Curtain Call: Man of La Mancha in Westport – Less is not always more

I couldn’t wait to see Westport Country Playhouse’s production of Man of La Mancha. With my schedule so full, I was allowed to see the preview, the night before the official opening. I admit to being spoiled. I had seen so many great men perform the title role. The most memorable was Robert Goulet, who sang The Impossible Dream and brought tears not only to the eyes of some of the women in the audience, but to some of the men as well. So many casts even at the community theater level have rendered this musical mammoth. That Mark Lamos … Read more

Curtain Call: Casting gone wrong in All My Sons

It’s almost impossible, but it happened. A cast of fabulous actors on a gorgeous set in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons had this reviewer nearly in tears because one of my all-time favorite plays was ruined by miscasting. There were other small problems as well, but when a much too young Chris Keller stepped on stage, I swear I felt my heart drop. To add insult to injury, you could not have asked for a better director. Jane Farnol is an ace director. How did this happen? Thomas Ovitt as Chris must have stepped in for someone. This is not … Read more

Curtain Call: Phoenix Stage Company brings home the gold

I’ve known Ed Bassett, the executive manager and artistic director of the Phoenix Stage Company, to be excited before, but there was no doubt that this time he was ecstatic and rightfully so. Phoenix Stage Company walked away with a couple awards at the Connecticut Community Theatre Festival held at the Warner Theatre in Torrington on Sept. 8. One Night With Fanny Brice won Outstanding Production and will now move on to represent Connecticut at the New England Regional Festival in March. In addition to this amazing award, Mary Cantoni Johnson received the Best Actor in a Solo Performance. T. … Read more

Curtain Call: Phoenix deals eight hearts — all winners

Phoenix Stage Company, Oakville: Anyone who has a sister can imagine what would happen when eight sisters get together every other Friday night to play bridge. Stories are going to be shared, gossip will make the round; and sparks will fly. So it is with The Octette Bridge Club, when eight Irish Catholic sisters come together for a friendly game of bridge on a Friday in 1934. Martha, the oldest and the bossiest believes in “her way or no way.” The matriarch of the family, she is an authoritative, closed-minded widow. She has no patience with anyone who disagrees with … Read more

Curtain Call: Westport Country Playhouse comedy is not so funny

When a line like “Get in the truck!” catapults Jake to a two million dollar paycheck, it’s not surprising that Harry, his Broadway understudy, is resentful. Theresa Rebeck’s play The Understudy showcases a talented actor’s frustrations. Celebrities earn the big bucks while some great actors never get a break. The play is touted as Rebeck’s latest comedy, but truth be told, the play under the direction of David Kennedy is more sad than funny. No one dies, so it is definitely not a tragedy. If you look at it from the classic definition of a comedy, there’s supposed to be … Read more

Curtain Call: Ridgefield musician takes on the ’60s

This week Seven Angels Theatre will present The Sixties Show. Here’s a show that has been selling out wherever it plays. Why? It was a transformative era and the music represented the voice of the people. Anti-Vietnam War protests, the civil rights movement with its marches, all of this transpired because the people of this country felt they had to take action. It was a time when blacks and whites and all colors called for unity and the music and its potent lyrics left no doubt as to what the people wanted. I had the pleasure of speaking with Craig … Read more

Curtain Call: Drama in the parking lot at Shrek: The Musical

As most theaters are well aware of, I do not review student or youth productions. However, because my next door neighbor, a rising star for sure, and a former student of mine were in the Trumbull Youth Summer Production of “Shrek,” I had to see it. This is not a review of the show, which I have to say impressed me a lot, but it is a testament to the clever and talented kids who are in the show. I attended the free night production because it was the only night I had available. Everything was going along smoothly when … Read more

Curtain Call: She Loves Me – A feel good musical

Clay & Wattles Theater Company presents She Loves Me at The Gary-The Olivia Theatre on the grounds of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem. This musical by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joe Masteroff is one of those feel good shows that makes summer lighter and brighter no matter a matinee or evening performance. As usual director/choreographer Sally Camm has masterfully brought together a fine cast. Music Director, Dr. Fernando Jiménez has also brought together seven talented musicians. While most of the cast has outstanding voices, all of them look perfect for their roles. Monica Charline Brown as Amalia … Read more

Curtain Call: Transforming into a rabbit is no laughing matter

Thrown Stone Theatre, Ridgefield: Julia and Walter are about to venture out for dinner, when Julia notices that Walter is preoccupied with something. When she finally gets him to tell her what’s bothering him, he shows her his tail. It is a big, fluffy rabbit’s tail. It’s quite funny to see this grown man with a rabbit’s tail, but as the play unfolds, we realize that this play is not so funny. It is a metaphor for transforming from one world into another — a metaphor for dying. At first Julia is full of hope that her brother, a doctor, … Read more

Ridgefield Theater Barn produces Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences

The flow of talent from theater to theater and town to town up and down and across Connecticut is amazing. Since I cover so much Connecticut theater, I have a unique view. While it’s just common sense that actors, directors and crews from the Greater Waterbury area would travel to the Warner Theatre, Landmark, The Phoenix Stage Company and other local community theaters, I have seen a move south where actors from the greater Waterbury area are now showing up at theaters such as the Brookfield Playhouse, the Town Players of Newtown and now, most noticeably, The Ridgefield Theater Barn. … Read more

Pin It on Pinterest