Arts Beat

by Mark G. Auerbach

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Julia Knittel as Carole King and Liam Tobin as Gerry Goffin in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus

Julia Knittel as Carole King and Liam Tobin as Gerry Goffin in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus

Broadway’s still hot ticket, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, kicks off the New Year at The Bushnell in Hartford, with performances January 17-22. Carole King got into the music business as a teen, and the biographical retrospective by Douglas McGrath, directed by Mark Bruni, is essentially a catalogue of her greatest hits with Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil.

Maybe you owned the Tapestry album. Maybe songs like “I Feel The Earth Move”, “Take Good Care of My Baby”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”, “Up on The Roof”,” It’s Too Late”, “You’ve Got a Friend”, and “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” are on your golden oldies play list. Carole King’s music defined a generation.

Julia Knitel plays Carole King in Beautiful: The Carol King Musical, which opened on Broadway in 2014, and is still a hit. To read up on the show: http://beautifulonbroadway.com/tour/  To watch a video preview:

For details: 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.org.

Tony Todd headlines Sunset Baby at TheaterWorks..

Tony Todd headlines Sunset Baby at TheaterWorks..

Candyman’s Tony Todd Headlines Sunset Baby at TheaterWorks.

Tony Todd, the Hartford actor who became well-known for his work in theatre and film, headlines the cast of Sunset Baby, Dominique Morisseau’s intense drama which has its Connecticut premiere at Hartford’s TheaterWorks January 12-February 19.

A powerful and honest story of one woman’s journey from a hard existence
to her own liberation, Sunset Baby is an energetic, daring look at the point where the personal and political collide. From one of the most exciting young voices in American theatre, this dynamic new play about fathers and daughters sears with wit and wisdom and the politics of freedom. A young woman becomes hard as steel after her mother dies, but she discovers a stack of love letters never sent to a man in prison, who turns out to be her father. Tony Todd plays the father, a leader in the black power underground. He wants the letters.

Playwright Morriseau, whose Paradise Blue was performed at Williamstown Theatre Festival, is the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Playwriting Prize winner. Reginald L. Douglas stages the TheaterWorks production. .

Tony Todd, raised in Hartford, studied at UConn Theatre. the O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, and the Hartman Conservatory in Stamford. He has incredible stage credits, but most people know him from the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, and Candyman.

For details: 860-527-7838: or  http://theaterworkshartford.org/

Darko Tresnjak Returns With The Comedy of Errors

Darko Tresnjak of Hartford Stage

Darko Tresnjak of Hartford Stage

Shortly after announcing he’d extended his Hartford Stage contract through June of 2019, Darko Tresnjak returns to stage a new production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, which runs at Hartford Stage January 12 through February 12. He’s been busy with pre-production details for the Broadway mounting of Anastasia, the musical which had its world premiere at Hartford Stage last Spring. His Tony Award-winning staging for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is playing theatres coast-to-coast, and Tresnjak directed the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth, with Placido Domingo as the tortured hero.

Tresnjak does well with Shakespeare, in play, musical adaptation, or opera versions o the playwright’s works. Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, and Kiss Me Kate, the musicalization of The Taming of The Shrew, have been Hartford Stage hits. He’s turned The Comedy of Errors into a madcap, midwinter, musical extravaganza, set on the sultry shores of the Mediterranean. In Shakespeare’s comedy, two sets of twins are accidentally separated at birth, and hilarity unfolds, similar to the Rodgers and Hart musical version of the play, The Boys From Syracuse, or the movie adaptation Big Business, where the twins were played by Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin..

So, 22 actors. 2 pairs of twins, and 1 crazy day. For details: 860-527-5151 or www.hartfordstage.org

NEPR Seeks Nominations for the 2017 Arts & Humanities Awards

New England Public Radio is accepting nominations for the 2017 New England Public Radio Arts & Humanities Awards, which will be awarded in May.  Now in its ninth year, the award recognizes those who have made a positive impact on the arts and humanities and brings awareness to the critical role played by musicians, artists, dancers, writers, teachers and cultural institutions in western New England.  The community is invited to submit nominations for the NEPR Arts & Humanities Awards by submitting a brief form available at www.nepr.net. Nominations must be received by January 12.

New This New Year

Shakespeare and Company presents a Winter Studio Festival of Plays on January 14-15 in Lenox, MA. The weekend of staged readings  includes classics and contemporary works, including  local playwright Robert Sugarman’s St. Petersburg 1913; Beyond The Veil by Berkshires native Emily Deboti; Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, and Sam Sjepard’s Curse of the Starving Class. For details: 413-637-3353

Carolyn Kuan, Hartford Symphony Music Director. Photo by Jane Shauck

Carolyn Kuan, Hartford Symphony Music Director. Photo by Jane Shauck

or www.shakespeare.org

Hartford Symphony Orchestra launches a new contemporary ensemble series at Hartford’s Real Art Ways. Music director Carolyn Kuan conducts the series launch, Scribing The Void,  on January 26, which features new music and reimagined classics in an art gallery setting. The season opener includes Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat and Pulcinella. For details: www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Plan Ahead

The Book of Mormon Ensemble. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The Book of Mormon Ensemble. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The Book of Mormon, Broadway’s mega-hit, returns to The Bushnell in Hartford on February 14-19. From the creators of South Park, it won nine Tony Awards. ‘Nuff said. For details: 860-987-5900 or www.bushnell.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.

To Top