Jennifer Blood (Broadway's "Violet," "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder") plays Miss Honey, Quinn Mattfeld (Broadway's "Pal Joey") and Cassie Silva (Broadway's "Matilda") are the Wormwoods and Bryce Ryness (Broadway's "Hair," off-Broadway's "Fly By Night") is the villainous Miss Trunchbull in the touring production of the Broadway musical "Matilda."
Gabby Gutierrez, Mia Sinclair Jenness, and Mabel Tyler alternate in the title role in the show that is beginning technical rehearsals at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven with performances running May 16 to 23. The "official" tour opens at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles on June 7.
The musical, which won four Tony Awards, is based on the young people's novel by Roald Dahl. The show is directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Warchus ("God of Carnage"). Information: shubert.com and 203-562-5666.
Playwrights Neil LaBute, Christopher Shinn and Mark St. Germain spoke to those attending writer's workshops last weekend at Hartford's Mark Twain House & Museum. St. Germain said he was working on a show about Jimmy Hoffa entitled "Hoffa's Last Ride." He was also working on shows centered on Albert Einstein and Tarzan — though not in the same play.
Shinn said Oliver Butler is the director of the world premiere of his play, "An Opening in Time," which opens Hartford Stage's season with performances beginning Sept. 17. Butler, the son of actor Pamela Payton Wright, directed "Bad Jews" at Long Wharf theatre. He is also a founder and a director at the Brooklyn-based devised theater company The Debate Society.
LaBute's latest film is the indie comedy "Dirty Weekend" with Matthew Broderick and Alive Eve which just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. His new dramatic series for DirectTV's Audience Network titled "Billy and Billie" with Adam Brody and Lisa Joyce. And his latest play is the two-character dark comedy "The Way We Get By" with Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski — who was so great in "reasons to be pretty" — and is set to open at off-Broadway's Second Stage.
>>Jonathan Crombie, most known as Gilbert Blythe, the school rival, boyfriend and eventual husband of the heroine in the beloved "Anne of Green Gables" television films, died earlier this month at the age of 48 of a brain hemorrhage. He played C.S. Lewis in Mark St. Germain's "Freud's Last Session" at Hartford's TheaterWorks last year.
>>It's a rare year when there's no local connection to the Pulitzer Prize winner for drama. However, TheaterWorks did present Stephen Adly Guirgis's "The Mother------ With the Hat" in 2011. (The show made headlines when the playwright objected to the casting of non-ethnic actors in the Hispanic roles) Guirgis is the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play "Between Riverside and Crazy."
>>The CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts will present "Sweet Charity" on May 1, 2, 8, and 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Theater for the Performing Arts in Hartford. The cast features more than 30 students from more than 20 Connecticut towns. Information: 860-757-6388 crec.org/theater.
>>Goodspeed Musicals is holding auditions for local non-Equity child actors (boys between ages 7 and 10 and girls between ages 6 and 11) for its upcoming production of "A Wonderful Life" at the Goodspeed Opera House May 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the McMillian Rehearsal Studio in East Haddam. All auditions are by appointment only by calling 860-873-8664, ext. 387. Children must be available for rehearsals, Aug. 18 to Sept 17, and performances, Sept. 18 to Dec. 6. Performers of all ethnicities are encouraged to audition.
>>Actor-singer Jeff Daniels (films "Dumb and Dumber," "The Purple Rose of Cairo," Broadway's "Redwood Curtain") plays his roots music at Fairfield Theatre Company Sept. 18.
>>Remember Klea Blackhurst who starred in Goodspeed's "Hello, Dolly!" two years ago?. She's starring in a musical workshop in NYC in late May of "Hazel: A Musical Maid in America," based on the Saturday Evening Post cartoon character and television series. Lucie Arnaz will direct. The show features a score by Ron Abel and Chuck Steffan), and a book by Lissa Levin.
>>Matt Opatrny, who was raised in Shelton and was a member of Youth CONNection, is co-founder of the New York City theater company Blessed Unrest that is presenting "Doruntine," a bilingual international collaboration with Teatri ODA of Kosova. The two companies have been collaborating since 2005, creating and performing original, bilingual plays in New York and on tours through the Balkan nations of Kosova, Macedonia and Albania. Information: blessedunrest.org.
>>The cast is set for the fully produced workshop of the new musical "The Theory of Relativity" that will run at Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in Chester May 7 to 31. The unconventional musical by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill (Broadway's "The Story f My Life") will feature Jennifer Apple, Robert Ariza, Jane Bruce, Victoria Cook, Michael Browne, Michael Coale Grey, Kurt Hellerich, Caitlin Houlahan, Gizel Jiménez, Kyra Maureen Kennedy, Mack Shirilla, Keith Potts and Erin Kommor. Information: 860.873.8668 and goodspeed.org.
>>Waterbury's Palace Theater celebrates its 10th year since its renovation with an end-of-the-season bash. Featuring six parties in one location, "Palace 10.0" will immerse guests "in an interactive experience that invites them to freely explore over six different spaces throughout the theater, each with themed entertainment, specialty bars, food and live music." Tickets are $65. Information: 203-346-2000, and at palacetheaterct.org
>>Sacred Heart University announced that it will feature a new undergraduate degree in theater arts, which is expected to launch this fall. The new program will be housed in the Department of Communication and Media Studies and will be based on the university's main campus in Fairfield. Faculty will consist of current Sacred Heart University faculty and guest. Students will earn the degree in one of two tracks — acting or musical theater. Information: sacredheart.edu/tap.
>>Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes ("The English Patient," "Schindler's List," "Oedipus" at the National Theatre) plays Jack Tanner in Shaw's "Man and Superman" to be broadcast to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at 2 p.m. at May 19. Tickets are $25, $20 seniors, $15 students. Information: quickcenter.com or 203-254-4010 or 1-877-ARTS-396.
>>Tony Simotes, who was artistic director and president of Shakespeare & Company in the Massachusetts Berkshires is taking over as managing director and artistic associate at the Berkshire Theatre Group based in Stockbridge, Mass. Meanwhile there's a new slate of board officers at Shakespeare & Company following its new management triumvirate of Steve Ball, interim managing director and Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy, interim co-artistic directors.