Thursday, May 13, 2021

Life & Style

Some Optimism, Innovative Art at Long Wharf, Musicals and Comedies, and More

Optimism: Each spring, theaters across Connecticut announce their upcoming seasons that often run from late summer to early June. Despite everything that is going on, we are still hearing about what wonderful theater we can look forward in the fall.

Next Season at Long Wharf: Next year will reflect the theater’s often expressed plan to present “innovative art with the community at its center and is committed to creating work that galvanizes New Haven and revolutionizes the new American theater.” Ambitious plans. Certainly the schedule of productions for next year is very different from the past. It’s been titled “Breaking Boundaries.” All the shows will be directed by women, and most of the shows will take place in Stage II, the smaller theater that seats under 200; this will save on production costs. The only show on the main stage is the musical Jelly’s Last Jam about Jelly Roll Morton.

The season opens with the world premiere of Torera in conjunction with the Sol Project (Oct. 14 to Nov. 8); then A Night’s Dream, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midnight Summer Night’s Dream runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 20. The new year opens with The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity in conjunction with the Collective Consciousness Theatre; then runs Queen in partnership with the National Asian American Theatre Company from Feb. 24 to March 21. The season ends with Jelly’s Last Jam from April 21 to May 16.

Musicals & Comedies: Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC) has announced a roster of musicals and comedies to lift our spirits next year. The season will open with the musical version of the movie Ghost (Sept. 11 to 27), then Tenderly–the Rosemary Clooney Musical (Oct. 23 to Nov. 8). For the holiday, MTC will present It’s a Wonderful Life–Live Radio Play (Dec. 11 to 20). The Irish–and How They Got That Way–a Musical runs from Feb. 5 to 21 and the season concludes with the comedy Lend Me a Tenor (April 9 to 25). All theaters in Connecticut need subscribers to renew their subscriptions early. MTC is offering a limited-time, 25-percent discount on subscriptions. Visit to take advantage of the offer.

Multiple Tony Winners: The Bushnell’s Broadway series includes four Tony winners two for a return visit. The big news is that Hamilton will return to Hartford from Dec. 15 to Jan. 3. Tickets are sure to be just as hot as in 2019 when the show debuted at the Bushnell. The season opens with the long-running Wicked, Sept. 9 to 26, followed by the 2019 Tony-winning Hadestown (Oct. 20 to 25). Next up is The Cher Show (Nov.3 to 8), followed by Hamilton. The new year features Pretty Woman: The Musical (Feb. 2 to 7) and then the Tony-nominated best play What the Constitution Means to Me from March 9 to 14. It concludes with the recent terrific revival of My Fair Lady from April 27 to May 2 and Mean Girls from June 1 to 6. Current subscribers will receive renewal packages soon. New subscription packages will be available this summer. To be on the waiting list, call the box office at 860-987-5900.

Hartford Stage: The four productions for next season at Harford Stage are an eclectic mix of old and new. Artistic Director Melia Benussen will direct the Shakespeare comedy As You Like It. Continuing in the tradition of its excellent adaptation of Jane Eyre, Hartford will present an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which combines the classic tale with some personal history of the author. Also in the season is the newest play by Pearl Cleage, Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous. Her play Flyin’ West was done at Hartford some years ago. A world premiere, Simona’s Search, is by the writer of the series Puerta 7 and Ozark.

A Loss for Theater: Terrence McNally, one of our outstanding playwrights, passed away on March 24. He died as complication of COVID-19; he had other health issues. A number of his plays including The Ritz had runs in Connecticut. Among his plays are MasterClass, Love! Valor! Compassion!, and the book to such musicals as Ragtime, The Fully Monty, The Kiss of the Spider Man, The Visit, and more.

Need a Theater Fix? If you want to experience theater in your house, there are ways to do it. is a subscription service (there is a seven-day free trial) that offers a wide variety of old and new shows, concerts, and more. Some have aired on PBS or decades earlier on TV. Included are such classics as 1966 TV adaptation of Death of a Salesman that featured the original Willie Loman, Lee J. Cobb and the original Linda, Mildred Dunnock, recreating their roles. Another option is YouTube. I’ve just learned the entire 1972 Tony award show is available, including Ethel Merman reprising her many roles before receiving a special award. Other musical and award shows are undoubtedly available. And keep checking Lots of performers are doing small concerts from their homes.

Karen Isaacs is an East Haven resident. To check out her reviews for New York and Connecticut shows, visit 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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