Monday, November 26, 2012


                                         THE THOMAS DARLING HOUSE

Take an historic and charming Colonial homestead, add a traditional sentimental tale of the holidays, top if off with tasty sweets and you have a triple-decker family treat. Thanks to the creativity of actress and director Joanna Keylock, you have the delightful opportunity to start the happy month of December off with sparkle and spirit.

On Saturday, December 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 2 at 5:30 p.m., you're invited to attend the staged reading of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," at the Thomas Darling House, 1907 Litchfield Turnpike, Woodbridge. The house, built in 1772, which is on the National Register of Historic Places,  includes a beautifully restored building, barns, carriage shed, chicken coop, pig house and privy, and is an ideal location for this country tale. Written more than five decades ago, this short story, which is largely autobiographical, tells of a seven-year old boy named Buddy and his relationship with an elderly woman, Sook, his best friend and a distant cousin, and the joy they share giving gifts during the holiday season.

All year long they save their pennies, selling blackberries and flowers and doing odd chores, so they can bake thirty fruitcakes, laced with whiskey and stuffed with pecans, for everyone they know and like and even for some they don't personally know but still like, such as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Since Buddy lives  in a home where he is unloved, he searches out affection from Cousin Sook and the two develop a special and close relationship that lasts until her death.  Their Christmases together mark the best time of the year.

For tickets ($15 adults, $10 children),  email or call 203-298-0730.  The reading will be followed by holiday treats, hot chocolate and spiced cider. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Woodbridge Historical Society and Sunday's performance will benefit the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Usher in the holidays with Truman Capote's memories of Christmases in the 1930's and the woman who brought him so much joy and love, especially when she announced "It's fruitcake weather."

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Imagine a giant box wrapped in shiny red and green paper, tied with a silvery bow, postmarked Muncie, Indiana and shipped, fragile handle with care, for delivery weekends until just before Christmas, Saturday, December 23 to be exact.  The destination is the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin and the intended recipients of this special present are you, the audience.

Get into the holiday spirit without hanging a bough of holly or spreading tinsel all over the tree.  Sign up for an infusion of musical joy as the big box of happiness opens to reveal a quartet of sisters, Cheryl, Kaye, Donna and Peggy, whose goal in life is simple and sweet: sing every Christmas song in their playbook to make you merry...and you can sing along too.

Come hear the croonings of Jennifer Augeri (Cheryl), Kelly Bourque (Kaye), Jessica Frye (Donna), and Sandra Lee (Peggy) as they warble out their favorite tunes of these festive days.  It's the 1950's once again and this gal group is offering a Hometown Holiday Hoedown for all their television fans.

America's little sweethearts, dressed in red and green plaid finery, are reprising all the hits that made them famous, everything from "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" to "Santa Baby" to "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays."  They even do a few tunes from around the world to celebrate December 25.  Be careful this is a little audience participation, especially if you are tapped to be Cousin Warren.  They also sing fun tunes like "Sugar Time," "Jambalaya" and "Sincerely."

Kris McMurray directs this happy holiday happening with a hearty hand, helped handily by the band, Pawel Jura on piano, Michael Palin on bass and Tim Urso on percussion.

For tickets ($30), call the CT Cabaret Theatre, 31-33 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1249 or online at  Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7:15 p.m.   Bring goodies to share at your table or buy cake and drinks on site.

Just in time for your holiday gift giving or an exciting new direction for 2013, the CT Cabaret Theatre is launching a Performing Arts Center, perfect for thespians of all ages, right next door at 35 Webster Square Road, Berlin on January 14, 2013.  Teachers from all over the state and from Broadway will focus on monologues, what it means to be an actor, creating show choirs of tunes from Bach to Beyonce, establishing a rock band, puppetry, dance, music videos, script writing, film editing and how to smash an audition.  Registration dates are December 3, 5, 11, 13, 17 and 19 from 4 p.m to 7 p.m and December 15 from noon-3 p.m.  Call 860-829-1249 for more information or go to

Take a break from stuffing the turkey and the stockings and ring a few bells by singing along with these sweet sisters as they provide a Christmas carol song fest.

Monday, November 19, 2012


A perfect early holiday gift for the whole family is being unwrapped at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford daily until Sunday, November 25.  Now that Thanksgiving is a warm and fuzzy and delicious memory, it's time to get in the festive spirit and what better way than to take the kiddies to see "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical."

Who can resist that feathery green monster without a heart, especially when he has a spider-filled brain with a termite-ridden smile, the disposition of a nasty skunk, and a soul stuffed with unwashed socks?   Only a meanie could hate Christmas and do everything in his power to make sure it doesn't happen.  What are the people of Whoville to do in this dastardly situation?  The Grinch wants to steal their favorite holiday.

With book and lyrics by Timothy Mason, original score by Mel Marvin and choreography by John DeLuca, this family show has been a favorite since 1994 when the estate of Dr. Seuss gave permission to adapt his book.

The musical will star Stefan Karl, from Iceland, as the appropriately chilly frozen minded stinker who wants to drain all the joy from the tinsel-filled day. The Grinch uses all his powers to intimidate the people of Whoville, especially young and old Max, Cindy Lou Who, Mama Who and Grandma Who.

Is it possible to take a green meanie with a heart two sizes too small and transform him into a generous and happy creature?  With songs like "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," "Who Likes Christmas?," "I Hate Christmas Eve," "It's the Thought That Counts," "One of a Kind," "This Time of Year" and "Welcome, Christmas," you are able to travel the spectrum from despair to joy that this eighty-four minute show without an intermission will engender.  It's a great first show for a child to see, stuffed as it is with a colorful array of costumed actors and a story that will touch your heart.

For tickets ($20-60), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Come hear Max the Dog tell the warm-hearted tale of a cold-hearted schemer who learns lessons that change his mind about the value and importance of Christmas.


Once you eliminate the butler, the maid, the caretaker, the valet, the chauffeur and the cook, in other words the staff, all you have left are the invited guests and one stranger who wanders in from the storm.  the fact is they only one you can actually promise isn't the murderer is the butler because he is the first one to meet a grisly end.  Or does he?

You'll need to stay on your toes and scrutinize the clues as Goodspeed Musicals presents a musical whodunit worthy of a Miss Marple or Agatha Christie in "Something's Afoot" with music, book and lyrics by James McDonald, David Vos and Robert Gerlach, with additional music and lyrics by Ed Linderman.  This intriguingly fun murder mystery musical has already been extended to Sunday, December 9.

In the late spring of 1935, Lord Rancour issues six invitations to come to his retreat for the weekend.  Each guest mistakenly assumes he is the only one to receive the coveted missive.  The ingenue Hope Langdon, a pert and pretty Julis Osbourne, is the first one to arrive, quickly followed by the family physician Dr. Grayborn, a chipper Peter Van Wagner.  Next to cross the threshold is the unhappy nephew Nigel, a sulking Benjamin Eakeley, who fears he has been disinherited by his uncle, the Lord of the manor, and Lady Grace, a gracious Lynne Winterstellar, who as the ex-wife doesn't expect any financial favors.

Rounding out the usual suspects are the military man Colonel Gilweather, a starchy Ed Dixon, who had a romantic arrangement with Lady Grace in another lifetime and the industrious, problem solving and take-charge Miss Tweed, a practical and to-the-point Audrie Neenan.

They are all greeted by the staff, the butler Clive, a no nonsense Ron Wisnicki, Lettie the flirty maid, an easily seduced and spooked Liz Pearce and the caretaker Flint, a knowledgeable industrious Khris Lewin, who knows where all the bodies are buried until he becomes one.

When Clive the butler meets his grim end and the body of Lord Rancour is discovered in his bed, dead, the shenanigans take a decidedly shady turn.  Miss Tweed, in the tradition of famous flinty female detectives before her, makes assumptions and leaps to conclusions, that include the last arrival to the castle, a youthful innocent who lost his way in the storm, Geoffrey, an eager to please Hunter Ryan Herdlicka.  Vince Pesce directs an choreographs this jolly journey where one by one the suspect list declines as the list of victims multiples.

For tickets ($27 and up), call Goodspeed Musicals, on the Connecticut River in East Haddam, at 860-873-8668 or online at  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  On Friday, November 23 there is an extra show at 2 p.m.

It's murder, in any number of ingenious ways, worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock plot, and you'll love weighing the clues...or just sitting back and enjoying the deadly fun.

Monday, November 12, 2012


For more than five decades, the story of a poor, dirty faced and uneducated Cockney flower girl, eking out a living selling  bunches of violets for a tuppence in Covent Gardens, has charmed the world.  This particular girl, one Eliza Doolittle, is ready to spread her magic once again when the West Hartford Community Theater brings the wonderful musical "My Fair Lady" to the King Philip School, 100 King Philip Drive, West Hartford for three performances Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 17 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.             

Come make the acquaintance of Amanda Kohl as delightful an Eliza Doolittle as you could hope to meet, with just the right amount of skepticism and wonder as you might expect when , suddenly, she is plucked from the gutter by an arrogant and aggressive Professor Henry Higgins and informed that he has the powers to make her a princess, or duchess, or any number of a member of royalty as he so chooses.  The professor in question, a master of languages and at the top of his field, has been challenged by his good friend and colleague Colonel Pickering (Sal Uccello)  to take this "squashed cabbage leaf," this "guttersnipe," and pass her off as a sophisticated lady of privilege. As the masterful professor Patrick Spadaccino is clearly up to the daunting task.

How Henry accomplishes this feat, which he takes full credit for, discounting all the work and effort by one Miss Doolittle herself, is a pure pleasure to watch.  When Eliza's old dad (Alfred Hess ) comes by to save her soul, or at least get paid for her lose of reputation, the goose feathers fly.  The wonderful Lerner and Loewe tunes are stuffed in that fat pillow and soar through the air, like "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Get Me to the Church on Time," "On the Street Where You Live" and "I've Grown Accustomed to her Face."

For all her efforts, Eliza only has the support of two females, the professor's mother (Kayzie Rogers) who knows all too well what a bully her son is and the professor's housekeeper, Mrs. Pierce (Eileen Rausch) who sees his impervious ways on a daily basis as well as the adoration of her suitor Freddie, a devoted Michael McDermott.  For her part, Eliza is swept up in the monumental task of transforming herself from head to toe, inside and out, and she does a magnificent job of the business at hand. 

The large enthusiastic community cast also includes Waas Porter as Mrs. Eynford-Hill, Michael Dolan as Lord Boxington, Susan Porta, Karen Finnegan, Eric Goldberg, Hal Chernoff, Bianca Slota, and Scott McDonald.
WHCT  welcomes back Lisa Camargo, Marcy Balint, Terry Szymanski and Bobbi Schmidt. Young singers include Sydney Weiser, Zach Aldave, Stella Rivera, and Alexandra van der Hulst.  All five members of the van der Hulst clan will join on WHCT's stage this year, including father, Harry, mother, Nancy, and children Russell, Serena and Alexandra.  Other members rounding out the cast include Julie Levine, Joan Delaney, Eleanor Putz, Allison Walbrown, Rebekah Battersby, Judge Linda Prestley, Jean Guthrie. Dancers include Ricardo Carillo Bambaren, Meghan McDermott, Noreen Cavanaugh, Melissa Silvanic, and Lucy Tomasso.

 Lesley Gallagher directs this musical fit for the whole family to enjoy, with energetic choreography by Jan Bunger, lively music direction by Ed de Groat, with able assistance by Paul Leone as stage manager and Jeff Goetz as the assistant director.

The West Hartford Community Theater will present the musical performance of "My Fair Lady" as its fifth major production.  WHCT was started in 2008 by Conard High School graduates, attorney Bruce LaRoche and Maria Librio Judge, a local CPA. Its first production, "Music Man," was made possible with help from Haig Shahverdian and Michael Renkawitz. Other past performances include, "Oklahoma," "Broadway Melodies," "Brigadoon," "A Tribute to Gershwin," "The Sound of Music," The Secret Garden," and "Broadway Nights.

For tickets ($18 in advance, $22 at the door), go to Pfau's Hardware in West Hartford Center or online at  Call 860-967-7026 for more information.

Cheer on Miss Eliza Doolittle as she trades in her bunches of flowers for a tiara and title, all thanks to a bet that the conceited Professor Henry Higgins can't resist making and winning.


Presidential First Ladies have always been a fascination, from Martha Washington to Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.  They have ever exuded mystery and mystique, what they wore, what they said, where they traveled, what they did.

Thanks to the newly created Legacy Theatre, we have the unique opportunity to make the acquaintance of First Lady Abigail Adams, the beloved wife of the second president, John Adams and the mother of the sixth president, John Quincy Adams.  Nonie Sorensen has penned a revealing portrait in "Affectionately, Abigail, for its northeast premiere," that will be presented for its final performance, Saturday, November 17 at 2 p.m. at the James Blackstone Memorial Library, 758 Main Street, Branford.

Much of this personal recollection is based on the abundance of letters that an affectionate Abigail wrote to her devoted husband as he served his country before, during and after the Revolutionary War.  From his early days serving in the Continental Congress, when he stayed for months at a time in Philadelphia, through the writing of the Declaration of Independence, his stints as a diplomat dispatched to Paris and London and finally his election to the presidency, Abigail was his constant counsel on issues of politics and government.

Keely Baisden Knudsen is delightful and charming as the steadfast wife who maintains the home front, raising six children, enduring hardships, surviving epidemics, always supportive of the man who gave so much of himself to his country.

Intimate details of their lives are uncovered through words, many spoken by Tom Schwans who takes on the role of narrator and as John, and the music that highlights moments such as his patriotic work, the hopes for women's equality, Abigail's "duty to soften all his cares" and her declaration "I love America."  A continual selection of visual slides accompanies the presentation, adding color and depth.  This historical pageant is beautifully and sensitively directed by Stephanie Stiefel Williams.

The first two performances took place on Friday and Saturday, November 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. at the Nathanael B. Greene Community Center, 32 Church Street, Guilford. The performance is free but donations are most welcome.

The Legacy Theatre will be holding spring Acting Workshops on the third Saturday of each month from January to May, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Guilford Community Center for ages 12 to adult.  Sessions will deal with Beginning Acting, Improvisation, Monologues and Audition Techniques and other theatrical topics.  Go to or call 203-457-0138.

The primary mission of the Legacy Theatre is to buy and restore the Stony Creek Puppet House Theatre and make it their permanent home.  A  major fundraising effort will culminate this June.

Let the words of Abigail Adams, in her correspondence with her statesm



Marie Antoinette was a little girl who liked to play dress-up, an Austrian princess who married at age fifteen to Louis XVI, soon to be the King of France.  This alliance of countries brought a sheltered and naive girl, beautiful and gifted in musical skills, to a great position of power at only nineteen.  Her mercurial reign was legendary, filled with destructive rumors and scandals, marked by turbulence, at a time when the peasants of France rose up and demanded a voice of equality and democracy.

To enter the royal palaces of the queen, to follow this Hapsburg princess from beloved to reviled to her dramatic end at the guillotine, be entranced by the world premiere of "Marie Antoinette" by David Adjmi at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, a co-production with the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until Saturday, November 17.

Marin Ireland delightfully embodies Marie, at once frivolous and impetuous, petulant and indulgent, a butterfly who loved parties and gambling and dressing up in haute couture in the most extravagant of styes.  She was in many ways the opposite of her husband, played to perfection by a reclusive and indecisive Steven Rattazzi, who would have been happier tinkering and playing with his collection of clocks than running a vast empire.

Marie's brother Joseph (Fred Arsenault) comes to court to counsel the couple when, after seven years of marriage, they have not produced an heir.  His advice works and their first child, a daughter, is born a year later.  Rumors that Marie is having an affair with the Swedish diplomat Axel Fersen (Jake Silbermann) does not endear her to her subjects, especially as they blame her and her excessive lifestyle for their poverty.

When the peasants revolt and massacres cause blood to run red in the streets, the opulent life of the royal family is doomed. Rebecca Taichman directs this personally revealing tour of one of the most exalted and vilified personages of history, the symbol of the end of European monarchies.  Riccardo Hernandez crafts a fascinating set to showcase the action while Gabriel Berry's costumes are a fashion parade of frivolous fun.

For tickets ($20-96), call the Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street, New Haven at 203-432-1234 or online at  Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday at 2 p.m. and selected Wednesdays.

Can a princess, born into a life style where she had one hundred and twenty-four kitchens in her Austrian palace, find happiness in a political alliance engineered by her mother?  Will she heed the warnings of the sheep (David Greenspan) as she plays at being Little Bo Peep?  Let this fascinating tale capture the tragedy of a girl born to be a queen whose butterfly wings are traumatically clipped.



If the 1960’s are your era, where the times and the tunes speak to your heart and set your feet tapping, then the Palace Theater in Waterbury has a show with your name stamped in gold on the playbill cover.  “This is the 60’s” will capture the decade in every way possible, marking each of the historic milestones from this fascinating and frantic time.

The stage of the Palace Theater will be aglow with the men and the music who made history for one spectacular show only, Saturday, November 17 at 8 p.m.  More than a concert showcasing the music of The Monkees, The Beatles, The Mamas and The Papas, The Beach Boys, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, The Fifth Dimension, Jimi Hendrix, Three Dog Night, Jefferson Airplane and more, the evening will include a timeline of the events that celebrated the decade on its fiftieth anniversary.

Relive the excitement and spectacle of the space program when man first walked on the moon, the phenomenon of the Fab Four lads from across the pond who sparked Beatlemania, the agony and trauma of the Vietnam War and the loss of the icon from Camelot known as John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 

Poignant and powerful film clippings will highlight the culture of the times, complete with commercials from television ads. Seven talented performers, Joan Burton, Eddie Darst, David Krol, Daryn Owen, Freddy Trumbower, Janisse Flowers and Anna Rednour, will offer more than two solid hours of live rock and roll memories and memorabilia as they travel back in time to recreate everything from white bread to Woodstock.

“This is the 60’s” was created by producer/director Jim Duffy, a veteran documentary filmmaker, author and musician, who knows how to capture the moments that mark this turbulent time.

 Before the performance, patrons are invited to arrive early for a 7:30 p.m. flashback performance in the theater’s lobby by Trish Torello, a popular local performer and former lead singer of the 60’s band Good & Plenty. Torello will send patrons tripping back in time when she belts out the signature song of Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick, “White Rabbit.”

 Also before the show, Emily’s Catering Group will serve a 6 p.m. pre-show dinner in the Palace’s Poli Club, located on the Mezzanine level of the theater. Dinner is $40 per member and $50 per non-member, which includes tax, service fees, coffee, and tea. A cash bar is also available. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made when purchasing tickets through the Box Office.

For tickets ($25, 35, 45), call the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury at 203-346-2000 or online at

Come revisit the most exciting decade of the Twentieth Century and stroll down the sidewalks one fabulous musical note after another.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


THE HIT MEN:  Gerry Polci, Don Ciccone, Larry Gates, Russ Velazquez, Lee Shapiro & Jim Ryan

When you think of hit men, your first thought might be criminal gangs like the Mafioso and the Sopranos, but you'd be shooting from the hip in the entirely wrong direction.  Instead of criminals being mowed down, eliminated, assassinated or eviscerated, these talented six guys will reactivate, reconstitute and rejuvenate the acts that you loved from decades past.  The target here is entertainment and the Hit Men are a sensational musical group that scores solid punches at the mega-star acts of the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's.

Come hear Lee Shapiro, Don Ciccone, Jimmy Ryan, Russ Velazquez, Gerry Polci and Larry Gates for a trio of performances only the weekend of Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 17 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.  The Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport will be the scene of all the action-packed musical celebration. 

If your favorite numbers on the jukebox are recorded by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Elton John, Jim Crocce, Carly Simon, Tommy James and the Shondells and Cat Stevens, then The Hit Men have your selections plugged in to their musical cavalcade.  Not only will they play your favorites, but also they will share their intimate backstage stories and anecdotes from their days on and off the stage playing with these legendary groups.

These guys are credited with writing or arranging such tunes as "Oh, What a Night," "Who Loves You," "Walk Like a Man," "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Hanky Panky."  Each is a great musician, each is a terrific singer and together these men will give all their energy and enthusiasm to make a super evening of the golden tunes that defined three generations. 

The brainchild of Lee Shapiro, who assembled this sextet of superb performers, these men are a brotherhood with many friendships that date back decades. They will come together to create the great sounds of the past.  Their credentials are rock and roll solid gold, vocals and instrumentals melded magnificently.

For tickets ($47, 57), call the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport at 203-576-1636 or online at

For music and memories, a timeline of rock and roll history, for six guys who love what they are doing, look no further than The Hit Men and their sharp shooting style.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


A parent can do nothing better for children than to give them roots and wings, roots to ground and stabilize them, wings so they can fly.  Emily Stillson was gifted with such parents, ones who gave her confidence and strength and also allowed her to literally and figuratively soar, as a walker on the wings of airplanes.

To meet Emily and become intimately acquainted with her personal story of courage and daring, attend the fine producition of "Wings," by Arthur Perlman for book and lyrics and Jeffrey Lunden for music at Spirit of Broadway Theater in Norwich until Sunday, November 25.

According to director Brett A. Bernardini, who takes great artistic risks in his creative musical productions, the message of "Wings" is to live in the moment and live well.  This unique piece of theater forces the audience to stand on the edge of an abyss and discover those elements of our lives today that we can make memorable.  The play reminds us how powerful our lives are every second.

For Emily, played with remarkable skill and sensitivity by Lauren Adams, her growing up years were spent in the heavens, on the fragile wings of airplanes, defying gravity in air shows with her family.  Her courage and fearlessness were legendary.  The young Emily is portrayed by a vibrant Aysia Reed.

Now later in life Emily lives in her memories from her youth, until, that is, she suffers a stroke and all her glory days are completely erased.  "Wings" follows her struggle and progress back from a land of confusion and darkness.

The director uses swatches of lighting, designed by Ann Sitzman, and echoes of sound, designed by Steven Hinchley, to underscore Emily's journey back to herself.  Along the way, her doctor (Derek Corriveau), her nurse (Jacqueline Yeung) and especially her aide Amy, portrayed by a strong and suportive Aline O'Connor, help her find her way, in bits and pieces, small steps to capture lost language skills.  Her support group includes Mr. Brambilla (Dan Adams) and Derek Corriveau as Billy who sings a wonderful song about his recipe for cheesecake.  One of Emily's most poignant moments is her song "I Remember Snow" as her aide Amy guides her recollection.

For tickets ($30, students $25, children $20), call Spirit of Broadway Theater, 24 Chestnut Street, Norwich at 860-886-2378 or online at  Performances are Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Now is the time to make your reservations for the 12th Annual Spirit Awards on Saturday, December 1 at The Norwch Inn and Spa, route 32, Norwich, with cocktails and hors d'ourves at 6 p.m., a four course gourmet dinner at 7 p.m. and entertainment and awards at 8 p.m.  This black tie event is $99 per person.  Call 860-886-2378 for complete details.

Watch Emily take cautious and slow steps to encourage the light to return and her spirit to soar free.

Monday, November 5, 2012



Since 1985, playwright Dan Goggin has made a career of showcasing the Catholic nuns of his school days in a variety of adventures, all in the name of good, clean fun.  He’s writing about nuns after all.  His latest installment is tonight, for one show only, when he puts his humorous spotlight on “Nunset Boulevard” and his beloved Little Sisters of Hoboken, with the incomparable Cindy Williams of “Laverne & Shirley” fame as Mother Superior.  Waterbury’s Palace Theater will be the place to be at 7:30 p.m. when all the nunsense and nonsense will begin.

The good sisters are thrilled that they have been invited to perform their singing and dancing routines at none other than the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California.
Imagine their dismay, however, when they travel to the sunshine state and discover their
gig is really at the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama.  These heavenly ladies of the cloth soon recover their equilibrium and decide to give the best performance of their show business careers.

Mother Superior who has a family history of tight rope walkers in the circus leads the charge and she is ably joined by Sister Mary Hubert, her second in command, who counts Elvis and a Little Rascal among her ancestors, Sister Robert Anne whose dad back in Brooklyn was a jazz musician, Sister Mary Leo who dreams of being discovered in a drug store and Sister Amnesia who yearns to be a country western star.

Strutting the runway as every drama queen from Ginger Rogers to Mae West, these gals are made for toe-tapping fun.  When they learn a big Hollywood movie producer is holding auditions,  right across the street,  for a new movie musical about the life of Dolores Hart, the famous movie star who became a nun, nothing can hold them back. They scurry to shine in the spotlight for their chance on the silver screen.  Yet when it looks like one of their order may actually have what it takes to be a star, confusion as to their real calling ensues.

For tickets ( $75 and $45), call the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury at
 203-346-2000 or go online at  As part of a special fundraiser for the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, where Sister Dolores Hart currently resides, a portion of ticket proceeds from the Palace’s presentation of this show will benefit the Abbey’s New Horizons Fund. Before the show, Sister Dolores will meet and greet patrons in the orchestra lobby, and after the show, patrons who purchased a $75 ticket will be invited to attend a post-show reception meet-and-greet in the mezzanine lobby with star Cindy Williams, director Dan Goggin and other members of the cast.

At 5:30pm, Emily’s Catering Group will prepare a pre-show dinner in the Palace’s Poli Club, located on the Mezzanine level of the theater. The dinner is $40 per member and $50 per non-member, which includes tax, service fees, coffee, and tea. A cash bar is also available. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made when purchasing tickets through the Box Office.

During its original 1985 New York run, “Nunsense” became the second longest running musical in Off- Broadway history, eclipsed only by “The Fantasticks.” For more information, visit

Come dancing along with this merry troupe of ladies as they discover their talents and happily share them like the angels that they are.



Not so long ago, actor/playwright Hunter Bell wrote a play about lambs, a little musical called "Silence," as in "Silence of the Lambs."  Now he is hard at work focusing on a smaller animal group with equal affection, mice.  Hunter Bell is writing the book adaptation of "The Great American Mousical," a children's story crafted with love by Dame Julie Andrews Edwards and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, with music by Zina Goldrich, lyrics by Marcy Heisler and choreography by Christopher Gattelli.

This "sweet, funny book with lots of love is a celebration of theater the whole family can enjoy," according to Mr. Bell.  "It is a real show, not a children's show, although it would be a wonderful 'first' show for a child to see."  Ms. Andrews calls it a "Valentine to Broadway musicals" as it concerns a troupe of mice who have been making their home in the basement of a stately old theater for years.  They put on their version of the shows that are performed upstairs in the historic Broadway house they call home.

When the theater is condemned, panic ensues and the mice mobilize to save it.  All might have worked out but their diva mouse Adelaide, played by an incredible Emily Skinner, a famous and temperamental leading lady, goes out for a nibble of cheese and is kidnapped.  How to rescue her from a trap in Brooklyn becomes the challenge of the moment.

The artistic team of "The Great American Mousical" is hard at work at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre in Chester making the show ready for its world premiere on Thursday, November 8.  Collaborating with a fantastic cast, Bell claims to be "deep in the thick of the production, staging, running, tweaking and changing."  When he was first brought in to the process, Bell called his meeting  with Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma like "a blind date" until they discovered they were a good match.  He feels working with Ms. Andrews, who is the director of the musical, "remarkable as she's an icon, inspiring to be around with an incredible energy.  She is kind and talented and has had so much experience.  She's done it all, from Mary Poppins to Maria, and she rolls up her sleeves and gets down to work."

Bringing her "unbelievable work ethic" with her to the Norma Terris Theatre, which she calls "a wonderful sandbox, " she is "meticulous" in her attention to details in bringing this tiny story to gigantic life.  The mice, who perform great singing and dancing, with pay tribute and homage to the Broadway musical, with a tip of their furry ears to shows such as "Annie," "Hello Dolly!" and "Fiddler on the Roof," and will have names that echo the great characters  like Adelaide, Sky, Curly and Pippin. Pippin (Noah E. Galvin) sings a charming tune, "What Do You Think of That?" To Bell, the show is filled with "Rodgers and Hammerstein moments," with music that is laced with humor and wit, both fresh and familiar.

He hopes the audience will walk away with the message that "no matter how small you are, you can make a difference" as they enjoy this "celebration and love letter to the American musical."  He knows this "iconic American art form may ebb and change but it is here to stay."

Tony Walton who did the artwork in the original book is on board again doing scenery and costumes.  In a "fun and fantastical way," he will be "whimsical as he uses hats, hair, whiskers and tails"  to gift the mice with emotional life.

For tickets ($48), call Goodspeed Musicals at 860-873-8668 or online at  The show will run from Thursday, November 8 now extended by popular demand to Sunday, December 9.  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 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  The Norma Terris Theatre is located at 33 North Main Street, Chester, exit 6 off route 9.

Come be uplifted by Hunter Bell and the amazing team creating "The Great American Mousical" as he switches gears from dancing and singing lambs to dancing and singing mice. Can bears be far behind?  "What do you think of that?"


Do you remember when Susan Boyle, in her middle-aged frumpery, first appeared on "Britain's Got Talent" and the judges, including the head skeptic Simon Cowell, looked at her with pity and derision?  Do you also recall when she opened her lips and sang like an angel, both the audience and the judges sat up with mouths agape? This unlikely contestant wowed their socks off.

In a similar fashion when Vanda, a ditzy wannabe actress first lands on playwright/director Thomas's doorstep, she seems to be the epitome of a casting call mistake.  Enter the world of theater, courtesy of Hartford TheaterWorks, for the intense and involving confrontation, comically dramatic, of "Venus in Fur" by David  Ives extended until Sunday, November 18.

David Christopher Wells' Thomas has just endured auditions by thirty-five women who are clearly not his vision for the courtly and polished lady in his new play.  Now, much to his dismay, number thirty-six is standing, dripping from the storm, in his office demanding to be heard.

That Vanda, in a short black leather and zippered outfit, complete with gartered black stockings, looks more like a porn star than a 1870's countess is an understatement.  Her language is coarse and insistent.  She must and will be heard and she coerces Thomas into granting her an audition, with Thomas reading the part of the emotionally scarred gentleman, traumatized by an incident from his youth, that has left him sexually shattered.

Liv Rooth's Vanda is part siren, part Greek goddess and all woman, a sultry sexpot who knows her powers and uses them indiscriminately and effectively to gain her goals.  Exactly who she is is a mystery.  How does she have the whole script?  How is she letter perfect in the part?  How does she know so much about Thomas' fiancee? Seduction is her agenda, or is it?  Rob Ruggiero directs this provocative game of temptation, more electrifying and involving than Eve's original encounter with Adam in the Garden of Eden.

For tickets ($50-63, student rush $17 when available),  call TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.  Come early for the juried art show upstairs in the gallery courtesy of TheaterWorks and Paper New England, featuring art work by students in area colleges.

Never has a spider crafted a more insidious web than Vanda as she traps Thomas, the unsuspecting fly, in her diabolical game.


Imagine you're on a motorized amusement ride through a haunted house and at every turn something jumps out and shouts "Boo."  Halloween is the best time of year for things that go bump in the night and you can easily visualize ghosts and goblins appearing after midnight.  This time of year is also the psychological best to indulge in murder mysteries, the kind that keep you glued to the edge of your seat, ready to scream at the slightest provocation.

Stratford's Square One Theatre Company has just the perfect prescription for howls and hylaria and hysterics as it presents David Foley's intriguing drama "Deadly Murder" weekends until Saturday, November 17.

The action begins in the upscale Manhattan apartment of Camille, a fashionably successful jewelry designer, who has accustomed herself to the finer advantages life has to offer.  Right now her attention is focused on Billy, a hunky young stud of a waiter she has picked up at a swank party for an evening of titillating pleasures.

Now the bedroom escapades, pleasant though they were, are over and Camille, a determined and polished Peggy Nelson, wants Billy to leave so she can get some sleep. Billy, a brash and bullying Josh Wills, has forsaken his charms for a new agenda.  He wants Camille to meet his demands and they all come clearly under the heading of blackmail.

The resilient Camille does not crumble under Billy's insistent demands.  She simply laughs in his face, calling his bluff and summons her security guard Ted, an accommodating Al Kulcsar, to come to her rescue.  That's when motives get interesting, when the stakes are raised and when it doesn't seem like everyone is going to come out of the confrontation alive.

The past rears its ugly head as secrets are revealed and the stakes keep climbing higher and higher.  If you ever fancied yourself a fan of "Murder, She Wrote" or "Matlock," you'll enjoy sifting through the clues and motives to see if you can figure out who will be standing, gun or knife or African statue, in hand.  Tom Holehan directs this involving game of cat and rat and mouse.

For tickets ($20, seniors and students $19), call the Square One Theatre Company, 2422 Main Street, Stratford at 203-375-8778 or online at  Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and Saturday, November 17 at 4 p.m.

Be prepared to be surprised by the convoluted and complicated turns and twists this trio of talented actors have up their sleeves, in their pockets and tied behind their backs.