Connecticut Theater 2010 - If You Ask Me
Connecticut’s regional theatres have something new and something classic for theatergoers as the 2009-10 season continues this year. Here’s a wrap-up (with personal comments, as always!) of what lies ahead in the world of Connecticut theatre:
Long Wharf Theatre: New Haven’s war horse brings a pair of pros, Lois Smith and David Margulies, together for a world premiere comedy, “Lil’s 90th” by Darci Picoult (currently thru February 7). A.R. Gurney’s popular comedy, “Sylvia,” is next (Feb. 17-March 14) with “No Child…,” written and performed by Nilaja Sun (March 17-April 18) and Henric Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” adapted and directed by Gordon Edelstein (April 28-May 23), concluding the season. Visit www.longwarf.org.
Yale Rep: After back-to-back hits with the brilliant African drama, “Eclipsed” and the original musical, “Pop”; the eclectic theatre will offer an intriguing world premiere of a new play, “Compulsion” by Rinne Groff featuring Mandy Patinkin (Jan. 29-Feb. 28). Carlo Goldoni’s classic “The Servant of Two Masters” (March 12-April 3) and “Battle of Black and Dogs” by Bernard-Marie Koltes (April 16-May 8) will complete the season which thus far has been Yale’s best in years. Visit www.yalerep.org.
Goodspeed Musicals: East Haddam’s popular showcase for classic musicals opens their season with the tried and true: “Annie Get Your Gun” (April 16-June 27) followed by “Carnival” (July 9-Sept. 18). I find it hard to muster enthusiasm for that tired duo, but Goodspeed has surprised us before (a glorious revival of “Camelot” last season), and if they get ace director Rob Ruggiero on board for at least one production, it will definitely be worth the trip. Visit www.goodspeed.org.
Westport Playhouse: The venerable theatre’s 80th anniversary is celebrated with a questionable slate of familiar titles including a pair of small musicals - “She Loves Me” (April 20-May 8) and “I Do! I Do!” (Aug. 10-28) with Samuel Beckett’s masterwork “Happy Days” (July 6-24) and a new adaptation of “The Diary of Ann Frank” (Sept. 28-Oct. 16) added for balance. One other play is still to be announced. Visit www.westportplayhouse.org.
Music Theatre of Connecticut: The state’s tiniest professional theatre (50 seats situated in a living room setting) will present the musical two-hander “The Story of My Life” (Jan. 29-Feb. 7) followed by Christopher Durang’s hilarious comedy “Laughing Wild” (April 16-25) and the juke box musical, “Pete ‘n’ Keely” (June 4-13). Visit www.musictheatreofct.com.
Hartford TheaterWorks: The usually edgy theatre company has adjusted their original schedule to reflect the economy: i.e., full-cast shows have been replaced with solo or two-person plays. Next up is “The Lady with All the Answers,” David Rambo’s one-woman play based on the life of advice columnist Ann Landers (Jan. 22-March 7) followed by “Souvenir,” Stephen Temperley’s two-character, semi-musical about wealthy off-key chanteuse Florence Foster Jenkins. TheaterWorks is back in their element, however, with Neil LaBute’s lacerating “Reasons To Be Pretty” (June 18-Aug. 1) followed by the critically acclaimed off-Broadway hit, “Broke-Ology” by Nathan Louis Jackson (Sept. 10-Oct. 17). Visiti www.theaterworkshartford.org.
Hartford Stage: After producing Horton Foote’s nine-play marathon, “The Orphan’s Home Cycle,” the theatre could easily rest on their laurels. They nonetheless continue into 2010 with “Gee’s Bend” by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder (Jan. 14-Feb. 14), “Motherhood Out Loud,” a series of female-centric stories by contemporary women playwrights (Feb. 24-March 21) and “Tom Sawyer,” a stage adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic obviously inspired by the theatre’s huge success with “To Kill A Mockingbird last season (April 1-May 9). Visit www.hartfordstage.org.
Tom Holehan is Co-chairman of the Connecticut Critics Circle and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org.