Monthly Feature:



Goodspeed Festial of New Musicals

By Bonnie Goldberg

Do you dread winter? The cold, the ice, the snow, the inconvenience? What if I said there was an oasis in time that is meant to counteract all the blahs of January. Unbelievable?Impossible? Well, abandon your snow shovels and head to Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam for a hearty weekend dose of pure sunshine and fun.

From Friday to Sunday, the weekend of January 16-18, the Tenth Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals will be aching to serenade you with stirring selections of brand new works. Check in at Goodspeed, on the Connecticut River, for one to three days of never been seen or heard before musical works. Staged readings will take place on all three days and you can bear witness to the "births." A cadre of talented students from the Hartt School of Music and the Boston Conservatory of Music will delight you with their skills and performance.

On Friday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m., "Outlaws" will debut, with book by James Presson and music and lyrics by Alexander Sage Oyen, directed by Noah Himmelstein. Enter the Old West and travel a ways with Jesse James and his brother in crime Frank as they take matters and the law into their own hands. Are they reckless villains or is there a smidgen of salvation in their souls? A Friday night cabaret of new tunes by Festival composers will follow at the Gelston House next door at 10 p.m.

(Photo by Diane Sobolewski of Last Year's Festival at Goodspeed)


One Critic's "Best of the Year"


Brittany Vicars and Zach Appelman in Hartford
Stage's production of "Hamlet"
Photo by T. Charles Erickson

By Karen Isaacs

It's that time of year, when we all make lists of things to do or buy, and critics make lists of the ten best or the ten worst of the past year. Instead of naming best and worst, I'll give you a list of some of the things that impressed me this year.

My Choices for Best Connecticut Productions: The top two productions in 2014 in Connecticut had to be Hamlet at Hartford Stage and Fiddler on the Roof at Goodspeed. They were by far the best play and musical produced this year.  A substantial part of the credit has to go to the two directors: Darko Tresnjak for Hamlet and Rob Ruggiero for Fiddler on the Roof. A close second to Hamlet was the new Split Knuckle Theater's production of their play Endurance which was at Long Wharf in June.

My other top plays included These Paper Bullets (with a lot of music), The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, and Arcadia all at Yale; The Other Place at TheaterWorks;  Shadow of a Hummingbird at Long Wharf, the flawed but still interesting Somewhere at Hartford Stage; Things We Do for Love at Westport; Picasso at Lapin Agile at Long Wharf; and Say Goodnight, Gracie at Ivoryton. An honorable mention to the Hartford Stage production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; I love the play but I did not love the production.


Articles of Interest:

"The Honeymooners" Coming to Goodspeed? --
Frank Rizzo

Blogs and Websites of Interest

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

Joe's Views -- Joe Meyers' Blog

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



Good Times at the Theater

By Geary Danihy

Critics are lucky…and unlucky. We get to see some marvelous theater, but we also have to sit through productions that, if we weren’t charged with writing a review, we’d escape and go in search of the nearest watering hole.

Critics are (although may be arguable), also human, and although we are in the theater to evaluate the production, we are also there as members of the audience, just plain folk wishing to be entertained. With that in mind, and in no special order, here are some of the shows that, for one reason or another, entertained me.

I pull out the theater programs from the past season and right on top is Westport Country Playhouse’s “Sing for your Shakespeare.” Yes, there was a mismatch in casting, but the evening was, on the whole, a delight and Stephen DeRosa’s take on the Bard was worth the price of admission. It was joyful and tuneful, and I left the theater humming.

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