs Day” the movie.  Her pals Charlie (Amanda Burton) appear even if they are sick, Deedra (Anette Michelle Sanders) arrives even if she has just been robbed and Libby Ruth (Valerie Stack Dodge) serves as the conciliatory peacemaker.
 
With each wedding, the predicaments roll on in comic confusion thanks to the white glove direction of Julia Kiley.  Moira O’Sullivan as Kari narrates the action with champagne glass firmly in hand. 

 
No need to bring a wedding gift as these ladies provide a humorous look at all that can go right and wrong on the marital merry-go-round.  Hop on board for a joy filled ride.
 
 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

“EVERY BRILLIANT THING” ENGENDERS THOUGHTFUL INSIGHTS TO LIFE



When a seven year old boy discovers his mom is in the hospital suffering from sadness, he tries everything in his power to make her smile and be happy.  His clever idea is to make a list, at least as long as his arm, filled with all the things that make him happy.  He prays they will make her happy too.

Because of the current health crisis, TheaterWorks Hartford will not be able to complete the run of “Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe originally scheduled to run until March 22. With all that being said, the message of the play is well worth considering and it just may make your own life more meaningful.

Do you wake up each morning or go to bed each night thinking of three things for which you are grateful?  For this troubled little boy, brought to meaningful life by Chad Jennings, his idea is to make a list of all those things that make life worth living.  High on everybody’s list might be ice cream, unless you are lactose intolerant and dairy makes you sick.  Think of butterflies and cuddly babies, chocolate and new car smells, the first pop of a spring crocus, a freshly cut lawn,  hitting a home run, attending the first night of a new play, finding your soul mate, acing an exam, and the list goes on.

To help his mother recover, the little boy starts with ice cream and adds the color yellow, wearing a cape, spaghetti and meatballs, piglets, skinny dipping, bubble wrap, the alphabet, new sheets, surprises, bird song, planning a declaration of love and hundreds of thousands more.  The audience is entrusted to help him with his endeavor and play such parts as his veterinarian, his father, a caring teacher, a new love, a college professor and a support group.

Along his journey, he learns to deal with his stress and accept a child’s perception of life and death.  Underneath it all is the fear that he too would follow his mom and no longer wish to live. Eventually he learns it is important to talk about things, on his way to listing a million things to be grateful for. Eric Ort directs this poignant journey into a troubled mind as it works to find answers and hope for the future.

The message is clear:  Don’t postpone joy.  Run make that ice cream cone right now.