Lots of New York News Plus Westport & CRT’s Schedules

Inside notes and comments about Connecticut and New York Professional Theater

By Karen Isaacs

New York Notes: Tickets are now on sale for the revival of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Gin Game starring James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson which begins previews Sept. 18. Contact Telecharge.com. The show began its life at Long Wharf Theater.  Roundabout’s revival of She Loves Me has added Tony winners Jane Krakowski as Ilona and Michael McGarth as Sipos.  Laura Benanti and Josh Radnor star. Others in the cast are René Auberjonois and Gavin Creel. Performances begin Feb. 5.  The national tour of Love Letters which stars the pair who starred in the film Love Story – Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal – is on the road. The production will play the Bushnell in Hartford, Feb. 9-14, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Broadway debut of the off-Broadway spoof Dames at Sea will feature Mara Davi who is now performing in My Paris at Goodspeed at Chester.  The musical spoofs the 1930s musical films.  It begins Sept. 24 and open Oct. 22. Tickets are available through Telecharge.

Continuing a Tradition: Westport Country Playhouse has in recent seasons made it a very rewarding tradition to present plays by Alan Ayckbourn, usually directed by John Tillinger who has a special infinity for these British comedies.  The tradition continues this year with Bedroom Farce running to Sept. 13.  According to the press materials, “Bedroom Farce takes place over the course of one intense Saturday evening.  In three separate bedrooms, the roles and relationships of four couples are laid bare, complete with squabbles, bothers, a few bruises, and a touching epiphany. ‘Ayckbourn’s greatness as a writer has always depended on the interaction of a group of people in situations that crackle with comic conflict,’ said (Artistic Director Mark) Lamos. ‘In Ayckbourn, disparate people, unlikely bedfellows, mismatched lovers, men and women—young, old, and usually middle-class—present for our delectation an array of humanity that relies on the constant interplay of each against the other.’” For tickets or information, visit www.westportplayhouse.org or call 888-927-7529.

Connecticut Rep: The Connecticut Rep at UConn in Storrs season opens with The Laramie Project, (Oct. 8 to 18), a docudrama about the killing of Matthew Shepherd, a gay teenager in Laramie, Wyoming. During the holiday season, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night will take the stage, Dec. 3 to 13. In spring 2016, the two productions are Sense and Sensibility, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Feb. 25 to March 6 and the season concludes with Spamalot:The Musical, April 21 to May 1. For tickets visit crt.uconn.edu or call 860-486-2113.

New York Notes 1:The songwriting team of Frozen has a new musical now being produced at California’s La Jolla Playhouse. Up Here is about an introverted computer technician and his relationship with an extroverted woman.  Many shows have started their lives at La Jolla and eventually made it to Broadway.  Who knows? Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed , the new musical about the all-African American musicals of the 1920s which opens in spring 2016 has an all star cast.  Already signed are Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter and Joshua Henry with direction and book by George C. Wolfe and choreography by Savion Glover.

Next Year at Westport:  Westport Country Playhouse has announced its 2016 season which includes a pair of plays in repertory.  The season opens with Art by Yazmin Reza and Red by Christopher Hampton running in repertory from May 3 to 29; both plays deal with contemporary art. Following those, the off-Broadway hit Buyer and Cellar runs June 14 to July 2; then The Invisible Hand from July 19 to August 6; next is Joe Orton’s black comedy What the Butler Saw from Aug. 23 to Sept. 10. The season concludes with a “reimagined” version of Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot, Oct. 4 to 22. Subscriptions are now on sale, at 888-927-7529 or westportplayhouse.org.  Tickets for individual performances go on sale in March.

Connecticut Inspiration: Christopher Shinn’s new play, An Opening in Time, inspired by his home town, Wethersfield, is getting its world premier at Hartford Stage, Sept. 17 to Oct. 11. According to the press materials, “a retired schoolteacher moves back to the suburban town in central Connecticut which she left years before.  She finds a number of things have been changed. Dunkin’ Donuts franchises are everywhere; the local high school is putting on a production of Rent; and a long-lost friendship suddenly appears in a new guise.” Shinn has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist and recipient of numerous awards. For tickets contact hartfordstage.org or call 860-527-5151.

Another Hartford Note: Kevin Bacon will star in Hartford Stage’s world premier production of Rear Window, Oct. 22 to Nov. 15.  The show is already supposedly sold out.

New York Notes 2: Oscar winner Marlee Matlin will make her Broadway debut in the revival of the musical Spring Awakening which combines hearing performers with those from Deaf West Theater.  This revival has generated lots of positive comment during its west coast production which uses American Sign Language and spoken language. The show begins previews on opens officially on Sunday, Sept. 27. Tickets are now sale at ticketmaster.com.  Tony winner Nina Arianda is joined by Sam Rockwell and Emmy winner Tom Pelphrey in the Manhattan Theater Club’s production of Fool for Love by Sam Shepherd. The play begins previews on Sept. 15 and opens official on Oct. 8. Tickets are available at telecharge.com.  The box office is open for Gloria Estefan’s musical On Your Feet! which is based on the lives of Estefan and her husband, Emilio. Of course, it features the music she made famous.  The show begins previews Oct. 5 and opens officially  Nov. 5. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.com.

Don’t Miss These on TV:  PBS is broadcasting a number of Broadway shows and concerts this fall. Though air dates may vary depending the PBS station, the tentative schedule includes Show Boat in Concert on Oct. 16; Billy Elliot the Musical on Oct. 23; Chita Rivera:A Lot of Livin’ To Do on Nov. 6;  Act One on Nov. 13; and First You Dream – The Music of Kander & Ebb on Nov. 20. The Lifetime channel will spotlight the tours of Cinderella, Kinky Boots, If/Then, The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music on its morning show The Balancing Act. For information about what is being shown and dates, visit Broadwaybalancesamerica.com

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