Arts Beat

by Mark G. Auerbach

“Quixote Nuevo” Opens Hartford Stage’s New Season

Hartford Stage, under the new artistic leadership of Melia Bensussen, opens its new season with Quixote Nuevo by award-winning playwright Octavio Solis, with performances Sept. 19-Oct. 13.

Set in the fictional modern-day border town of La Plancha, Texas, the chivalrous “knight” Don Quixote and his loyal sidekick Sancho embark on a comical yet bittersweet quest for redemption and lost love that touches the lives of all they encounter. Quixote Nuevo is directed by KJ Sanchez and produced in association with Huntington Theatre Company and Alley Theatre in Houston. The spirited, lyrical play debuted at the California Shakespeare Festival last year to rave reviews. Emilio Delgado, best known for his performances as Luis on Sesame Street, stars.

Cervantes’ Don Quixote has been adapted for stage, musical theatre–as Man of La Mancha which originally premiered downriver at Goodspeed, film, and dance.

For details: www.hartfordstage.org.


“Billy Elliot: The Musical” Dances at Goodspeed This Fall

Billy Elliot: The Musical, the award-winning adaptation of the British film, dances at Goodspeed Musicals, September 13-November 24.  The tuner, which tells the story of a young boy in an impoverished British mining town, features music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall, who wrote the 2000 film’s screenplay. .Gabriel Barre stages the musical and Mark Kimmelman choreographs. Billy will be played by two young actors,Taven Blanke and Liam Vincent Hutt,  and Michelle Aravena plays the ballet teacher.

Billy Elliot: The Musical, opened in London in 2005 to rave reviews. It arrived on Broadway three years later, winning 10 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical”. It acheived long runs in both cities, and a national tour crossed the US after the Broadway run. Billy Elliot: The Musical was also produced in Australia, Korea, and The Netherlands.

For details: www.goodspeed.org.

Of Note:

Berkshire Theatre Group announced its BTG PLAYS! 2019-2020 touring show, Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon KIDS, based on the book, Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne. This musical features a book by Jenny Laird and Will Osborne, lyrics by Randy Courts and Will Osbourne and music by Randy Courts, with direction by Travis Daly. BTG PLAYS! touring show is a part of BTG’s year-round education program, which reaches 13,000 school children annually. Beginning in October and running through the school year, this production is appropriate for elementary and middle school aged children and family audiences, and is designed to introduce students to the excitement of live theatre. For details: www.berkshiretheatregroup.org.

Jacob’s Pillow launches a new podcast from the Jacob’s Pillow Archives. Available on Simplecast and coming soon to all podcast platforms, PillowVoices: Dance Through Time creates contemporary conversations by placing archival recordings in dialogue with narration and insight of current thought-leaders and scholars. PillowVoices expands the resources available from the Jacob’s Pillow Archives to its global audience, one of the most extensive dance archives in the United States. PillowVoices launches with three episodes, with more to be released on a monthly basis. Initial episodes include: Paul Taylor, In His Own Words with Jacob’s Pillow Director of Preservation Norton Owen; and Parts 1 & 2 of Merce Cunningham, Technology, and Archiving Dance with Jacob’s Pillow Associate Archivist Patsy Gay. For details: www.pillowvoices.simplecast.com

HartBeat Ensemble announced that actor, producer, director and playwright Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. will be the 18-year-old Hartford area company’s new artistic director. Simmons currently serves as co-artistic director of Civic Ensemble in Ithaca, NY, and as senior lecturer in Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts. For details:. www.HartBeatEnsemble.org

Keep in Mind…

The Revolutionists, Lauren Gunderson’s very different take on the French Revolution, opens the fall season at Silverthorne Theatre, with performances September 19-28 at The Perch at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield.  A brutal comedic quartet about four very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. This fast-paced play centers on the lives of feminist playwright Olympe De Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, former queen Marie Antoinette, & Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle who hang out, murder Marat, lose their heads, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in revolutionary Paris. Gina Kaufmann directs. For details: https://silverthornetheater.org


Nunsense, Dan Goggins’ wacky and outrageous musical about a group of sisters, opens its 11th season at West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park, with performances September 18-October 13. POP’ co-founder Darlene Zoller direct and choreographs the musical, which has been a staple of theatres for years, because it’s so abundant with laughs. Nunsense follows the crazy antics of five nuns from the Little Sisters of Hoboken convent. When their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally serves some tainted soup, poisoning 52 of the sisters, the five surviving nuns must band together to raise funds for their burials. For details: www.playhouseonpark.org


Writers: Pathways to Publishing, the first in a series of artist round tables by the Longmeadow Art Community, debuts at Storrs Library on September 17. Author and playwright Fred Sokol moderates. Participating authors include: Linda Cardillo, Andrew Lam and Jonathan Green. For details: http://www.longmeadowlibrary.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. Mark produces and hosts ArtsBeat Radio for 89.5fm/WSKB, and is a contributor to Pioneer Valley Radio. 

To Top