The latest "Christmas Carol" in Connecticut transports Dickens' holiday story across the ocean, setting it in the East Haddam home of famed early 20th actor William Gillette.
The 90-minute, family-friendly "A Connecticut Christmas Carol," at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre, 33 N. Main St., Chester, has a book by LJ Fecho of Pennsylvania's Genesius Theatre and music and lyrics by longtime Goodspeed Resident Music Director Michael O'Flaherty.
Besides William Gillette (played by erstwhile "Wicked" wizard Lenny Wolpe), the 11-person cast includes Michael Thomas Holmes (as Mark Twain and other ghosts pestering Gillette), Samantha Bruce (star of the recent Goodspeed "Oklahoma!") and Matt Gibson (as Bob Cratchit).
The show runs Nov. 17 to Dec. 24. Performances are Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $54 to $59. 860-873-8668, goodspeed.org.
'The Buddy Holly Story'
One of the first, and still one of the best, examples of the "jukebox musical" genre, "Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story" is distinguished by its clever structure. Act One covers the rock and roll pioneer's life story. Act Two re-creates the last concert he ever gave, in Clear Lake, Iowa, alongside Richie Valens and The Big Bopper hours before all three stars perished in a plane crash.
A new international tour of "Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story," starring Michael Perrie Jr., comes to the Shubert, 247 College St., New Haven, Nov. 17 and 18. Tickets are $16 to $76. 203-562-5666 and shubert.com.
A surfeit of phantoms! While the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" settles in a fortnight at the Palace in Waterbury, Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport begins a three-week run of that other musical based on Gaston Leroux's creepy 1910 novel about a guy who stalks the catacombs of an opera house.
"Phantom" has a book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. This is the pair that created "Nine." They actually began writing their musical before Lloyd Webber did his, but had trouble competing with the "Cats" composer's juggernaut. Kopit and Yeston's "Phantom" became more than a cult hit, though — it gets produced frequently, and there are legions of fans who consider it superior to the Lloyd Webber one (or indeed the Ken Hill one, but that's a whole other story).
The locally wrought Downtown Cabaret Theatre production stars Max J. Swarner as Erik (the title character) and Anna Fagan as Christine.
"Phantom" plays Nov. 17 through Dec. 10 at 263 Golden Hill St., Bridgeport. Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 5 and 8:15 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $28 to $33. 203-576-1636, dtcab.com.
Gordon Edelstein's production of Aaron Posner's adaptation of Chaim Potok's novel "My Name is Asher Lev" at the Long Wharf Theatre in the spring 2012 transferred to an off-Broadway theater later that year.
Edelstein and Posner have reunited for an adaptation of a different Potok novel, "The Chosen," about two Jewish boys — one Hasidic, one Modern Orthodox — growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s. The play was performed locally just last year at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford. This new production will feature some rewrites by the playwright. The set is by Edelstein's frequent collaborator Eugene Lee, the longtime "Saturday Night Live" designer who did the Long Wharf productions of "Endgame," "Napoli, Brooklyn," "The Train Driver" and "Our Town" as well as "Asher Lev."
"The Chosen" runs Nov. 22 through Dec. 17 on the Long Wharf mainstage, 222 Sargent Dr., New Haven. Performances are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m., with some added matinees. (Call for details. Tickets are $29 to $90.50. 203-787-4282, longwharf.org.