Yale School of Drama grad Zach Appelman (Broadway's "War Horse," Julie Taymor's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the title role in "Henry V" at Washington, D.C.'s Folger Theatre) will star in the title role in Hartford Stage's "Hamlet." Appelman's recent TV and film credits include "Sleepy Hollow," "Homeland," "Black Box," and the film version of Taymor's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Artistic director Darko Tresnjak will stage the show, his first gig at the theater since winning a Tony Award in June for the Broadway musical "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder." "Hamlet" plays Oct. 16 to Nov. 16 and follows Tresnjak's staging of "The Tempest," "Twelfth Night" and last season's "Macbeth," which Connecticut Critics Circle named as best play of the year, along with "These Paper Bullets!" Tresnjak, who also designed the set for his production of "Macbeth," will also design the set for "Hamlet."
The cast includes Kate Forbes (Hartford Stage's "Macbeth") as Gertrude; Edward James Hyland (Broadway's "Arcadia," "The Price") as Polonius; Andrew Long (Shakespeare Theatre Company member, national tour of "War Horse") as Claudius; Curtis Billings (Hartford Stage's "The Crucible," "Summer and Smoke" and "A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas") as Rosencrantz; Floyd King as Bernardo/Leading Player; Cliff Miller as Guildenstern; Anthony Roach as Laertes; James Seol as Horatio; and Brittany Vicars, a recent graduate of the Julliard School, as Ophelia.
Information: 860-527-5151 www.hartfordstage.org.
Ed Asner Conversation
Seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner, best known for his role as newsman Lou Grant in the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Lou Grant," will be "in conversation" at the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield on Sept. 14 at 3 p.m.
The show is part of the school's "American Legend Series" where the actor will be interviewed by the center's executive director Jerry Goehring. The presentation will also include film clips and a talk-back with the actor.
Asner is returning to Connecticut after a special appearance three years ago in support of efforts to restore the American Shakespeare Theatre, where he was a member of the cast in the theater's early seasons. He returned to Stratford in 2013 for a fundraiser for the theater. Asner also played the state in 2010 in his solo show "FDR" at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts center in Old Saybrook and in 2007 for Harford Stage's "Brand:NEW: play reading series performing in Emilie Beck's 'Numbers of People."
Besides five Emmys as Lou Grant, Asner received two Emmys for the mini-series "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots." In addition, he voiced the lead character in the Disney Pixar animated film "Up."He has also appeared in such shows as "Royal Pains," "Hot in Cleveland," "Hawaii Five-0" and "Law & Order: SVU." As a parent and a grandparent of an autistic child, Asner is involved with the nonprofit organization Autism Speaks. Information: 203-371-7908 and www.EdgertonCenter.org.
'Thook' At HartBeat
The Indian Ensemble's "Thook" ("Spit") will be performed for three performances at HartBeat Ensemble's Carriage House Theater, 360 Farmington Ave. in Hartford, Sept. 4 to 6 at 7:30 p.m. and for two performances at Yale University's Iseman Theater in New Haven Sept. 10 to 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Admission to the Hartford engagement is $25 general; $20 students, seniors, Let's Go Arts Members. All shows will be followed by talk-back with the performers.
"Thook" is comprised of four short stories on the theme of hunger. Subjects range from the Bengal famine of 1943 to the Food Riots of 2008. The play will be presented in both Hindi and English and will be accompanied by super-titles. The show is part of HartBeat's Festival of Food Security, a series of community events in Hartford and New Haven, during Hunger Action Month. Information: www.hartbeatensemble.org or 860-548-9144.
The run of "Woody Sez: the Life and Music of Woody Guthrie" has been extended a week, now ending Sept. 21 at TheaterWorks.
The downtown Hartford theater will also have a fundraising cocktail party at the Governor's Mansion in Hartford on Sept. 10 with seven playwrights whose work will be seen on stage during the coming season: Mark St. Germain ("Dancing Lessons"); Sharr White ("Annapurna"); and several "Christmas on the Rocks" writers: John Cariani ("Almost, Maine"), Theresa Rebeck ("The Understudy"), Jonathan Tollins (Buyer and Cellar"), Matthew Lombardo ("High") and Jacques Lamarre ("I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti"). The $100 tickets are gone but $50 tickets for the mingling with the playwrights are still available. Information: 860-527-7838 and Dina@Theaterworkshartfoprd.org.
Jim Shankman (Broadway's "Grease," "Once in a Lifetime") will play Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America, Part 1: Millennium Approaches," the new season opener at West Hartford's Playhouse on the Park. Obie Award-winner Rae C. Wright will play Hannah in the eight-person cast, which includes Clark Beasley Jr., Tim Hackney, Kristen Harlow, James Parenti, Marty Scanlon and Olivia Hoffman. The show runs Oct. 1 to 19. Information: 860-523-5900 x10 or www.playhouseonpark.org.
Applications are now being accepted by the Greater Hartford Arts Council for the Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, which supports cultural projects aimed at generating economic activity, creating and preserving job opportunities, and impacting tourism in Hartford. This program is open to nonprofit organizations and artists based in Hartford and funds programs and projects aimed to take place within the city's borders. "Intent to Apply" forms are due by Sept.18 and a full application is due on Oct. 16. Guidelines, applications and eligibility requirements are available online at LetsGoArts.org/HartfordArtsJobs.
Branford's Legacy Theatre (the historic Stony Creek Puppet House) has completed new roof construction with the plan to open the theater for programming next year. The roof restoration was supported by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the 1772 Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and the Branford Community Foundation. They join more than 200 individuals who have helped Legacy raise more than $500,000 since the launch of the capital campaign to restore and revitalize the theater. The roof project marks the second phase of the theater's construction, following the interior demolition earlier this summer.
How's "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" doing at the box office since its Tony Award win in early June as best musical of the season? It's sustained its post-win super-boost and is coming closer to recovering its $7.5 million capitalization. The show has grossed in the $900,000s for most of the summer, only dipping to the $800,000s for a few weeks. Last week it grossed $898,000.
Theater Day Tripping
Looking for an excuse for a day trip to parts just a bit outside the state? The Tony Award-winning Trinity Repertory Theatre of Providence opens its 51st season with Anton Chekhov's "Ivanov" with a new translation by the theater's artistic director Curt Columbus and directed by Brian McEleney. Performers will include Timothy Crowe, Barbara Meek, Annie Scurria, Fred Sullivan, Jr., Stephen Thorne and Joe Wilson Jr. The show begins previews Sept. 4, opens Sept. 7 and runs through Oct. 5. Information: www.trinityrep.com.