Friday, May 14, 2021

Life & Style

New Plays,Some Setbacks, Trailblazers, In Memoriam, and More

Reading Series of New Plays: From A to Z by Monica Raymond is next in the Playhouse on Park’s new play reading series in West Hartford. It is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 26. Audiences get to see the play read by professional actors and participate in a talk back with the playwright, cast, and director. Tickets must be reserved in advance at playhouseonpark.org or by calling 860-523-5900. From A to Z, as the press materials describes it, follows the journey of two women, a white college student who became an underground revolutionary in the ’60s and a young woman in a juvenile detention center who becomes a lesbian activist. Other new plays will be read on Sunday, March 1 and Sunday, May 3. All are at 7 p.m.

Injuries Delay Opening: The revival of West Side Story is still in previews on Broadway, since mid-December, but cast members are having difficulties with injuries. The actor playing Tony (Isaac Cole Powell) was injured during a December performance. That caused producers to push back the official opening until Thursday, Feb. 20. Just recently, Ben Cook, the actor playing Riff (another major role), was injured during a performance. He’s been permanently replaced

The Inheritance: It’s an epic, two part play by Matthew Lopez that focuses on three generations of gay men in New York City. But it ponders a bigger question: What do we owe those who blazed the trail for us? Who fought and sacrificed? While it could be cut (it’s two plays each over three hours), there are many touching moments in it. The strength is in the cast and the directing. This was originally commissioned by Hartford Stage as part of the Aetna New Voices Fellowship program. While it may not be a masterpiece, it is worth seeing. Though it’s a two-part play, you can see either one or both and still have a satisfying theatrical experience. For my full review, visit 2ontheaisle.wordpress.com.

NY Notes: The spring 2020 schedule has added some new productions. Off-Broadway, Trevor: the Musical will open. It’s based on the Oscar-winning short film about a brilliant and imaginative boy who deals with becoming a teenager. Another musical based on a film, Sling Street, is moving from off-Broadway to Broadway. The show is described as exploring first love and music in 1980s Dublin. Right now, a new musical, Emojiland, is off-Broadway at The Duke on 42nd Street. It runs through March 9. The press material described it as an ensemble piece that follows a community of emoji archetypes who take one another at face value.

In Memoriam: At the end of December, Playbill publishes a list of theater people who died during the year. The list for 2019 was as usual a list of the well-known, the slightly known, and the unknown, often behind-the-scenes people. We lost playwrights and composers Martin Charnin, Jerry Herman, Michel Legrand, Peter Nichols, Andrë Previn, Bernard Slade; directors and producers Hal Prince and Jonathan Miller; and actors. Among the better known were Kaye Ballard, Carol Channing, Georgia Engel, Albert Finney, and Valerie Harper. But others were known best among theater aficionados; they weren’t big stars, but they also produced. In that category I’d place René Auberjonois, Richard Easton, Robb Leibman, Jo Sullivan Loesser, George Morfogen, Phyllis Newman, Pamela Payton Wright, Rip Torn, and Max Wright. Connecticut theater-goers saw many of these performers on local stages, as well as the plays and musicals created by many who left this year. And, one of the most controversial theater critics, John Simon, also died this year.

Karen Isaacs is an East Haven resident. To check out her reviews for New York and Connecticut shows, visit 2ontheaisle.wordpress.com. She’s a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle, New York’s Outer Critics Circle and the American Theatre Critics Association.


Karen Isaacs is the Columnists for Zip06. Email Karen at .

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