Monday, March 18, 2013

"CONVENIENCE" A SPECIAL FAMILY MUSICAL ABOUT COMMUNICATION


                            CAST OF "CONVENIENCE," PHOTOS BY SEAN DUGGAN


When you have a list of things to do, especially if one or many of them are difficult and worthy of procrastination, the best advice is to "East the frog first."  The frog symbolizes the worst objective on your to-do list, the thing you least want to do and dread the most, and if you accomplish it first, everything else will be easy by comparison.

Trust me, this is good counseling for all of us, but definitely for estranged mother and son, Liz and Vince, who are struggling with news that each feel the other will resent and misunderstand.  Procrastination will not make it easier.

Enter into the close family circles of two young men, Vince and Ethan, and a single mom Liz and her new squeeze Abe, as they struggle to surface over their fears.  The Spirit of Broadway Theater in Norwich is offering a fine and sensitive production of Gregg Coffin's "Convenience" for your enjoyment until Sunday, April 7.  This is just another in a tradition of new and exciting offerings the theater is noted for presenting. Don't miss it.

In families, honest communication, mutual respect, love and a healthy sense of humor are essential ingredients. Unfortunately, when Vince's dad walked out of the house when Vince, a sensitively attuned Zachary Gregus, was only six, the scars never healed.  Did he blame himself for his dad's desertion or his mom for letting it happen?  Either way, the damage seems irreparable and it has colored their relationship for over two decades.  Inside he is still the little boy fighting space aliens trying to win his father back.

Now Vince has news of his own to confess.  He is making a major step and moving in with his life partner Ethan, played by an affable and supportive Jason Slattery. A trip home to tell mom, played at a young age by a caring Anne Fowler and at the present time by a conflicted Erica LuBonte, both with lovely voices, makes Vince stubbornly avoid "eating the frog first."

Mom has some startling news of her own:  after being alone for twenty years she is seriously considering accepting her good family friend Abe's proposal of marriage.  Abe, brought to life beautifully by Brett A. Bernardini, has ironically been a mentor for Vince and finds himself in the difficult role of counseling them both.  Bernardini also serves as the delicate director of this emotion driven dilemma.

The entire play is a musical conversation, with songs that reveal feelings of tension, insecurity as well as affection and promise, like "Moving Day," "In the Morning" and "Love Has This Power."

For tickets ($32), call the Spirit of Broadway Theater, 24 Chestnut Street, Norwich at 860-886-2378 or online at www.spiritofbroadway.org.  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m and Sunday at 2 p.m. Inquire about their special Spa Dinner and Theater Package.  This Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. is A Gala To Remember, with Chef Rafael of local culinary fame presenting a full buffet experience and a Red Carpet Champagne welcome with wine and appetizers, a viewing of "Convenience," followed by luscious desserts and specialty coffees, all for only $75.

Mark your calendars now for Saturday night, April 20 at 7 p.m. for the 14th Annual On The Town Wine Tasting and Auction that includes a sneak peek at the 2013 Theater Season, all for only $50.  Call 860-886-2378 for more information and reservations.

Sit back in the intimate space of this theatrical gem and enjoy this refreshingly honest look at life and it problems, that can often by resolved or at least improved with honesty and openness.




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