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The Music Of Yesteryear On Connecticut Stages

'Million Dollar Quartet,' Diana Ross, both have one-night only shows in CT

Let the music do the acting. There is lots of rock- or pop-themed entertainment this week, and it's not even "Rocky Horror" season.

The Real Thing

Hot on the heels of "Motown The Musical," which played the Bushnell last week, the real-life version of one of the lead characters in that show, Diana Ross, is doing a concert at the same theater, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford, 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 3. Tickets are $50.50-$110.50. 860-987-5900 and bushnell.org.

Rockabilly Rulers

"Million Dollar Quartet," which like "Motown The Musical" uses hit records to tell a real-life story about the groundbreaking mid-20th century musicians who created those sounds, returns to the state after umpteen previous visits. It's at the Garde Arts Center, 325 State St., New London, for one night only, at 8 p.m. Friday, April 1. The current cast features Jason Cohen as Jerry Lee Lewis, Evan Buckley Harris as Johnny Cash, Skip Robinson as Elvis Presley and Christopher Wren as Carl Perkins, re-enacting the night in 1956 when all these legends stayed in a Memphis studio late at night and just jammed. Tickets are $38 to $56. 860-444-7373 and gardearts.org.

On His Own

Stephen Schwartz, of course, composed "Wicked" and "Pippin" and "Godspell" and "The Magic Show." He also wrote the pop scores for the Disney movies "Pocahontas," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Enchanted." In Connecticut, the Norma Terris Theatre staged two of his more intimate works, "The Baker's Wife" and "Scrapbooks." Schwartz plays a solo concert, "Stephen Schwartz: The Brains Behind Broadway," at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge. Tickets are $65, $32.50 for students. 203-438-5795, ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

Taffeta mania

One of the first shows to merge small-stage ensemble-cast theatrics with a jukebox-full of pop songs, "The Taffetas," had its beginnings as a cabaret revue in 1988. It's set in 1956, when the show's titular sibling singing group is making its national TV debut on a variety show called "Spotlight on Music."

"The Taffetas" is awash in nostalgia, from poodle skirts to "Checkers Speech" references to more than three dozen mid-20th century song standards. Some are radio hits, some are show tunes and most are sung with harmonies or "sh-boom" style backgrounds.

"The Taffetas" — Kaye, Peggy, Cheryl and Donna — plus a three-piece band, are at Seven Angels Theatre, 1 Plank Road, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Waterbury, from March 31 through April 24. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $39-$54. Information: 203-757-4676, sevenangelstheatre.org.

Splitting Hair

The Phoenix Theater Company is letting its "Hair" down through April 3. The company's rendition of the nostalgic yet ever-timely "American Tribal Love-Rock Musical," plays Friday and Saturday at 8 p. m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Trinity-at-Main Performance Center, 69 Main St., New Britain. Tickets are $26, $22 in advance. Information: phoenixtheater.us.

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