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Steve Martin Returns For A 'Very Stupid Conversation' At Oakdale

Steve Martin is returning to Connecticut for a "very stupid conversation."

Earlier this month Steve Martin had a smart conversation with New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre.

It was witty, sophisticated and the bon mots were flying. "I like the camaraderie of actors [in the theater]," he told Gopnik of his experiences writing plays. "We suffer together."

And: "Theater is about character. Movies are about moments."

Now Martin is going to participate in a stupid conversation. Make that very stupid.

The comedian-musician-composer-actor-writer and his comedian-actor pal Martin Short will participate in "Steve Martin and Martin Short with the Steep Canyon Rangers in a Very Stupid Conversation" Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford.

Tickets for the comedy with bluegrass music show are $55-$125, not including fees. Information: oakdale.com, livenation.com, 800-745-3000.

Anderson Voices Writer

Hartford Stage has its new Aetna New Voices Fellow Playwright, a position for writers of color that has proved to be a launching pad for new work.

Christina Anderson, who American Theatre Magazine selected as one of the 15 up-and-coming artists "whose work will be transforming America's stages for decades to come," is this season's pick.

Her plays have been included twice in The Kilroys' List, an annual industry survey of important new works by female and transgender playwrights.

Anderson's plays include "Good Goods" (which played at Yale Repertory Theatre), "The Ashes Under Gait City," "Man in Love," "Blacktop Sky" and "Hollow Roots."

The residency includes the commissioning of a new play and developmental readings and workshops, working with Hartford Stage's education department, and advancing community development. This marks the 11th year with Aetna as the sole funder of the program.

Other writers in the program include Kimber Lee ("brownsville song (b-side for tray)"), Matthew Lopez ("Reverberation," "Somewhere"), Daniel Beaty ("Breath and Imagination," "Resurrection") and Quiara Alegría Hudes, who won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for "Water by the Spoonful," which premiered at Hartford Stage.

Anderson received a bachelor's degree from Brown University and a master of fine arts from the Yale School of Drama's Playwriting Program. She is an assistant professor of playwriting at SUNY-Purchase. She also had a residency in 2011 at the National Playwrights' Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford.

Kelli O'Hara Honored

Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara was honored at Westport Country Playhouse's sold-out annual fundraiser on Sept. 21.

The Westport resident is now starring in the Lincoln Center revival of "The King & I" (magnificent, by the way).

More than 570 people attended the tribute to O'Hara, whose Broadway credits include "The Light in the Piazza," "The Bridges of Madison County," "The Pajama Game," "South Pacific" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It" (for which she received Tony nominations in each show).

Among those who performed in the tribute were Matthew Morrison; composer Adam Guettel; Jose Llana (her current co-star in "The King & I"); Jake Lucas; O'Hara's husband, Greg Naughton; and her father-in-law, James Naughton.,

Among the celebrity guests were Maureen Anderman, Alisyn Camerota, Frank Converse, Mia Dillon, Keir Dullea, Daniel Gerroll, A.R. and Molly Gurney, Patricia Kalember, Des McAnuff and David Wiltse.

Felicity Jones in 'Broken Glass'

Felicity Jones (Westport Playhouse's "The Diary of Anne Frank," Broadway's "Metamorphoses") will play the pivotal role of Sylvia in Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass" at the Westport Country Playhouse Oct. 6-21.

The theater's artistic director, Mark Lamos, directs the production, which also features Steven Skybell (Westport Playhouse's "Dinner with Friends," Broadway's "Pal Joey," "Wicked," "The Full Monty") and Stephen Schnetzer (Broadway's "The Goat," off-Broadway's "The Lisbon Traviata," and, for 17 years, Cass Winthrop on "Another World").

This marks the centennial year of playwright and longtime Connecticut resident Arthur Miller (1915-2005) with one of his last works, "Broken Glass," which had its world premiere at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre before moving to Broadway in 1995, where it had a short run.

Also in the cast are John Hilner (Broadway's "La Cages aux Folles," national tour of "Wicked"), Merritt Janson (Off-Broadway's "Tamburlaine the Great" and "Notes from Underground") and Angela Reed (Broadway's "The Country Girl" and national tours of "War Horse" and "Spring Awakening").

Set in 1938 Brooklyn at the time of Nazi Germany's Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), Lamos says: "In its swift-moving, almost thriller-like action, Miller audaciously entwines a crippled marriage, in which the wife is herself mysteriously crippled in reaction to news of Nazi atrocities against German Jews, mirrored by a world on the verge of collapse."

Concurrent with the run, the Playhouse will present "The Individual & American Society: Celebrating Arthur Miller at 100," examining Miller's life and the multifaceted themes of his works. Programming will include speakers, discussions, workshops, films, family events, and a monthlong lobby exhibit, as well as events off-campus. Many of the programs are free and open to the public. A calendar of events is available at westportplayhouse.org, or a brochure may be requested by calling 203-227-4177.

'Tuesday' Cast

Gannon McHale (Broadway: James Joyce's "The Dead, "The Sound of Music;" film: "Lincoln") and Chris Richards (off-Broadway's "The Philanderer," TV's "The Knick," "Orange is the New Black") make up the cast of "Tuesdays with Morrie" at West Hartford's Playhouse on Park.

Adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom from Albom's book, the play chronicles the relationship between a professor who is facing life with Lou Gehrig's disease and his student-turned-workaholic journalist over the span of several years.

The play, directed by Sasha Brätt (Playhouse on Park's "Othello," "The Dining Room"), runs Sept. 30 to Oct. 18. Information: 860-523-5900, Ext. 10, or playhouseonpark.

Disney Drag

"Hocus Pocus Live!," a 25-minute drag performance based on the Disney film "Hocus Pocus," will be presented Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at Hartford's Chez Est Café.

The event is produced and directed by Waterbury-based drag performer Summer Orlando, who called the film "the go-to Halloween movie for an entire generation, and that also has a huge gay following thanks to the divine Bette Midler."

The three performers who play the Sanderson sisters from the film — Orlando, Kiki Lucia and Mia E Z'lay — will participate in several preview performances: Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. at Headquarters in Agawam, Mass.; Oct. 10 at 11 p.m. at York Street Café in New Haven; and midnight Oct. 16 at the Platinum Pony in East Hampton, Mass. Also featured in the show are Austin Heff, Ivanna Riggie, Veronica Mann and Don Houston.

Short Takes

>>Hartford Stage will hold auditions for children of all ethnic backgrounds, aged 5 to 13, for the 18th anniversary production of "A Christmas Carol — A Ghost Story of Christmas." Auditions will be held Oct. 13 and 14 from 3 to 6 p.m. Callbacks for some roles are slated for Oct. 15 from 3 to 6 p.m. Auditions are by appointment only. To schedule, email auditions@hartfordstage.org. Auditions will be held at Hartford Stage Offices, 942 Main St.

>>Just as I predicted: The Broadway musical "Amazing Grace," which began at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, will close in late October. It had struggled with poor sales since it began performances in late June.

>>Coming-up celebs you wouldn't normally find in the same paragraph: Tim Gunn, co-host for Lifetime's "Project Runway," appears at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. (quickcenter.com). … Singer Dawn Upshaw will be in concert at University of Hartford's Hartt School Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Millard Auditorium. Torrington's Warner Theatre will screen the documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential" Oct.17 at 8 p.m. Following the movie, there will be a live interview with Hunter and entertainment writer Rex Reed.

>>Terrence Mann, the Broadway veteran who has become a regular at UConn's Nutmeg Summer Series ("Les Miserables," "My Fair Lady," "Peter Pan"), will take over the roles of Charles Frohman/Captain Hook in Broadway's "Finding Neverland" beginning Sept. 29.

>>Submissions for the 2016 National Playwrights Conference are now being accepted through Oct. 16 by the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford. Playwrights will receive a one-month residency in July with stipend, housing, meals, and transportation to support an intensive rehearsal process and two script-in-hand public readings. Information: theoneill.org.

>>Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth" will be the first production at the Yale School of Drama. Directed by Luke Harlan, a third-year MFA candidate, the show will run Oct. 20-24 at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Information: drama.yale.edu.

>>Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' "War," which received its world premiere last year at Yale Rep, will play at Lincoln Center's Claire Tow Theatre May 21 to July 3. Lileana Blain-Cruz directs. Jacobs-Jenkins also will receive the 2015 Harold and Mimi Steinberg Playwright Award Nov. 16 at Lincoln Center, which also comes with a cash prize of $50,000.

>>There will be a staged reading by the Emerson Theater Collaborative of "True Nature of All Being" by Lisa Giordano on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. at the First United Church in Mystic. Michael Bradford directs. Information: emersontheatercollaborative.org.

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