Inside notes and comments about Connecticut and New York Professional Theater
By Karen Isaacs
New Musical at Chester: Goodspeed is concluding its season of new musicals at the Norma Terris Theater in Chester with Indian Joe to, Nov. 15. The musical, inspired by true events, tells the story of a Texas beauty queen, a homeless Native American, and their blossoming friendship. Elizabeth A. Davis, who received a Tony nomination for Once, plays the beauty queen and Gary Farmer, an actor, musician and cultural activist plays Joe. Davis wrote the book with Chris Henry and the music with Luke Holloway and the Jason Michael Webb and the lyrics. For tickets call 860-873-8668 or visit goodspeed.org.
Next Year at Goodspeed: The 2016 season at Goodspeed is the first one planned with the new executive director Michael Gennaro’s input. The season will feature two revivals plus a new musical. The Cole Porter show, Anything Goes, opens the season running from April 8 to June 16. Following will be what is billed as a fresh-take on the 1960 musical, Bye, Bye Birdie from June 24 to Sept. 4. The Goodspeed Opera House season concludes with Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, a new musical inspired by the making of the classic film, The Wizard of Oz, from Sept. 16 to Nov. 27. At the Norma Terris Theater in Chester, Goodspeed will present two new musicals. Actually the first production is brand new version of the 1960s show The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd from May 19 to June 26. The original show introduced the song “Who Can I Turn To?” Next up is a musical set in 1965 and using the songs of Petula Clark and others from the period, A Sign of the Times from July 28 to Sept. 4. Season ticket packages are now on sale at 860-873-8668. For more information visit goodspeed.org.
An Opera Diva and Her Husband: When an opera diva nearing the end of her career suspects her husband, a prominent conductor, is enamored of the young woman hired to ghost-write his biography, you can expect a lot of drama and maybe some revenge in the form of an attractive male ghostwriter for her memoirs. That is the basis of the rather 1950s style drawing comedy, Living on Love which is next up at Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury. The play by Joe DiPietro will star Stephanie Zymbalist as the aging diva. The show originated at Williamstown Theater Festival in 2014 and had a brief run on Broadway last spring with Renee Fleming – a real opera star – in the lead. It runs Nov. 12 to, Dec. 6. For tickets call 203-757-7676 or visit sevenangelstheatre.org.
The Pearly Whites: For those who grew up in the 1950s, you may remember Liberace and his amazingly pearly white smile. The pianist had his own popular TV show and was known for his flamboyance at the keyboard and in his many sequined costumes. For those who are younger, Liberace may be best known for the made-for-TV movie a few years ago that starred Michael Douglas as Liberace. Ivoryton Playhouse is presenting Liberace! to, Nov. 15. The play is billed as loving tribute to the classically trained pianist. Just like the Liberace, it features music from classical to popular. Daryl Wagner plays Liberace; he’s played the man for more 20 years in a variety of shows. For tickets call 860-767-7318 or visit ivorytonplayhouse.org.
A Refuge Throughout Time: Anon(ymous) is being staged by the Connecticut Repertory Theater on the UConn campus in Storrs, to , Nov. 8. The play by Naomi Izuka is part of the theater’s Studio Series. An adaptation of Homer’s classic Odyssey, it tells the story of a young refugee (Anon) who travels throughout the history of the US meeting a wide variety of people. For tickets call 860-486-2113 or visit crt.uconn.edu.
An Early Christmas: The Shubert Theater in New Haven is not the only theater in Connecticut that is serving as a rehearsal and first performance venue for theatrical tours. The Palace in Waterbury has also served that function. This year, it will debut the 2015 tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the stage musical version of the classic holiday film favorite. The show runs, Nov. 6 to, Nov. 8 before heading out to various locales. For tickets, call 203-346-2000 or visit placetheaterct.org.
New York Notes: Fiddler on the Roof will now begin previews on, Nov. 20 and open officially on, Dec. 20. Tickets are available at telecharge.com. You can get tickets through telecharge.com for the British play, King Charles III which opens officially on Nov. 19. Yes, it imagines the reign of the current Prince of Wales.
While the national tour has just begun, the Broadway run of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which began life at Hartford Stage, will end Jan. 17.
Kathleen Chalfant, who is well known to Connecticut theater goers (she starred in the original production of Wit at Long Wharf among other appearances), will play Rose Kennedy in Rose, off-Broadway beginning, Nov. 21.
September 12 marked the 5773rd and last Broadway performance of Mamma Mia!
Richard Thomas, who also has performed frequently in Connecticut, will head the cast of Incident in Vichy, the Arthur Miller play about the Nazi occupation of France. It’s at the Signature Theater and begun previews. Former Hartford Stage artistic director Michael Wilson directs. Tickets are available at signaturetheatre.org
A Chorus Line opened on Broadway 40 years ago, and it has a re-release of the original cast album with bonus tracks: two never-before-heard songs and alternate versions of some of the well-known songs. It is on the Sony label. Some of the bonus tracks are from the workshops that developed the show. It also features expanded liner notes.
Telecharge now has tickets for the revival of The Color Purple starring Jennifer Hudson that begins previews, Nov. 10 and opens officially, Dec. 10.
Dear Elizabeth, which was produced at Yale Rep in 2012 will be staged off-Broadway by the Women’s Project Theater through, Dec. 5. The play by Sarah Ruhl is constructed from the letters that poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell exchanged. It will feature a rotating cast beginning with Kathleen Chalfant and Harris Yulin followed by J. Smith-Cameron and John Douglas Thompson, then Cherry Jones and David Aaron Baker. Information and tickets are available at wpt.org or 212-765-1706.