Tuesday, October 6, 2015
CAST OF "42ND STREET" PHOTO BY CHRIS BANNION
You’ll wish you had a pair of tap dancing shoes and a gift certificate to an Arthur Murray studio when you experience the razzle-dazzle spectacular of “42nd Street,” the musical comedy powerhouse coming to the Palace Theater in Waterbury for three performances only, Friday, October 9 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. With book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, who also directs, and choreography by Randy Skinner, the story follows a sweet, young and naive girl fresh off a bus from Allentown, PA as she tries to take a giant bite out of the Big Apple.
Come meet Peggy Sawyer with all her eager enthusiasm and talented feet. The fact that she arrives too late for the dance audition for the new Julian Marsh musical “Pretty Girl” doesn’t stop her from landing a coveted spot in the chorus line. Being on Broadway means Peggy will put in twelve hour days, seven days a week, for five weeks of rehearsal, and earn the princely sum of $32 a week. It’s the depression and times are tough, but that doesn’t discourage this bright eyed optimist from practicing her shuffle, pivots, pull backs, wings and two steps with gusto.
As luck would have it, Peggy accidentally bumps the leading lady, a fixture in show business, star Dorothy Brock and knocks her literally off her feet, breaking her ankle. With the help of Marsh, and co-stars Billy Lawlor and Maggie Jones, Bert Barry and Anytime Annie, Peggy finds herself with thirty-six hours to learn the dance routines to take over for the lead.
This pretty bright and bouncy show, with music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, features such great numbers as “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” “We’re in the Money,” “Forty-Second Street,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and “Lullaby of Broadway.” Come see how the newest star in the firmament comes through to save the day.
For tickets ($47-64), call the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury at 203-346-2000 or online at www.palacetheaterct.org. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. A festive dinner in the Poli Club precedes the show at 6 p.m. Call for reservations.
Put on a pair of tap dancing shoes and hoof on over to the Palace Theatre for a happy time of show business glitz and glamour when the shiny as a new copper penny, Peggy Sawyer, uses her fancy footwork to get her name in lights.
Monday, October 5, 2015
At the turn of the twentieth century, it was not uncommon to see a rag-tag gang of boys peddling the news at every corner of cities like New York, scrambling to earn a penny to keep their families from poverty's door. All the way back to colonial times, these energetic and enterprising youth shouted in your face trying to be the first one to thrust a paper in your hand. In 1899, the newspaper giants like Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst decided they could squeeze a little more profit by reducing the pennies the boys earned. No child labor laws protected these kids and their pittance was put in jeopardy.
This true David and Goliath story birthed a new musical "Newsies" with book by Harvey Fierstein, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, and it has been making its own headlines, winning Tony Awards in 2012 for Best Choreography and Best Original Score. Hold on to your reading glasses and run as fast as you can to the Hartford's Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, October 13 through Sunday, October 18 as "Disney's Newsies The Musical" marches into town.
"Newsies" centers on child labor practices, when the kids united to change the way the big powers compensated them. In the two weeks the boys refused to sell newspapers, circulation dropped from 360,000 to 125,000 and the kids were victorious in having their voices heard. These boys were often homeless and orphaned. They were not employees and had no one to protect them but themselves. They fearlessly took on the giants and won, even though the newspapers wouldn't let them return unsold goods. Working from early morning often to late in the night, they typically earned 30 cents a day.
Come meet Jack Kelly, an enthusiastic hard working lad, who rallies his gang when he realizes the cost of the papers from the publisher has been raised. Jack gathers his force to protest and finds unexpected support from a reporter named Katherine. With the help of Davey who is helping the family when his dad is disabled, the boys are encouraged to "Seize the Day." The police and strikebreakers try to snuff their spirit but, ultimately, Jack's championing of their cause prevails and Pulitzer backs down on his monetary demands. Even Governor Theodore Roosevelt rides in to help save the day.
For tickets ($25.00 and up), call the Bushnell, 166 Capital Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900or online at www.bushnell.com Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Join Jack and his pals as they carry the banner of truth, justice and the American way, hitting the streets of 1899 New York City as pint-sized heroes to battle the giants and win the day.
PHOTO BY JOEL ABBOTT
The thought is that giving of yourself, your time and talents, to others is rewarding for both the giver and the receiver. Mark Twain is credited with saying:
"the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." For Mitch Albom, that realization was brought home to him when he reconnected with a special professor at Brandeis University, Morrie Schwartz, after a sixteen year absence. His sociology teacher had been a mentor to Albom and when Albom graduated he promised to keep in touch. He didn't and the years passed. Now a chance sighting of his old friend on the Ted Koppel television show brings Mitch to Morrie's door to visit him as he battles with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, and makes peace with his impending death.
For a poignant and meaningful conversation, seize this unique opportunity for wonderful theater by listening in on "Tuesdays with Morrie," written by Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher, and being offered at the Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford until Sunday, October 18. Mitch is our narrator,
explaining about how his career as a jazz musician morphed into a profession as a sports writer, now housed in Detroit, and why he is flying every Tuesday to visit Morrie in his Massachusetts home.
This man whom Mitch calls "coach" is still providing life lessons, even though his thirty years as a teacher are over. As Morrie faces death, he wants Mitch to discover the wonders of love, work. aging, family, community, forgiveness and even death. His muscles may be degenerating but his mind is sharp. What starts as a one time visit of an hour quickly changes into a commitment to come every week...until the end.
Morrie poses difficult questions to Mitch: Are you at peace with yourself? Are you as human as you can be? The message is clear that every day is a gift, that's why they call it the present. Morrie posits that, like the Buddhists, there is a little bird on his shoulder that asks him every day if he is ready, ready for death. Mitch learns that the truth that when you learn how to die, that is when you learn how to live. Morrie urges Mitch to go after life and embrace it, a lesson we can all profit from.
Chris Richards is a wonderfully sensitive Mitch, a man who cares deeply and is open to expanding his heart in meaningful ways. Gannon McHale is exceptional as the transitional professor facing the most important class in his life, and facing it with wisdom and humor and courage. We literally see
his disintegration in front of us, sensing his pain and trying to hold him in a healing hug.
For tickets ($22.50-35.00), call Playhouse on Park at 860-523-5900, ext. 10, or online at www.PlayhouseOnPark.org. Performances are Tuesday at 2 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Watch for the next Comedy Night, promising 90 minutes of laughter, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., ($15) on Saturday, October 31 and Wednesday, November 25.
Come discover, like Mitch, that without love, we're birds with broken wings and we need to forgive everyone for everything. Also learn what Morrie asks for as extra credit.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
AUDREY (LAURA WOYASZ) CONFRONTS THE DEVILISHLY HUNGRY AUDREY II
PHOTO BY ROGER U. WILLIAMS
With a watering can, a green thumb and a box of Band-aids, anything can happen in the world of strange growing plants. Just ask Seymour Krelborn, a potential botanist in the making, who purchased an unusual potted plant from a Chinese man when the world is undergoing some different astrological and weather related events. Whatever the cause, Seymour soon finds himself the caretaker of a plant he names Audrey II, in honor of the girl he works with who has stolen his heart. Audrey II has some strange cravings, ones that don't include water, sunshine, fertilizer or plant food.
To discover what Audrey II desires, just head over to the Ivoryton Playhouse by Sunday, October 11 and meet Seymour (Nicholas Park) and the gang at Mushnik's Skid Row Flower Shop, like Mushnik (David Conaway) and Audrey (Laura Woyasz) and their funky Greek chorus of delicious flower children (Azarria White, La'Nette Wallace and Danielle Marie Gray). Come enter the exotically entertaining world of "Little Shop of Horrors" cleverly created by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken where Mr. Mushnik is about to close up shop permanently. The arrival of Audrey II changes everything.
Love will motivate even the meekest of men to move mountains and molehills for their sweethearts, even if it means making a pact with a fiendish plant. In order for Seymour to woo and win Audrey, the girl of his dreams, he must supply “the plant” with its favorite growth elixir: human blood. As “the plant,” flourishes and flowers, Seymour realizes what a money making monsterpiece he has created and the potential fame it can bring to Mushnik's modest Skid Row florist shop. He also realizes that as carnivore grows, so does its thirsty need for the red stuff and its cries of “feed me” echo louder and louder.
Songs like "Somewhere That's Green," "Dentist," and "Suddenly Seymour" set the tantalizing tone.
Martin P. Robinson take credit for this Jack-in-the-Beanstalk and Venus Fly Trap combination conundrum, with voice provided by Steve Sabol and puppeteering by Austin Costello. Also starring in the show are Carson Higgins as the mad dentist, a sadistic man who punishes his girlfriend Audrey in increasingly painful ways. Lawrence Thelan directs and Apollo Smile choreographs this new production that opened on Broadway in 2003.
For tickets ($42, seniors $37, students $20, children $15), call Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton 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 matinees at 2 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday.
You don’t need a green thumb to enjoy “Little Shop of Horrors” but if Seymour offers you a Band-Aid put on your gloves and run for the nearest exit.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
MONICA PATTON, DAVID LARSEN, CODY JAMISON STRAND IN "THE BOOK OF MORMON"
PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS
An estimated 15 million people belong to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, better known as the Mormons. In upper New York state in the 1820’s, Joseph Smith had a vision of an angel and he saw buried books of golden plates. Brigham Young continued Smith’s religious work and brought the new faith to Utah’s borders. Now you are invited to learn a novel view of the religion when the Shubert Theater in New Haven offers up a donation plate featuring the famous and equally infamous “The Book of Mormon.”
The creators of the television cartoon series “South Park” claim the rights to this irreverent satire that has won 9 Tony Awards: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Church services will be held from Tuesday, October 13 to Sunday, October 18 and the pews are sure to fill up quickly.
“The Book of Mormon” concerns a pair of young missionaries sent out from Utah to convert the world. This is a door-to-door attempt to sell beliefs, similar to an Avon lady or a Fuller Brush man. The goal is to bring enlightenment to the uninformed. Their lucky assignment is Uganda, in the remote and dark regions of Africa.
Unhappily for eager to please Elder Kevin Price, he had his heart set on going to Orlando, Florida for his conversion work for his two year mission. He certainly didn’t plan on being partnered with the nerdy and nebbishy Elder Arnold Cunningham who never bothered to even learn the approved script or even to read the Book of Mormon, their sacred text.
The situation in Uganda is not welcoming. The incongruous pair are quickly robbed and then learn that the villagers are so busy battling poverty, famine, war and AIDS they have little time for prayer meetings.
The team of two struggle to make a difference and have obstacles placed in their rocky path at every turn. Their faith is tested repeatedly and yet, despite all odds, many miraculous things occur. With song and dance and incredible stories, “The Book of Mormon” manages to amuse, astonish and entertain in heavenly ways. Be forewarned the language is not always sweet and pure.
For tickets ($30 and up), call the Shubert Theater, 247 College Street, New Haven at 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.shubert.com. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m and Sunday at 1 p.m and 6:30 p.m.
Answer your door bell to discover the messengers from God who are ready to offer you salvation, redemption and an angelic host of humor.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Conditions in 1950's Memphis, Tennessee were decidedly black and white, with no fifty shades of grey. For disc jockey Huey Calhoun, a naive and wet behind the ears high school dropout, the time was ripe for adventure. He unwittingly became a catalyst for change. Wandering into an underground nightclub of Negro musicians, he immediately identified with the startling new sounds and made the courageous decision to bring them to the radio air waves. It was definitely a ready-or-not moment and that steeped in tradition and prejudiced city didn't know what hit it.
To immerse yourself in the mood and the music, head over to the Downtown Cabaret Theatre of Bridgeport weekends until Sunday, October 11 where the joint will be jumping. With music and book by David Bryan (Bon Jovi) and Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), get ready for the lowdown jive of rhythm and blues and rock and roll to break excitedly into the light of day.
Calhoun's ultra-conservative radio station doesn't take easily to Huey's daring and adventurous spinning platters, especially when he puts his new girl friend Felicia Farrell on the air. The city doesn't take easily to these winds of change and push back big time but Huey perseveres in his quest, a modern day Don Quixote who is not easily discouraged.
Hold on to your bobby socks as great music swirls up to the rafters. You'll find yourself levitating from your comfortable cabaret seats, as you snack on your goodies. Don't forget to bring food and drinks along to share while you enjoy the show. Eli Newsom serves as the Producing Artistic Director of the Main Stage Theatre who is presenting this Tony Award-winning show "Memphis."
For tickets ($23-28), call to the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport at 203-576-1636, option 0 or online at www.MyCabaret.org.
Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.
Watch as Huey fights the good fight to bring his newly discovered sounds to a public that doesn't realize immediately the great advances that are being offered so freely and happily.
CHRIS BROOKS AS DAN ROWAN, MEAGAN BOMAR AS GOLDIE HAWN AND JAMES J. MORAN AS DICK MARTIN IN "LAUGH IN"
You can bet your sweet bippy that the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin is bursting the seams of its mod psychedelic mini-skirts and polishing its granny sun glasses, preparing to take off into la-la land. Put on your white go-go boots and run back in time to a more gentle and groovier era as "Rowan and Martin's Laugh In" celebrates nostalgia with a capital N.
Weekends until Saturday, October 24, Kris McMurray will produce and direct all those great television sketches that tickled your funny bone back in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Ed Friendly and George Schlatter have assembled all the principals we grew to love, with Chris Brooks as Dan Rowan, James J. Moran as Dick Martin and Meagan Bomar as Goldie Hawn.
Grab your rubber chicken, practice dancing the swim and the pony, tell a few knock-knock jokes and let the Fickle Finger of Fate lead you right to the CT Cabaret's door. With quick one liners about everything from goats and lizards to politics, visits on a park bench with the feisty little old lady Ruth Buzzi, a romp with "Here Comes de Judge" and a fast travel through the tulips with Tiny Tim, this energetic cast of seventeen is eager to entertain
Come play with Abby Brooks, Sue Emond, Nancy Ferenc, Linda Kelly, Maria Pompile, Bobby Schultz, Dave Wall, Will Dayton, Russell Fish, Barbara Horan, George Lombardo, Grace Rizuto, Carleigh Schultz and Brianna Zuk as they recreate the comedy show, slamming windows in the joke wall cleverly created by James J. Moran and all way before "Saturday Night Live" captured the spotlight.
For tickets ($30), call the CT Cabaret, 31 Webster Square Road, Berlin (off route 9, exit 22 Mill Street or off the Berlin Turnpike) at 860-829-1248 or online at www.ctcabaret.com. Performances are Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m, with doors opening at 7:15 p.m. Bring your own goodies to share table side or plan to buy desserts and drinks on site.
For a "verrrrry interesting" night of reminiscing with "sock it to me" punches and a caravan of corny comic jokes, head to CT Cabaret for some hearty party fun.