Inside notes and comments about Connecticut and New York Professional Theater
By Karen Isaacs
King Arthur and the Holy Grail: Monty Python’s famous movie about this was turned into a terrific musical, Spamalot that won numerous awards. Now the Connecticut Rep on the UConn campus is presenting it from Thursday, April 21 to Sunday, May 1. Rickard Kline will play King Arthur; he was at CRT in The Sunshine Boys and played the Wizard in the national tour of Wicked. He will be joined by Mariand Torres as the Lady of the Lake. She has played Elphaba in the same tour of Wicked. For tickets, visit crt.uconn.edu or call 860-486-2113.
World Premiere: Long Wharf is presenting the world premiere of Lewiston through Sunday, May 1, directed by former associate artistic director Eric Ting. According to the press materials, Lewiston is about “Alice and Connor [who] sit by their roadside stand selling cheap fireworks while developers swallow the land around them. Promised a condo in the new development, their future is secure. Enter Marnie, Alice’s long lost granddaughter, proposing to buy the land to save her family legacy. Marnie and Alice will become reacquainted with each other’s deeply held secrets, uncertain pasts, and hopeful futures.” For tickets visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787- 4282.
Favorite Songs: If “Take Me Home, Country Roads” or “Rocky Mountain High” are among your favorite songs, you will want to see the east coast premiere of the new musical Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver at Ivoryton Playhouse. It runs through Sunday, April 24.
David M. Lufken and Katie Deal star; they have been with the show since its original production at the Milwaukee Rep. Lufken created the show Woody Sez about Woody Guthrie which had a successful run at TheaterWorks. You can expect to learn lots about Denver as well as to hear many of his songs. For tickets visit ivorytonplayhouse.org or call 860-767-7318.
News from the Shubert: New Haven’s Shubert Theater will host a return engagement of Jersey Boys, Tuesday, May 3 to Sunday, May 8. For tickets to Jersey Boys or information on subscriptions to the Broadway series visit Shubert.com or call 203-562-5666.
Matilda: Hartford’s Bushnell Theater is hosting the national touring production of the musical Matilda, based on the Roald Dahl book and the film. It runs Tuesday, April 26 to Sunday, May 1. For tickets visit bushnell.org.
New Haven in New York: In the last weeks, several shows that New Haven area audiences saw have opened on and off-Broadway. Eclipsed by Daniel Gurira has opened on Broadway starring Lupita Nyongo’o, who was a Yale Drama student and understudy when it had its premiere at the Yale Rep. She has since won an Oscar. Guiria’s Familiar¸ which opened at the Yale Rep in February 2015 has opened off-Broadway. Opening soon is Indecent by Paula Vogel. It ran last fall at the Yale Rep and will feature the Yale cast.
The Last Five Years: MTC (Music Theater of Connecticut) is closing its season with the award winning musical The Last Five Years which features book, music and lyrics by the Tony winning Jason Robert Brown. The show tells the story of a relationship; but the man tells the story from beginning to end while the woman tells the story from the end back to the first meeting. Nicolas Dromard who has appeared on Broadway in Jersey Boys and Jennifer Malenk who has appeared in Into the Woods star. The show runs to Sunday, April 24. For tickets call 203-454-3883 or visit musictheatreofct.com.
Anastasia: Excitement is building about the world premiere of Anastasia at Hartford Stage beginning Thursday, May 12. The last musical to premiere there, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, went on to win the Tony for best musical and a Tony for the director Darko Tresnjak, Hartford’s artistic director. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who wrote the music for the animated film, are writing new music for the show. In an interview with the Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer, Tresnjak said that 16 new numbers have been written for the show; only six from the original film are in the score. For tickets visit hartfordstage.org.
This Summer: Sharon Playhouse, in the northwest corner of Connecticut is presenting five shows this summer. The season begins with Gypsy from June 16-July 3, followed by the Tony-winning musical Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from July 21-31. Then is Quartet, a play about elderly opera-singers from Aug. 18 to 28. On stage two, the Playhouse will present a new musical Judge Jackie: Disorder in the Court from July 7-17 and the long-running off-Broadway hit, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change from Aug. 4-14. For information or tickets visit sharonplayhouse.org. The box office, 860-364-7469 x100 opens Friday, April 15.
New Plays: Westport Country Playhouse has launched an initiative to develop new plays and musicals through workshops and readings. Two works will be receiving a workshop and later a staged reading before an audience. The two works are a new play, Out of the Mouths of Babes by Israel Horovitz (in partnership with New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre) and a new musical The Rivals based on the classic comedy by Sheridan.
New York Notes: The musical comedy The Robber Bridegroom is being revived by Roundabout Theater at its off-Broadway Laura Pels theater. Steven Pasquale is starring. It is billed as a “raucous, hilarious, sexy theatrical gem with an irresistibly catch bluegrass score.” It runs through Sunday, May 29. For tickets visit roundaboutTheatre.org. Marin Mazzie will take over the role of Anna in the Lincoln Center revival of The King and I. She succeeds Kelli O’Hara. Side Show, a musical Stephen Sondheim has been working on for years under various titles is getting a production the Signature Theater in Arlington, Virginia. It often present new works that eventually make it to New York. Last summer a new musical about James Cagney got a brief run off-Broadway. Most people don’t know that Cagney started as a song and dance man. Now Cagney is getting a full off-Broadway production with an opening set for Sunday, April 3.For tickets visit Telechaerge.com.
New York Plans for Next Season: A musical version of Sponge Bob is aiming for Broadway next season. It will preview in Chicago beginning June 7. Derek Hough of Dancing with the Stars will star on Broadway next season in Singin’ in the Rain. He will, of course, play the Gene Kelly role. The show will begin in Paris as the successful An American in Paris musical did. Also next season is a revival of William Finn and James Lapine’s musical Falsettos. It will begin previews on Sept. 29.