Tuesday, March 27, 2012



East Africa’s landlocked  Republic of Uganda will be parading its pride and promise on Sunday, April 1 at 1 p.m. when an amazing troupe of 11-22 year olds, artists from their nation, will share their culture and creativity.

“Spirit of Uganda” will ignite the stage of the Regina A. Quick Center on the campus of  Fairfield University in a dramatic presentation you will not want to miss. With the powerful native choreography and song of their people, clad in traditional colorful costuming, with joyful instrumentation, these spirited youth will bring their country to life.

They are the ambassadors for Uganda’s 2.5 million orphans who are the devastated victims of civil war, poverty and HIV/AIDS, raising awareness and funds to better their plight.

 Wearing the costumes inspired by traditional and modern Ugandan textiles and patterns, the ensemble performs a repertoire that includes such pieces as the ‘Hurira Engoma,” a bravura showcase for the girls as they balance clay pots on their heads while dancing to traditional and contemporary choreography, and ‘Larakaraka,’ an Acholi dance from northern Uganda, where the dance’s title became a rallying cry and therapeutic dance for those who had been abducted by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Another piece, ‘Ekitaguriro,’ is from the nomadic Banyankole of western Uganda, who cherish their cattle that they tend to for a living. This dance praises the long-horned cows of Ankole and Rwanda, found nowhere else on earth, and the dancers imitate their sounds, rhythms, and movements.

 “Dance and music in Africa are the ‘Breath of Life,’” explains Peter Kasule, the company’s Artistic Director. “The deeper we breathe, the longer we live, and the more diverse and culturally rich we become. The beauty of African dance and music lies in the authenticity of our embedded traditions that are carried from one generation to another.”

      Peter Kasule, who is also “Spirit of Uganda’s” Master of Ceremonies and its founding Artistic Director, is a musician, composer, and choreographer who researches and arranges all repertory, and casts and rehearses the troupe, producing the company's music recordings. Born in Kampala, Uganda in 1981, he lost his parents to AIDS and lived at the Daughters of Charity Orphanage from 1989-96. He was an original member of the Children of Uganda company and served as that group’s director from 2004-2006.

 Tickets ($15 adults, $12 children) are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396 or online at www.quickcenter.com. The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield.

Come celebrate this living history as “Spirit of Uganda” shares its empowering message of hope with the people of Connecticut.

Monday, March 26, 2012


As milestone birthdays go, the big 5-0 takes the cake as being one of the most traumatic.  Women, especially, approach this date as a Grand Canyon of moments, one worthy of an Evel Knieval leap of faith.  For actress Jan Neuberger, it became a pivotal jumping off point of creativity, a chance to poke a little fun, so she wrote a musical “Boomer Girl” as a one- woman show to mark the occasion.

West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park just gave Ms. Neuberger her moment in the spotlight, wrinkles and creaky knees and all, and she came off smelling like the proverbial rose.  As a card-carrying member of the baby boomer generation, she feels well qualified to dish on the advent of middle age.

Looking like a pixieish Peter Pan herself, she nonetheless presents a cogent argument for the changes, menopausal and otherwise, that affect the girl to young lady to woman transitions that all females face.  You may start off fearless but somewhere along the adventure reality sets in with concrete examples of how your body and mind are betraying you.

With a wonderful sense of humor, she advocates having sweaty sex with Antonio Banderas, if only in your imagination, and throwing away the granny flannel pajamas for a Victoria Secret red satin once in a while in a delightful number “Another Happily Married Day.”

A little vignette about crickets, Indian summer and childhood memories segues into a diatribe on “Hormone Replacement Therapy” and a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer about the rewards and risks of taking H. R. T.  Calling Tina Turner the Patron Saint of Personal Responsibility, the Rock of Agelessness and a leggy vision in high heels, she sends out the message loud and clear:  Be all that you can be.

Jan Neuberger clearly got Tina’s message  because she is currently enrolled at Trinity College pursuing a degree in creative writing and anxiously ready to take on the role of Lee this summer at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts in “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.”

She started writing “Boomer Girl” about two and a half years ago, at age 48, as thoughts and feelings about that big birthday “came out as lyrics,” ideas that she thought might be worth stringing together.  She realized early on that “stuff from your heart works.”  Performing it a couple of time in New York City, and once at the Ivoryton Playhouse, she was delighted to take it off the shelf and bring it out for airing this past weekend at Playhouse on Park.

Her husband has videotaped the show so it may be time for some viral marketing on YouTube.  While she feels it took chutzpah and courage to write, she knows she “had something to say that people could relate to across the generations.”  Aging “is not a subject that is discussed honestly and she feels ‘passages’ should be treated humorously.”

Fifty is also a time in your life “when you look back and see the opportunities lost.”  But, never fear, for Jan Neuberger is counting on being a photo on the Smucker’s Jar when she turns 100 with Willard Scott on “The Today Show” so she figures that she has fifty more years to get everything right.  At this moment it’s  “a whole new blank slate” to fill.  Happy Birthday! Move over on the stage, Tina Turner, and make room for Jan Neuberger to strut her stuff.


The masks of tragedy and comedy alternately scowl and smile on Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” a play that combines the darkest of deeds and the merriest of moments.  The Yale Repertory Theatre of New Haven will be giving it a stunning presentation until Saturday, April 7 in its University Theatre, 222 York Street.

Leontes, the King of Sicilia, should have everything any man could want, the respected leadership of his country, a loving wife pregnant with their second child, a son and heir and a best friend in King Polixenes, from the neighboring nation of Bohemia.  Leontes, however, has a treasure chest of emotions that becomes a Pandora’s Box when he latches on to the conviction that his lovely wife Hermione and his longtime “brother” Polixenes are having on an affair and the child that she is carrying is not his own.

Rob Campbell’s Leontes is fiercely and staunchly consumed  by this mistaken belief.  He orders his guard Camillo (Tyrone Mitchell Henderson) to kill Polixenes, an innocent and unknowing victim (Hoon Lee) and has his faithful Hermione arrested and put on trial.  While Susannah Schulman’s Hermione passionately pleads her lack of guilt or guile, it takes the death of their son Mamillius (Remsen Welsh), a  fulfillment of the Oracle of Delphi’s prophesy, to sway the king’s hard heart.  Even Paulina, an eloquent Felicity Jones, the Queen’s loyal noble woman, fails to win her lady’s freedom.

Meanwhile Hermione has prematurely given birth to a daughter whom she names Perdita, which means “lost,” collapsing herself when Leontes has the babe abandoned in Bohemia.  Fast forward sixteen years and learn that the child survived, was found and raised by an old shepherd (Thomas Kopache), and is now a beautiful maiden (Lupita Nyong’o) who has fallen in love with Florizel (Tim Brown), the son of King Polixenes.

As only Shakespeare can, the tragic events of the past become the basis for today’s frivolity and festivity.  Under Liz Diamond’s fanciful hand, the young lovers as well as the older generations are happily reunited.

For tickets ($20-88), call the Yale Rep at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org.  Performances are Tuesday –Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees on selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and special 10:30 a.m. shows for students Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday April 3-5, under a unique program WILL POWER!

“The Winter’s Tale” begins with tragic overtures and ends in unexpectedly lighthearted resolution as a harsh winter resolves into
a blooming spring, all with original music composed by Matthew Suttor, and forgiveness reigns supreme in the land.


When you graduate from college, short on financial means and possibly skimpy on skills, you might feel overwhelmed, especially if your name is Princeton and you’re a puppet.  Your search for who you are and what your purpose in life is may take you on a journey of self-discovery and, if you are lucky, it will lead you to “Avenue Q.”

“Avenue Q” is a delightful musical that began life at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford at an International Puppetry Conference and went on to win the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical.  With book by Jeff Whitty and music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, this clever compilation of a Sesame Street Meets Mr. Rogers will be brought to amazing life at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin weekends until Saturday, April 21.

Director Kris McMurray has outdone himself, with spot-on fine casting and all the puppets from the original production, assembled in perfect harmony.  Luckily for Princeton (Matthew Collin Marrero), he finds his way to Avenue Q and rents an apartment from the landlord Gary Coleman (Kourtney Coleman), yes that Gary Coleman.

There he meets some unique if not downright strange neighbors, friendly and loveable and not so much, like Kate Monster (Emily LaRose), a cute kindergarten teaching assistant, Trekkie Monster (Joe Autuoro with Kaite Corda), an internet porn addict, Rod (Matthew Collin Marrero), an investment banker and his roommate Nicky (Joe Autuoro with Kaite Corda), all puppets, and human characters, Brian (Bobby Schultz), an out-of-work comedian who is engaged to Christmas Eve (Sandra Lee), a therapist without any patients to cure.

With wit and charm, these people and puppets try to find and keep a job, work to distinguish love from lust ( with the help of Lucy the Slut, Emily LaRose), separate good choices from bad (with the encouragement of the Bad Idea Bears, Joe Autuoro and Kaite Corda) and, most importantly, find their PURPOSE.  Songs, musically directed by Pawel Jura, such as “It Sucks to be Me,” “If You Were Gay,” “Everyone’s a Little Bi† Racist,” “Schadenfruede” and “For Now” help them find their way as they deal with issues like alcoholism, homosexuality, pornography and marriage.

For tickets ($30), call the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre, 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at www.ctcabaret.com.  Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15.  Remember to bring snacks to share at your table or buy cake and drinks at the on-site concession stand.

While liberally laced with 4 letter words, “Avenue Q” contains basic life lessons about how helping others will make you feel better about yourself and, in the process, create a kinder world.

Sunday, March 25, 2012



Mickey Rooney, the veteran of burlesque, silent films, talkies, plays and television, who wowed us dancing with such stars as his good friends Judy Garland and Ann Miller, spoke to a full house of his fans on Saturday, March 24 at the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.   Rooney who has already passed his ninth decade of life shared recollections with Jerry Goehring, the center’s executive director, about his long career in the theater.

Born Joe Yule, Jr. in Brooklyn, New York on September 23, 1920 to Scottish-Irish parents who were vaudeville performers, he began his acting stint by accident.  At the age of 17 months, he was hiding while his father was on stage, sneezed, heard the audience laugh and stood up and played on a harmonica.  A star was born!

Delivered on a dining room table by a Chinese doctor, in the rooming house where his folks were living, he revealed his family didn’t have a dime. After his parents divorced, he moved with his mom to Kansas City and later headed for Hollywood for his big break in the movies.  His big break finally came in 1927 when he was cast in the Mickey McGuire movies, a series based on a comic strip.

A pet lover of dogs and horses, he also played ping pong, golf and tennis.  He volunteered for the army and spent years entertaining the troops.  When General Patton saw him perform, he asked who the S.O.B was and said he deserved a Bronze Star.  Rooney made 19 successful Andy Hardy movies, some with Judy Garland.

He married 8 times, the first to Ava Gardner, but when he introduced her to Frank Sinatra, the marriage ended.  His last marriage to Jan Chamberlin is still going strong after 42 years.  Some of his 200 movies include “Sugar Babies,” “National Velvet,” “Black Stallion” and “The Big Sleep.”  He helped jump start the careers of Red Skeleton, Sammy Davis, Jr, and Marilyn Monroe.

While short in stature, Mickey  Rooney is large in accomplishments and earned an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.  Mickey's message:  "the only things that counts in your life are your family and friends.  Tell them you love them every day."

Thursday, March 22, 2012



When writer George Davis used  his last ten dollars as a down payment to rent a dilapidated townhouse at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights, as America stood posed to enter World War II, he envisioned creating “an experiment in communal living.”  By inviting like-minded literary personalities, writers, poets and composers, to help share the costs, he hoped to establish a cultural utopia where ideas would flourish and grow.

Until Sunday, March 18, New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre, Stage II, in conjunction with The Public Theater in New York City, will present “February House,” a world premiere musical with book by Seth Bockley and music and lyrics by Gabriel Kahane.

To share his bohemian lifestyle, George Davis, wonderfully wrapped in silk by Julian Fleisher, invites artists well respected in their various creative fields, like the young Southern writer Carson McCullers (Kristen Sieh), the poet W. H. Auden (Erik Lochtefeld) and his companion Chester Kallman (A. J. Shively), the musical composers Benjamin Britten (Stanley Bahorek) and Peter Pears (Ken Barnett) and the startling burlesque sensation Gypsy Rose Lee (Kacie Sheik).  In additon Carson’s husband Reeves (Ken Clark) and Auden’s wife on paper Erika Mann (Stephanie Hayes) also make their emotions evident.

This intriguing coterie of personalities and egos are deliciously decadent as they dabble in drugs and drinks, all geniuses in their own right, as they try to make Davis’ ideal world work in reality.

An abundance of bed bugs, mold, leaking roofs and a lack of hot water disturb the bliss, as do the looming shadows of war and the pressing sexual orientations of the boarding houses’ inhabitants.
This menagerie of artists, a collection of misfits, party frantically to escape the realities of the world but eventually they invade the Victorian “gingerbread house” and cause it to crumble.

Of all the lyrical songs, “A Room Comes Together” is especially appealing as provided by musicians Andy Boroson and Andy Stack. Davis McCallum directs this charming peephole into the lives of these cultural icons.  The home’s name was bestowed because so many shared a February birthday.

For tickets ($45-65), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org.  Performances are  Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Witness an experiment in communal living that sounds perfectly marvelous in the mind of George Davis but doesn’t translate so romantically into reality.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Women Behind Broadway


In honor of Women’s History Month, the Fairfield Museum presented a lecture on Thursday, March 15 at noon with Alexis Greene, author of “Lucille Lortel: The Queen of Off- Broadway” and Helen Sheehy, author of “Eva Le Gallienne. A Biography.”

Friends Lucille Lortel and Eva Le Gallienne forged exceptional careers in the world of theatre. Both women played challenging roles on stage and both kept a commitment to theatre education and avant garde theatre. Galienne (1899 – 1991) became an accomplished performer, educator and a master at building nonprofit repertory theater companies. Lortel (1900 – 1999) began her theatre career as an actress, appearing on Broadway in 1925 and later played roles on the stage and screen. She settled into married life and began producing theatre in 1947 with the creation of the White Barn Theatre in Westport. She was a stalwart promoter and producer of new and original plays and was pivotal in establishing Off-Broadway as an alternative to the commercial theatres in New York.

Both women were ahead of their times and gave themselves wholeheartedly to promote the theater, an artistic endeavor they cherished dearly.

Monday, March 19, 2012


According to legend, Patsy Cline started her amazing singing career at age 3 when she entertained her family and neighbors in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where she was born in 1932.  Her meteoric musical path ended tragically when she was killed in a plane crash at only 30 years of age, but her country music charisma is still strong today almost five decades after her death.

To celebrate her country music stardom, the Ivoryton Playhouse will be hooting and hollering in tribute with “Always... Patsy Cline,” produced by Ted Swindley, until Sunday, April 1.

This intimate and song-filled fun fest follows Patsy, superbly brought to life by Jacqueline Petroccia, from her early triumphs on the Arthur Godfrey Show to her national fame at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.  This production uses the true tale of one of her biggest fans, Louise Seger, charmingly created by a vivacious Laurie Dawn, to tell Patsy’s story as her fame when steadily up the music charts.

With a great band, the “Bodacious Bobcats” led by John DeNicola, to bring each number roaring across the finish line, Petroccia belts out such grand numbers as “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Honky Tonk Angel” and almost two dozen more for good measure.

Louise and Patsy become fast girl pals when they meet before one of the singer’s shows, revealing true and down home glimpses into her life and personality and the swift and real friendship that developed.  Jacqui Hubbard directs this genuine look at one of country music’s icons who endures in popularity today, influencing many of the female stars who came after.

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

Let Jacqueline Petroccia and her golden honey voice recreate the influence and impact that Patsy Cline wove into a magical, musical spell. 


Sprinkle some pixie dust, intone a few mysterious words of incantation, rub a lucky rabbit’s foot, cast a spell with frog legs and tongues of newt, avoid black cats and broken mirrors and take a few swigs of love potion for beneficial karma.  All of the above are recommended to put you in the proper mood to attend Long Wharf Theatre’s current delightful offering of mystical and magical murmurings in John Van Druten’s comic “Bell, Book and Candle.”

The hocus pocus, spells and witchcraft will continue at Long Wharf in New Haven until Sunday, April 1, in partnership with the Hartford Stage which will continue the spellbinding at their venue from Thursday, April 5 to Sunday, April 29.

We first meet Gillian Holroyd, genuine, authentic and actively practicing witch at Christmas in New York in the early 1950’s, on a deliciously cherry red set designed for holiday festivity by Alexander Dodge.  Kate MacCluggage’s Gillian is a free spirit who enjoys calling upon her midnight black cat Pyewacket to exercise her indulgences, for good or for ill, depending upon her mood of the moment. 

Miss MacCluggage is enchanting with her charms and utterly convincing as a woman of whims who has decided, out of boredom perhaps, to indulge in romance.  She lights upon her upstairs neighbor, a rather conservative book publisher Shep Henderson as the target of her wiles.  Not being human, she has never entertained love in any serious form but she is anxious to try her hand at playing Cupid’s game.

The unsuspecting victim of her plot, Robert Eli’s Shep, is comfortably romantically attached to Merle, on the brink of getting engaged, his future all but set in stone.  When Gillian discovers Shep’s lady friend is an enemy she tangled with in college, her plan to take a bit of revenge and win Shep in the process is too good to resist, even if it means losing her supernatural powers if she should actually fall in love.

Entering into the cosmic confusion are Gillian’s brother Nicky (Michael Keyloun) and her aunt Queenie (Ruth Williamson) who also have magical powers and a best selling author who dabbles in the occult Sidney Redlitch (Gregor Paslawsky), who becomes a pawn in Gillian’s game of chess.  Darko Tresnjak directs this bewitching adventure into the dark side with a decidedly light handed touch.

For tickets ($40-70), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org.  Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein has just announced a $3.8 million renovation to the Mainstage to improve the lobby, the seating and the bathroom facilities as well as the lighting and heating and air conditioning.  Donors of $10,000 or more will be recognized on a lobby donor wall.

Watch how Gillian and her best friend and familiar Pyewacket give new meaning to the phrase “the cat’s meow.”

Monday, March 12, 2012


After a hearty dinner of corned beef and cabbage, with a modicum of green in your attire and a lucky shamrock in your pocket, you’re all set to head over to Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theatre.  To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, whether you marched in the parade or stood on the sidelines, there’s no better place to be than at a St. Patrick’s Day Comedy Night.  Conveniently scheduled for Saturday, March 17 at 8 p.m., a quartet of New York City comedians are ready to provide a leaping leprechaun of laughter for your entertainment.

Come hear Andy Hayward, Liam McEneaney, Bob Luparello and Carole Montgomery as they spread some blarney, as some would spread mustard on a good thick corned beef sandwich on seeded rye, pickle on the side, with a pint of the good stuff to wash it down.

Since he was in the sixth grade, Andy Hayward has been perfecting his unique storytelling techniques.  Known for his twists of the tongue and clever turn of a phrase, complete with sound effects, he has amassed a colorful collection of characters in his comedy arsenal.

Just ask Liam McEnearney to discuss the merits of whiskey as a social drink and he can debate the issue for a good seven minutes.  The son of a Jewish mother and an Irish-Catholic father, he has used his interesting background to riff about a variety of topics from meeting women on the Internet to drinking at a gay bar.  He began touring with a comedy act at age 19 and has performed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and Germany, as well as all over this country.

Bob Luparello must have taken a wrong turn at Italy because he is now front and center at an Irish comedy night.  Have no fear, he will adapt his angry Italian persona to fit the occasion and make his extended family Irish for at least the night.  His special humor begins at his Catholic school upbringing and extends all the way to his wife and three kids and beyond and it’s still making him cry.

For wife and mother Carole Montgomery, comedy is a way of life.  She loves baking brownies but she doesn’t want to do it full time.  As a pioneering female comic, she enjoys entertaining with humor to balance her offstage home life and her onstage persona.

For tickets ($29,subscribers $24), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.sevenangelstheatre.org.  Irish beer will be on tap and you’re invited to dress in your best kilt, tam or green shamrock sweater to enter the “Most Irish of the Night” contest.  Prizes will be awarded.

Be prepared to laugh out loud a lot as this quartet of funny people go all out to entertain you.


The Yale Cabaret, on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, prides itself on providing cutting edge theater, with an avant garde flavor, that pushes the envelope in a variety of directions across the finish line. Never meek or mild, the Yale Cabaret is, rather, bold and adventurous, going where few theater companies have ever gone before.

Now in its 44th season, this totally student run company from the Yale School of Drama, is off and running to the races.  This past weekend they produced a hundred year old piece written by playwright  Jacob Gordin for the Yiddish theater, that thrived  for an immigrant population in New York City, at one time numbering twenty-two venues in the city alone.  In honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim, the Yale Cabaret offered “The Yiddish King Lear.” On every table were a plate of tasty apricot hamentashen (triangular shaped cookies in honor of the villain of the day, Hamen, who met with defeat) from Westville Kosher Market in New Haven to celebrate the day.

This delightful tale featured a father (Bill DeMeritt) who offers his riches to his three daughters, only to have one, the youngest Taybele (Alex Trow), refuse his gifts.  She protests she does not need presents as long as she has his love.  He, of course, like his famous Shakespearian predecessor, calls her an ungrateful wretch and disowns her.  He leaves the household to travel to the Promised Land of Israel, abandoning Taybele to her fate.  When he returns five years later, blind, old and penniless, he finds the true meaning of life just in time, when his “worthless” daughter, now a doctor, is able to restore his sight, with the help of her new husband also a doctor, and make everything miraculously right with the world.

On opening night, a special contingent from Tower One Senior Housing attended, including one woman who had seen the original production in New York in Yiddish at least seven decades before.  The Yale Cabaret’s imaginative production was directed by Whitney Dibo and adapted, assembled and created with exquisite care by Martha Kaufman and Lauren Dubowski.  The attention to detail was remarkable.

Upcoming at the cabaret is “Basement Hades: Songs of the Underworld,” directed by Ethan Heard, on Wednesday, March 21 at 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., a retelling of the Orpheus myth.  A musician must play, calling upon all the powers of his soul and heart, to convince the ferryman to take him across the river Styx.

“Funnyhouse of a Negro,” written by Adrienne Kennedy almost five decades ago, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, will play Thursday, March 29 at 8 .m. and Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.  A young light skinned African-American woman struggles with her identity in what may be a never- ending nightmare.

Completing the season will be “Carnival/Invisible” created by Benjamin Fainstein on Thursday, April 12 at 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.  Like a circus side- show, it explores the personas and masks we put in place to transform ourselves and discover where we belong.

In addition to these intriguing theatrical offerings, the Yale Cabaret invites you to come early, at 6:30 p.m., for dinner, dessert and drinks.  A recent menu had beet salad with goat cheese ($6), grilled swordfish with couscous and string beans ($17) and crepes with oranges and ginger ($5) among its many tasty treats, with Anna Belcher as executive chef.  Your friendly waitress or waiter is likely to be a Yale School of Drama student.

For tickets ($15 for a single show, 6 show short pass $45, 9 show pass $65), call 203-432-1566 or online at www.yalecabaret.org.  The cabaret is tucked down an alley at 217 Park Street, New Haven.  Come early for dinner or for a glass of wine.

Extraordinary things are always in abundance at the Yale Cabaret.  Be forewarned they can be probing and provocative as well as radical and racy, as in off-color, but always dramatically different.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


As child stars go, Mickey Rooney may have spanned the longest career to date that Hollywood has ever fostered.  Beginning at 15 months of age, when he toddled on stage accidentally to join his parents’ vaudeville act, he is still going strong after passing the nine decade mark and counting.

Seemingly born knowing how to act, sing, dance and play musical instruments, Rooney, who was born Joe Yule Jr. in Brooklyn, New York in 1920, has performed in over two hundred movies.  He is perhaps best known as the likeable Andy Hardy, the son of a judge, and his wholesome misadventures in the teenage romance department.  It was during the filming of this series that Rooney met his long time friend Judy Garland whom he described as his “forever love.”

Other great movies include “National Velvet,” “Boys Town,” “Babes in Arms,” and “The Black Stallion.”  Originally a silent film star at age 5, he successfully transitioned to the talkies and is still going strong, having just completed a visit with “The Muppets.”

On his list of accomplishments, Mickey Rooney can name, among others, one honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, two Golden Globes, four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and eight marriages.  Of the latter, he once famously quipped, “Always get married early in the morning.  That way if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.”  The most well known of his wives is probably his first, Ava Gardner.

To hear his story directly from the source, attend the American Legends series at Sacred Heart University’s Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts in Fairfield on Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m.  In an “Actors Studio-style” presentation, with the center’s executive director Jerry Goehring, Mickey Rooney will reflect on his nine-decades long career as a film actor and entertainer with stage, film and television appearances that outpace any other performer.

For tickets ($25, student/faculty $20, seniors $15), call the Edgerton Center, on the campus of Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield (off the Merritt, exit 47) or online at www.EdgertonCenter.org.

Let Mickey Rooney offer insights into his colorful career, his friends, his hobbies, and his plans for the future.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012



In addition to a hearty meal of corned beef and cabbage, what better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than a trip to Fairfield University’s Quick Center for a direct infusion of Irish spirit.  Lilting voices combine with fancy dancing feet when “Celtic Nights – Journey of Hope” taps its way, direct from Ireland, on Friday, March 9, at 8 p.m.

With rousing music, song, dance and storytelling, drawing its tales from the history and folklore of this magical land, “Celtic Nights” will cast a spell as it weaves the words and deeds of the immigrant experience.  With passion, pride and promise, it will provide a rich legacy of ballads like “Galway Bay,” “Danny Boy” and “May We Never Have to Say Goodbye” as well as unforgettable step dancing choreography.

Call the Quick Center, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield on the campus of Fairfield University at 203-254-4010, 1-877-ARTS-396 or online at www.quickcenter.com.  Tickets are $35-40-45.

Follow this journey of expectation, one filled with laughter, sadness and hope, as the glory of the Emerald Isle comes straight into your heart.

Monday, March 5, 2012


When Amanda Cross meets Gus Klingman, there are enough sparks to ignite a tiny fire of mutual interest.  Amanda, a Southern belle from Tennessee, has knocked on Gus’s door to deliver a missive from the church she attends as she visits her daughter up north in New Jersey.

The Tennessee waltz the pair sweetly dance together, as their courtship advances to matrimony, has been gracefully captured by Kathleen Clark in “Southern Comforts.”  The Square One Theatre Company of Stratford will be offering this comedy on a doily- covered platter until Saturday, March 17.

Alice McMahon’s Amanda has a sparkle in her eye and a flirtatious nature to her speech that she applies full force to attract the attention of a rather taciturn and set in his ways widower named Gus, played with prickly perfection by Al Kulcsar.  She is a dedicated librarian who believes books and travel widen her world while he is as set in stone as the masonry he craved for a living before he retired.

Both have been deeply affected by the war, Amanda because her first husband brought it home with him from the battlefield and was never able to escape from its haunting shadows, and Gus because it left permanent imprints on his soul.  In meeting Gus, Amanda sees the promise of romance that her first marriage never gave her, while Gus feels they are too old for smooching and such stuff. She convinces him otherwise and he stops watching the baseball game on television long enough to hit a few home runs of his own.

Kathleen Clark has fashioned a gentle old-fashioned love story where second chances are possible and even applauded, where happiness and belonging are achievable, even if there have to be accommodations, adjustments and compromises all the way from the wedding chapel to the living room to the cemetery.  Tom Holehan provides a loving touch to this sweetheart of a story.

For tickets ($20, seniors, students $19), call Square One Theatre, 2422 Main Street, Stratford at 203-375-8778 or online at www.squareonetheatre.com.  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., with a twilight matinee Saturday, March 17 at 4 p.m. (exit 32 off I-95).  The playwright Kathleen Clark will attend the Friday, March 16 performance and participate in a post-performance talkback with the cast, director and audience.

Watch how a determined Southern belle uses her charms to wear down the granite resistance of a staunch Yankee widower.  Come cheer for their success.


When the great French writer Victor Hugo was thirteen years of age, he began to write prize-winning poetry.  He went on to add the titles of playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman and human rights advocate to his name.  Perhaps he is best known for his novel “Les Miserables” or The Poor, penned in 1862, about a man Jean Valjean who is imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister and her family and his ultimate tale of redemption.

This story, that met with great success even though it was banned by the government, is said to have been inspired by a true incident in Paris.  Hugo saw a poor man arrested for a minor crime, in stark contrast to a woman in a nearby carriage, wealthy, wrapped in fur, who was totally unaware of the tragedy happening at her richly clad feet. 

This epic novel that generated great excitement when published, when people fought to buy one of the 48,000 copies released on day one, was set to music a century later.  Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, in a stirring new 25th anniversary version, ”Les Miserables” is a sweeping, majestic epic drama, history on parade, and is gracing the stage of Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts until Sunday, March 11.

“Les Miz,” set in 19th century France, follows Jean Valjean after nineteen years of imprisonment, his pursuit by the police inspector Javert and his new identity as Monsieur Madeleine where he becomes a wealthy factory owner and mayor. Valjean cannot escape his past as Javert doggedly pursues him.  Valjean performs deeds of valor, saving lives and helping in a student revolt, proving that people can change for the good. This story, timeless in its appeal, unites with a soaring musical score, to applaud the survival of the human spirit.

For tickets ($22-100), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org.  Performances are tonight 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.

Arm the battlements to fight for good over evil, for democracy over tyranny, for the triumph of love and justice, in this astonishing theatrical musical drama, “Les Miz.”


When a Confederate soldier, wounded and weary, returns from war to Virginia, he finds his family has fled and his home is in ruins.  General Lee has already surrendered at Appomattox and President Lincoln is soon to be assassinated.  Caleb DeLeon, barely able to stand on a leg with a bullet lodged in it and gangrene setting in, faces a bleak future as he reunites with the two slaves, now free men, who share his Jewish upbringing and the sober task of survival.

Hartford Stage will present the gripping and emotion laden drama “The Whipping Man” by Matthew Lopez for its Connecticut premiere until Sunday, March 18.  In the aftermath of the Civil War, this trio of men meet in the remnants of the DeLeon mansion where each has strong and vivid memories of the past and a mountain of secrets that beg to be revealed.

Josh Landay’s Caleb is afraid his conduct in battle will be made known, so fearful that he allows his former slaves Simon, an honorable and righteous Leon Addison Brown and John, a resourceful, angry and guilt-ridden Che Ayende, to amputate his leg rather than go to a hospital.  The three men share a history, one that is festering with sores that must be excised if they are going to survive.

With the advent of Passover, Simon tries to promote healing by celebrating the Seder, a ceremony echoing the slaves being freed by Pharoah, a contrast to his and John’s plight.  The specter of Caleb’s father and his inglorious deeds, of sending both men to be whipped, haunt the candle-lite tradition.  When Simon sings “Go Down Moses,” while breaking hardtack instead of matzoh, the bitterness of enslavement and the powerful promise of freedom are clearly defined.  Hana S. Sharif directs this compelling tale that is haunting in its message, on a stage strikingly set by Andromache Chalfant and eerily illuminated by Marcus Doshi.

For tickets ($54.50-90.50), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org.  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Sunday and selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Be emotionally seared as the raw feelings and resentments surface to swirl and catch fire in the candlelight of the Passover tradition.

Saturday, March 3, 2012



A wonderful display about Korea from a mock wedding to two films to a full Korean lunch where on display on March 3 at the Case Memorial Library in Orange.  Dressed in elaborate costumes of their country, the volunteers from the Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project shared their pride in their homeland.

With a lunch that included beef and rice, kim chee cabbage, a shrimp and apple salad, vegetable pancakes, a rice drink and dessert, a taste of Korea was enjoyed by all.  Each participant was also given a book to take home, from a cookbook to Fifty Wonders of Korea.  The films illustrated how Korea has risen from the ashes of desolation after the war and transformed itself from rubble to triumph in the last fifty years.

Watch for another visit from this inspiring group to come to a library or women’s group near you.  It is all free of charge and quite wonderful to behold.