The Musicals of August
“Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie”, settles into Hartford’s TheaterWorks through September 14. The musical, devised by David M. Lutken with Nick Corley and Darcie Deaville, Helen J. Russell, and Andy Teirstein, has been a hit at theatres across the country. The Hartford production of “Woody Sez” features David Finch, David M. Lutken, Leenya Rideout and Helen J. Russell in their TheaterWorks debuts. Corley directs.
Woody Guthrie, America’s original folk hero, transformed the folk ballad into a vehicle for social protest and observation. He paved the way for Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Tweedy and more. “Woody Sez” is a soul stirring musical event performed by four amazingly talented actor- musicians performing over 25 of his classic songs. It’s a joyous, toe-tapping, and heartfelt musical portrait that uses Woody’s words and songs to transport the audience through his fascinating and sometimes tragic life. “Woody Sez” captures the heart and spirit of America’s great folk troubadour.
“Hootenanny Sundays” sing-alongs follow the Sunday matinee performances at 4:45PM beginning August 17.
For tickets: 860-527-7838 or www.http://theaterworkshartford.org/
Seussical The Musical
“Seussical: The Musical” brings Horton The Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, The Whos of Whoville and other Dr. Seuss characters to the stage of Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre (August 7-17). The creation of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (“My Favorite Year”, “Ragtime”, and last season’s “Rocky”), it’s produced by the Berkshire Theatre Group, with direction by Travis G. Daly and music direction by Mark Gionfriddo, creator of “The Big Broadcast” at Mount Holyoke. Over 112 area young actors appear in the musical.
Dr. Seuss (1904-1991) was born and raised in Springfield and in 2002, the Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle opened the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden on the Quad. “Seussical” opened on Broadway in 2000, after a tryout at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. Rosie O’Donnell joined the Broadway cast, and tthe revised national tour starred Cathy Rigby.
“Seussical” is perfect family fare for all ages. And, before or after the show, you might want to meander to downtown Springfield and the Springfield Museums to check out the sculpture garden on the Quadrangle. http://www.springfieldmuseums.org/
For tickets: 413-997-4444 or www.berkshiretheatregroup.org
Shakepeare for Teachers. Shakespeare and Company offers workshops on how to teach Shakespeare which is great training for English and theatre teachers. For information on their professional development workshops: http://www.shakespeare.org/education/for-teachers/professional-development-workshops/
Shakespeare for Students and Teachers. Dr. Michael Hays, a scholar and educator (who taught English at Northfield Mount Hermon School) has compiled his writings on Shakespeare in a new web edition, “White Knight Publications”. The site includes his now out-of-print book “Shakespearean Tragedy as Chivalric Romance”. http://www.whiteknightpubs.org/
Keep in Mind…
***The Amish Project. Most people recoiled in horror, when learning about the West Nickel Mines School shootings in a small one-room schoolhouse in an Amish community in Pennsylvania in 2006. A gunman opened fire in a classroom, shooting ten young girls, before killing himself. Jessica Dickey’s fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines tragedy, “The Amish Project”, brings a tale of forgiveness after inexplicable violence to The Chester Theatre Company (August 14-24). Allison McLemore plays a host of characters in the solo play, staged by Daniel Elihu Kramer. For tickets: 800-595-4TIX, 413-354-7771 or www.chestertheatre.org.
***Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival launches in downtown Springfield on August 9. It’s sponsored by Blues to Green, a non-profit led by Kristin Neville, wife of Charles Neville of The Neville Brothers. For information: http://www.springfieldjazzfest.com/
***The Beach Boys play Tanglewood on Monday, August 18. For tickets: 888-266-1200 or www.tanglewood.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.