Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Actor Stephen Bogardus has the usual theatrical credits and impressive ones at that.  He’s appeared on Broadway in “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” “Les Miserables,” “West Side Story,” “M Butterfly, “Show Boat” and “City of Angels.”  Pretty nice credentials as to his talents one might conclude.  How many actors, however, can boost that they’ve played a leper and a first class leper, to boot?

Back in 1986 Stephen Bogardus, known to his friends as “Bogie,” appeared at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre in a play called “Progress” starring Tony Shalub who would go on to become the obsessive/compulsive detective “Monk.”  At the time, he promised his co-stars, a trio that included Bogie, that he would give them each a guest appearance on “Monk” and he was true to his word.  But a leper?  Bogardus says it was a great experience.

Bogie is used to playing “despicable people,” perps, psychotic killers, cocaine addicts, all bad guys.”  He’s always “the guy they’re coming after.”  The exception is the gig he is currently involved in at Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre in Chester when he plays the “good, old dad” in “The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown opening Thursday, August 4 and continuing until Sunday, August 28.  For tickets ($45.50, students $20), call 860-873-8668.  Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Inquire about the dinner packages ($49) and Girls Night Out ($39).

Bogardus has been involved since the musical’s first workshop years ago on the West Coast. He deems today’s version, a ninety minute one act show, “structurally the same but with more clarity, stronger relationships, but 90% the same as the original piece.”  Here at Goodspeed, the play “ is allows to incubate gently, to be fine tuned, sharper, smarter, to be shephereded to stage and flourish.”  While challenging, “the pay off is incredible.”

Bogardus plays Samantha’s dad, and one of his favorite parts is the duet they sing “My Dad Is a Statistician” that travels from the real to the make-believe as he teaches her how to drive.  We view the “cool, calm side” morph into the “psychotic statistician,” a transition her compares to “gallows humor.”

Another Kleenex moment is the song mom and dad sing to Sam, “I Wouldn’t Change Anything,” as the parents look back eighteen years to reflect on all that has happened as they prepare to let her go on her journey.

If in real estate, it’s location, location, location, with Sam, a high school senior, it’s decisions, decisions, decisions.  She is on her own journey to discover her own voice and make her own choices.  The play is a moment in time, a freeze frame, that flashes back to all that has happened in her senior year so she can reexamine it in her mind.  When she realizes her life has been dictated by other people and events, Sam begins to grow up and choose her won life’s path.

Bogardus calls his role as dad “ a cog in the wheel” as “I don’t have the ability to effect her part of the story.”  Yet Sam’s hopes and dreams, as well as her parents’, are told in a “witty and quirky way” that will resonate on a fun and emotional level with the audience.  As Samantha learns to trust herself and acknowledge that her voice is a valid one, Bogardus feels the audience will be on a journey of their own, discovering the pain and courage it takes to let go of what’s safe and easy.  Robert Frost’s “The path less taken” comes to mind.

“The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown” was written by the team of Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan who describe their show as a “cross between ‘The Fantasticks’ and ;High School Musical,’ “ based on Brian’s first semester at Harvard when he suddenly wondered “how did I get here?”
Daniel Goldstein will direct Meghann Fahy as Sam, with Melissa Benoist as her friend Kelly, Andrew Durand as her friend Adam and Catherine Porter as her mom.

Take a leap of faith with Samantha Brown as she takes an unconventional left turn to find out who she really is.


A magical merry-go-round figures prominently in the classic musical swirling with fancifulness and passion at Summer Theatre of New Canaan, outdoors under a tent in Waveny Park, until Sunday, August 7. Richard Rodgers who wrote it with Oscar Hammerstein II called “Carousel” his favorite musical, set as it is on the rocky coast of Maine in 1873.

Carousel barker Billy Bigelow gives his heart away, as well as the brass ring, to sweet, pretty and idealistic Julie Jordan who comes to the carnival ride with her best friend Carrie.  Billy and Julie’s instant romance brings to mind another pair of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.  Because Billy’s boss Mrs. Mullin (Emilie Roberts) is jealous of Billy’s straying affections, she fires him and Julie, a mill worker, also loses her job when she misses her curfew.

Christian Cardozo’s Billy is brash and quick to anger, never really treasuring the fragile beauty he has found in Jazmin Gorsline’s loyal and lovely Julie.  Unemployed, he panics when Julie announces she is pregnant and falls into a scheme with his disreputable pal Jigger (Adam Bashian) that leads to a trail of trouble and tears.

In contrast, Julie’s best friend Carrie, a delightful Lauren Lukacek, fares much better in her choice of a mate, the eminently respectable fisherman Enoch Snow (William Hartery) and they go on to produce a storm of “snowflakes” to admire.

Julie’s fate and that of her daughter Louise (Sandra Ross) are much more unpredictable, even with the help of town folks Nettie Fowler (Joan Mitchell Carlo), Dr. Seldon (Brian Silliman) and Mr Bascombe (Lou Orsone).  Glorious music like  “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” “What’s the Use of Wond’rin?” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” are memorable.  Allegra Libonati directs a fine ensemble cast in this “heavenly” production.

For tickets ($25 - 45), call STONC at 203-966-4634 or online at www.stonc.org.  Waveny Park is off exit 37, Merritt Parkway.  Free parking is just past the park on Farm Road, at the New Canaan High School. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m.

 “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” plays weekends from July 23-August 6, for young audiences, Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at noon.

Allow the magnificent singing and dancing to help Billy examine his soul and find his way to salvation and ultimate redemption.


When an eager and brave young man named D’Artagnan travels to Paris in 1625, he is seeking adventure with a capital A.  His only possession of value is his father’s sword and he yearns to use it for courageous deeds in defense of the Queen.

Within minutes of reaching his destination, however, D’Artagnan (Mark Friedlander) accidentally finds himself challenged to a trio of duels, duels that are not only extremely dangerous but also outlawed.  And the men who challenge him in combat are, ironically, the same men he seeks to meet and join: “ The Three Musketeers.”

Alexandre Dumas’ swashbuckling novel has been adapted for the stage by Linda Alper, Douglas Langworthy and Penny Metropulos in all its majesty and mayhem.  Connecticut Free Shakespeare will be performing these feats of daring drama Wednesday to Sunday, July 27-31 outdoors at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport at 8 p.m. and then on the Guilford Green in Guilford, sponsored by the Shoreline Arts Alliance, Wednesday to Sunday, August 3-7.

Needing to prove himself worthy, D’Artagnan implores Porthos (Ian Eaton), Aramis (Joseph Robinson) and Athos (Justus White) and the Musketeers’ Captain (Jamil A. C. Mangan) to let him join their elite ranks.  They soon find themselves fighting the Cardinal (Craig Anthony Bannister) and his guards, led by the conniving Rochefort (Jake Paque).

The intrigue continues as it swirls around the fate of noble ladies, Queen Anne (Catherine White) and her seamstress Constance (Megan Emery Gaffney) and D’Artagnan’s loyal servant Planchet (also Catherine White) as well as the infamous femme fatale Milady (Saluda Camp) who can not be trusted as far as a dropped hankerchief takes to reach the earth.  Into the fray are the two men of the hour, King Louis (Steve Mazzoccone) and the Duke of Buckingham (Andrew Spieker) who both seek to win Queen Anne’s favor and are willing to fight a war to prove themselves worthy.

Ellen Lieberman directs the non-stop action under the stars with verve.  Performances are free but donations are welcome.  Bring blankets and lawn chairs and snacks to share.  Shows are cancelled in inclement weather.  For more information, call 203-393-3213 or go online to www.CTFreeShakespeare.org.

It’s “all for one, one for all” in this action-packed tale that glimmers like a necklace of diamonds displayed on a sword of steel. An extra bonus at the zoo are the peacocks who proudly parade pompously across the play’s platform.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


A three day weekend over the 4th of July in a beautiful house on Fire Island should be a dream in paradise, with sun, surf, sand, savory suppers and stimulating speech.  Not so for the two couples who gather together for the holiday.  Sally’s brother David has just died of AIDS, that is startling enough, but at the hospital she learns he had an African-American life partner.  She doesn’t know if she is comfortable keeping his home and this weekend is a trial, of sorts, a test run, to see if she should hold onto it, sell it, rent it out or just give it outright to David’s lover.

Let playwright Terrence McNally pull up a beach chair and seat you on the deck of his provocative drama “Lips Together, Teeth Apart” enjoying a sunning at the Westport Country Playhouse until Sunday, July 30.

Sally Truman (Maggie Lacey) loves to paint landscapes and say personal prayers, but involved as she is she still has time to have an affair with her sister-in-law’s husband John (Chris Henry Coffey).  John has had some bad medical news, so maybe that is somewhat of an excuse for his despicable behavior.  His wife Chloe (Jenn Gambatese), perky 24/7, and Sally’s husband Sam (John Ellison Conlee), an inveterate questioner, are siblings and this unhappy quartet is sharing close quarters for a family confab.  Since it is the 4th of July maybe one or more of them will declare their independence.

With housefuls of gay neighbors on both sides, the two couples grapple with secrets and suspicions, lies and innuendoes.  Between the muffins and the mojitoes, the accusations and the recriminations, the full moon, kite flying, fisticuffs, flag waving and fireworks, everyone becomes alternately introspective and evasive.  While Chloe sings show tunes, to prove what a good actress she is, there is a three-ring circus of drama unfolding all around her.  Mark Lamos directs this biting confrontation of emotions, all set to explode on the holiday, like a skilled ring- master.

For tickets ($35-60), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, route 1, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 888-927-7529 or online at www.westportplayhouse.org.  Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Sunday at 3 p.m. and 2 p.m. selected Wednesdays.

Move in for a long weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Truman and Mr. and Mrs. Haddock as they take an insightful journey into what drives them to drink and to dream.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


A close cousin to the onion and leek, garlic is a spice with six thousand years of history, as a seasoning for cooking and as a medicinal healer to prevent everything from the common cold to colon cancer.  You would not have to travel far to attend the Connecticut Garlic and Harvest Festival in Bethlehem, October 8 and 9, to enjoy such treats as garlic sausage and garlic ice cream.

Even closer to home and ready to enjoy right this minute, weekends until early September, is “Garlic the Musical,” on the patio of Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster Street, in New Haven, arguably one of the prettiest streets in the city  A fine dining establishment for over seven decades, Consiglio’s has added an intriguing new item to their extensive menu for the last three summers:  outdoor garden dinner theater Friday and Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. and late Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m.

The fun starts long before the actors enter stage left.  Just sitting under the festive tent at small tables, next to flower boxes of pink and white petunias, with intoxicating Italian smells from the nearby kitchen get you in the mood.  Once you start munching the hot and crusty garlic bread, you know you’ve come to the right place.

The menu consists of Caesar salad, penne a la vodka and chicken Florentine on a bed of fresh spinach. All yummy.  While you dine, you might find yourself “tapped” to be part of the show, with a blonde wig, a bikini apron or a garlic hat.  Don’t be shy.  Enter into the silliness.

You’ve heard of Woodstock, but long before that was Garlicstock.  Sit back, relax and sing along as a budding concert promoter named Tony Bob (Michael G. Sayers) decides he is abandoning his career as a hairdresser, now that’s he has flunked shampoo.  He organizes a three day musical “festivale” in a barn in the middle of nowhere on a garlic farm in Calabria, Italy and you’re invited.

Luckily he has the help of his guardian angel (Gary Cavello) who looks suspiciously like the Italiano Vampire who is plaguing the neighborhood and trying to seduce Tony Bob’s delectable sister Diana (Laura Papallo).  Don’t be surprised if the ghost of Buddy Holly and Sonny Bono check-in as well as Cher and Judy Garland with great songs of the 50’s and 60’s, orchestrated electronically by PJ Letersky.  Gordon Costello directs this wonderfully wacky “spaghetti musical” penned by Elizabeth Fuller.

For reservations ($65), call Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster Street, New Haven at 203-865-4489 or online at www.consiglios.com.  Don’t worry, there is a delicious dessert of Godiva tiramisu between acts.

Watch how a garlic infestation is averted, a damsel in distress is rescued and a vampire is sent packing back to Transylvania.


When the topic of menopause is introduced into a conversation, the reaction is usually not one of extreme laughter.  Discussions of night sweats, bouts of forgetfulness, hormonal changes, incidents of insomnia, mood swings that rival carnival rides and food cravings do not usually engender humor.  The exception would be Jeanie Linders’ outrageously funny “Menopause the Musical” celebrating ten years of demystifying “the change,” at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven until Sunday, August 7.

A quartet of mighty talented ladies meets at the lingerie counter at Bloomingdale’s during a sale.  In the melee that ensues, as they fight over a sexy undergarment, the women create a sisterhood as they bond over the common symptoms each is experiencing as they push the calendar toward fifty.

Fredena J. Williams is superb as the Professional Woman, the boss lady who storms off to the conference room only to forget why when she gets to the office door.  She is joined by Lisa Fox as the sexy Soap Star who is fighting off wrinkles and fears that her best days on stage are over.  Margot Moreland’s Earth Mother is a flower child trapped in an adult woman’s body while Carolynne Warren as the Iowa Housewife is so excited to be in the Big Apple that she almost forgets she needs her little pink pills to keep her life pleasurable.

Two dozen songs are parodied in this ninety minute show that deals humorously with all the female issues that make menopause so memorable, whether they flash hot, drip wet, involve husbands, mothers or kids, are relieved by a quart of rocky road or promote the pharmaceutical industry.  Each tune is incredibly clever in its accuracy and hysterical in its message, with dance movements to boot.

For tickets ($49.50), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org.  Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Grab a sister, your mom, your daughter or a friend and plan to sing, clap and dance your way to confidence as you realize you’re not alone on this complicated journey through mid-life.  Brave men are invited to come along too.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Imagine you are able to turn back the hands of time to 1957.  You and your family are huddled around your new RCA black and white television set watching a popular jazz pianist and  silky smooth baritone crooner named Nat “King” Cole, one of the first African-Americans to host his own variety show.

Eisenhower is in the White House, the Russians have just launched Sputnik, Little Rock, Arkansas is grappling with school desegregation, Althea Gibson has triumphed at Wimbledon and the Civil Rights Act is posed to be approved, making it the first civil rights legislation since the Civil War Reconstruction era.

Kudos to Dominic Taylor for penning “I Wish You Love,” a musical tribute to Nat “King” Cole that highlights many of his hits, showcases the man and his contributions and illuminates the times and challenges he faced as a performer.  Taylor created the piece for Penumbra Theatre Company in Saint Paul, Minnesota where it enjoyed its world premiere this past April.  He describes the work as a “drama that uses music, not a nice cabaret night.”

“I Wish You Love” at the Hartford Stage until Sunday, July 24, focuses on an historic moment in 1957 when Nat “King” Cole, played magnificently by Dennis W. Spears, was striving to be true to his music and to himself and not succumb to the compromises forced  on him by the television network and his sponsors.  With a magnetic charisma, he croons tunes like “Smile,” “Pretend,” “Stardust,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and “Mona Lisa” that cast a string of pearls on a silver chain. 

When the cameras are off, however, he has to cope with unreasonable demands that affect his back-up musicians Oliver (Kevin D. West) and Jeffrey (Eric Berryman) and stress his announcer Bill (Michael Tezla).  The six- city tour he is commanded to complete leads to many unfortunate consequences.

Calling Cole the “Jackie Robinson of television,” Taylor has fashioned an intimate and personal look behind the stage’s curtain into the barriers Cole faced and hurtled.  Lou Bellamy directs this powerful piece of musical drama.

For tickets ($25-50), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or go online at www.hartfordstage.org.  Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The message that love and time can change everything, but that progress is slow, is evident in every word that Dennis W. Spears enunciates clearly as he offers respect to the man and the master Nat “King” Cole.


When a staid and conservative accountant meets a conniving and opportunistic theatrical producer, it is a match made in shyster heaven.  The number cruncher Leopold hatches a scheme that appeals to the avaricious drama diva Max and soon the pair is off to make millions.

If you want to go along for the glorious ride, hang on to the coattails of Michael McDermott’s Leo Bloom and R. Bruce Connelly’s Max Bialystock in the Ivoryton Playhouse’s rousing romp of a musical, Mel Brooks and Thomas Meechan’s ‘The Producers,” until Sunday, July 31.

Max and Leo’s plan is simple and ingenious: find the world’s worst play, cast terrible actors, hire a dreadful director and then raise tons of dollars by selling shares that are sure to never make a penny for the unwitting investors.  With the cardinal rule that “the IRS isn’t interested in a show that flops,” “Springtime for Hitler” is a guaranteed moneymaker for the pair of con men.

Once the proper elements are in place, and Max convinces the cowardly Leo that “We Can Do It,” Max assembles his cadre of little blue haired ladies, exchanging cuddles for checks, from his investors who love to give.

Along the way, the two entertain the Nazi playwright Franz Liebkind (Mark Woodard) and his pigeons, the stunning Swedish sweetie Ulla (Liz Clark Golson) and the gaily-festooned director Roger DeBris (William Broderick) and his able assistant Carmen Ghia (Schulyer Beeman).

When their grand scheme turns into an unmitigated disaster, that is when critics and audience members alike embrace this love song to Hitler, Max and Leo have a lot of “esplaining” to do to the police.  The frantic fun escalates under director Julia Kiley’s capable hands.

For tickets ($40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or go to their website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.   Performances are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

The old adage that “the show must go on” has been tested thoroughly here, first by R. Bruce Connelly who had an emergency appendectomy last week and rallied to go on opening night, the set designer Tony Andrea who collapsed soon after and was rushed to the hospital and Mark Woodard’s Franz Liebkind who was kicked accidentally and landed in the emergency room.  “Break a leg,” the superstitious greeting for good luck,  takes on a whole new meaning, especially since Woodard’s character ends up with two broken legs in the show.

Discover how a little creative accounting and a desire  for a career in show business can go a long way …directly to jail, without passing GO and collecting $200, yet provide a whole Monopoly game board of entertainment along the way.


To celebrate summer and relieve any signs of anxiety, Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven has the perfect prescription for your comic enjoyment.  Imagine your doctor has just recommended one, two or even three doses of required entertainment for your funny bone’s good health.

First up, from Tuesday, July 12 to Sunday, August 7, is a return of the wildly popular “Menopause the Musical,” for its tenth anniversary, that offers insights into that most mysterious of bodily oddities that strike all women in mid-life: the change.  A quartet of women meeting at Bloomingdale’s will make this merry medical adventure a revealing journey that explores hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and hormonal imbalances and helps you laugh at them and at yourself.  Brave men are welcome.  For tickets ($49.50), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

As if that isn’t enough fun for the season, your favorite nun is staging a return coup when “Sister Strikes Again! Late Night Catechism 2” by Maripat Donovan flies in from Wednesday, July 13 to Sunday, August 21.  This time around Sister, a talented Nonie Newton-Breen, will offer instruction on her personal list of sins, which you can avoid by dressing modestly, turning off your cell phone, not being tardy and will escalate all the way up the ladder to the really bad stuff.  Speaking of ladders, she will also offer a catholic version of Chutes and Ladders as she provides much needed lessons on Heaven and Hell.  Hold on to your haloes for Sister’s unique viewpoints.  Tickets are $30.  Performances are Wednesday-Sunday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Rounding out the trio of treats is comedian Colin Quinn performing his one-man hit show  “Long Story Short” from Tuesday, August 9-Sunday, August 21.  Directed by Jerry Seinfeld, coming off a successful Broadway tour, Quinn will take his audiences on an exploration of world history, focusing on the rise and fall of empires, including our own, galloping with razor sharp wit across the hills, mountains and plains of civilizations.  With satire, Quinn takes on all the great philosophers from Socrates to Snooki, to prove that throughout history, the joke has always been on us.

Tickets are $50.  Performances are Tuesday to Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Pack up your troubles and head out to Long Wharf Theatre for a vacation from anxiety and laugh all the way to happier days.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Professor Henry Higgins of 27A Wimpole Street, London, England is confident, arrogant and supremely knowledgeable about phonetics and languages.  In the hands of the gifted Terrence Mann, he is equal parts curmudgeon and charmer.  When his colleague Colonel Pickering, played deftly by Timothy Gulan, challenges him to take a Cockney flower girl, a guttersnipe, and in six months time transform her into a duchess, the egotistical Higgins can’t resist.

Such is the delightful premise of Lerner and Loewe’s classic family musical “My Fair Lady,” based on George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion.”  The Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s production, at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, on the campus of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, until Sunday, July 17 is pure perfection.

This scalawag of a professor plucks a “squashed cabbage leaf,” a piece of “baggage,” namely one Miss Eliza Doolittle, off the London streets where she is innocently trying to sell her violets and posies and earn an honest shilling or three.  Alix Paige’s Eliza is “loverly,” dirty face, scruffy and all and she rises beautifully to the task, under Higgins’ tutelage.

Despite the interfering of Eliza’s old dad, a masterful Richard Ruiz, Eliza manages to win the favor of Henry’s mama (Eileen Fulton), his housekeeper (Lynn McNutt) and a socialite admirer Freddy (Connor Moore) who serenades her with the lilting melody “On the Street Where You Live.”

The music is spot-on marvelous from Eliza’s daydreaming “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”  to her papa’s ruminating “With a Little Bit of Luck” to Higgins’ observations in “I’m an Ordinary Man” to Eliza’s “I Could Have Danced All Night.”  Each one is a gem.

Vincent J. Cardinal gets full credit for a smashing sensation of a show, with sophisticated choreography by Charlotte d’Amboise, enchanting costuming by Kevin Thacker and thoroughly top notch sets by Michael Anania.

For tickets ($10-39), call the CT Rep at 860-486-4226 or go online to www.crt.uconn.edu.  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Dance all the way to the box office and purchase a little bit of theatrical heaven, with a flower cart full of glorious music, a brilliant professor and his deliciously fair lady of a pupil.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Florence Griswold left a legacy in her love and promotion of American Impressionist paintings.  The house who father left her, without the financial means to support it, became a mecca for painters and a boarding house and studio for them to create their work.

Encouraged by Miss Florence, they made her home their own and set out to capture the rolling green hills and pastoral scenes of Old Lyme.  Today the house and the gallery, a cafĂ© and a studio in which you can paint your own canvas are a welcome destination for visitors of all ages.  Plan a visit soon.  Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, exit 70 of I-95, 860-434-5542.  Hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Chris Cragin, Son of a Gun

Don Chaffer, Son of a Gun

Rose Barn Theater, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Waterford

If you knew for certain that there was gold buried in the hills of Waterford, would you grab a pickaxe and head off to stake your claim?  No prospector tools are necessary to mine this gem as it is the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and its treasures are there for the taking.

Every summer this wonderful enclave sponsors a series of exciting events starting with an International Puppetry Conference in June.  This year’s offerings were “Wake Up Your Weird” by Leslie Carrara Rudolph and Michelle Spears and “Desert Flight(s):  Prehistoric Puppetry” with Roman Paska.  This is where the ever popular “Avenue Q” got its launch.

Every winter and spring, hundreds of new plays are submitted for consideration at the “National Playwrights Conference” in July.  From this hefty number, eight are selected for a full workshop and staged reading.  This year’s winners are “The Nether” by Jennifer Haley about suspected abuses against children as a young cyberdetective questions a prominent businessman to uncover the truth.  Performances are tonight at 8:15 p.m.

In “The Happiest Song Plays Last” by Quiara Alegria Hudes, the lives of two cousins are explored, one who lives in Jordan and one in Philadelphia, and how they are connected by humanity.  Performances are Friday, July 8 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 9 at 8:15 p.m.

Christina Anderson’s “Good Goods” deals with a comedy duo who have broken up and the fatal accident that brings them together and changes everything.  Performances are Wednesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 14 at 8:15 p.m.

In Anna Ziegler’s “The Incident,” a family visit to their son at a Maine sleep away camp takes a dramatic turn when the son, always a difficult child, suddenly disappears.  Performances are Friday, July 15 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 16 at 8:15 p.m.  From a play about Maine, the action turns due south to a weather station in Antarctica where a community of lonely souls grapples with a city where the sun disappears for months on end.  To see Keith Reddin’s “Acquainted with the Night,” go on Wednesday, July 20 or Thursday, July 21 at 8:15 p.m.

Take a leap into cyperspace with a trio of video gamers who are asked by the government to play war games for real in Deborah Zoe Laufer’s “Leveling Up.”  Performances are Friday, July 22 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 23 at 3:15 p.m. Enter the mind of a 12 year old teenage boy who is part superhero and part genius and is trying to control the world as he knows it or at least perceives it to be in “ The Troublemaker Project” by Dan LeFranc.  Performances are Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28 at 8:15p.m.

Hip-hop your way with Idris Goodwin’s “How We Got On” as a DJ/Narrator invites us to rap with a trio of Midwestern teens to discover their rhythm and harmony.  Performances are Friday, July 29 at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 30 at 8:15 p.m.

The National Music Theater Conference this year has four offerings to tempt your palate.  In “Unknown Soldier” by Daniel Goldstein and Michael Friedman, a love story spans two generations as a grandmother and granddaughter search the past for an unforgettable soul.  Performances were last week.

There is still time to catch the last performance of “Son of a Gun” by Chris Cragin and Don Chaffer on Friday, July 8 at 7 p.m. and enter the world of an eccentric bluegrass rock family band that has to cope with medical emergencies and personal crises.
In “Suprema” by Jordan Harrison and Daniel Zaitchik, a stranger than fiction story, a triangular love tale, about the creator of both Wonder Woman and the lie-detector test unfolds.  Performances are Saturday, July 9 at 8 p.m., Sunday, July 10 at 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. and Friday, July 15 at 7 p.m.

For a cabaret musical set in a Parisian cemetery, look no further than “The Shadow Sparrow” by Anton Dudley, Charlie Sohne and Keith Gordon.  Discover a woman who desires fame and a man who wants to find the mother he never knew.  Performances are tonight at 8 p.m., Sunday, July 10 at 2:30 p.m. and Thursday, July 14 at 8 p.m.

For tickets ($28) to any performance, call the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford (exit 75, off I-95) at 860-443-5378 or online at www.theoneill.org. Also check out the “Sing For Your Supper” Cabaret Conference in August.

Unleash your prospecting acuity as you mine the abundance of theatrical riches at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center that are just waiting to be discovered.  Claim your golden nuggets now.