Monthly Feature:

james naughton


Theater a Family Business

By Frank Rizzo

You might be tempted to call the arts as the Naughton family business, but to this group of -- relatively speaking -- well-adjusted actors, directors and musicians, it's just what they do.

There's father James, the two-time Tony Award-winning actor-director who grew up in West Hartford. There's son Greg, an actor-director-singer/songwriter who is also the founder of off-Broadway's Obie Award-winning Blue Light Theater. There's daughter Keira, an actor-singer/songwriter who recently acted in "These Paper Bullets" at Yale Repertory Theatre. (We're staying with blood lines for the moment. Greg's wife is Kelli O'Hara, the five-time Tony Award-nominated actress.)

This summer, the Naughtons have projects at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass. Keira is directing her father in the world premiere of the solo show, "Cedars," with performances beginning Wednesday, July 23, and Greg is staging a revival of "A Hatful of Rain" at the theater, with performances beginning Aug. 13.

I talked recently with James and Keira during a break in rehearsals near the theater and with Greg later on the phone from his home in New York about their sometimes inter-connected lives in the arts.

(Photo: James Naughton. Photo by Patrick Raycraft)


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



A Familiar Face -- On-stage on On-screen

By Frank Rizzo

There are actors whose name you instantly recognize, the stars you know by a single monicker: Meryl, Julia, Debbie. Liza, Shirley.

Then there are others you've seen giving countless supporting performances that help ground the work in a truthful reality but whose names might not leap to mind. These are character actors and when you see their faces you know you're in good hands.

Elizabeth Wilson is a character actress whose work I've admired for many decades on stage, screen and television. She now lives in Branford with her younger sister, and at 93 is mostly retired. (Mostly, I say, because she still does readings and master classes and just two years ago had a significant part in the film "Hyde Park on Hudson" where she played Sarah Ann Delano Roosevelt, the formidable mother to Bill Murray's FDR.)

Among her scores of film roles are her movie debut in 1955's "Picnic" with William Holden, "The Goddess" with Kim Stanley, "A Child Is Waiting" with Judy Garland, "Grace Quigley" with Katharine Hepburn, "The Incredible Shrinking Woman" with Lily Tomlin and Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."

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