by Mark G. Auerbach
The King and I Returns To The Bushnell
The Tony Award winning Lincoln Center revival of The King and I plays The Bushnell in Hartford on May 30-June 4. Laura Michelle Kelly stars as Anna, a British school teacher, who comes to Siam as teacher to the King, played by Jose Llana.. Bartlett Sher directs the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, which boasts a score of standards including “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” and “Shall We Dance”.
The King and I, based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, had its world premiere in New Haven before moving to Broadway in 1951. It was written for stage legend Gertrude Lawrence, and newcomer Yul Brynner was cast as the King. The musical, Lawrence, and Brynner all won Tony Awards. Deborah Kerr played Anna in the movie, and The King and I has been revived on Broadway multiple times over the years.
Some of the famous Broadway Annas include Barbara Cook, Angela Lansbury, and Marie Osmond. . Some of the famous Kings include: Farley Granger, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Rudolf Nureyev.
Shakespeare and Company’s 40th Season Opens with 4,000 Miles
Amy Herzog’s 4000 Miles opens Shakespeare & Company’s 40th Anniversary Season in Lenox, with performances through July 16. Nicole Ricciardi directs this warm-hearted play, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Winner of the 2012 Obie Award for Best New Play.
In 4000 Miles, 21 year old Leo, seeks solace after suffering a major loss while on a long bicycling trip. He finds it with his feisty 91 year-old grandmother, Vera, in her West Village apartment. Over the course of a single month, these unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder, and ultimately reach each other. 4000 Miles looks at how two outsiders find their way in today’s world.
Riccardi’s production of 4000 Miles features award-winning actress Annette Miller and Company member Gregory Boover, along with Zoe Laiz and Shakespeare & Company newcomer Emma Geer.
1776 Opens Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Summer Season
Broadway’s Terrence Mann, new Artistic Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Nutmeg Summer Series, directs the season opener, the award-winning Sherman Edwards musical 1776, which plays June 1-10 at theThe Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on the UConn campus in Storrs. John Pike is music director, and Christopher d’Amboise is choreographer.
With a book by Peter Stone, 1776 dramatizes John Adams efforts to convince his colleagues in the continental Congress to vote to declare America’s independence from Britain. Jamie LaVerdiere from Broadway’s Motown The Musical stars as John Adams. Gaelan Gilliland from Broadway’s Kinky Boots, stars as Abigail Adams.
Aaron Tveit, star of Broadway’s Catch Me If You Can and Next to Normal, will play Robert in the Barrington Stage Company production of Sondheim’s Company. Tveit played Tripp on TV’s Gossip Girl, and Danny Zuko in Grease Live. For details: www.barringtonstageco.org.
Morihiko Nakahara has been named UMass/Amherst Department of Music’s new Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestral Studies, in charge of conducting the UMass Symphony Orchestra, the institution’s foremost orchestral ensemble. Nakahara currently serves as Music Director of the South Carolina Philharmonic and Resident Conductor with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. For details: www.umass.edu/music
Thomas Bergeron, the Springfield Symphony’s Principal Trumpet Player, will be the new Director of Chamber Music and Orchestra at Deerfield Academy. He’ll continue with The SSO and his Atlantic Brass Quintet.
David Henderson, Hartford Stage’s marketing director for the last five years, journeys on to new adventures. Thanks for your support, David.
Keep in Mind…
The North Hall Arts Festival presents a Showcase of Opera and Song, a performance of opera and musical theatre hits on May 27-28. The program features: soprano Angela Leson, baritone Christopher DeVage, soprano Tammy Tyburczy, pianist Jerome Tan and tenor Antonio Abate. The quartet will perform works by Italian composers, including selections from Monteverdi’s Poppea and Rossini’s Stabat Mater. After intermission, they perform works by Kurt Weill and Rodgers and Hammerstein. For details: 413-667-5543 or www.northhallhuntington.org
Fade, the new sharp Hollywood satire follows Next to Normal at Hartford’s TheaterWorks, June 1-30. Written by screenwriter Tanya Saracho from ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, and directed by Jerry Luiz, Fade tells the story of a Mexican-American, Lucia, is hired to write for a Latina TV character in a cutthroat male dominated TV studio. She quickly discovers that the Latino studio custodian, Abel, has a windfall of plot ideas. As their friendship grows, his stories start to blur with hers with unexpected consequences. Elizabeth Ramos makes her TheaterWorks debut in the role of Lucia, a talented and ambitious young screenwriter. For details: 860-527-7838 or www.theaterworkshartford.org
Arts Beat Radio debuts on Friday, May 26 at 8AM on 89.5FM/WSKB. Host Mark G. Auerbach interviews Berkshire Theatre Group’s Kate Maguire and Eric Hill. Tune in live on the airwaves, on Comcast ch. 15, www.wskb.org or at www.westfieldtv.org
Mark G. Auerbach studied theatre at American University and the Yale School of Drama. He’s worked for arts organizations and reported on theatre for newspapers and radio.