Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Another Opening..." Plus "Wicked" Women

It’s fall, which means it’s theater season here in Connecticut, and new productions are opening as fast as the leaves are falling. Here’s just a sampling:

Over the Tavern, by Tom Dudzick, recently opened up at Seven Angels in Waterbury. It’s about a slightly dysfunctional family dealing with a son who’s too smart for his own – and the Catholic Church’s – good. Richard Christiansen, of the Chicago Trib, called the play “A hilarious and touching depiction of 1959 Americana.”

Also currently running is City of Angels out at the Goodspeed Opera House. It’s a musical spoof of 1940s detective movies, with parallel stories of a crime fiction writer and his “creation,” a shamus who just won’t shut up…or stay on the page.

It’s been some time since the Westport Country Playhouse has staged a play by the Bard, but hopefully the wait will have been worth it. Twelfth Night opened Oct. 11 under the direction of Mark Lamos, the Playhouse’s artistic director.

Mahira Kakkar and Lucas Hall. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

As with most of Shakespeare’s comedies, there’s a lot of ribaldry and mistaken identities, as well as a pair of yellow stockings cross-gartered (trust me – wear them and the ladies will swoon). Should be a lot of fun. (A review of the play will appear here next week).

The latter part of October offers a host of new plays. On the 21st, The Yale Repertory Company will present the world premiere of Amy Herzog’s Belleville. It’s about an American couple living in Paris whose “perfect” marriage falls apart when the wife comes home unexpectedly to find…well, you’ll have to see the play. Not for the younger set – there’s strong language, nudity and what is somewhat euphemistically termed “adult content.” (A review of the play will appear here.)

The following week, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” opens (Oct 26) at Long Wharf Theatre and Moliere’s The Miser opens (Oct 27) at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Storrs.

The musical revue is a tribute to “Fats” Waller and many other black artists who fueled the musical portion of the Harlem Renaissance in the 20’s and 30’s. It’s rhythmic and raunchy,  with a hell of a finale.

Moliere’s satire deals with a penny-pinching father and his children who conspire to break free from the parental (cheap) chains. Of special note in the play is Moliere’s use of asides -- comments by an actor directed to the audience that none of the other characters are supposed to hear. Well, Moliere doesn’t honor the convention – in essence there’s a lot of: “Who the hell are you talking to?”

Finally, early November (the 4th) brings us Cabaret at Westport’s MTC Mainstage. I’m really looking forward to this production, given the ‘intimate’ nature of MTC’s venue. Don’t know how I’m going to feel being mere inches away from the Kit Kat Klub’s girls – it’s a question of how aesthetic distance is handled, and I’m eager to see the answer. (A review of the musical will appear here.)

“Wicked” Women

Also of great interest is the first presentation of the Edgerton Center’s (Sacred Heart Univ.) 2011-12 Broadway Series. On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Center will be hosting Women of “Wicked,” featuring Dee Roscioli,

Dee Roscioli

who played Elphaba on Broadway in “Wicked.” She will be joined by other women who have performed in the musical for an evening of Broadway music and backstage insights. For those who love Broadway – and/or “Wicked”—it sounds like a must-see evening (two performances at 6 and 9 p.m.).

For more theater news, plus reviews of current shows and Connecticut casting calls, go to

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