Inside notes and comments about Connecticut and New York Professional Theater
By Karen Isaacs
The Best of London: If you can’t get to London to see some top theater — and though I wish could, I can’t — you can see productions broadcast live. The Kate in Old Saybrook offers some of the National Theater Live productions. The next is Skylight on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. This revival of the David Hare play won terrific reviews and is scheduled to be on Broadway in the Spring. For more information or tickets visit http://www.theKate.org or call 877-503-1286. Fairfield University’s Quick Center also offers these productions and may be on a different schedule or repeated.
Gracie Allen: Next up at Ivoryton Playhouse is Say Goodnight, Gracie which has a subtitle of The Life, Laughter and Love of George Burns and Gracie Allen. This one-man show which Burns actually performed recounts various memories of the perennial straight man, George Burns and his somewhat ditzy partner and wife, Gracie Allen. It was a true love story. R. Bruce Connelly is starring in the production which runs Oct. 29 to Nov.16. For tickets call 860-767-7318 or visit http://www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.
The Technicolor Coat: Right now on the Bushnell stage in Hartford is the touring production of the early Andrew Lloyd Webber – Tim Rice musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It runs through Oct. 19. Two Broadway veterans, and husband and wife, play the narrator (Diana DeGarmo) and Joseph (Ace Young). For tickets call 860-987-5900 or visit http://www.bushnell.org.
The Danish Prince: Darko Tresnjak, artistic director of Hartford Stage, will direct its production of Hamlet which runs through Nov. 16. Tresnjak, not only won the Tony for directing the musical A Gentleman’s Guide but his production of MacBetth at Hartford Stage last season won the best production of a play award from the Connecticut Critics Circle. Zach Appelman, a Yale Drama School grad, will play the melancholy Dane. Kate Forbes, who was a brilliant Lady MacBeth last year returns to play Gertrude. For tickets visit http://www.hartfordstage.org or call 860-527-5151.
Next Year at Westport: Westport Country Playhouse’s 2015 season will include a new play by A. R. Gurney, Love and Money directed by Mark Lamos, artistic director. The new play will run July 21 to Aug. 8 before heading to New York’s Signature Theater which is co-producing the work. The Signature is featuring Gurney plays in the 2014-15 season. The season opens with The Liar by David Ives from May 5-23. It is an updated version of the French playwright Pierre Corneille’s comedy. Following that is a touching drama about England in WWII, And a Nightingale Sang from June 9 -27. Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn will play Aug. 25-Sept. 12. The season will end with Broken Glass by Arthur Miller, in honor of the centennial of his birth. It will run Oct. 6-31. Season subscriptions are now on sale at http://www.westportplayhouse.org or 888-927-7529. Tickets for individual shows will go on sale in March.
Love Letters: Broadway is reviving A. R. Gurney’s Love Letters which had its first performances at Long Wharf Theater. The play is simply two talented performers reading letters written by the characters – Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. The two live in a world of private boarding schools, dancing classes, divorces and trying to live up to expectations. The letters begin at age 8 with a thank you note from Andrew to Melissa and continue throughout their lives. You might hope they get together as a romance but in reality they are better friends. A series of well-known performers will rotate in the roles of Andrew and Mellissa. I saw the first pairing Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow But now it is Carol Burnett and Dennehy (Oct. 11 to Nov. 8), followed by Alan Alda and Candice Bergen (Nov. 9 to Dec. 2), Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg (Dec. 6 to Jan. 9) and Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen (Jan. 10 to Feb. 15). Gregory Mosher is directing all the performers. I had mixed feeling about the performances I saw: Mia Farrow started strong but got a little too hysterical; Dennehy seemed to reserved at the beginning but soon was subtlety showing us Andrew’s emotions. Several other pairs fascinate me. I left the theater feeling sad that these two people never really seemed happy. Yet, I was fulfilled and thoughtful. Love Letters just does that to you. So go see this 90-minute, intermission-less play about a very special relationship. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Love Letters is at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on W. 47th St.
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