“Legally Blonde” at STONC and “Encores! Off-Center” Plus NY Notes

Inside notes and comments about Connecticut and New York Professional Theater

By Karen Isaacs

Legally Blonde: The Summer Theater of New Canaan is presenting the musical Legally Blonde in Waverly Park, New Canaan, June 24 to Aug. 9.  In addition, the theater is presenting three productions for children: Charlotte’s Web, The Wizard of Oz and a new musical version of Cinderella — A Fairy’s Tale, told from the point of view of the fairy godmother.  The three shows run in rotation through Aug. 9.  For information or tickets, call 203-966-4634 or visit www.stonc.org.

Encores! Off-Center: The City Center Encores! series of semi-staged “forgotten” or seldom revived musicals has been a huge success with several shows transferring to Broadway — the long-running Chicago is most notable — and other productions resulting in successful cast CDs.  Two years ago, City Center in New York City began the Off-Center series in the summer for just one or few nights — it features off-Broadway shows. One such production, Violet transferred to Broadway and earned Tony nominations for several of its cast last year.  This summer’s series will feature the William Finn-James Lapine musical A New Brain starring Jonathan Groff from June 24 to 27. Little Shop of Horrors is only playing July 1 with Jake Gyllenhaal as Seymour together with the original Audrey, Ellen Greene.  The series concludes with The Wild Party starring Sutton Foster and her Violet co-star Joshua Henry, July 15 -18. For tickets visit NYCityCenter.org.

Tony Reactions: The Tony Awards are come and gone. The big winners were Fun House, King & I, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and American in Paris. I was so glad that Kelli O’Hara (The King and I) finally won a Tony; she had been nominated five other times and richly deserved it each time, particularly last year for The Bridges of Madison County. In the wake of the Tony’s both Gigi which had only one major nomination and The Visit which had a number of major nominations but no victories closed.  How you felt about the various humorous interludes by the hosts, Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth, is up for debate.  I would have preferred less of that and more actually seeing the winners.  It was too bad that so many awards were presented during commercial breaks including the special award to Tommy Tune — he deserved better.

This Summer on Broadway: Summer is usually a quiet time for Broadway openings; producers are afraid award voters will forget about their shows — particularly if they have closed — by the time next April rolls around.  But two musicals are opening this summer. Hamilton which has already won numerous awards this year for its off-Broadway production is making the move to the Richard Rodgers Theater.  The musical about Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers, has book, music, lyrics and stars Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote Up in the Heights. Tickets are on sale at ticketmaster. It begins previews July 13 and opens officially Aug. 6. Amazing Grace about the composer of that famous song is also making it to Broadway. The show began life at the Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theater in Chester.  It will begin previews June 25 and open officially July 16. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

This content is courtesy of Shore Publications and Zip06.com

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