As 2016 runs in a race to the finish line and 2017 gets ready to rock and roll, what better way to celebrate the occasion than a trip to New Haven’s charming Wooster Street where Consiglio’s Restaurant has been serving great Italian food for over seventy-five years, keeping the recipes clearly in the family for four generations now. This is the place for warmth, hospitality and comfort food and lots of fun and laughs as its year round menu of inviting interactive dinner theater culminates the calendar with “Last Night Last Chance” on Saturday, December 31 from 9:30 p.m. until the champagne toast at midnight.Once again the genial host of the evening will be Michael Sayers, the master of the mystery and magic, the man who conjures up all the machinations and motives, the writer of the plots and the solver of the dastardly deeds, in the persona of that maestro detective Chester Hadlyme. Sayers has been penning these clue laden tales for decades and they are always filled with twists and turns, and they all involve the wits of the guests who come for a delicious dinner and a dessert of crime solving. This New Year’s Eve is no different.Be on your toes as a bevy of females come to your dining table to drop subtle and not so subtle hints as to their history and motivations as the mystery unfolds. Look for Ann Crimmons, Mara Dresner and Elizabeth Harnett to be dressed in their holiday finery, stopping by to wink and whisper about their intentions. Are they looking for a date or a sip of your Martini? Your job is to figure out who may be riding on the coroner’s table before the tolling of midnight. And who is the male counterpoint all the females are seeking? Has romance gone kaput? Get a scorecard to record your impressions and suspicions.While you ponder the preponderance of evidence, don’t forget to enjoy the feast of Italian offerings that Consiglio’s is presenting. Of the five appetizers, you might select the fried calamari bathed in Italian spices, ready to be dipped in a hearty marinara sauce or the crisp and crunchy Caesar salad dressed in parmesan cheese and decorated with homemade croutons. The ten entrees include such specialities as ravioli stuffed with fresh succulent lobster meat and ricotta and dancing with jumbo shrimp in a light plum tomato sauce or chicken rosa, a short tower of eggplant, chicken cutlet, mozzarella and fresh tomatoes swimming atop linguine in a light creamy plum tomato sauce.For dessert, flip a coin and decide between a chocolate mousse cake with an Oreo cookie crust, stuffed with yummy chocolate cream or Godiva tiramisu with Godiva liquor soaked lady fingers with a generous filling of Mascarpone and dusted with espresso. For reservations ($65, beverages, tax and gratuity not included), call Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster Street, New Haven at 203-865-4489 or go online for the full details at www.consigliosrestaurant.com. The evening includes the show, the three-course dinner and the champagne toast at the stroke of twelve, as well as games and contests with prizes if time permits. Come prepared to participate for maximum enjoyment.Now is the time to plan for the first Dinner Theater show of 2017, “The 13th of Friday Part 1” on Friday, the 13th, of course, at 7 p.m. when you discover what happens when New Year’s resolutions take a decidedly deadly turn. Michael Sayers is preparing lots of surprises for the new year, expanding the offerings from summer on the patio, including classes in interactive acting.This is Mystery Party Theater with an emphasis on Party. Everyone needs to end the year with laughter. As Michael Sayers would seriously recommend: Happy, Happy. Joy. Joy. As the extended Consiglio family would definitely suggest: Buon Appetito.
Monday, December 26, 2016
Monday, December 19, 2016
Christmas is a holiday for people who are open hearted and generous, joyful and grateful. But what if you are mean spirited, grumpy and greedy, with a heart as closed up tight as the Pharaoh of Egypt or a miserable miser who never learned how to share. The epitome of ingratitude and selfishness is surely Ebenezer Scrooge and he is ready and willing to defend his sullen attitude until Monday, December 30 in the Hartford Stage’s glorious and ghostly adaptation by Michael Wilson of Charles Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.”
Bill Raymond for the seventeenth and last year will be donning his night cap and assuming the persona of our favorite bah humbug curmudgeon, old Ebenezer Scrooge, who refuses to acknowledge the Christmas holiday and begrudges his faithful and hard working employee Bob Crochet, the loyal Robert Hannon Davis, even one day off a year with pay. This year, however, on Christmas Eve, Scrooge’s old partner in business Marley, dead seven years, comes back to warn Scrooge to mend his ways or he is fated to join Marley in a place of deep regrets.
To help and encourage Scrooge to change, Marley (Noble Shropshire) is sending him three spirits, the Spirit of Christmas Past (Johanna Morrison), the Spirit of Christmas Present (Alan Rust) and the Spirit of Christmas Future on Christmas Eve at 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Scrooge will be given the opportunity to review his past life and see what he had in life and what he lost and what he can still achieve if he is willing to change.
Along the way, our cranky businessman visits a former employer Mr. Fezziwig (Charlie Tirrell), his fiancee Belle (Flor De Liz Perez), his nephew Fred (Terrell Donnell Sledge) and the home of his clerk Bob who has a crippled son Tiny Tim (Charlize Calcagno or Hunter Cruz). At each step of the journey, Scrooge has his eyes opened wider to see what the world has to offer if he only opens his heart to the possibilities. Meanwhile ghosts swirl and fly in a masked ball of supernatural steps. They are here to scare a little sense into Mr. Scrooge and help him to avoid Marley’s disasterous fate.
By the end of Christmas Eve, Scrooge declares “I am not the man I was. I will learn the lessons I have been told. I will dispel the shadows.” When he sends for the prize turkey, he has clearly come to his senses and begs forgiveness from the town’s people in general and his family in particular. Artistic Associate Rachel Alderman has added personal touches to this production to make it even more special than usual. Buzz Roddy inhibits the persona ofScrooge at student performances.
For tickets ($25 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org/christmas-carol. Performances are Tuesday to Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Donations of food for the holiday drive are encouraged at each performance.
Don’t let the holiday season escape without a visit to that most famous of cantankerous curmudgeons, Ebenezer Scrooge, who transforms himself into a new man thanks to the visitations of a trio of ghosts.
If you’re a fifteen year old boy with autism, a form called Asperger’s Syndrome, one who can count prime numbers into the thousands, has a special relationship with the animal kingdom, looks at the world in a precise and literal manner, your name is Christopher John Francis Boone and you’re about to embark on an unusual journey. Your favorite detective would be that British literary maven Sherlock Holmes, and when you discover Wellington, a neighbor’s dog, has been killed, you dedicate yourself to finding his murderer.Welcome to “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a compelling book by Mark Haddon that has now been adapted to the stage and will trot into the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, December 27 to Sunday, January 1. The play has been penned by Simon Stephens and is the winner of five 2015 Tony Awards. The production is being presented by the National Theatre as part of its first North American tour.Christopher has an exceptional mind but has trouble dealing with humans and with everyday life. When he finds himself accused of hurting Wellington, he sets out, against extraordinary odds, to find the real culprit. To do this, he must venture far from the safety and comfort of his familiar world to what is the scary and dangerous unknown. What he uncovers will change his life forever and alter his view of himself and of the universe.Adam Langdon stars as the unusual teen who confronts personal demons and learns truths that are especially difficult to reconcile and accept. Marianne Elliott directs this startling vision into Christopher’s head as a sensory explosion, one that expands and contracts as he faces the city of London in its scary entirety, all in an attempt to find reality.Fly with Christopher as he explores the unknown, traveling on a confusing grid of noisy and light drenched pathways, that are sure to startle and amaze, frighten and disturb, on trains and subways to the unknown.For tickets ($25.50-94.50), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org. Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.With mathematical insight, join Christopher’s search as he comes of age and learns how to navigate the previously foreign universe.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Typically Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly and greedy curmudgeon who wishes Christmas and good will to mankind a hearty "bah, humbug." What, however, might happen if the mean spirited character Scrooge were morphed into a female version? For the intriguing and comic answer, look no further than Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury where its Stage Seven Community Players are taking just that premise and running with it all the way to Thursday, December 22 for your entertainment pleasure.
Come enter the world of Earlene Babcock, comically brought to life by the vivacious and fun loving Michelle Gotay in the original work "The Christmas Carol at Earlene's Diner," written by Artistic Director Semina DeLaurentis as a continuing saga at the famous Pottsville diner and motel that always seems to be on the verge of bankruptcy.
Earlene wasn't supposed to play Scrooge but the actor in question forgot that the show must go on and is nowhere to be found. The gungho Earlene is tapped to save the day by her creative and hard working stage managing assistant Kelsey, played by an energetic Carey Cannata. Just like in the Dickens original, Scrooge now known as Ebbie, is approached by her long dead partner in business Jacob Marley (John Fabiani) who arrives on Christmas Eve to warn that Ebbie is going to suffer the same fate as he, for all his greediness on earth.
To that end, Ebbie is visited by three ghosts, a hip swirling Michael Sacco from the past, a jolly bearded man from the present (Timothy Cleary) and a vision from the future who resembles a Star Wars character (Matthew Conroy). Ebbie learns what her lack of regard for mankind has cost her as she sees how she has mistreated her clerk Bob Cratchit and his ailing Tiny Tina (Zoe Kindt) and her nephew Fred (Alexander Niatopsky). Along the way a medley of lovely Christmas tunes are sung by this talented community cast, with spirit and glee, almost thirty in all.
A slightly tipsy Billy Bob (William Wilson) provides a good recipe for a liquid fruit cake, Thomas Chute adds an Irish flavor and later a solemn song, Earlene delivers a hearty "12 Steps of Christmas" and we even get a sing along. All in all, this enthusiastic troupe is having a great time on stage and taking the audience along for the sleigh ride, thanks to director Semina DeLaurentis.
For tickets ($39, 18 and under $20, Family 4 packs $99 for 2 adults and 2 children), call Seven Angels Theatre, 1 Plank Road, Hamilton Park, Waterbury, at 203-757-4676 or online at www.SevenAngelsTheatre.org. Performances are Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Now is the time to make your reservations for Stand Up, Count Down New Year's Eve Comedy Night on Saturday, December 31 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to usher in the New Year with hilarity, courtesy of New York comedians John Ivarone, Liz Barrett, Ellen Karis and Frankie Pace. Also mark your calendar for the weekends of January 13-15 and 20-22 when Showstoppers! Broadway comes to Seven Angels led by master maestro Tom Chute from WATR radio. The January 14 show features an added bonus of an opening night party with great food.
Watch Earlene save the day, save the diner and the motel and create a lot of laughter in the process, guaranteeing a happy holiday of good wishes along the way.
Monday, December 12, 2016
'Tis the season to make merry and what better way to celebrate mirth than with the Connecticut Gay Men's Chorus. The gentlemen are offering two opportunities to applaud Christmas this year, Saturday, December 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 18 at 4 p.m. at the Co-Op Theater, 177 College Street, New Haven and you're invited to the holiday musical party.
Dial back the clock to a kinder, gentler time and let the CGMC pay tribute to all the sentimental favorites that make the season so special and swell. Selections from the past, in story books, television, films and musicals have been chosen by the membership to be given a dusting off and a tinsel tuning up trim."Christmas Stories" is sure to include a number of your holiday hits.
Think Rudolph and The Grinch, perhaps a big Elf and a bow to Ralph and his much desired BB gun. For Artistic Director Greg McMahon, the choices were obvious. "We know that our audiences like a huge range of musical genres, and happily our singers love exploring all kinds of vocal styles so this concert runs the gamut from gospel to pop to tight 40's harmonies."
Noting that the CGMC prides itself on its unique and different take on the ordinary, its particular flavor that it adds to the mix, one shouldn't be surprised by McMahan's statements. "In keeping with the theme of 'Christmas Stories,' we've also unearthed some songs about bizarre holiday traditions that we just had to share with our audiences."
The gauntlet has been thrown and it's covered in white ermine. The CGMC never will be called common place. It's all glitz and glamour, fancy and fantastic. Who might pop up on stage to welcome the festive day? Come be surprised.
For tickets ($25-30), call 800-644-2462 (CGMC) or go online to www.ctgmc.org.
The guys will be dressed in their holiday finery and ready to ring those bells, with way more than Rudolph's red nose sure to be aglow.
PHOTO FROM THE ORIGINAL JIMMY STEWART CLASSIC FILM
Music Theatre of Connecticut is once again hosting the heartwarming and redemptive tale of one George Bailey of Bedford Falls, New York, a reluctant hero who realizes almost too late that his life has meaning. Joe Landry is the playwright responsible for wrapping George’s story in the form of a live radio show at WBFR and you’re invited to pull up a comfy chair and tune in to the momentous happenings that mark George’s time on this earth, until Sunday, December 18. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with a retelling of this classic Frank Capra film. The original tale was written by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra and Jo Swerling.
A talented troupe of actors brings George’s story to life, complete with sound effects and commercials breaks. They each play a multitude of roles with energy and zest -Allan Zeller, Jon-Michael Miller, Elizabeth Donnelley, Elissa DeMaria and Jim Schilling. We meet all the inhabitants of Bedford Falls as well as in heaven where Clarence, the wannabe angel, gets the assignment to help George see the value of his life and not commit suicide. In doing so, Clarence hopes, after waiting for hundreds of years, to finally earn his wings.
George is a straight arrow lad, one who wants to venture into the world and explore all its possibilities. Unfortunately, the early death of his father forces him to take over his dad’s Building and Loan Association and circumstances continue to delay his departure until all his chances evaporate. Don’t feel sorry for George, however, as he helps many citizens of the town achieve their dreams, he marries his sweetheart Mary, he succeeds in saving lives like his brother Harry's and he keeps the big bad wolf of the town Mr Potter from achieving his evil plans.
When George’s Uncle Billy loses a large deposit of $8000 just as the bank inspector is about to arrive for an audit, George’s faith is tested. How Clarence helps him to see how important he is to the town and its people is at the redemptive heart of this moving tale. Kevin Connors directs this beloved holiday happening that will restore your faith in the human race.
For tickets ($30-55), call MTC, 509 Westport Avenue, Norwalk, behind Nine West Shoes at 203-454-3883 or online at www.musictheatreofct.com. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. A special added bonus to the day will be the auction of a memorable scene of Bedford Falls painted by renown local artist Paul Landry at each performance.
What would Christmas be without a retelling of this magical story of hope. Watch how George gets a revelation not unlike Scrooge’s as this story of faith reveals once again that a man who has friends is not a failure in life.
SOME OF THE CAST OF "BELLS OF DUBLIN"
Home is wherever the family gathers to celebrate the holidays, whether it’s in Dublin or New York City or anywhere in between. For the extended Irish families who come to Emmett O’Lunney’s Tavern on Christmas Eve, being together, under the same roof, means everything. When Paddy Bell and his extended clan descend unexpectedly from across the pond to the Big Apple, joy reigns supreme.For the third installment about the Bells, look to Executive/Artistic Director Jacqueline Hubbard’s imagination as she creats a holiday tradition with a distinctly Irish flavor. Until Sunday, December 18, the Ivoryton Playhouse will schedule an old fashioned holiday hootenanny “Bells of Dublin: Part III A New York Fairytale" for your entertainment pleasure.A tiny sprite of a bag lady Maggie (Maggie McGlone-Jennings) uses the wisdom of her many years on this earth to set the tone of this tale. Think a Christmas stocking stuffed with corny jokes married to a merry medley of Irish and holiday songs. Larry (Larry Lewis) and daughter Emma (Emma Hunt) are still melancholy about the recent loss of his wife and Emma’s mom so the sudden aarrival of Paddy Bell (R. Bruce Connelly), his wife Katie (Nancy Cardone) and daughters Bridie (Jenna Berloni) and Fiona (Olivia Harry), and married daughter Meg (Vanessa Vradenburgh) and hubby Michael (Michael McDermott) and baby Patrick liven up the night.With Norm (Norm Rutty), Ted (Ted Phillips), Celie (Celeste Cumming) and Molly (Melanie Guerin) with Larry, forming a band, soon the bar is jumping with traditional fare like “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “Silver Bells” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” among many others.Also bellying up to the bar are Frank (David Cardone), the resident cabby, Travis (Michael Hotkowski) a frustrated Shakespearian actor, Ruby (Dyllan Vallier) a transgender entertainer and the esteemed police force represented by Officer Kelly (Vickie Blake) and Officer Cortez (Alec Bandzes).Jacqueline Hubbard has written and directed this New York City tale where shots are fired, Cupid comes to call, gifts are purchased, hearts and wallets are opened, patrons dine on shepherd’s pie and chicken soup with matzoh balls and everyone gets into the heartwarming joy of the day.For tickets ($35, seniors $30, 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 to Saturday at 7:30 p.m, with matinees Saturday and Sunday and December 14th at 2 p.m. An added treat is the spectacular fantasia of lights that illuminate the village.The message is simple and sincere: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and Ivoryotn Playhouse is providing all the trimmings to make your day.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Fantasy and reality battle for supremacy in the Yale School of Drama’s ambitious and intense staging of “Bulgaria! Revolt!,” an original work created by Elizabeth Dinkova and Miranda Rose Hall raising pitch forks at the Iseman Theater in New Haven until Thursday, December 15.
Grab your scythe and sickle and join the revolution. The people of Bulgaria are in turmoil and more than ready to throw off the shackles that bind them. They are oppressed and underfed, caught in a yoke of slavery, tragically mistreated and abused. A poet Geo has courageously penned a poem to inspire them to rise up and act, to “butcher the butcher,” a determined to win Dylan Frederick. who is making their lives unbearable.
Now Geo, a conflicted Leland Fowler, is under arrest and about to be put on trial for his treasonous acts. His wife Mila, a persuasive Juliana Canfield, wants him to stay and fight, but Geo’s instincts tell him to flee the country for France or America and live to fight another day. Enter the Devil, a conniving Elizabeth Stahlmann who has her own agenda. She wants to win Geo’s soul and will use any underhanded means to accomplish the deed.
Geo wrote to give a voice to the voiceless, to speak for the peasant, and to be a symbol for a country he no longer believes in. When the Devil offers him a ticket (a BIG ticket) to America he is ready to abandon his revolutionary ways. We see the revolt by the disenfranchised aided by a series of visuals overhead. We also see Geo’s fate in Chicago at the Famous Frank’s factory (you may never eat another hotdog again). The action is suspenseful and difficult to witness, as history keeps repeating this struggle for freedom.
Did I fail to mention this is a musical? There is a rousing seven piece band playing music written by Michael Costagliola. Others in the talented cast include Ben Anderson, Sebastian Arboleda, Marie Botha, Anna Crivelli, Jonathan Higginbotham, Courtney Jamison, Stephanie Machado and Patrick Madden. Elizabeth Dinkova directs this stirring piece of dramatic theater with intensity and style.
For tickets ($ 15-25), call 203-432-1234 or online at drama.yale.edu. or at the box office at the Yale Rep or at the theater the night of the show at the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel Street, New Haven. Performances are Monday to Thursday at 8 p.m. This original work was inspired by a real poet Geo Milev and a real poem "September."
Come discover how a poem, a debt of potatoes, a ring, a duck, a hotdog, a knife, a ticket and a soul figure prominently in this tale of revolution and the fight for ideals worth dying to achieve.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
For the last thirty-three years, the Theatre Artists Workshop has been welcoming professional actors, writers and directors, basically all aspects of theatre people, to "exercise their artistic muscles" in creative ways, most recently in their home at the Masonic Lodge, 5 Gregory Boulevard, in East Norwalk. Modeled after Los Angeles' Theatre East, the group meets every Monday night at 8 p.m., devoting themselves to prepared works, many written by the members themselves, where they perform or direct, or even both.
Recently the members dedicated themselves to a nostalgic duet of homespun tales created by Truman Capote entitled "Holiday Memories." This classic night of concert reading featured Mark Basile as the middle aged Truman reflecting on the past, Katie C. Sparer as the involved young Truman who called himself Buddy in those days, JoAnne Parady as Buddy's delicate and simple minded elder cousin Miss Sook Falk, with Granville Burgess as the man (and dog Queenie) and Melody James as assorted female characters. Technical direction was provided by P.J. Letersky and direction by Mark Basile and Katie C. Sparer.
It's Alabama in 1932 in these short stories penned by Capote about his childhood, "The Thanksgiving Visitor" and "A Christmas Memory," adapted by Russell Vandenbroucke. Truman lives in a country home with distant relatives and he develops a special relationship with his much older cousin Miss Sook. The seven year old Buddy sees her as his only friend and with her terrier Queenie they create a unique family unit.
Buddy is beset at school by a bully, Odd Henderson, and Miss Sook determines that inviting the enemy into their midst for Thanksgiving dinner will surely make the situation better. When Odd shows up for the meal, Buddy does not achieve the desired results.
In the second tale, when Miss Sook announces "It's fruitcake weather," we are privy to the elaborate preparations the two engage in to make at least thirty delicacies for the Christmas holiday. Gathering piles of pecans (by stealing them from a neighbor's trees) and using nickels and dimes from their year round sale of flowers and jam, and earning pennies by killing flies for relatives, to buy a bottle of whiskey, the pair assemble the raisins, citron, butter, flour and sugar needed. They mail the cakes to people who are kind to them, even to strangers like President Roosevelt whom they admire.
The special relationship they share is a treasure for only a few brief years until Buddy is sent off to military school, but these stories illustrate how meaningful it was for both of them while it lasted. The Theatre Artists Workshop performers made it incredibly real and poignant, genuine and touching. The only way it could have been more delightful would have been to have slices of Buddy and Miss Sook's favorite fruitcake to sample.
This intimate 93 seat theatre will soon be hosting a Playwrights weekend and a Film Screening weekend in the new year. Watch for them to be announced on www.taworkshop.org. Area professionals are welcome to join this creative endeavor by calling 203-854-6830
The group was founded originally by Keir Dullea, who is still actively involved, and his late wife Susie Fuller and its membership over the years has included Anne Baxter, Theodore Bikel, Sandy Dennis, Mia Dillon, Christopher Durang, Shirley Knight, James Noble and Jane Powell, to name a few.
It's that time of year again to belly up to the bar on that most sentimental of nights, Christmas Eve, for some liquid refreshment and holiday cheer. Not everyone is eager to celebrate this special day on the calendar and December 25th can be a royal challenge for many. Consider for a moment characters you loved as a child like Tiny Tim and Clara of the Nutcracker fame and good old Charlie Brown. How have they fared over the years? Are they still struggling with their personal demons or is life now rosy as they achieve adulthood? Come and see for yourself.
Hartford TheaterWorks is once again inviting your favorite Christmas characters to tell their tales of wonder or woe in its unique holiday showpiece "Christmas on the Rocks" playing until Friday, December 23. Plan to fill your stocking with silliness and good cheer as many of your best buds from childhood enter a bar on Christmas Eve to celebrate or to wallow in their melancholy.
Matthew Wilkas, Jenn Harris and Ronn Carroll are all up to the challenge of creating this bevy of beauties who may be years away from the fates you might have imagined for them. Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero has conceived and directed this original medley of vignettes and it is now a tradition at 233 Pearl Street, Hartford for the holidays. Seven area playwrights have contributed their jolly takes on boys like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" who only wanted a BB gun for Christmas even if his mom was sure he would shoot his eye out. When he walks into the bar with an eye patch, you can only assume the worst. In "All Grown Up" by John Carini, we revisit Ralphie's iconic pink bunny pajamas and his dad's favorite lady leg lamp.
For Jonathan Tolins, the question of whether Santa Claus really exists is still heavy on the mind of Sue from "Miracle on 34th Street" as she continues to doubt his existence in "The Cane in the Corner." Even though she is a successful real estate broker, Sue is unsure if that jolly man does or ever did exist.
For Jeffrey Hatcher, the fate of one of Santa's elves is sitting on the shelf for consideration. What if you are an elf who doesn't want to make toys and feels unfit for the green and red outfit but just wants to belong in "Say It Glows." Did you ever wonder what happened to Cindy Lou Who who may or may not have ever recovered from her encounter with that disagreeable character answering to the name of The Grinch? Matthew Lombardo is tackling that question in his hysterical "Going Green" that provides some unexpected answers.
What of Tiny Tim? Does he still need a crutch? Has he reconciled with the crabby and cranky Mr. Scrooge? Theresa Rebeck reveals all in "God Bless Us Every One." Edwin Sanchez devotes his writing skills to a conflicted Clara who used to dance and flit around the Nutcracker but is now experiencing marital doubts in "Still Nuts About Him." Can she trust her czar of love?
For a little sentimental touch, come circle the floor with jacques Lamarre's choice of dance partner Charlie Brown in "Merry Christmas, Blockhead." Now he is the psychiatrist/coach/love counselor for Charlie and the little red haired girl of his youth who still envelopes his heart..
For a little sentimental touch, come circle the floor with jacques Lamarre's choice of dance partner Charlie Brown in "Merry Christmas, Blockhead." Now he is the psychiatrist/coach/love counselor for Charlie and the little red haired girl of his youth who still envelopes his heart..
This year a new member has been added to the parade. Come see who shows up for another present of winter fun.
For tickets ($30-65), call Hartford TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-526-7838 or online at www.theaterworkshartford.org. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Special performances Friday,December 23 are at 6 p.m.and 9:30 p.m. Come early and enjoy a viewing of photos in the art gallery upstairs.
For a cynical, quirky and sentimental look at Christmases past, let "Christmas on the Rocks" serve you a flavorful cocktail of tasty potent potables.
For a cynical, quirky and sentimental look at Christmases past, let "Christmas on the Rocks" serve you a flavorful cocktail of tasty potent potables.
Monday, December 5, 2016
BILLY EUGENE JONES AS FLOYD PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS
A rooster crows heralding the difficult struggle of the African-American male and female in "Seven Guitars" by August Wilson. Wilson has crated a monumental collection of ten tales, one for every decade in the 20th century that have been given the title The Pittsburgh Cycle and the American Century Cycle. Nine of the plays are set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, near his childhood home. "Seven Guitars" takes place in 1948 and is being showcased at the Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street, in New Haven as part of its 50th anniversary season until Saturday, December 17.
The play opens with Vera (Rachel Leslie) bidding farewell to her lover Floyd Barton (Billy Eugene Jones) at his funeral as a band of angels escort him home. Floyd was on the verge of grabbing the brass ring, of securing his place in the annals of the music world, trekking off to Chicago to achieve his goals. He had gone the first time without Vera, but now he has come home to correct that wrong and make all his dreams come true.
Playwright August Wilson has created a cast of seven African-Americans, like a set of seven guitars, all who strum to a different beat, who hear a unique tune, who try against all odds to make their lives hum with harmony. The discordant sounds, however, are hard to overcome as each other lays out a pattern of notes for their lives. Floyd is full of bravado, rash with hope, eager to prove himself. He wants Vera to go on the journey with him, to be at his side as he records hit tunes and makes a name for himself in the music industry.
He wants and needs the assistance of his pals Canewell (Wayne T. Carr) and Red (Danny Johnson) to achieve his goals. Getting the money owed him for a stint in jail and getting his guitar out of hock, booking a gig at a local club and persuading Vera to take another chance on him are all on his agenda. Life intrudes as he witnesses how Hedley (Andre De Shields) copes, wielding a large knife in his battles against the rooster and the white man, trying to ignore the disease that is slowing ravaging him. Louise (Stephanie Berry) offers support, even opening her home to her niece Ruby (Antoinette Crowe-Legacy) who finds herself with child.
In this household, hopes are like balloons that are too easily popped and each member struggles against his lot, destined to be disappointed. Timothy Douglas directs this intense drama that grips and punctures the heart.
For tickets ($59 and up), call the Yale Rep at 203-432-1234 or online at www.yalerep.org. Performances are Tuesday -Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. Special performances for high school groups will be held at 10:15 a.m. on December 13 and 15.
Come learn recipes for cabbage and collard greens, take a puff on Old Gold cigarettes, order a hand written letter for 50 cents, get a stale cigar to welcome a new baby and hear the disturbing cock of a rooster in this drama that admits "we cause what happens to us."
In 1903 Elizabeth Magie created a board game that was destined to become a family favorite and endure a number of reinventions, starting as The Landlord's Game and later being called by its current iteration, Monopoly. Today Parker Brothers/Hasbro lays claim to the property, after years of patent infringement law suits, along the way giving credit to an unemployed Philadelphia man named Charles Darrow who sold the rights to Parker Brothers, his original idea printed on the back of a tablecloth in 1935.
If you were searching in recent years for a man to be named Mr. Monopoly, the honor might be given to Larry Garfinkel, the dubious cut throat "hero" of Jerry Sterner's 1986 play "Other People's Money" currently on display at Long Wharf Theatre's main stage until Sunday, December 18. Jordan Lage's Garfinkel loves power, money and donuts, in that order, and he is willing and able to bend all the rules so he wins in his expansive business game.
What Larry wants, Larry gets and right now he has set his greedy sights on New England Wire and Cable Company of Rhode Island. He specializes in corporate takeovers, earning the title "Larry the Liquidator," a Wall Street financial wizard who has no regard for the companies, communities and people he steamrolls over in the process.
Opposing his ruthless tactics are the president of the company, Edward James Hyland's Jorgensen, and his faithful assistant Bea, loyal to a fault, Karen Ziemba. Caught in the middle of the fray is Steve Routman's Coles, who has been patiently waiting to step into the president's shoes as soon as the spot is vacated, two years down the road. He is cautiously protecting his own future, carefully playing both sides of the board with his top hat, thimble or shoe metal tokens firmly in hand.
To fight off Garfinkel and his unorthodox and unkosher tactics, Bea implores her high powered New York attorney daughter Kate, an equally ambitious, win-at-all-costs Liv Rooth to join their defense. Million dollar offers for shares of stock are tossed around like Dunkin Donuts as the two sides jockey for control of the lucrative Monopoly board as Boardwalk and Park Avenue are up for grabs. Marc Bruni directs this cat and mouse game where the stakes are high and only one can be declared winner of the day.
For tickets ($34.50-89.50), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online atwww.longwharf.com. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m, Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m, Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
When the factory whistle blows at the start and end of the work day, friendship. loyalty, tradition and dollars are all on the line and you stand to lose much more than $200 by failing to pass GO.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Long ago and far away in a forest lived a Council of Immortals, destined to live forever. One day a girl named Necile, an adorable Jane Shearin, discovers a newborn baby boy. She implores the regal leader of the Immortals, AK, a commanding Jimmy Johansmeyer, to break the rules and allow her to keep this human and raise him. Naming him Claus, we watch him grow, at 8 (Nicholas Ferreira) and at 13 (Nick Porello), until he reaches maturity as a young man, a compassionate Justin Rigg. This original musical tale has been adapted by Bert Bernardi for book and lyrics and Justin Rigg for music from a book by L. Frank Baum.
Pantochino Productions will bring enchantment to the tale "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus" weekends until Sunday December 18 at the Milford Center for the Arts at the train station. Come meet Claus's adopted family that also includes Queen Zurline, a helpful Mary Mannix, Peter Knook, a noble George Spelvin, and the Elf Calon, a funny sidekick Andrea Pane, as well as the Awgwa Sisters, an imposing Dale Allen and Shelley Marsh Poggio ( who do double duty on the side of goodness too) who want to destroy Claus and end his kind deeds. The evil sisters even send a trio of warriors (Kylie Poggio, Dani Corrigan and Olivia Foley) to capture Claus and Calon and spirit them away from Laughing Valley, the Land of Ho Ha Ho.
When Claus came of age, he set out with Calon to find children to help by making them happy. He learned to make toys of wood and he soon gave them out with great success. The bad sisters want to stop him and put an end to happiness and joy. They'd much rather plunder and pillage. How will Claus be saved or is he doomed? Will Claus be able to fulfill this great destiny? How will a Tree of 1000 Lights help his cause?
Also in the ensemble singing and dancing are Nathan Horne, Jaxon Beirne, Hazel Foley, Adeline Horne, Genevieve Horne, Brianna Joy Jackson, Hannah Kupson, Thea Ryan and Matthew Sullivan. As usual the costumes by Jimmy Johansmeyer are exceptional. This family holiday production is being staged and directed by Bert Bernardi with affection and charm.
For tickets ($20 online, $22 at the door), go to www.pantochino.com. Shows are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Remember on Saturday, it is cabaret style and perfect for parties or lunch at your table. Note that a Master Class for students 12 and up will be held with Marissa Perry, the original Tracy Turnblad in "Hairspray" on Broadway on Thursday, December 29. Register at www.pantochino.com.
Discover for yourself how to get Happiness and Joy and learn all over again that "in all the world there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child."
Fidelity is an essential condition to a happy marriage and the foundation upon which wedded bliss is based. What happens, however, when wives suspect their husbands are wandering and philandering? They may go to great lengths to prove innocence or guilt and then if their suspicions are confirmed, wives may retaliate with a dish best served cold: revenge. To get into the proper spirit of the debate, walk briskly over to the Jorgenson Auditorium on the campus of the University of Connecticut at Storrs for the truly delightful romp among spouses at marital war when the Connecticut Repertory Theatre presents a farce "An Absolute Turkey" by Georges Feydeau, with adaptation by Nicki Frei and Peter Hall. Hurry because the fun and frivolity only lasts until Saturday, December 10.
A faithful and sophisticated wife, Lucienne (Natalia Cuevas), suspects her husband Vatelin (Jeff DeSisto) is dallying with another woman. She is not alone in her fears. Other wives like Madame Pontagnac and Madame Pinchard (both Jenn Sapozhnikov) and Armandine (Meredith Saran) and Mitzi (Arlene Bozich) are questioning their own relationships in the bedroom. Lucienne has the added incentive since she herself is being pursued by two potential lovers, both purported friends of her husband, Pontagnac (Bryce Wood) and Redillon (Brooks Brantly). If she can prove her husband has been a cad, she will then feel free in indulge in a little sport of her own. She will even use Pontagnac and possibly the chief of police (Darren Lee Brown) to catch Vatelin in the act. Curtis Longfellow's Soldignac is over the top in his portrayal of the Swiss hubby on a mission: to prove his wife Mitzi is unchaste. The white gloved hotel manager (Michael Bobenhausen) and the valet Gerome (John Leonard Thompson) are also worthy of note.
This talented cast enters into the frenzy and the frolic with enthusiasm, culminating in a great free-for-all fisticuffs fight at the end of act 2. Scenic designer Abigail Copeland and costume designer Heather Lesieur add to the pleasure, while director Paul Mullins keeps the pace lively, with enough slamming doors to make any lover of farce delirious with joy.
For tickets ($7to $30), call the CT Rep at 860-486-2113 or online at www.crt.uconn.edu. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Less than pure intentions abound as respectability flies out the bedroom windows and many a rendezvous is secretly planned. Who will stay married and who will divorce? Electric bells rather than church bells will ring, suitcases will be misplaced, hotel rooms will be double booked and poison will be swallowed as jealousy, deception and potatoes vie for first place.
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 www.palacetheaterct.com. 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 white...career 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 www.fvs.org.
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 www.castlecraig.org.
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.