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Hartford Stage
Courtesy Hartford Stage

Three months of COVID-related measures continue to take their toll on arts and culture organizations in the state. The prolonged closure of Connecticut’s performing arts venues and museums has cost those organizations nearly $29 million, according to the national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. 

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For the last several months, nine African American men -- fathers -- have been workshopping their own personal stories of fatherhood. “The Fatherhood Manologues” is a Moth-style storytelling project that has its virtual debut on Father’s Day.

Yale Repertory Theater
Yale Repertory Theater

The Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre will skip the entire 2020-21 season in response to COVID-19.

In a press release, the school says the decision was made due to the “incompatibility of theatrical production with the best public health practices in response to COVID-19.”

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In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, theater companies in Connecticut are promising to do more to deal with racial injustice in their communities and within their own workplaces.

Quick Quarantined Play Festival / Facebook

While certain public places are finding ways to reopen safely, theaters still have a long way to go. Socially distancing the audience is doable but probably not cost-effective. And what about the actors? Keeping 6 feet apart onstage could make for a bizarre evening of theater.

National Theatre

Last weekend, Saturday Night Live aired a prerecorded special, "Saturday Night Live at Home." Tom Hanks hosted from his kitchen. Michael Che and Colin Jost did Weekend Update from their living rooms and by Zoom or something similar. Chris Martin covered a Bob Dylan song in front of handwritten "ENTRANCE TO TRAIN" signs.

All of the late night shows are operating in some similar way right now. Jimmy Kimmel hosts from his living room and has people like Jason Bateman on by Skype or whatever. John Oliver sits at his desk in front of a mysterious white wall. Samantha Bee hosts from the woods.

Rob Ruggiero
TheaterWorks Hartford

Social distancing has forced performing arts organizations to find creative ways to stay relevant. TheaterWorks in Hartford has responded by stepping up its online presence as a way to stay connected with patrons and supporters.

FX Productions, LLC

The novel coronavirus has started to take its toll on figures from our popular culture. Adam Schlesinger, who founded Fountains of Wayne and wrote songs for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend among other things, died on Wednesday. The great playwright Terrence McNally died last week. The list goes on: songwriter Alan Merrill, country music star Joe Diffie, fashion designer Jenny Polanco, college basketball star Dave Edwards, actor Mark Blum, soccer star Lorenzo Sanz. And it seems like the jazz community has been especially vulnerable: guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, pianists Ellis Marsalis and Mike Longo, and trumpeter Wallace Roney have all died.

And then: Dave is an FXX comedy series that tells a fictionalized version of the rise of rapper Lil Dicky, and John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch is a Netflix children's special that Mulaney made "on purpose."

Virtually all local arts performances and events in the state have been canceled in the face of the coronavirus crisis, meaning lost revenue for these organizations and tough decisions going forward regarding staffing and other budget issues. Other cultural institutions, like museums and libraries, are facing similar concerns as people hunker down at home in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

America got (more) serious last week about COVID-19. Schools and colleges closed, workers went remote, professional sports teams canceled their seasons, theaters and restaurants closed their doors, and Americans hunkered down at home to reckon with the fragility of life as we know it.

We want to hear from you. Colin and an epidemiologist answer your questions.

Theresa Thompson / Creative Commons

Sanders won big in Nevada. Biden won big in South Carolina. Steyer and Buttigieg are out, Bloomberg is in, and Warren and Klobuchar are pulling up the rear.

There will be 1,357 delegates from 14 states up for grabs on Super Tuesday. We try to make sense of it.

Trinity College

Ugandan-American musician Samite Mulondo combines music and storytelling in his performances. This hour, Samite returns to our studios to talk about his newest piece, The Story Of Mutoto, which he performs at the University of Saint Joseph this weekend.

And  Hartford’s art house theater Cinestudio celebrates fifty years of showing films this week. We talk with Cinestudio’s founders, James Hanley and Peter McMorris.

Rob Mead Photography

Actor John O’Hurley is probably best known for his guest-starring role on Seinfeld as Elaine’s boss, J. Peterman, the pompous and often clueless catalog guru. In real life, the West Hartford native is a busy performer and an accomplished singer and dancer. He brings his one-man show to the Ridgefield Playhouse this Sunday.

The Nobel Foundation / Wikimedia Commons

Eugene O'Neill doesn't get enough credit. His plays are a form of therapy. O'Neill forces us to watch the raw pain of our human condition, the disillusionment and existential fear that we push into the background.

O'Neill's plays are dark but there's a catharsis in confronting our deepest fears and illusions. 

Hartford Stage

For many parents, a night on the town might seem like a pipe dream. At the top of the list of reasons for that is – babysitting. Now, if you have a family member nearby who is willing and able to watch the kids, you’re all set. But for the rest of us, finding and affording a capable babysitter may be close to impossible.

Jeremiah Clapp and Calvin Leon Smith in a scene from On The Grounds Of Belonging, currently playing at the Long Wharf Theatre
Courtesy: Long Wharf Theatre

A big change is underway right now in American theater. More women and people of color are being appointed to lead theatrical institutions.

A recent survey called American Theater Leadership Change finds that of 85 artistic director positions that have opened since 2015, 41% have gone to women. People of color have been named to 26%. 

rauter25 / Flickr

Love it or hate it, ventriloquism is hot these days. From Jeff Dunham's superstardom to three recent America's Got Talent winners, 'vents' are seeing more exposure than they have in decades. And with this attention comes new fans and practicioners from around the world.

Courtesy: Seaview Productions

When it ran off-Broadway, the show Slave Play left audiences stunned. The provocative new script centers on three interracial couples – diving deeply into issues of racism, sexuality and love. Slave Play is now in previews and opening on Broadway in October.

dom fellowes / flickr creative commons

Shakespeare in the Park starts tonight in New Haven. Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires has a new workshop production of Coriolanus opening next week. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens didn't think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's works. The BBC has a multi-camera, filmed-in-front-of-a-live-studio-audience Shakespeare sitcom.

This hour: lots of little looks at this summer's best Shakespeare stuff.

Meredith Longo / Playhouse on Park

The Scottsboro Boys were arrested as freight train hoboes in Alabama in 1931 and quickly convicted by an all-white jury of raping two white women. After several retrials and appeals, the case led to two landmark Supreme Court rulings on the right to adequate counsel and prohibiting the exclusion of black people from juries.

Nir Paldi (left) and George Mann are creators of "No Kids."
Alex Brenner / Ad Infinitum

The question of if or when to start a family is something many adults ask themselves at some point in their lives.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Darko Tresnjak has been artistic director at Hartford Stage Company since 2011. During his tenure here, he's won a Tony. He's had multiple productions make the leap to Broadway. His Anastasia has multiple tours touring internationally.

And this season is his last season in Hartford.

Wikimedia Commons

The question of whether to allow a contested question about citizenship on the 2020 census is before the Supreme Court. How they decide may be altered by new and formerly secret files that show a long-standing relationship between the Republican Party and gerrymandering -- that includes a plan on how to use the census to boost the voting power of "Republicans and non-Hispanic whites." Basically, how to gerrymander through the census. 

Kimberly Wilson / YouTube

Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks. These are three of the eight Black women whose experiences are recounted in Kimberly Wilson’s “A JOURNEY: Musical One-Woman Show”.

This hour, Wilson, a Westport, Connecticut resident, joins us to talk about her experience writing and performing the show. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A staged reading of the courtroom drama 12 Angry Men takes place this weekend in Connecticut. 

In this October 1998 file photo, Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr., poses along in front of the city's skyline in Providence, R.I. Cianci, who served a total of 21 years as mayor, was twice driven from office due to felony convictions.
Matt York / Associated Press

The larger-than-life former mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci will be reincarnated on stage in his home city later this year, as Trinity Rep stages a new play, The Prince of Providence

For 11-year-old Olivia Mongelli, the bad news came during rehearsal.

"Everyone onstage was just in shock," the Ohio girl, cast as Scout in the dramatic production of the classic Harper Lee novel, told The New York Times. "I just sat there for a second and said, 'Is this a joke?' "

Photo by Carol Rosegg

Whose responsibility is it to confront institutional racism in our country today?

Good Faith: Four Chats About Race and the New Haven Fire Department is playing at Yale Reparatory Theatre this month. It revisits New Haven after a group of firefighters sued the city. The reverse discrimination lawsuit, Ricci v. DeStefano, was decided by the U.S Supreme Court.

Jan Lewandowski / Flickr Creative Commons

Mimes have been gesticulating their way into our hearts (or nightmares) for a lot longer than you may think. While it may have been the legendary Marcel Marceau who popularized the mime, people have been communicating through movement since the very beginning.

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