Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Life & Style

Balancing Heart, Humanity, Humor at TheatreWorks; Another Cancellation; Instead of the Tony Awards: and More

TheaterWorks Season: Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero announced a 2020-’21 season for TheaterWorks in Hartford, though no dates were attached. As he said, “I have tried to craft a season that has a balance of heart, humanity and humor.” He also said that he hopes streaming options will be included. Here’s what is planned: The Who & The What by Pulitzer-Prize winner Ayad Akhtar for September to October; The Sound Inside by Adam Rapp in February to March; the Tony-winning musical Fun Home for April to May; Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by Matthew Lopez for June to July 2021; and Seared by Theresa Rebeck for August to September 2021. Two, Fun Home and The Who & The What, had been planned for this season. For more information, visit twhartford.org.

Yet Another Cancellation: Ivoryton Playhouse has decided the uncertainties of the current situation makes it wiser to cancel the 2020 season. The only other times the 90-year-old theater has been dark was during World War II and in 1977. Artistic Director Jacqueline Hubbard said the theater is looking forward “with great hope and optimism to 2021 and a season filled with music and love and laughter and community.”

Arts/Ideas Festival: Here’s an update on the artistic programming planned for this year’s virtual festival. More or Less I Am created by Compagnia de’Colombari combines music, dance, opera, poetry. It will be presented in a series of four videos, the first released Friday, May 22, the second on Friday, June 5, third on Friday, June 19, and the final on Friday, June 26. The Activist Songbook, which has created 53 new songs and raps to counteract hate and energize movements, will be presented by virtual choirs in a series of videos available at artidea.org/activistsongbook.

Instead of the Tony Awards: The Tony Awards were to be broadcast on Sunday, June 7 on CBS. Disappointed theater fans have options. Tony nominee Lonny Price will host a celebration beginning at 6 p.m. on BroadwayonDemand.com and TonyAwards.com. CBS will present a sing-along version of the 1978 film, Grease. A third option is to check YouTube, several Tony award shows are available in full length and many others with excerpts of memorable moments and performances.

Streaming: Theater, cabaret performances, informal chats—so much entertainment is available online through multiple streaming services that it can be hard to keep track of not only what is being offered but when and on what platform. One way to keep track is to check playbill.com, which puts out a weekly digital calendar of all sorts of things—from ballet/dance classes online to cabaret performances. Another is to type in your favorite theater or venue or show into a search engine and see what pops up. The most popular sites are YouTube where many theaters have pages or Facebook Live. Some even use Instagram Live. You can also check CPTV.org for listings of what PBS is making available.

Broadway on Demand is a new streaming service of filmed presentations of Broadways shows, classes, concerts, and interviews. It began with a filmed performance of Broadway’s musical Allegiance. Membership is free for the moment. Check out BroadwayonDemand.com. In addition, Britain’s National Theatre Live and the BBC also having offerings; the latter is making available productions of all of Shakespeare’s plays.

Initial Connecticut Guidelines: The initial guidelines that Connecticut discussed with arts organizations—and they may change—stresses maintaining social distancing, face coverings, cleaning, low-touch entrances and exits, and more. The difficulty, particularly for theaters, is that spacing patrons six feet apart from other patrons will make it financially almost impossible to produce any but the smallest cast shows.

Generosity: The major charities supporting theater artists—including not just performers but stage hands, ushers, and many other groups impacted by the shut down—have distributed more than $10.5 million in the last eight weeks. The groups include The Actors Fund and Broadway Cares. Broadways producers have offered several million-dollar challenges. Many of the online offerings are requesting donations to one of these organizations. Smaller theaters who are presenting online content are requesting donations to their own theaters

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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