Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Life & Style

Theater: Uncertainty is Alive and Well

Uncertainty is alive and well. Theaters are juggling when and how to present shows. Award shows are either going on or not, schedules for the 2020-’21 season are being announced, and more streaming and Internet programming is available. This column will try to update what is currently known.

Another Schedule Change at Goodspeed: Goodspeed has postponed its production of the new musical Anne of Green Gables until 2021. This year, Goodspeed will stage just one show: South Pacific, which will begin performances on Sept. 11. Executive Director Michael Gennaro said, “It was heartbreaking for us to make the decision to postpone Anne of Green Gables, but it has become clear that we would not have enough time to build and rehearse the show in time for a summer opening. Our producing staff and the creative team both agree that launching a world-premiere musical takes special attention, which may not be possible until we are well past this crisis.”

Another Cancellation: Ridgefield’s Stone Thrown Theatre Company has postponed its summer season to 2021. It was scheduled to produce a world premiere Annie Jump and The Library of Heaven and the U.S. premiere of The Phlebotomist.

No Season in Westport: Westport Country Playhouse has been a theater since 1931, but it has announced the stage will be dark for the 2020 season. Last month, Westport had announced a shortened three play season beginning in July. Now that has been canceled because, as Artistic Director Mark Lamos said, “[We] feel that the predicted future is too unknowable at this point.” The theater will focus on online content.

Going Virtual: This year’s Arts and Ideas Festival, the 25th anniversary event, is going virtual. According to co-directors Tom Griggs and Liz Fisher, the festival will begin programming on the theme “Democracy: We the People” over the next couple of weeks. Details will be announced and posted on Artidea.org.

Next Season Announcement: Another Ridgefield theater, ACT of CT has announced its 2020-’21 season. It will open with the reschedule new musical Freaky Friday (Oct. 1 to 25). In 2021 it will present Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook, which features the songs of Stephen Schwartz from Jan. 28 to Feb. 21, followed by Into the Woods from May 13 to June 6. Information and subscriptions are available at actofct.org.

Awards: Will they go on or not? The Connecticut Critics Circle has not made a decision if its awards will be delayed or canceled. The Tonys have been postponed with no new date announced. The Outer Critics Circle canceled its awards; The Drama Desk Awards will go on with the ceremony taking place online on May 31. The Drama League has changed its awards program into Gratitude Awards as a fundraiser for the theater community; date to be announced. Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Awards will be held online, as well the Obie Awards (also off-Broadway.) Even the Pulitzer Prizes are delayed to May 4. The New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award winners are already announced.

Broadway News: As of now, Broadway has announced a reopening in early June though New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested it should be June 30. What shows will reopen is unknown. I suspect some of the shows that were “hanging on” through the use of discounted tickets or were only filling 70 percent or less of their theaters may not reopen. The hits, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen and Come from Away, Wicked, The Lion King, and others will be fine. Other shows may reopen but not last long. Beetlejuice was already scheduled to close June 6; even if theaters reopen by then (highly unlikely), it will not reopen.

Rescheduled: A number of Broadway shows have been rescheduled for the fall. These include the new musical Flying Over Sunset, the revival of Caroline, or Change, and productions of Birthday Candles and How I Learned to Drive. But the question is will the Matthew Broderick-Sarah Jessica Parker revival of Plaza Sweet open this season? What about the revivals of American Buffalo with Larry Fishburne and Take Me Out with Jesse Tyler Ferguson? And then there are the new musicals that may not have even started previews: Diana, Mrs. Doubtfire, Sing Street?

Streaming and Online: Branford’s Legacy Theatre is presenting a series of interviews with theater makers called Face to Face. Check out SocialDistanceTheatre.org. TheaterWorks is continuing its Living Room series of concerts, which are on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. On Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. the artistic director “welcomes us into his kitchen and a couple of friends (digitally) stop by for a chat,” as the press materials says. Access on Facebook at TheaterWorks Hartford). For cabaret performances often feature Broadway people, Feinstein’s/54 Below is streaming a variety of programming called #54Belowat Home. You can find it on youtube. New York’s Drama League has two digital series: In Conversation and #Collaboration at DramaLeague.org. A series of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals are on the Youtube channel The Show Must Go On. Don’t forget Stars in the House, which features Broadway stars from both musical theater and drama. Music and readings are offered twice a day. You can check it out on YouTube #StarsinTheHouse. Many of these sites hope you will make a contribution to help the theater community.

Changes at Ivoryton: Like many theaters, Ivoryton Playhouse had changed its schedule once again. According to Executive /Artistic Director Jacqui Hubbard, the shows planned for June and July (Forbidden Broadway Comes to Ivoryton, The Great Gatsby, Native Gardens, and Flashdance: The Musical) are canceled. The theater hopes to reopen in August with Ring of Fire–The Music of Johnny Cash, which was scheduled for Aug. 5 to 30.

Karen Isaacs is an East Haven resident. To check out her reviews for New York and Connecticut shows, visit 2ontheaisle.wordpress.com. She’s a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle, New York’s Outer Critics Circle and the American Theatre Critics Association.


Karen Isaacs is the Columnists for Zip06. Email Karen at .

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