World Premiere in Waterbury: Seven Angels Theater is presenting a world premiere of Burning Desire, to Sunday, March 13. The play was both written by and will star Lou Diamond Phillips. Phillips received a Tony nomination for his performance as The King in The King & I revival in 1996 as well as performing in movies and TV. The story is about The Devil (Phillips) and modern day Adam and Eve. It is described as “a comedic look at what it means to be in love, when it seems all odds are against you.” For tickets call 203-757-4676 or visit sevenangelstheatre.org.
Another Ghost for Hamlet: What does it means to play Hamlet? For a comedic look at that, go see West Hartford’s Playhouse in the Park production of I Hate Hamlet. The show tells the story of an actor who comes to NYC to play Hamlet, a role made famous on Broadway by the legendary John Barrymore. When he moves into a townhouse once inhabited by Barrymore, he is visited by Barrymore’s ghost. In a variety of comic turns, the two duel over success, women and even the apartment. It runs to Sunday, March 13. For tickets visit playhouseonpark.org or call 860-523-5900 x10.
Austen on Stage: Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is being given a stage adaptation at the Connecticut Repertory Theater on the UConn campus in Storrs. The show will run through Sunday, March 6. Joseph Hanratty and J.R. Sullivan adapted the novel; they also adapted the CRT production of Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. For ticket visit crt.uconn.edu or call 860-486-2113.
Tony Winner in Norwalk: MTC in Norwalk will present the Tony winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike to Sunday, March 13. The Christopher Durang play uses parts of several Chekov plays but moves it action to Bucks County, Penn. and transforms the characters to an aging modern day movie star, her brother and sister, and her sexy “boy-toy.” For tickets visit musictheatreofct.com or call 203-454-3883.
New York Notes: Next season will see Bette Midler starring in a revival of Hello,Dolly! Kate Blanchett will make her Broadway debut next season in The Present, an adaptation of Chekov’s Platenov. Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams are currently in previews for the Broadway debut of Blackbird. The play has played off-Broadway with Daniels in the role of the older man who is confronted by the woman with whom he had a relationship 15 years ago when she young. It is a powerful play. Tickets are available through Telecharge. It opens officially on Thursday, March 10 and runs through June 12. This summer will see a revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. It is scheduled to begin previews on July 14.
They Will Be Missed: January saddened the theater world as several notable performers died. While not as famous as some of the others, David Margulies was well known to Connecticut theater-goers, performing in Connecticut extensively. I recall two wonderful performances at Long Wharf: in The Underpants by Steve Martin several years ago and as the antique dealer in Arthur Miller’s The Price. But theater lovers throughout the world will miss Brian Bedford who was known for his work in Moliere, Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare. Of course, David Bowie’s passing must also be mourned. He performed on Broadway in The Elephant Man and his new musical Lazarus had played off-Broadway recently. It was inspired by The Man Who Fell to Earth. Bowie wrote the score which some say had hints of his illness and death. The show may be headed to Broadway.
Theatrical Joint Venture: Long Wharf and Hartford Stage are once again working together on a production that will play at both theaters. Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years will play at Long Wharf to Sunday, March 13 before moving up state to Hartford, where it will play Thursday, March 31 to Sunday, April 24. The play is based on the best-selling book about the two sisters lived extraordinary lives. In the play they reminisce about their father, a former slave; growing up in the Jim Crow south; Harlem during its renaissance; and their professional careers as a teacher and a dentist. It’s described as “a personal tale of the fight against injustices big and small, and how they never lost sight of doing the right thing no matter how difficult.” Olivia Cole and Brenda Pressley star, directed by Emily Mann who directed the original Broadway production in 1995. For tickets, contact longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282 or hartfordstage.org or call 860-527-5151.
Arts and Ideas: Though the International Festival of Arts and Ideas isn’t until June, it’s been announced that New Haven will present the US premier of the musical stage play Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour prior to its presentation at London’s National Theater. The play, which was first presented by the National Theater of Scotland and Live Theater at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is a stage adaptation of the 1998 cult novel The Sopranos. The entire Arts and Ideas lineup will be announced in March.
Prior to the Festival: The Arts and Ideas Festival also announced the National Theater of Scotland’s production of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart will return to New Haven – it was a hit of the 2012 Festival of performances — March 30 to April 3 at the Graduate and Professional Student Center at Yale. For information visit www.artidea.org.
Musical Will End Long Wharf Season: Last summer My Paris, the musical about Toulouse-Lautrec had a successful run at the Norma Terris Theater in Chester. Now Long Wharf has announced that it will close its season with the musical, running from May 4 to May 29. It replaces the Irish drama, The Shining City. Kathleen Marshall, the Tony winning director/choreographer, will again direct. The musical has music by French legend Charles Aznavour with English lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Alfred Uhry. For tickets, contact longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.