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Stage Notes Connecticut Theater News & Reviews

Wesleyan's Arts Director Pam Tatge Taking Over Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

Special To The Courant
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass. names new executive director

Acclaimed arts administrator Pam Tatge will leave her longtime post as director of the Wesleyan University Center for the Arts to become the new executive director of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass.

Tatge, a Wesleyan graduate, has run the CFA for more than 16 years. Before that, she spent a decade as director of development for the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven. Under Tatge, the Wesleyan Center for the Arts has been one of the state's greatest supporters of modern dance, with numerous commissions, world premieres and residencies.

Jacob's Pillow, founded in the 1930s by choreographer Ted Shawn, is the premiere modern dance showcase in New England, and also houses a major archive of dance history. Tatge will join Jacob's Pillow in April, in time for the summer season that runs from June through August.

But He Doesn't Know The Territory

Yale alums Reg Rogers and Amy Justman are Harold Hill and Marion the librarian, while Yale School of Drama alums Mark Linn-Baker, Stephen DeRosa and four Yale faculty members are all in the supporting cast, for "The Music Man in Concert," which will be presented Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 23 and 24, by the Yale Musical Theater of the Air.

That's an accomplished cast, with Broadway credits that span 35 years. Like the previous YMTA productions of "Kiss Me, Kate in Concert" and "My Fair Lady in Concert," the show features a chorus and orchestra made up of current Yale students, with other classmates creating live sound effects in the "golden age of radio" style. There are three performances at the Yale University Theater: Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $20-$75. Details at aya.yale.edu.

R.I.P. David Margulies

If an intense show needed humor, or a comedy needed gravitas, David Margulies could bring it. The venerable, versatile character actor died Jan. 11 at the age of 78.

Recognizable as "Mayor Lenny" in the (original) "Ghostbusters" films and lawyer Neil Mink on "The Sopranos," Margulies also left a legacy of great stage performances in Connecticut. He pranced and mugged masterfully as the arrogant Sir Anthony Absolute in "The Rivals" at Hartford Stage in 1996. He appeared in five shows at the Long Wharf Theatre.

I saw Margulies in the final cast of the original Broadway production of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" in 1994 and still consider his Roy Cohn the best I've seen.

Long Wharf Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein, who directed Margulies in "The Price" in 2007 and "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" just last season, pays tribute: "David was a close personal friend and a treasured collaborator. His utter delight in his work, his fierce intelligence, his playful spirit, and his childlike enthusiasm for life made him uniquely spirited company. He was popular with our audiences and with our staff. I'll miss him every day."

Actors 'Chosen'

Playhouse on Park in West Hartford has cast its production of "The Chosen," which runs Jan. 27 through Feb. 14. The play is based on the Chaim Potok novel about two Jewish boys growing up in 1940s Brooklyn.

It's been adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner, who also did the stage version of Potok's "My Name is Asher Lev" that played at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre in 2012. The all-male cast of "The Chosen" includes David Gautschy as Reuven Malter, Joshua Whitson as Danny Saunders, Damian Buzzerio as Reb Saunders, Dan Shor as David Malter and Jordan Wolfe as Young Reuven Malter. Only one member of the cast has appeared at Playhouse on Park previously: Buzzerio was in "Proof" a year ago.

Star Turn

David Bowie's last album, "Blackstar," came out Jan. 8, and it is as fascinating to theater folk as it is to pop fans. It includes the long song "Lazarus" from Bowie's current Broadway musical of the same name. Another tune on the album is titled "'Tis a Pity She Was a Whore," after the 17th century John Ford melodrama. And "Girl Loves Me" has lyrics written in Polari, a slang language beloved by 19th century puppeteers and mid-20th century British gay culture. Bowie, who died from cancer Jan. 10 at the age of 69, last played Hartford on his 1995 "Outside" tour.

Merch Watch

Gift items on sale in the lobby for the national tour of "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" at the Bushnell: a "topsy-turvy doll" that flips from Ella in rags to Ella as belle of the ball (much like the show's fantastic quick-change costume effects); socks that look like glass slippers; and a clock pendant, presumably so you'll know when it's midnight and won't have to flee the palace and lose your, um, sock.

A Grease With Them

Jonathan Tolins gets around. His nationwide small-theater hit "Buyer & Cellar" is now at TheaterWorks in Hartford (through Jan. 31), and he's one of the seven writers involved with TheaterWorks' seasonal staple "Christmas on the Rocks." The Connecticut-based Tolins was tapped — along with his actor/director/writer husband Robert Cary — to adapt the script for the live TV version of "Grease" airing Jan. 31 on Fox TV.

Dreamscape

The Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven holds its annual kid-friendly "Discovery Day" Saturday, Jan. 23, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. This year's theme is "The Dream Factory." It's a guided activity that involves storytelling, improvisation and dress-up games, and also lets kids "create landscapes with light and color, build cities out of boxes and make their own musical instruments. You can register at 9 a.m. on the day of the event or pre-register by calling 203-787-4282. More info at ongwharf.org/discovery-day-2016.

Vision Thing

While Hartford Stage is dramatizing the story of one Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (photographer Paul Watson, in "Body of an American,'' through Jan. 31), New Haven's International Festival of Arts & Ideas is bestowing its Visionary Leadership Award upon another. The sixth annual prize ceremony and gala luncheon is Jan. 26 at New Haven's Omni Hotel. The recipient is Sheryl WuDunn, who won a Pulitzer with her husband, Nicholas Kristof, for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989. Her recent book, "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity," was turned into a star-studded PBS documentary last year. For tickets to the luncheon, contact artidea.org/vlaluncheon2016

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the casting information for "The Music Man in Concert.'' Reg Rogers will play the role of Harold Hill. David Loud is the music director.

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