Fall in Connecticut perenially offers familiar scenes and new ones, and it's no different on the state's stages.
This autumn, audiences will see major national tours of long-established hits like "Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserables," but also the first tour of a fresh young show like "School of Rock." Connecticut's award-winning regional theaters are likewise offering classics ("A Midsummer Night's Dream"), world premieres ("Fireflies") and world premiere adaptations of classics ("A Connecticut Christmas Carol").
The dance scene ranges from cutting-edge modern terpsichoreans — Hervé Koubi, Kyle Abraham — to a multitude of versions of "The Nutcracker." And in comedy, seasoned stand-ups such as Steven Wright and Jay Leno are being booked into the same halls as new material from David Sedaris and Mike Birbiglia.
Enjoy the chill in the air, and all the cool shows.
Who's the theater VIP for fall? Hint: His official title is The Right Honorable The Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber. This fall, you can find a school production of "Evita" at the Hartt School Oct. 19 to 22; Lloyd Webber's latest hit "School of Rock" at The Bushnell Oct. 24 to 29; and a major tour of his magnum opus "The Phantom of the Opera" at the Waterbury Palace Nov. 15 to 26. (The "Phantom" sequel "Love Never Dies" comes to the Bushnell in the spring.)
A musical theater blockbuster-maker of more recent vintage is Robert Lopez. His saucy social satire "Avenue Q" is being done at Playhouse on Park Sept. 13 through Oct. 8 and also at the Warner Theatre in Torrington Nov. 4 to12, while the ever-popular national tour of "Book of Mormon" makes its fourth appearance in Connecticut Sept. 26 through Oct. 1 at the Shubert in New Haven.
When he did "Next to Normal" at TheaterWorks last season, that theater's Producing Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero showed his Hartford audience what theatergoers in East Haddam have known for a decade: He's got a way with musicals. Ruggiero is directing, and helping reshape, the 1986 Stephen Schwartz/Charles Strouse/Joseph Stein musical "Rags" Oct. 6 through Dec. 10 at the Goodspeed Opera House.
The latest local production of "Million Dollar Quartet" is Oct. 26 through Nov. 19 at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury. An internationally touring British production of "Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story" is at the Shubert in New Haven Nov. 17 and 18.
TheaterWorks And Hartford Stage
TheaterWorks starts its 2017-18 season with the hard-kicking high school soccer team girls of Sarah DeLappe's "The Wolves" Oct. 5 through Nov. 12.
The Hartford Stage season gets underway with "A Midsummer Night's Dream," directed by the theater's Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak Sept. 7 through Oct. 8. The Shakespeare fantasy is followed by a contemporary drama, "Seder" by Sarah Gancher (Oct. 19 through Nov. 12) and the 20th season of "A Christmas Carol" (with new Scrooge Michael Preston) Nov. 24 through Dec. 30. A Hartford Stage-born hit from 2012, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," returns to Connecticut on tour Oct. 20 and 21 at the Waterbury Palace.
Shows having their premieres in Connecticut this fall include Matthew Barber's "Fireflies" Oct. 11 to Nov. 5 at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven; TV comedy writer Mike Reiss' latest theater project "I Hate Musicals: The Musical" Sept. 27 to Oct. 15 at Ivoryton Playhouse and "A Connecticut Christmas Carol" Nov. 17 and Dec. 24 at the Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre. There's a work-in-progress presentation of Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble's "Cellular Songs" Nov. 12 at the Wesleyan Center for the Arts.
"Classics" this season can mean classic literature as much it does classic scripts. A bunch of plays and musicals this fall are based on famous books. The new tour of "Les Miserables" is at The Bushnell Oct. 3 to 8.
There are two productions of "The Diary of Anne Frank": Oct. 25 through Nov. 19 at Playhouse on Park in West Haven and Nov. 24 through Dec. 10 at Westport Community Theatre.
Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven has a new stage version of Richard Wright's "Native Son" Nov. 24 through Dec. 16. A national tour of "Tuesdays With Morrie," starring Jamie Farr of "M*A*S*H" fame, is at The Bushnell Oct. 15 and Ridgefield Playhouse Nov. 5. Aaron Posner's adaptation of Chaim Potok's "The Chosen" is at the Long Wharf Theatre Nov. 22 through Dec. 17. The national tour of the Broadway revival of "The Color Purple" is at The Bushnell Dec. 5 to 10.
Children's theater takes many forms, from the intimate small-theater exercises like "Elephant and Piggie's 'We Are in a Play'" at Playhouse on Park Dec. 2 to 17 to the big-stage spectacles "Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!" (Sept. 22) and "Peppa Pig Live!" (Oct. 7) at the Oakdale in Wallingford. The nationally touring double feature of children's-book adaptations, "Guess How Much I Love You" and "I Love My Little Storybook," is coming to both the Quick Center (Oct. 15) and The Bushnell (Nov. 6).
Choreographer Hervé Koubi turned his discovery of his North African heritage into a multi-styled, multicultural dance piece. Compagnie Hervé Koubi performs "What the Day Owes to the Night" twice in Connecticut in October: at Fairfield University's Quick Center Oct. 19 and at UConn's Jorgensen Center Oct. 24.
What fields are left for modern dance to explore and energize? How about ice shows? The slippery Montreal-based "contemporary ice skating company" Le Patin Libre brings its signature piece "Vertical Influences" to Wesleyan University's Spurrier-Snyder Rink Oct. 15.
Also performing at Wesleyan this fall, in a more traditional venue: Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion's "Dearest Home" at the university's CFA Theater Oct. 6 and 7. This acclaimed new piece by Abraham (who's developed quite a following in Connecticut) offers the audience a choice of listening to the dance's soundtrack through headphones or just sitting in silence.
Adaptations of "The Nutcracker" to watch out for this holiday season include Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker" Dec. 2 at the Oakdale in Wallingford; Hartt School's annual rendition of the Tchaikovsky classic Dec. 8 to 17; Woodbury Ballet's Dec. 16 at the Waterbury Palace; Connecticut Ballet's performance at the Palace in Stamford Dec. 16 and 17; and "The Hip-Hop Nutcracker" starring MC Kurtis Blow Dec. 17 at The Bushnell.
Ahmed Ahmed, the Egyptian actor/comedian who founded the "Axis of Evil Comedy Tour" of Middle Eastern stand-up comics, is at Mohegan Sun's Comix Club Sept. 21 to 23.
Steven Wright put spot remover on his dog, and now the dog's gone. Wright is at Ridgefield Playhouse Oct. 6.
Sea Tea Improv hosts half a dozen comedy shows every weekend at its Comedy Theater on Asylum Street. On Oct. 12, there's "Doc Foster's Twisted Tales: A Puppet Show for Grown-Ups." The improv troupe performs "The Charter Boys — Hartford's Most Watched '90s Crime Drama" Nov. 9 to 12.
Tracy Morgan returned to the road in triumph after his tragic car crash. He's at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Oct. 13 and Foxwoods' Fox Theater on Nov. 18 (the same night that Jay Leno is at The Bushnell).
Humorist David Sedaris latest book is drawn from his diaries, but he's been writing freely about his own life for decades. His breakthrough was "The Santaland Diaries," about being a Macy's Christmas elf. Sedaris talks and reads at The Bushnell Oct. 14.
Comedian/actor/writer/filmmaker Mike Birbiglia has created whole new thematic one-man shows for himself every few years. His latest work, "The New One," is at Foxwoods' Fox Theater Nov. 11.
Whitney Cummings starred in her own sitcom for two seasons. She also created "2 Broke Girls," which completed its six-season run earlier this year. She's back doing stand-up, Nov. 17 at Foxwoods' Fox Theater.