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leslie uggams


Leslie Uggams to Star in CRT's "Gypsy"

In April 2014, Artistic Director Vincent J. Cardinal announced that Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Leslie Uggams would be starring as Rose in Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s (CRT) production of GYPSY: A Musical Fable July 10-20.  This announcement quickly spread through social media circles and the theatre community and set off a firestorm of discussion on message boards and Twitter about casting an African American actress in this iconic role. 

“We weren’t necessarily looking for an actress of color but rather an incredible talent to play this incredibly challenging role,” Cardinal said.  “The actor needed to be able to sing and act brilliantly – this is the King Lear of musical theatre.  When we found Leslie Uggams, we were thrilled and honored to have such a legendary talent in this legendary role.” 

Gypsy: A Musical Fable by Arthur Laurents is one of the great masterpieces of musical theatre.  Soaring with Jule Styne’s melodies and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics, GYPSY is based on the memoirs of the famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. The musical tells the story of Rose, the ultimate stage mother, and her dream to raise her daughters Louise and June to become stars on the vaudeville circuit and ultimately the legitimate stage. Through their success Rose will gain fulfillment for her own failed venture into show business. In real life, Louise became Gypsy Rose Lee and Baby June, movie star June Havoc.   Mama Rose has become arguably the greatest female role in musical theatre due to its emotion, complexity and powerful songs. 

(Photo: Leslie Uggams.)


Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Rocks!

eudene oneill theater

Eugene O'Neill Theater 's National Theater Conference.Photo by Vincent Scarano

By Bonnie Goldberg

What good is a big secret if you can't share it with someone?  The big summer secret in Connecticut is the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford.  Considering it has been around for a glorious 50 years, it's about time the creative cat is let out of the bag. Founded in 1964, it is the official workshop of new works and new artists.  Every summer it opens its lovely campus in the rolling hills of Waterford for weeks of "incubating new babies" for the American stage and, the most wonderful part, you are invited to attend and be directly involved in the exciting birthing process. 
June was devoted to an International Puppetry Conference and now July is here to welcome a pair of new musicals for you to enjoy. The first is THE WAR DEPT
with Libretto, Music, & Lyrics by Jim Bauer and Libretto, Art, & Video Direction by Ruth Bauer, with staged readings:  Wednesday, July 2 at 8pm and Friday, July 4 at 7pm.

The American Civil War has ended, but the terrible task of cleaning up the mess – and trying to make sense of it all – has only just begun. That work falls in large part to the eccentric savant Private William T. Clarke working in an obscure and mysterious division of The War Department, sorting through unmanageable mountains of records housed now in Ford’s Theater, dark since Lincoln’s assassination there three years before. Clarke, who is fighting demons of his own, finds his strange and insular domain invaded by three desperate visitors in the same day, each looking for something precious lost in the war, unearthing tense and powerful emotions buried just below the surface. Unfortunately, Clarke may be the only person who can help them, and the war may not be over yet.


Articles of Interest:

Click here to read Frank Rizzo's artcle on Split Knuckle Theatre Company

Click here to read Frank Rizzo's artcle on what's up next for Tony winner Darko Tresnjak


Blogs of Interest

Blogs about Connecticut theater, movie reviews, and the arts.

Artes Magazine -- fine art, architecture, design and theater

Back Stage Buzz - current and archived interviews with CT artists -- movie reviews

CT Arts Connection

WMNR Fine Arts Radio (Rosalind Friedman's Review) (Frank Rizzo reviews)

www.reflectionsinthelight (Lauren Yarger reviews) (Irene Backalenick/David Rosenberg reviews)

Stu On Broadway -- Reviws and comments

Two on the Aisle -- NYC and Connecticut Theater News and Reviews



Irving Berlin and The American Songbook

By Joan Lownds

The classic Irving Berlin Musical “Annie Get Your Gun” will be playing at The Gary-The Olivia Theater in Bethlehem, CT on the grounds of The Abbey of Regina Laudis from August 1-17 this summer. This wonderful expression of “The American Musical” has caused me to reflect on its dynamic composer and lyricist-Irving Berlin.
What was Irving Berlin’s place in American music? According to the noted composer Jerome Kern, “Irving Berlin had no place in American music -- he is American music. Emotionally, he honestly absorbs the vibrations emanating from the people, manners and life of his time and, in turn, gives these impressions back to the world -- simplified, clarified and glorified.”

By the time he died  in his sleep at the age of 101 on September 22, 1989, in New York City, the Russian immigrant wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including such standards as  “White Christmas,” “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” Always,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Blue Skies,” “Easter Parade,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” He also scored dozens of musicals and films, and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, with seven nods in the song category, winning in 1943 for "White Christmas.”

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CCC 2013-2014 Awards Ceremony at Wesrtport Country Playhouse

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