Sunday, December 16, 2018

“HAMILTON” AN HISTORICAL HIT MUSICAL NOT TO BE MISSED


 
WOW! The roar of the cannons and the explosion of dueling pistols signal the arrival and demise of America’s statesman of the moment, the singular sensation Alexander Hamilton. Center stage at Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, “Hamilton,” that epic musical crafted by Lin-Manuel Miranda, will be historically honored until Sunday, December 30.
 
Clearly the most anticipated show of recent record, “Hamilton” follows the fate of a poor bastard orphan with Scottish blood from the Caribbean who comes to the land of opportunity, America, to become the right hand man for the first President George Washington.
 
Austin Scott’s Hamilton manages to rise from poverty with a goal of making a difference, of becoming a man of significance, a scholar, a lawyer, a statesman, a man who defiantly believes “I am not throwing away my shot.” Early on in America, he meets and is befriended by Josh Tower’s Aaron Burr, a man who soon exhibits signs of jealousy, trapped by a competition he knows he cannot win.
 
As a Founding Father along side Washington (Paul Oakley Stovall) Thomas Jefferson (Bryson Bruce) and James Madison (Chaundre Hall-Broomfield), Hamilton is quickly swept up in a revolution against Britain’s King George (Peter Matthew Smith), helping to plan the siege of Yorktown. He finds time to marry Eliza Schuyler (Hannah Cruz), often choosing his dedication to his country over his family.
 
As a co-author of the Federalist Papers and his selection as Secretary of the Treasury to the new nation, he engages in an affair that will later be used as ammunition to bring down his star. His ideas incur the wrath of many of his cohorts and ultimately lead to his death in a duel with Aaron Burr. This historical epic will cement Alexander Hamilton’s importance in the story of our heritage, originally taken from a novel penned by Ron Chernow that Miranda read while on vacation in the Caribbean in 2004, on his honeymoon.
Incorporating hip hop, rhythm and blues, Broadway show tunes and soul, “Hamilton” enjoys a grand set created by David Korins, period costumes designed by Paul Tazewell, illumination by Howell Binkley, sound mastered by Nevin Steinberg, orchestration by Alex Lacamoire, clever choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and superb direction by Thomas Kail. “Hamilton” has won an impressive number of awards: Grammys, Tonys, Drama Desk and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
 A ticket lottery for $10 is held every day for 40 lucky recipients. Go to http://hamiltonmusical.com/lotteryto register. Also check bushnell.comregularly for late release seats. Try to be one of the 66,000 patrons who will see this production at the Bushnell over its 3 week run. It is not a show to be missed. Performances are Tuesday, 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 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
 

Come be caught up in the dramatic magic of the tale that weaves our country’s history in the fate of one Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton.
 

BELLY UP TO THE BAR FOR “CHRISTMAS ON THE ROCKS"



Instead of a twist of lemon, TheaterWorks of Hartford is offering up, again, it’s highly entertaining vignettes of Christmas with a twist of mistletoe clearly in hand. Until Sunday, December 23, you are invited to toast the holiday with “Christmas on the Rocks,” a unique collection of vignettes that feature our favorite characters from childhood holidays.

Did you ever wonder what happened to Ralphie and his gigantic desire for a BB gun and the fate of his eye which his mom was sure he’d shoot out? Did you realize he really liked that pink bunny suit even though he protested wearing it? Aunt Clara really made a giant impact on Ralphie’s life. But it’s not just Ralphie that you’ll meet on this Christmas Eve. One by one, a series of our favorites will open the door of a bar run by Tom Bloom and tell their stories of what it means to be an adult in a strange world.
Conceived and directed by Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero, seven playwrights were invited six years ago to create a traditional (really untraditional) show for the theater to present each December. This year come hear the tales of John Carine, Jennifer Harris and Matthew Wilkas, Jeffrey Hatcher, Jacques Lamarre, Theresa Rebeck and Edwin Sanchez as they stretch their imaginations in clever and comic ways.

In "All Grown Up" by John Cariani, we are reintroduced to Ralphie Parker from "A Christmas Story" and discover he is still obsessed with the lady leg lamp his father won and his pink bunny suit, a gift from Aunt Clara. With a nod to “Its a Wonderful Life,” we meet ZuZu Bailey who is struggling to keep her rose alive while freaking out every time she hears a bell ring. It’s Bedford Falls all over again and angels are in danger of earning their wings, thanks to the wit and wisdom of Jacques Lamarre. 
 Jeffrey Hatcher's humor focuses on an elf who feels he is a misfit and just wants to belong in "Say It Glows.” This particular helper of Santa’s doesn’t want to make toys: he’d much prefer to be a dentist. So open wide!

With a nod to Frostie and his magic black top hat, Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas present “My Name is KAREN!,” a rant by the young lady who built the snowman by hand and feels she has been forgotten and disrespected. Armed with a hair dryer, she is on the war path to get her deserved revenge.

A spiritual journey, "God Bless Us Every One," is on Theresa Rebeck's Christmas list. Here we remeet Tiny Tim who is in the midst of a psychotic break and has serious issues with Mr. Scrooge. "Still Nuts About Him" by Edwin Sanchez, focuses his talents on Clara who is now married to the Nutcracker, her personal and infuriating czar of love. With a hubby who is still flexible after all these years, Clara can’t abide the fact that her Nutcracker is still spry and is a master of infidelity.

Last but certainly not least, Jacques Lamarre is taking a second turn serving up "Merry Christmas, Blockhead." Now he is the psychiatrist/coach/love counselor for Charlie Brown and the little red haired girl of his youth.

A trio of talented actors, Jenn Harris and Randy Harrison play all Christmas characters to Tom Bloom's sympathetic bartender. This clever foray into our favorite friends of the holiday is clearly a tradition at HTW for years to come.

For tickets ($10-70), call Hartford TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-526-7838or online at www.theaterworkshartford.org.Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Come early and enjoy a viewing of the cartoon "A Charlie Brown Christmas" 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.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

CELEBRATE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AT EARLENE’S DINER




EARLENE BABCOCK WITH SANTA AND FRIENDS

Michelle Gotay is a honey of a hilarious hoot as Earlene
 Babcock, the popular proprietor of Earlene’s Diner in
Potsville. She is trying to cope with the imminent loss
of her special place, the family favorite diner and cabaret 
motel, due to the evil machinations of the town’s mayor
whose son has opened a competing eatery, the Crispy
Biscuit.

So for a lot of fun and fruitcake, songs and Santa, gaiety
and gifts, bells and blizzards, come to Seven Angels 
Theatre in Waterbury for the new and original tale 
written and directed by Semina DeLaurentis “Christmas
Eve at Earlene’s Diner The Best Dang Christmas Variety 
Show Ever” presented and produced by the enthusiastic 
Seven Angels Theatre Stage Seven Community December
7-19.

A snow storm has wreaked havoc on plans for the 50th
year of a traditional St. Francis Church holiday show and 
half the cast is stuck at  Earlene’s.  The show’s producers
Leah Juliett and Zani Scott convince Earlene to be the 
mistress of ceremonies and oversee the acts that will be 
televised.  With wit and merriment, she becomes the 
impromptu hostess of the holiday feast of songs:  like the
nuns Sharon Amundsen and Jeannine Gallmeyer’s
rendition of “”What Would Elvis Do?,” Nicole Thomas’
“Once Upon a December,” Zani Scott’s “Mary, Did You 
Know?,”  Leah Juliett’s “Grown Up Christmas List,” 
Cheyenne Walent’s “Underneath the Tree,” Colton 
Zawisza’s “Imagine” and Tom Chute’s “Keeping Christmas,”
among many others.

In addition, there are stories about the traditions of
Christmas around the world, a token Chanukah song
“Shalom Chavarim,” John Fabiani’s recipe for fruitcake 
with rum and rum cake with fruit as well as a whooper 
of a ditty by Michelle Gotay “12 Steps of Christmas” 
that brought down the house.

With a cast of three dozen, from young’uns to seniors, 
with almost as many songs, Earlene’s Diner rocked.  
And, don’t forget a few memorable moments with
Santa Claus, a spry Timothy Cleary, who got his 
exercise being chased by Dr. Fred, a determined
 Joe Stofko.

For tickets ($37, children under 18 $18, 4 pack 
$99 with code FOUR), call Seven Angels, 1 Plank 
Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at
www.SevenAngelsTheatre,org.  Performances are
Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. and 
matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., with extra 
shows Tuesday and Wednesday December 18 and 19 
at 7:30 p.m.

Watch for the memorable Edwards Twins 
Christmas Show lighting up Thursday, December 20
at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. as they recreate your favorite 
stars of the 60’s and 70’s like Cher, Barbra and Andrea 
Bocelli.  It’s just the right time to book your New Year’s
 Eve Party with “Stand Up  Countdown, New Year’s Eve
Comedy Night” featuring comics Phil Selmon, Sally Ann
Hall, Kevin Dombrowski and Bob Nelson at 6 p.m. and 
9:30 p.m. The second show includes appetizers and at
midnight a champagne toast.

Get into the holiday spirit with an infusion of joy,
courtesy of Seven Angels Theatre Stage Seven 
Community and sing along with all your favorites with 
the merry gang.

  

Monday, December 3, 2018

ENTER THE SMOKEY ATMOSPHERE OF “PARADISE BLUE”





The music genre of jazz grew out of spirituals, folk, ragtime,
 Blues and marches, being birthed by African-American
Communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in
New Orleans, Louisiana. Considered one of America’s
original art forms,” the word jazz is thought to be related
to “jasm,” a slang term dating back to Civil War times meaning
“pep and energy.” 

To become reacquainted with this unique style of music, 
Look no further than New haven’s Long Wharf theatre’s 
current offering of Dominique Morisseau’s intoxicating
 “Paradise Blue” alternately cooling and heating the main 
 stage until  Sunday, December 16.

Set in the Paradise Club in Detroit, Michigan in 1949, we
meet the club’s owner Blue, a conflicted and troubled
Stephen Tyrone Williams,  who is being forced to decide 
the fate of his establishment,  one he immodestly considers
the best.  Urban renewal is  knocking at his door  and he 
has the power to influence his neighbors by his choice of
how he responds to this new challenge.

Blue likes to assert his dominance, over his love interest 
the sweet and accommodating Pumpkin, a poetry reciting 
Margaret Odette, and his remaining band members Corn,
a laid back Leon Addison Brown  and the alternating fiery
 and smooth talking P-Sam, Freddie Fulton. Changes are
putting all these intimates on edge, no more so than when
their personal space is invaded by Silver, a seductive 
Carolyn Michelle Smith, who appears on their doorstep
with a hidden agenda of desires and motivations.

Will Blue ultimately do what is best for himself and forget
his loyalties to his band and to Pumpkin? Will the demons 
from his past rise up and be the signal for his destruction?
Can Pumpkin shake off her abusive attachment to Blue 
long enough to acknowledge P-Sam’s offer of affection?
What has really brought Silver into the club and will it be
for  evil or for good?

These talented actors interact with spirit on a multi-level 
set designed by Yu-Hsuan Chen, dressed in period
costumes  created by Lex Liang, under the careful
direction of Awoye Timpo.  One disappointment is that 
the band never plays jazz together, even though the 
instruments are staged and ready.

For tickets ($35.50 and up), call the Long Wharf, 222 Sargent
 Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at
www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.,
 Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday 
at  8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Watch for holiday shows “A Christmas Carol” on December 8
 and a concert by Anne Tofflemire “A Midwinter Night’s Dream”
 on December 13-16.


Part the curtain of smoke and haze that surrounds 
the Paradise Club, obscuring motivations and desires
and illuminating all too human self interests.

PANTOCHINO PRESENTS A CHRISTMAS BEAUTY PAGEANT MUSICAL




THE CAST OF "GLITZ! THE LITTLE MISS CHRISTMAS PAGEANT MUSICAL"
PHOTO BY KVON PHOTOGRAPHY


 Did you ever wonder about the mother and daughter combination personalities that motivate and sustain the beauty pageants of the world? Who is Honey Boo Boo and why does she claim the spotlight? Why do moms push their little girls into talent competitions and modeling gigs? If you were ever desirous of looking behind the velvet curtain, then now, in the spirit of holiday fun, let Pantochino Productions present you with “GLITZ! THE LITTLE MISS CHRISTMAS PAGEANT MUSICAL."

Imagine “Toddlers and Tiaras” have come to life. The Milford Arts Council, 40 Railroad Avenue, Milford is awash in satin and tinsel as this original book and lyrics by Bert Bernardi, with music created by Justin Rugg, is joined with the imaginative costuming of Jimmy Johansmeyer and comes to entertaining life weekends until Saturday, December 22.

Get ready to meet a bevy of ambitious mothers who all believe in their heart of hearts that their little Suzy or Sandy is the best, brightest and most beautiful, not to mention talented, daughter in the whole wide world. Amen and Hallelujah.

Dale Allen’s Helen Haley and joyous daughter Hailey Ann (Annabel Wardman), Shelley Marsh Poggio’ s Mugsy Loren and darling Sophia (Sierra DiMartino), Mary Mannix’s Olivia Winerack and sweet Taylor (Brianna Jackson), Maria Berte’s Cheryl Spangler and twinkling daughter Barbie (Ainsley
Novin) and Rachelle Ianniello’s Marybeth McCutcheon and offspringGoodness Gracious (Adele Horne) are all anxious to take home the ribbon and trophy that crowns their girl as best in show. 

In this holiday favorite that pays homage to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the pageant is run by an unscrupulous Shayde Shams, a less than honest Jimmy Johansmeyer whose name says it all. He is assisted by his DJ Justin Rugg and pageant matron Mrs. Glunchappen played by Valerie Solli.

Other contestants are Peighton Nash, Keira Degnan, Adrienne Crowley, Mikaela Franklin and Claire DeRosa while George Spelvin creates the choreography as Mister Jerry, Connor Rizzo plays Giovanni, a concerned brother, and Hazel Foley plays a prior beauty pageant winner, Donna Lisa Derringer.

Bert Bernardi directs a large cast of beauty winner wannabes and their pushy and frantic mamas as they all compete for the coveted title.

                   The pageant director claims the pageant is to benefit a charity for sick             children, but he has every intention of pocketing all the proceeds for himself.  Clearly Jimmy Johansmeyer's sleazy Shayde, just like Scrooge in Dickens’ tale,  needs to learn a lesson or three about being nice and not naughty.

Get into the Christmas spirit as this fiercely competitive talent show allows the mothers and daughters to learn the value of truth and honesty.  Songs like "The Pageant Life Is For Me" and "My Daughter's Better Than Yours” say it all, especially the confessional appeal of "I Want to be Like Valerie Bertinelli."

For tickets ($22), contact Pantochino Productions  online at info@pantochinoproductions.com.  Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday  and Sunday at 2 p.m.  Pantochino proudly supports FOOD 2 KIDS, www.milfordfood2kids,org. 
Watch for Pantochino Teen Theatre’s production of “Bubble Boy The Musical” coming February 23 and 24.
 
Take a bevy of little beauties, in ruffled socks and black patent leather shoes, add make-up and ambition and talent, sequins and spangles, and you have all the ingredients for an entertaining fun holiday happening.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

HARTFORD STAGE BEING HOLIDAY HAUNTED AGAIN FOR 21ST YEAR



REBECKA JONES AS THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS PAST WITH CHILDREN



What better sign of the festive holiday could there be than Hartford Stages’s annual viewing 

of Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas.” This 21st annual vision 

of flying ghosts and fatted holiday turkey will run until Saturday, December 29th.

Michael Preston clearly loves his part as Scrooge, first in all his mean and cranky stinginess 
and ultimately in his redeeming benevolence and good cheer. Preston revels in the role as 
the return of his former partner Jacob Marley (Noble Shropshire), dead lo these seven years, appears to warn Scrooge that he will be visited by a trio of specters.

Before he can say “bah, humbug,” Scrooge finds himself first in the company of the Spirit of 
Christmas Past (Rebecka Jones) as he is forced to relive memorable holiday moments that
 have already occurred and perhaps regret the choices he has made.

Along his journey, Scrooge encounters his faithful housekeeper (Noble Shropshire), his clerk Bob Cratchit (Robert Hannon Davis), his nephew Fred (Terrell Donnell Sledge) and three vendors who are in debt to him (Rebecka Jones, Alan Rust, John-Andrew Morrison) as well as dozens more. 

Next Alan Rust entertains with his glorious rendition of the Spirit of Christmas Present, forcing Scrooge to see with clarity the joy he is missing today. Finally the Spirit of Christmas Future , as Death, completes the picture and brings Scrooge the image of what his end, unappreciated and unloved, could be. Michael Wilson adapted and originally directed this most mystical and magical Christmas treat. Rachel Alderman continues his tradition, adding her own personal touches to this beloved tale.

For tickets ($25 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at (860)527-5151 Performances are Thursday at  7:30 p.m., Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. 

Learn how one man who considers himself afloat in a world of fools finds that there is much 
to treasure and cherish every day, and most especially on the twenty- fifth day of December.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

“A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS” MUSICALLY TURNS BACK THE CLOCK






The Connecticut Repertory Theatre welcomes you to a time in history when the North was 

battling the South, when the age old tradiition of slavery was being seriously questioned and 

challenged and when a President was working to make this country safer and more 

abundant with freedoms. Thanks to playwright Paula Vogel, you have the opportunity to 

experience Christmas Eve in Washington D. C. in the year of our lord 1864 in “A Civil War 

Christmas: An American Musical Celebration.”


Ten years in the making, this is an epic production, weaving a tapestry around a handful of the country’s citizens, both prominent and obscure, on Christmas Eve when the desire for “peace on earth, good will to men” was desired by many, but unfortunately not by all.. The Civil War is still taking a toll on the nation and this historical and musical tale follows their stories.

A Civil War Christmas,” with all its grand narrative and dramatic elements, will sweep gloriously onto the stage of the Harriet S Jorgensen Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs until Sunday, December 9. It is a magnificent and involving masterpiece of theater that should not be missed.

A talented cast of sixteen actors brings to life a cadre of seventy in this poignant pageant that takes place of both sides of the Potomac River, on both sides of the conflict. Follow the stories of Hannah (Angela Hunt) and her daughter Jessa (Deanna Hepple) who are escaped slaves searching for freedom on a cold wintery night, a young rebel Raz (Kristen Wolfe) and horse Silver (Bryan Mittelstadt) who seek adventure and land in a peck of trouble, the tortured soul of Decatur Bronson (Forrest McClendon) who is trapped in a war and only seeking the safe return of his wife Rose, the poet Walt Whitman (Rob Barnes) who offers hope and comfort to the wounded Union soldiers like Moses Levy ( Nicholas Greika),the talentedseamstress Elizabeth Keckley (Alex Campbell) who becomes a cherished companion of Mrs. Lincoln and President Lincoln (Rob Barnes) who attempts to lead a nation to peace while he seeks a holiday gift for his wife Mary (Erin Cessna), all while others, led by John Wilkes Booth (Nikolai Fernandez) plot his demise. 
Throughout the vignettes, American tales all, the songs and poetry of our nation punctuate the action beautifully. Others in this stellar cast include Aaron Bantum, Tabatha Gayle, Pearl Matteson, Sebastian Nagpal, Carly Polistina and Tristan Rewald. Elizabeth Van Dyke directs this inspiring visitation with our past at a timely moment, as we struggle with new and old issues that are still being debated in our nation. today
For tickets ($36-40), call 860-486-2113 or online at www.crt.uconn.edu. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.,Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. 
There is a promise of hope for peace that permeates Paula Vogel’s “A Civil War Christmas” that she would like to establish as a new Christmas tradition for American families. Catch on to her dream.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

TRAVEL THE WORLD MUSICALLY WITH THE CGMC






What would the Christmas holidays be without a visit with those jolly guys
who comprise the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus, with their angelic 
harmonious voices and Santa sack full of irreverent wit?  For the 34th year,
this 30 member strong chorus will be performing for your holiday 
delight: on Saturday, December 1 at 1 p.m. at the Katherine Hepburn 
Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook and again on Saturday,
 December 15 at 8 p.m. at The Theater at the CoOp (Cooperative Arts 
and Humanities High School), 177 College Street, New Haven.
Get your candy canes and tinsel ready for a festive program of fun 
traveling around the world with the CGMC as your tour guides, going to 
places far and wide, new and familiar, to cultures that you may not have 
realized even existed. Entitled “Pole to Pole: Holiday Celebrations from 
Around the World,” you will be treated to sentimental holiday favorites as
 well as unique offerings that will amaze and delight. 
Only the CGMC knows how to mix the classics with the riotous in a spicy
holiday punch that is sure to intoxicate your senses. Songs and traditions 
from other countries such as Conrad Susa’s Carols and Lullabies, which 
integrates ten of the most beautiful carols of the Spanish-speaking world, 
accompanied by harp, marimba, and classical guitar. 
Greg McMahan, Artistic Director of the CGMC, promises such unusual 
treats as disco angels and dancing recycle bins when you receive the gift 
that stops your heart …fruitcake! He promises “We turn the holidays on 
their heads and set them back up again! “
Tickets for The Kate are $30 and for the CoOp, $25 and $30, and are 
available now at www.ctgmc.org or by calling 203.777.2923.  10% of 
tickets will be offered to LGBT youth, AIDS outreach, and other social 
outreach programs at no cost.
Don’t let the holidays escape without a visit with the gentlemen who put the
wise in wise men and angel in angel food cake, all the while kicking up their 
heels and shaking their sequins for the maximum in holiday fun.
.  




Monday, November 19, 2018

“CLEVER LITTLE LIES” BEING SPUN AT CT CABARET


CAST OF "CLEVER LITTLE LIES," COURTESY OF CT CABARET


If your mother thinks she’s a detective, a cross between
Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, it
is advised not to tell your father any secrets. He is
doomed to blather them all, with only a small amount of 
persuasion. He does not even need to be tortured along
the way.

The case in point is Alice, a happily married Karen
Gagliardi, who runs a book shop and lives vicariously
through the heroines in the novels she sells. She is
disillusioned that current readers have deserted
Austen and Dickens and prefer the salacious tales like
“50 or 60 shades of Grey.” When her hubby Bill, a
devoted Michael Gilbride, comes home from a tennis
match with their son Billy and boasts about winning,
Alice’s antenna immediately suspects there is a story
he is concealing.

Come put your ear to the bedroom door of Joe DiPietro’s
comedy “Clever Little Lies” being entertained at the
Connecticut Cabaret Theatre weekends until Saturday,
December 15.

Alice couldn’t be more right and before you can say
“who wants a piece of cheesecake?” three times, she
has invited son Billy, a new dad and an even newer
adulterer Chris Pearson, and wife Jane, an excited
and exhausted Tracey Brown, over to fix the problem.

Confessions are soon spilling from the most unlikely
places, as baby Emily cries, and the four try to diagnose
how to save not one marriage but two. The conversation
is frankly sexual as each unburdens and confesses and
tries to find the shiny happy side of life. Billy’s young
fantasy woman, his personal, very personal, trainer at
the gym figures significantly in the lust/love equation.
Kris McMurray directs this comic homage into what can
happen to even the most stable of marriages when
eyes stray.

For tickets ($34), call CT Cabaret Theatre, 31-33
Webster Square Road, Berlin at 860-829-1248 or
online atwww.ctcabaret.com. Performances are
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with doors opening
at 7:15 p.m. Remember to bring goodies to share
at your table or plan to buy dessert and drink on site.

Marital challenges and the very real question of trust
loom large as both couples chase happiness and try
to make it their own.



Monday, November 12, 2018

PULL THE “RIPCORD” FOR COMEDY AT SEVEN ANGELS




PEGGY COSGROVE AND MARINA RE IN "RIPCORD"
PHOTO BY PAUL ROTH
The Bristol Place Senior Living Facility is in grave danger of being lifted off its foundation. This situation is not because of a hurricane or other natural disaster but rather is due to the new roommate that has arrived at Abby’s doorstepAbby likes to be in control of her surroundings and a talkative and bubbly addition to her space is not acceptable or tolerated. In the past, she has been able to encourage the temporary invaders to vacate the premises, but the new gal Marilyn refuses to budge. Talk about “The Odd Couple.”
Settle back at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury for a thoroughly delightful visit with Abby and Marilyn as David Lindsey-Abaire’s comedy “Ripcord” pulls out all the punches until Sunday, December 2. 
People of a certain age can be forgiven for being set in their ways, but Abby carries that philosophy of life to extremes. Marina Re’s Abby is as cantankerous as Scrooge and proud of it. Like a three year old in the sandbox, she has declared her room off limits to any one else. She is not above bribing the genial aide who deliveries glad tidings and medication, Jovan Davis’ Jonny, to help her get her way.
Peggy Cosgrove’s Marilyn is sunshine herself, but she is not about to move her belongings to another floor. She likes the view from the window and she is ready and willing to tolerate Abby’s inhospitable ways. The two are about to wage the fight of the century when they decide on a bet: if Abby can make Marilyn angry, she wins, but if Marilyn can make Abby show fear she will be the victor. Abby will either gain her room back or Marilyn will move into the favored bed by the window.

The pranks they each stage grow wilder and soon cut close to home. Abby involves Marilyn’s daughter Colleen, a caring Julia Register, and her husband Derek, an accommodating Ben Paul Williams. In turn, Marilyn digs into Abby’s past and produces an unwelcome Benjamin, an asking for forgiveness Ed Rosini. The personal attacks escalate to life threatening stages. Brendan Burke directs this look at the escapades of senior citizens with a hilarious eye.

For tickets ($42-55), call Seven Angels Theatre, 1 Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at sevenangelstheatre.org. Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Thanksgiving week shows are added for Tuesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. but not on Thanksgiving Day. Watch for a return of “Christmas Eve at Earlene’s Diner” from December 7-19 and a holiday visit with The Edwards Twins on Thursday, December 20 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Come root for these two women at a crossroads in life as they battle for their rights and almost kill themselves and each other in the process.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

"CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF" SIZZLES AT MTC




Music Theatre of Connecticut is honoring the literary genius of playwright Tennessee Williams with an intensely sizzling rendition of the Southern dramatic classic “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” until Sunday, November 18.  The production is sultry, sexy, sensual, stormy and steamy.

It is Big Daddy’s birthday and the family has all gathered to celebrate. They all know that he is dying of cancer and are, for the most part, anxious for part of his 28,000 acre cotton estate and all the wealth that comes with it.  Frank Mastrone is expansive and pompous as the master of his kingdom, not knowing the truth of his medical exams.

The Pollitt household is filled with lies and deceit as each member distorts the truth to suit his own purposes. Cynthia Hannah’s Big Mama exudes charm and good will even though she knows in her heart that her husband does not love her at all, while she worships him.  Son Gooper (Robert Mobley) and his wife Mae
(Elizabeth Donnelly) are practically salivating over the prospects of inheriting the plantation, not missing a single opportunity to denigrate brother Brick and his wife Maggie. 

After the death of his great friend and football buddy, Brick has taken to a love affair with liquor, further neglecting his wife best known as Maggie the cat. Michael Raver’s Brick is indifferent to Maggie, to inheriting the estate, to life. He is slowly drinking himself to the grave.  Andrea Lynn Green’s Maggie 
uses all her feminine wiles to entice Brick into bed but she is doomed to fail.  The presence of Doc Baugh (Jeff Gurner) and the Preacher (Jim Schilling) only serve to escalate the  troubled talk and anxious action. Kevin Connors directs this intense family confrontation with a firm hand, on a Mississippi plantation set designed by Kelly Burr Nelsen.

For tickets ($30-55), call Music Theatre of CT, 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.

An Evening with Broadway star Adam Pascal, with Larry Edoff on piano, will take place on Saturday, December 1 at 8 p.m. ($75. $65)

Will Maggie the cat be able to stay on that hot tin roof long enough to save her soul and win back her husband Brick? Come judge for yourself.

COME HEAR A DIFFERENT ”LOVE SONG” IN NEW HAVEN



                                     SUSAN AND GEORGE KULP IN "LOVE SONG"

                                         
                                  JO KULP AND CHRISTIAN SHABOO IN "LOVE SONG"


If your life seems to be a monochromatic brown or grey, you are doomed to be unhappy and alone and even a hearty dose of Prozac is not likely to fix what ails you.  Beane, a depressed Christian Shaboo, is in that state and he has accepted it as his normal lot in life.  In great contrast to Beane are his sister Joan and hubby Harry, a married –in-real-life couple Susan and George Kulp, who are vibrant and productive, happy to reside in a lovely detailed home, where lively conversations verging on debates take place. 

For all Joan and Harry are high on life, and on wine, the contrast to Beane is sad to witness.  They try to help him, to reach into his psyche and strike a chord of humanity, but Beane is clearly not at home. To enter this world of differences, head to the New Haven Theater Company’s current offering of John Kolvenbach’s quirky comedy “Love Song” playing until Saturday, November 17.

Ironically it is a robbery that sets Beane on a new path and wakes up his desire to join the human race. In an apartment, where his most treasured possessions are a spoon and a cup, Molly the thief, the real life daughter of the Kulps, Jo, has arrived to steal.  She is disappointed and really angry that Beane is bereft of anything of note.  Where is his artwork, his television and stereo, not a thing worth pinching can she find. Finally she settles on his jacket and jeans, but she berates him for his paltry pickings. Their verbal exchanges are amusing.

Who is Molly and how and why has she given Beane a sense of hope and promise and I daresay love. Joan and Harry are mystified by this new elusive and expansive being.  Yet they are secretly elated.  They suspect drugs are the answer for what else could explain the drastic changes in personality and outlook.  What is more troubling is they can’t find a trace of Molly no matter where they look. Margaret Mann and John Watson direct this foray into fantasy and riff with reality.

For tickets ($20), go online to nhtcboxoffice@gmail.com. The New Haven Theater Company, 839 Chapel Street, New Haven is located at the back of the vintage consignment shop EBM, the English Marketplace. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Watch how a turkey sandwich, a melon, a cup and spoon, a mousetrap, wallpaper, a jelly donut and a lot of wine influence and transform the lives of all the participants in this wildly different song of love.