Monday, November 28, 2016


Guilt or innocence is a matter of motives and evidence.  Being accused of murder is a serious set of circumstances and one that can be difficult or impossible to disprove.  For Leonard Vole, the warrant for his arrest is like a bad dream, one that escalates into nightmare status.  Thanks to the Mistress of Mysteries and Queen of Suspense, Agatha Christie,  you are being lured into the interrogation and into the courtroom until you feel like you're a "Witness for the Prosecution," courtesy of the Westport Community Theatre weekends until Sunday, December 11.

Dame Agatha Christie started her vast writing career to win a bet that she couldn't write a detective story. She has sold over one billion books with over two billion in print, while J. K. Rowling has only a mere 325 million Harry Potter books on the shelves.  Christie has called this play, one of her twenty, her best. 

The defendant is Leonard Vole (Travis Branch), a man who has not traveled far up the ladder of success, yet one who has some charms and hints of kindness.  He rescued a woman, Romaine (Samantha Pattinson) in Germany after the war by marrying her and taking her home to London and now many years later he again rescues a woman, Emily French, who is about to be hit by a bus on a busy street.

Now Vole is accused of murdering Ms. French as he stands to inherit all her wealth in her latest will.  He claims to know nothing about the inheritance and has, in all innocence,  just cultivated her friendship out of a good heart to ease her loneliness.  Vole has engaged the services of a team of solicitors to prove he is not guilty, from the secretary Greta (Cindy Hartog), to the clerk Carter (Geoffrey Gilbert), the attorney Mayhew (David Victor) to his primary lawyer, the prestigious Sir Wilfrid Roberts (Barry Alan Hatrick) who needs to defend him in court.

Initially Vole's wife Romaine is the primary witness to provide him with an alibi, that he was home with her before  Ms. French met her dastardly fate. On the witness stand, however, being questioned by the accusatory Mr. Myers (Jeff Pliskin), under the watchful eye of the presiding judge (Larry Greeley), Romaine changes her story and casts Vole in a damning light.  To compound her new tale, Ms. French's housekeeper of twenty years, Janet Mackenzie (Kate Telfer), adds her eye witness proof that Vole is guilty.

Who to believe? What of the blood on Vole's jacket cuff?  Why was Vole looking at expensive cruises with a mysterious woman? The clues keep mounting up and the damaging accusations are too high to ignore.  Agatha Christie is a master at keeping you in suspence so you'll have to stay alert and watch for the red herrings.  Tom Rushen directs this taut drama on a revolving set designed by Kevin Pelkey.

For tickets ($25, $23 for seniors and students), call Westport Community Theatre, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport (Westport Town Hall) at 203-226-1983 or online at  [http://www.westportcommunitytheatre,com]www.westportcommunitytheatre,com. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and Thursday, December 1 at 8 p.m.

Hop aboard the roller coaster of clues as Agatha Christie is the amusement ride's conductor with enough twists and turns to make even Hercule Poirot happy and entertained.


Thigh high red sequined boots are at the sparkly spangly soul of that big hearted musical for all shoe fetished people:  "Kinky Boots."  Based on a true story, it has won six Tony Awards and is coming to Waterbury's Palace Theater from December 6 to December 11 and you're invited to try it on for style, comfort and fun. The brain child of Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein, "Kinky Boots" follows Charlie  Price (Adam Kaplan) whose dad has just died and left him with a shoe factory one heel and sole away from bankruptcy.

Charlie is less than enthusiastic about his inheritance and no more wants to be at the helm of a footwear factory than he wants to raise boa constrictors for a living.  The reality is he must try to rescue the business his father loved or at least give it a Jimmy Choo try.

Hold on to your shoe laces and shoe horns and think unconventional, quirky, exotic and bizarre as Charlie takes off running for the finish line.  A chance meeting with a cross dressing entertainer is an eye opening experience.  His new friend Lola  (J. Harrison Ghee) happens to mention that he(she) can't find a pair of performance heels that can hold his weight without breaking.  Charlie has already come to the conclusion that men's oxfords and loafers are a shoe of the past.

Can Charlie solve Lola's problems and his own in the same shoe box?  Can he create a sturdy but stylish pair of fabulous boots that will propel Lola and Price & Sons to profits and perfection?

The mature male dancer needs the proper foot wear in addition to beads, boas and bustiers. The tall and tapered red patent leather beauties are a symbol of friendship and allow for a super energized dance party of joy.  Come put on a pair of mile high stilettos of your own and kick up your heels.

For tickets ($50-100 ), call the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury at 203-
346-2000 or online at  Performances are Tuesday to Thursday  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.

Before the Thursday and Friday night shows and after the Sunday matinee, the Palace offers a pre-fixe four course dinner by Verbena Catering in the Poli Club, on the mezzanine level of the theater. Reservations can be made for $65, plus tax and service charge per person with an open bar, at the box office.

Watch how Charlie and Lola team up to solve a multitude of problems and create a new level of shoe heaven in the process.

Sunday, November 27, 2016



To the citizens of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, she was a special personal friend while to the world she was a global icon of theater and film.  Katharine Hepburn has drawn a legion of fans through her magnificent career that lasted seven decades and she is beloved.  How delightful, therefore, that WTNH television personality Ann Nyberg has taken the time and her talents as an interviewer to assemble a collection of stories and anecdotes from the family and friends who knew her best in a new book "Remembering Katharine Hepburn" recently published by Globe Pequot.

This legendary leading lady lived in the Fenwick section of Old Saybrook for much of her life, in a home she termed "paradise."  She could frequently be seen swimming in the waters outside her rambling house, or biking the lanes to town, playing golf or tennis.  She religiously guarded her home as a sanctuary and wouldn't let anyone take anything from it, even seaweed.  Hepburn would have been 110 next year but she was a fixture in Old Saybrook, now boasting a theater, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural  Arts Center on Main Street, where the book was recently unveiled. The theater is affectionately called "The Kate" and has a museum in her honor on the first floor and an intimate playhouse  on the second where many of her fifty films are often screened.

With a favorite color of red, a sense of style that introduced slacks as an appropriate mode of dress for women long before its time, and an independent spirit marked by moxie, Hepburn was unique in her approach to life.  Briefly wed at a young age, she knew marriage and children were not her calling, not when the stage and movies drew her so definitely.

The book was not Ann Nyberg's idea.  She was exhausted having just finished writing "Slice of Life," but Globe Pequot made a request she couldn't refuse, "to reintroduce Katharine Hepburn to a new generation."  Now she is so "excited to see the book in print."  Ironically Ann had tried on several occasions to interview the lady in question, once even speaking to her on the telephone but it wasn't destined to be.  She was shy of press interviews.  With this book, Nyberg got to speak to people related to her and hear stories of how kind she was, like rescuing a teenager in a snow storm, as well as "brash and bold" like no tolerating any one chewing gum in her presence.  To Kate, everything was black and was everything.  She worked for a span of seventy years, right to the end.  She won four Academy Awards but never went to the ceremonies.

A proper lady, she was big on manners and a great recluse, one who valued her privacy.  She always wanted to play the lead and "matter." Even though she died at 96 in 2003, she is still an icon, people are still talking about her and she enjoyed being a star. In this book, the reader will find sprinkles of her wit and wisdom and how much she cared for her friends and for her "nutty" family.  She was often seen picking blueberries in her trademark straw hat, scarf and sunglasses or at Walt's Market buying baloney.  She loved life and wasn't adverse to speaking her mind, setting a fashion statement by wearing slacks or by being independent.

The theater named for her will benefit from the sale of this book and is, in a sense, the interview that Ann Nyberg never got to have with this definitely different and unique individual who left her mark on our hearts for eternity.  Who else would think of giving a trophy of cinnamon toast as a prize for winning a dance contest?


Imagine it's the month before Christmas and you have the last twenty dollar bill in your pocket and the rent is due.  You're an out of work actor and you know you would never take a job dressed as a hot dog or a french fry and hand out pamphlets on a street corner but would you be willing to do something almost as humiliating:  be an elf at Macy's Department Store?  Actor and writer David Sedaris found himself in just that situation many years ago and he used his irreverent and sarcastic sense of humor to fashion a one man show that just completed a weekend run, November 25-27, in the upstairs lounge of the Shubert Theatre in New Haven courtesy of the Castle Craig Players.

Never fear, you have two more opportunities to see this sardonic and cynical peek at the holidays' little helpers.  From Friday, December 2 to Sunday, December 4, the Farmington Valley Stage Company will be at 4 Market Street, Collinsville Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m..  Tickets are $18-20 online at
Look for the  Castle Craig Players December 8-11, Thursday - Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm, at the Almira F. Stephen Memorial Playhouse, 59 West Main Street, Meriden.  For tickets, $15, call 800-838-3006 or online at

Ian Galligan delightfully stars as Crumpet, an elf with an attitude, one who didn't really want the job, was afraid he wouldn't get the job and now has to survive the job.  The training is tedious, his fellow elves and Santas leave much to be desired and he has no use at all for the angry parents and crying kids he must deal with in a plethora of responsibilities. He uses his subversive sense of survival to make fun of the whole ordeal.
In the pretend world of Macy's enchanted land, he could find himself as entrance elf, a magic tree elf, a photo elf, a pathway to Santa elf or an emergency exit elf and he doesn't like any one of them in any disguise, especially in his green, red and gold finery.
Galligan is clearly up for the challenge of making his position as elf an entertaining one, one that looks behind the curtain, to the darker side of fantasy land that visitors rarely experience. 

Crumpet has a hard time dealing with the commercial aspects of Christmas, but ultimately discovers a short cut to redemption at the end of his stint, when on Christmas Eve  a different kind of Kris Kringle arrives on the scene. Melanie Del Sole directs this epic episode of elves in the house with humor and wit.

Watch for a return of Crumpet to the throne as he shares his hard earned insights into the heart and soul of elves everywhere.  Are the Keebler elves next for a reveal?

 Hitch up the sleigh and fly off to a Christmas experience that promises to be unique, where Andrew Benator gets to indulge his strong silly streak to release unchecked comic joy.

Monday, November 21, 2016


                                                        JUDY GARLAND
All aboard for a wonderful sentimental musical journey back in time to the Hollywood of the 1930's and forward as Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin offers up a new musical revue "Babes in Hollywood The Music of Garland and Rooney" weekends until December 17.  Pack an overnight bag and plan to sing along as you hop on a train car, cable car and trolley with eight talented performers who will bring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney to glorious life through dozens of songs. The show features music and arrangements by David Grapes and Andrew Philip Herron.

Come meet Jayson Beauleu, Kate Bogue, Jordan DuVall, Abby Mae Erwin, Tony Galli, Alexis Kurtz, Aidan Laliberte and Mary Tourigny as they travel back in time to when these two teenagers  met and became fast friends on the set of United and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Movie Studios.  The troupe promises "That's Entertainment" and they deliver the goods.  

Both stars were the children of vaudevillians and started their careers practically from the cradle.  Big box office stars, the show follows their friendship and careers, all the ups and downs, trials and triumphs, they shared.  This is a tribute and you're invited to sing along as the hit parade of tunes comes pouring out, guided by musical director Nathaniel Baker.

Prepare to be delighted by a host of favorites like "Where or When," "We're a Couple of Swells,"  "Clang, Clang, Clang Goes the Trolley," "Strike Up the Band," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and "I'm in the Mood for Love," among many others.  These iconic stars deserve this tribute, as their words and music are celebrated.
Director Kris McMurray uses a light hearted touch as he casts a spotlight on the past, with affection.

For tickets ($30), call the CT Cabaret Theatre, 31 Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or online at  Bring to bring goodies to share at your table or plan to buy desserts and drinks on site.  Now is the time to subscribe for the cabaret's next exciting season.

Take a joyful trip with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney who are sure to carry you "Over the Rainbow" "Come Rain or Come Shine."

Monday, November 14, 2016


                                                RICHARD DREYFUSS
Richard Dreyfuss is currently channeling the genius of Albert Einstein eight times a week at  Hartford TheaterWorks in a new work by Mark St. Germain "Relativity."  For Dreyfuss, the part is an act of love, just one example of his dedication to his craft, one that he has pursued from the time he was nine and a half years old when his family moved to Los Angeles.

On Sunday night, Dreyfuss took time out from his busy schedule to share his thoughts about his career, with insights into his psyche and into his films and stage career.  He was interviewed by the theater's Producing Associate Taneisha Duggan and Award Winning filmmaker Pedro Bermudez in TheaterWorks' intimate space at 233 Pearl Street, Hartford for a crowd of interested attendees.  Using the framework of five of his films, hand chosen by the star, Dreyfuss expounded on his philosophy of life and his work ethic.

He is understandably proud of "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz," one of his early works which he termed "the greatest role ever for a young actor."  He confesses wanted the"role so bad I could spit." The part is of "a young kid raised so he misunderstands what he is taught and has no ethics at the end.  It's a great complex story and I was only 26."  He is proud that the film took first place as the best Canadian film ever made.

For Dreyfuss, acting is all he ever wanted to do.  His mother's advice: don't just talk about it, do it.  He admits that everything on stage is make believe and he seeks to find the "nobility" in acting, its deeper meaning.  At age 15, he was in awe when he saw John Gielgud perform, so much so that he went to his dressing room after the performance just to say "thank you." Gielgud, who did Shakespeare's "The Ages of Man," changed the younger man's life by his fantastic acting skills.  Two decades later, Dreyfuss approached him to play a part in a show he had written "Funny You Don't Look 200" and he accepted.  He was clearly a childhood hero.

Dreyfus takes credit for his life and his decisions and "knew I was going to make it."
He confesses that "I live in a constant sense of happiness and completion," which he wishes others could say.  He works and he enjoys it, and is in control of his own destiny.  He does wish, however, that theater paid what films do and he tries to balance them both. He feels, however, that no art "hits you harder, darker or quicker than theater," which is why he is enjoying his role as Einstein so much.  He has even studied the man and his mind long before he secured the part.

He calls Steven Spielberg "a gem," only one of a handful of directors to earn that accolade.  He admits he won the Oscar when he was too young, just 30, and too soon, for "The Goodbye Girl." Being on "the hunt," is better than the achievement. To Dreyfuss, acting is a "house of pretense that builds truth in art."  To him, "comedy is a mitzvah, a gift, one that scraps away the sadness."  He should know, as he has played roles in both genres to great acclaim.

In the film "W," he played Dick Cheney and he feels that "inside of us is Hitler and Jesus and the actor finds both the meanness and the kindness inside of himself."  Calling actors "some of the bravest people I know," he also modestly admits "I'm really good at what I do."  He credits the study of improvisation with giving him a good grounding in what it means to act, write and direct all in one package.

After discussing many of his films, like "Mr. Holland's Opus," "What About Bob?," "Jaws," and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," he became serious when he broached a topic near and dear to his heart: the teaching of civics in the classroom.  He took four years of his life to attend Oxford University and he is impassioned about the need to educate our youth.  "If I could bring back the teaching of civics, I'd be one happy dude."  His love of his country and the current political arena make him even more dedicated to this cause.  He urged the audience members to get involved.

In conclusion, Richard Dreyfuss admitted, "I've had a blessed life, one that is reflected in my principles and ethics.  I am the luckiest actor in America."

Sunday, November 13, 2016


What better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a warm hearted tale of that jolly perennial favorite: Frosty the Snowman.  The town of Chestnut Hills is getting ready for the festivities and the children have just been dismissed from school for the much anticipated Christmas break of two weeks.  What should they do first?  Go shopping for presents at the mall?  Gretchen (Lisa DeAngelis) and her BFF Trudy (Chelsea Dacey) are all for getting our their Christmas list but they are vetoed by Gretchen's brother Tallen (Mark Tyler Joy) and his good friend Jeremiah (Mackenzie Julius Sherrod).  They agree to build a snowman instead and what a snowman it is!

The Downtown Cabaret Children's Theatre Company of Bridgeport is happy to welcome you to "Frosty the Snowman" by Artistic Director Phill Hill weekends until Thursday, December 29.
Once the children team up to create a winter figure in ice, strange things begin to happen.  Lance Anthony's Frosty is jovial and full of fun and with his magic hat firmly in place he is ready to make everything merry.   Plans come to an abrupt halt when, however,  the Mayor of Chestnut Hills, the honorable Mayor Crabtree, brought to life by a cantankerous and crabby T. Sean Maher, decides he dislikes the holiday so much that he will banish it. 

The mayor's assistant, a most agreeable Miss Gooseberry played by Lynette Marshall, can't get her boss to change his mind.  As of this moment, Christmas is cancelled as well as Christmas vacation, future weekends and all of summer vacation too.  What are the kids to do?  How will Frosty save the day, if it can be rescued at all?

With songs like "Don't Stop Me Now," "Taking Care of Christmas," "We're Not Going to Take It" and a rousing "Stayin' Alive" and "All I Want For Christmas Is You" finale, the mood roller coasters from happy to sad, to upset to elated, as the Christmas spirit rouses to save the day.  T. Sean Maher does triple duty as the Mayor, the choreographer and the director.

For tickets ($23, children $19 ), call the Downtown Children's Cabaret,  263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport at       203-576-1636, opt. 0 or online at Performances are Saturday and Sunday at noon and 2:30 p.m. as well as Wednesday and Thursday, December 28 and 29 at 4 p.m. Don't forget to pack goodies to share at your table or have a birthday party for the kiddies.

Grab your coat and get your hat, bundle up the kiddies, and go to the sunny side of the street where magical snowmen and inventive children work together to assure that the holiday is not forgotten.


Who would guess that the prestigious Alfred Pierce Preparatory School in the Connecticut hills could be a budding hotbed of rebellion?  The semester opens with the targeting of Professor Peter Carroll, with a paint gun attack.  Carroll has been created by Bill Raymond in all his academic glory.  Who pulled the trigger and why? How will the 80 year old react to the assault and to his suspicious and sudden dismissal?

Is it up to the astute investigative team at the school paper, the Pierce Gazette, to discover the culprit?  Prize reporter Allan Archer, a determined Erik Bloomquist, cares about Carroll's fate and wants to find the truth.

As fellow students, cynical Claire and editor Tim, add their theories, Archer starts his own investigation.  Soon the school trustees are assembling to spin the incident.  Before they resolve it, another disturbing event takes place:  the football team's mascot Mighty Mouse is stolen.  Who will lead the Spirit Patrol now?  Is a secret protest group of girls responsible for both disturbances?  How do a stampede of Santas fit in the Christmas scene?

Tune in to CPTV's "The Cobblestone Corridor" at 7:30 pm Sundays for the intriguing answers as "THE COBBLESTONE CORRIDOR" and its competitive kids with open minds explore opportunities and adventures, solving a few mysteries along the way.

Erik Bloomquist tackles a multitude of roles as actor, writer, director and producer of this new original series that is purely a Connecticut production. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016



Amidst the joyful barks of pet dogs at a park, anything is likely to happen, but a budding romance is usually not one of them.  But if playwright Joe DiPietro is the chief dog catcher then it is anybody's guess what will happen.   It's time to mosey on over to the New Haven Theater Company weekends until November 19 for a bittersweet and sentimental love story that is sure to touch your heart strings, "The Last Romance."

Most men use candy and flowers to woo a woman, like boxes of milk chocolate caramels or bouquets of pink roses.  For eighty year old Ralph Bellini, no ordinary suitor in the hands of John Watson, he knows this may be his final shot at being hit by Cupid's arrow and he isn't taking any chances.  One day he takes his daily walk in a different direction and comes to a dog park where he spies a lovely lady with her little chihuahua Peaches and he seizes the opportunity to pursue her.

Ralph's secret weapons are his operatic arias which he sang in his youth, when he auditioned  at the Metropolitan Opera House. The object of his affection is an unsuspecting Carol Reynolds, played by a sincere and stable Margaret Mann, who has no time or desire for frivolities or sweet talking strangers. Ralph uses his whole arsenal of wisdom and wit to pursue and persuade her to like him, even dangling his love of the opera as an incentive.

Not only does Carol resist his advances, but Ralph's guardian of a sister Rose is a major stumbling block.  Rose, an outspoken, feisty, opinionated, truth-at-any-cost Janie Tamarkin, is wonderful as the protection sibling who won't let anything happen to Ralph, especially not a repeat of the ominous incident of October 25.  How can her roast beef compare to a woman and her rat-like pooch?  Rose, herself, has been separated from hubby Tony for more than two decades and is secure in the knowledge that she is always right and Tony and most men are always  wrong.

Will Carol  finally fall prey to his affectionate ways?  Can these two lonely people find love a second time around?  Will Peaches play Cupid?  Their romance has a few major obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is a vociferous Rose who doesn't want Ralph to abandon her for another woman.  Trevor Williams directs this pretty pastiche of passion, with additional voice and video provided by Christian Shaboo and Peter Chenot.

For tickets ($20), go online to  Performances are at the Vintage Market, 839 Chapel Street, New Haven now known as EBM Vintage in the back of the store, on Thursday at 8 p.m, Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at  8 p.m. 

Will Ralph and Carol discover love in later life can be just as sweet as the first time around? Come discover for yourself.

Monday, November 7, 2016


A girl with a voice like pure sunshine, born and raised in poverty in Maysville, Kentucky, is issuing an invitation to "Come on a My House" and you'd be wise to accept.  That gal is one of America's favorite song birds, who called Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Kennedy and Merv Griffin close personal friends.  A portrait of her life, the sunny days and the lunar eclipse that darkened many of her nights, is being displayed in all its trials and triumphs at Ivoryton Playhouse until Sunday, November 13.

Come learn about a simple girl with a big dream, who looked for laughter and love and found loneliness and loss, who sang like a nightingale with warmth and honesty, and experienced more ups and downs in life than the carnival's roller coaster.  Music is woven in, out and around this personal  story by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" and it is revealing in all its intimate details about one of America's singing  sweethearts.

Kim Rachelle Harris is Rosie, a wonderful artist who brings her to life with sincerity and grace.  She sings like an angel and creates her with poignancy and power.  The daughter of a mother who abandons her and an alcoholic father who was also absent, Rosemary and her sister Betty were forced to support themselves at an early age.  Entering and winning a talent contest saved them from starvation and started them early on a career that for Rosie would span decades.

We learn about her big band time, her love affairs and marriages, her successes on the stage and in films, and her addictions to pills that threatened everything she had.  Along the way we are blessed with a multitude of songs, like "Sisters," "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Botch-a-Me," "How About You?" and "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"

Michael Marotta does a yeoman job as a multitude of characters in Rosie's life, from her personal therapist after she has a nervous breakdown, to  her mother, her sister Betty, her husband Jose Ferrer and more, all with a scarf, a pocketbook, a hat or a pipe.  An onstage orchestra of Daniel Brandt, Matt McCauley and Connie Coghlan provides great backup for the parade of tunes. Brian Feehan directs and choreographs this involving show that proves Rosemary Clooney when she sings "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues."

For tickets ($50, senior $45, student $22, child $17), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come learn the legacy, the challenges and the courage, that Rosemary Clooney gathered around her and gave so generously to the world.  She will be well remembered and loved.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Forget Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch.  Don't invite Clara and her Nutcracker friends.  Let Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer take a well deserved snooze.  Now it is time to concentrate all your efforts on one good little boy, well mostly good, named Ralphie Parker.  He has set his heart and his mind on only one present to make his Christmas holiday complete.  Ralph wants an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action-200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, a BB gun if you will.  One that has his mother fearing he will shoot his eye out.

Come to Waterbury's Palace Theater for two performances on Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, November 19 at 2 p.m. for that classic tale of childhood desires "A Christmas Story: The Musical" by Bert Pasek and Justin Paul for music and lyrics, based on that perennial favorite movie of 1983, with book by Joseph Robinette.

Ralphie is nine years old and a determined little son of a gun (pun intended).  He is willing to go to great lengths to ensure that he will find what he desires under the Christmas tree.  Clearly he doesn't want socks or an Erector set, a toy train or underwear.  His list to Santa is short and sweet and has only one item.  If he has to scheme and finagle getting it, he is up for the challenge.  With his glasses firmly lodged on his nose, he has his eye on the prize and his dad and his mom have to decide if the rewards are worth the risks.

Stuffed like a Christmas stocking with musical numbers and tap dancing routines like "It All Comes Down to Christmas," "Ralphie  to the Rescue," "Parker Family Singalong," "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" and "A Christmas Story," this family show will be one big giant gift wrapped present for young and old alike.

Get the tinsel ready, look out for the infamous pink bunny pajamas (what kind of gift is that for a boy?), the quirky lamp that resembles a lady's leg and a dare that involves a frozen flagpole.  If you meet a Santa Claus who is cranky, you'll know you're in the right place.  Come cheer Ralph on in his quest for the best (or the worst) holiday ever.

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

It's Indiana in 1940 and the Parker family has set a place for you at the kitchen table.  Plan to come for a feast of guaranteed holiday treats.  Don't for a moment try to resist the banquet coming your way.


Put on your tap shoes and your toe shoes, just not at the same time, to experience the sheer joy of the dance.  Thanks to George and Ira Gershwin, prepare to be transported to the city of lights, the residence of romance, the place where love blooms behind every bush and begonia.  World War Ii has ended and the world is ripe for dreams to come true.

Come get ready to be enchanted as the national tour of "An American in Paris" with book by Craig Lucas, begins its engagement at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, November 15 to Sunday, November 20.

Jerry Mulligan (Garen Scribner) is happy to shed his soldier's uniform and take up residency in Paris now that the war is over.  He wants to paint just as much as his friend and fellow veteran Adam Hochberg (Etai Benson) desires to write music and wealthy Henri Baurel, (Nick Spangler)a Frenchman, would like to be a famous song and dance man.  The trio have high hopes for a happy future, now that the atrocities of war are finally over.

For Jerry, a chance meeting with two women is about to change his life in remarkable directions.  He is intrigued by the lovely French ballerina, Lisa Dassin, (Sara Esty) whom he is immediately attracted to on sight.  With bittersweet regrets, Jerry soon realizes that he and Adam have been encouraging Henri to propose to Lisa, now forcing her to make a difficult decision.

Lisa loves Jerry, but she feels an obligation to marry Henri because it is his family who saved her life during the conflict.  At the same time, Jerry becomes an object of fascination for a rich and determined art patron, Milo Davenport, (Emily Ferranti). who wants to help him succeed by advancing his career in the right corners of the city.  How will Jerry balance the needs and wants of the two women in his life? Will Henri win the woman of his heart or will he yield his place to another?  Will each man achieve his personal dream of achievement?

With glorious tunes like "I Got Rhythm," "S'Wonderful," "But Not For Me," and "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," plus a fully staged and brilliant ballet, this award winning musical has bouquets of bountiful beauty to offer.  Christopher Wheeldon directs this homage to hope and triumph of spirit.

For tickets ($25.50 and up), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at  Performances are Tuesday to Thursday 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.

Your feet will clearly have wings as you take this flight of fancy on that fascinating stairway straight to paradise.


Jon Peterson has successfully channeled the spirit, personality and talents of Anthony Newley, the British songwriter, singer, actor, director and dancer. From now until Sunday, November 27, the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury will be alive and kicking up its heels with the sparkling sounds that Newley gave to the world.  While his life was a bumpy road, made more difficult by his love of the ladies, Newley created a vast array of songs and musicals that make for a lasting legacy.

"He Wrote Good Songs," a line on Newley's gravestone, is making its Connecticut debut and was conceived and written by Peterson, who shines as the debonair and charismatic star.  Born in London's East End, in Hackney, this Cockney lad was raised by his mum and a host of aunties after his dad deserted the family.  Newley spent his life trying to compensate for the loss of a father figure and late in life found him and reconciled.

The scruffy son of music hall musicians, he took a job at a school that provided him with tuition in its acting program, where he was discovered at an early age. One of his first roles was as the Artful Dodger in "Oliver!"  Hopscotching from Britain to Broadway, he found a lot of success when he partnered with Leslie Bricusse. Along the way, he created incredible lively and upbeat music like "Gonna Build a Mountain," "Candy Man," "Who Can I Turn To?," "On a Wonderful Day Like Today," "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and "Nothing Can Stop Me Now."

With many marriages, the most famous or infamous with Joan Collins, Newley was not the ideal husband or father material and his infidelities caused problems his whole life. His world frequently unraveled as he kept beginning again, trying to get it right the next time.  Jon Peterson belts out the best of this hit parade of tunes, almost two dozen in all, and introduces us to the man and his music in an intimate and incredibly personal fashion.  Seminar DeLaurentis directs this splendid portrait of the man who wrote good songs for the world.

For tickets ($38-57), call the Seven Angels Theatre, One Plank Road, Hamilton Park, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at  Performances are Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Come discover or rediscover the magic and magnetism that Anthony Newley brought to the stage, courtesy of the genius that is Jon Peterson.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Children don't get to select their parents.  You can be born the son of a teacher, a plumber or a candidate running for the highest office in the land...and you have no choice in the matter.  Just ask John, Jr., a dynamic and impassioned college student played by Christopher Finch, who finds himself on the defensive when, on the eve of his dad's potential victory as President-Elect, he is responsible for the proverbial wrench in the workings.  Has John, Jr. deliberately tried to derail his dad from his goal of leading the free world or is it an unfortunate accident of timing that is causing the internet to light up with a series of blurry photos of a recent college party?

This intriguing question is the eerily timely drama by Christopher Shinn "Now or Later" being showcased at Stratford's Square One Theatre Company weekends until Sunday, November 20 at their new home, for their 27th Anniversary Season, at the Stratford Academy, on 718 Birdseye Street, Stratford.

It's election night in 2008 and Pat Leo's John, Sr. is poised on the verge of victory.  Suddenly the spin doctors and political analysts are thrown into crisis mode with the surfacing of these pictures that are considered inappropriate and dangerous.  The solution is to have John, Jr. issue an apology to the Muslim world that he has insulted by appearing at a party in a costume of the prophet Mohammed with a friend, Matt (Patrick Kelly) as Pastor Bob.  In addition to his choice of dress, John, Jr. has written a response to a series of cartoons on campus that are insulting to Muslims.

To the son, it is a matter of defending free speech. He guards his privacy, his feelings for humanity and his personal stance as a homosexual.  When he was younger, he tried to kill himself and now he is asserting his rights to be his own person and make his own decisions, despite his place as the son of the President- Elect. "Now or Later" is basically the drama of a father and son, trying to understand the other's views, to reach a level of  compromise that will allow each of them to be his own man.

The son wants the father to defend freedom of speech and to support civil unions.  This is a crisis of conscience and is filled with conflicted and complex issues.  John, Jr.'s mother, a sympathetic Peggy Nelson, tries to straddle the fence in support of both men she loves while opposing opinions on the issue at hand are displayed by the political pundit Marc, a pragmatic Joseph Maker and Tracy, a party player Jennifer Ju, who wants to celebrate victory and not be caught in the muddle of controversy.

Artistic director Tom Holehan keeps a taut hand on the proceedings, one that pits a  father against a son, and threatens to destroy or cement their relationship.  For tickets ($20, $19 for seniors and students), call Square One Theatre at 203- 375-8778 or online at  Performances are Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. with a Talk Back after the show.  Apply the ticket stub from this show toward the full season for only $30.  Call the box office.

Come discover if this is a personal or a public debate, one that weighs family dynamics as privacy, political extremes and power battle with intolerance and intelligence, responsibility with religion, with you as the judge and jury.