Stage Notes Connecticut Theater News & Reviews

'Chicago,' 'Book of Mormon' Coming To Palace; Pericles At St. Joseph

The 2018-19 season at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury is a blast from the past. Most of the six tours on the schedule have played the state before, yet remain big draws. Like, why wouldn’t you want to see “The Book of Mormon” again?

The steampunkish magic revue “The Illusionists” (which you may see at The Bushnell in May) opens the season at the Palace Oct. 13-14, followed by: the Christmas staple “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (which has played The Bushnell three times and the Shubert once) Nov. 30 and Dec. 1; a new tour of “Legally Blonde The Musical” Feb. 15-16, 2019; the rugged dance show “Tap Dogs” March 1-2, 2019; “The Book of Mormon” (which has been at The Bushnell and the Shubert twice each) April 9-14, 2019; and the razzle-dazzle murder romp “Chicago” (which you can find at the Shubert in June) May 3-4, 2019.

“Tap Dogs,” the dance/percussion revue in which construction-worker types tap dance in workboots, has been around for over 20 years. Its first-ever tour came to the Oakdale in Wallingford in 1998. The “Legally Blonde” tour, from Big League productions, is an international one that spent part of the winter in China.

You’ll notice that all but “The Book of Mormon” are two-night runs. That’s similar to the 2017-18 season, where all the shows except “Phantom of the Opera” were weekend bookings.

Details and season subscription deals at 203-346-2000, palacetheaterct.org.

Intergenerational Night

“The Revisionist” is a comic drama about a writer in his late 20s who goes to stay with a distant cousin who’s in her 70s. Playhouse on Park, which is producing the play April 12-29, has hit on an inspired special event for audiences: “Intergenerational Night,” April 20. “Patrons are encouraged to come out for a night at the theater with a friend or loved one from a different generation other than their own.” Tickets are the usual price, but there will be a talkback after the show and a “post-show dessert and coffee reception.” Details at 860-523-5900, playhouseonpark.org.

Nik Alexander Sings

The fabulous “Legend of Georgia McBride” parties on at TheaterWorks. Not only has the run of the Matthew Lopez drag-queen melodrama been extended through April 29, one of the performers in the show is doing a special solo concert Sunday night April 15 at 8 p.m. Nik Alexander, who plays two hilarious characters in the show — laidback landlord Jason and careening queen Anorexia “Rexy” Nervosa — will perform “A New Song,” backed by a 10-piece band and three backing singers. TheaterWorks is promoting the show thus: “You know he can lip sync. Wait ’til you hear him sing.”

This is the second Sunday concert event to crash the “Georgia McBride” stage. Varla Jean Merman performed “Bad Heroine” there last month.

Tickets for “A New Song” are only $15. Details at theaterworkshartford.org.

Hartford Stage Renovations

Hartford Stage is poised to enter the final stage of its years-long full-scale renovation project. This phase will affect the theater’s backstage area. The green room will get a new kitchen and furnishings. Restrooms and dressing rooms will be upgraded. The costume shop will gain new lights, flooring, windows, workspaces, fitting rooms and a “dedicated wig area.”

Hartford Stage started fundraising for the renovations in 2006 and started work in 2010. The first phase expanded the main lobby and restrooms. Phase two replaced all the seats in the auditorium and remodeled the upstairs lobby and bar. Phase three switched on the new outdoor digital marquee, improved the box office and installed a new elevator, among other things.

The final renovations are scheduled to begin at the end of the current Hartford Stage season in June.

Pericles Sails To St. Joseph

Capital Classics, the local company that has run the outdoor Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival since 1991, has announced that this summer’s production will be “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” July 12-29 on the grounds of the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford.

“Pericles” is a fun choice and fits nicely with all the odyssey-themed shows that can be found around Connecticut these days. It has tragic moments as well as comic ones, and its plot twists include royal incest and a burial at sea. Another outdoor Shakespeare company in the state, New Haven’s Elm Shakespeare, produced its own “Pericles” in 2014.

Capital Classics supplements its summer Shakespeare with talks, live music, youth theater performances and other events, depending on when you attend. Details at 860-231-5555, capitalclassics.org.

Where Are They Now?

Rebecca Taichman is again directing Paula Vogel’s “Indecent,” as a co-production of the Huntington Theatre in Boston (April 26 through May 25, 2019) and Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles (June 4 through July 7, 2019). Taichman, who won a Tony for the Broadway production of “Indecent,” first assembled some of the historical materials for the show while she was doing her thesis project at the Yale School of Drama in 2001.

Lindsey Ferrentino (whose Yale School of Drama thesis project, “Amy and the Orphans,” was a New York hit this year) opened her latest play “This Flat Earth” at New York’s Playwrights Horizon April 9.

You’ve heard their words, now see what they look like. Many writers who have been well-produced in Connecticut — among them Christopher Shinn, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl and Amy Herzog — can be found among the “Portraits of American Playwrights,” a photo exhibit by Bronwen Sharp at New York Public Library through May 5.

The ever-busy Seth Rudetsky, who will star in a new production of his musical “Disaster!” at Connecticut Repertory Theatre in June, runs a star-studded summer concert series in Provincetown, Mass.

This year the attractions include Sierra Boggess, who’s in “The Age of Innocence” this month at Hartford Stage.

The soundtrack to the hit NBC broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” was released as an album April 6. A different production of the musical, the award-winning London one directed by Timothy Sheader, will tour the U.S. in 2019. (Connecticut Repertory Theatre has its own production planned for July.)

The Scorecard

Westport Country Playhouse has assembled a fun, fitting and familiar cast for its “Script in Hand” series reading of Tom Dulack’s venerable backstage gangster comedy “Breaking Legs.” All the readers have been in at least one show at the Playhouse, and many are known for other appearances around the state. Mike Boland (Playhouse on Park’s “Unnecessary Farce”) plays Tino, Chris Henry Coffey (a 1999 Yale School of Drama grad) is Terrence, John Keating (“Under Milk Wood” at Hartford Stage in 1996) is Frankie, Zoë Winters (“Room Service” at Westport Playhouse),

Lenny Volpe (William Gillette in Goodspeed’s “A Connecticut Christmas Carol”) is Lou and Evan Zes (who was just at Hartford Stage in “Murder on the Orient Express”) is Mike.

The reading has one performance, Monday, April 23 at 7 p.m. It’s directed by the longtime overseer of the “Script in Hand” series, Anne Keefe. Details at 203-227-4177 and westportplayhouse.org.

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