Monday, July 14, 2014


Ambition and power are enticing aphrodisiacs, ones that have lured many a man off the righteous path.  Entitlement travels side by side with ambition and it can easily corrupt.  Feel yourself slighted, overlooked, undervalued and you might be tempted to rebel, to make a statement that restores your spoiled sense of dignity.

Consider the fate of one Benedict Arnold, a man from colonial history in America's birth pangs who felt he wasn't properly respected and acknowledged.  His story is being showcased dramatically and honestly in a brand new work "Benedict Arnold The Musical," a world premiere by Richard Vetere, book, Jeffrey Lodin, music, and William Squier, lyrics.  Until Sunday, August 3, The Spirit of Broadway Theater in Norwich will launch this exciting production about one of Norwich's own, Benedict Arnold, fittingly in honor of the town's 350th celebration.

To Brett A. Bernardini, Artistic Director of Spirit of Broadway Theater and the inspiration behind this innovative production, "This idea was been percolating for years.  Working in this amazing little city, this is my way of giving back to the community," to undo the archaic notion that Benedict Arnold "is someone we don't talk about."  By combining history and theater, Bernardini wants to attract tourists from all over the globe to come discover Norwich and one of its native sons.  The desire is to focus attention on the man and his character, his relationship with his second wife Peggy Shippen and his respect for General George Washington.

Luke Yellin is excellent as the frustrated and impatient General Arnold who doesn't feel the Continental Congress values his worth, not giving him the military commission he feels he deserves.  While Washington, a strong and forceful Derek Corriveau, urges patience and encourages him to consider marriage to the lovely and eligible Peggy Shippen, a determined and ambitious Jessie MacBeth, Arnold is anxious to advance his career.

Once married to Peggy, he finds in her friendship with Major John Andre, a charming Loyalist striking in the hands of Joe Cordaro, a sympathetic ear and offers of prestige and wealth from Britain and the King that he can't secure from the colonists. Whether he knows Andre is a spy or not, Arnold accepts all the temptations presented and provides vital secret information about West Point, his newest posting, a step that violates his loyalty to Washington.

Throughout the play, a trio of witches, played with mystery and magic by Bryna Kearney, Alisha Kapur and Maureen Pollard, swirl through the fog and mist foretelling shadows of wickedness.  in forsaking his own country, Arnold never receives the recognition he so strongly desired and he and Peggy are sorely disappointed by their reception across the pond. The playwright and composers manage to make Benedict and Peggy real and one feels compassion for their chosen course, however misguided it becomes. Stirring tunes like  "Something Wicked This Way Comes," "The Belle of Philadelphia,""The Deed Is Done," "Two Very Different Men" and "An American Macbeth" advance the plot.  Brett A. Bernardini directs this journey back into historical times with pride and skill.

Ensemble members who round out the cast include Paul Leitz, Andrew Goehring, Justin Carroll, Nick Edwards and Bessie Fong.

For tickets ($32), call The Spirit of Broadway Theater, 24 Chestnut Street, Norwich at 860-886-2378 or online at Performances are  Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.  All last week Norwich focused attention on Benedict Arnold's polarizing influence with fireworks, walking tours, lectures, exhibits, movies, art and concerts.

Eager to help the theater in its fundraising efforts, contact Jackie Roy about the unique "Night of One Hundred Dinners" where you invite
friends to your home for a cocktail party, a picnic, a dinner, dessert, wine tasting, (well you get the idea), in October with all proceeds going to SBT.
Interested? Want more information? Call Jackie at 860-887-6975 or

Witness how love and betrayal are interwoven in this complicated tale of loyalty where ego plays a large role in the devastating outcome.

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