Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Life & Style

More Changes, Next Season, Looking Back, and More

Bushnell, More Date Changes: No sooner had the Bushnell announced dates for its Broadway series, then the scheduled changed again. This time it is about Hamilton. The show was scheduled to return to Hartford the end of December; it is now scheduled for June 21 to July 10, 2022.

Next Season in West Hartford: Playhouse on Park has announced its upcoming season. Of course, everything, including dates, titles, format, and location might be changed. This could mean streaming, outdoor location, smaller-cast shows, and more. But its 12th season hopes to open with Kennedy: Bobby Kennedy’s Last Crusade, a solo show from Sept. 16 to Oct. 4. Then from Dec. 2 to 20 is All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, Kander & Ebb’s Chicago from Jan. 20 to Feb. 21. The season will conclude with Kill Move Paradise from April 14 to May 9 and Into the Woods from June 30 to Aug. 8. For more information, visit playhouseonpark.org.

Looking Back on 2019-’20 New York Season: The season effectively ended in mid-March with the shutting down of productions and the closing of theaters. For Broadway, less than half the anticipated shows actually officially opened; off-Broadway, a number of anticipated show never materialized.

Here are my highlights from Broadway and off-Broadway.

Broadway highlights included just one musical and three plays for me. While others may disagree, I found most of the other shows and musicals that I saw (I did miss some) disappointing in one way or another.

My favorite musical for the year was a transplant from off-Broadway: The Girl from the North Country, which had a fine book by Conor McPherson and used the music of Bob Dylan in an inventive way. The performances and direction were fine and I found it an engrossing and emotional production. Of the other musicals I saw, Moulin Rouge was a spectacle with fine performances and production values, but ultimately unsatisfying, and Jagged Little Pill tried to be too “with it” and became unfocused.

I would love to see again three plays that were on, including the two one-act plays Sea Wall/A Life, which were two monologues I found absorbing and emotional. The revival of Betrayal was the best production of this play I have seen. I would add the limited run production of A Christmas Carol had everything one would want in this show. I was disappointed in the revival of A Rose Tattoo and found Inheritance overly long (nearly seven hours in two parts) though brilliantly acted.

I will add the off-Broadway production at the Irish Rep’s smaller theater, Kingfishers Catch Fire, as one of the highlights of the season.

COVID Funding: Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the National Endowment for the Arts announced nine $50,000 each grants to Connecticut arts organizations. The only theater was Long Wharf. Also getting a grant was the International Festival of Arts & Ideas.

Streaming Theater: PBS.org will stream the Public Theater’s Much Ado About Nothing, Present Laughter, King & I, She Loves Me, and more through early to late September. The Lincoln Center at Home YouTube channel is streaming the New York Philharmonic’s Carousel through Sept. 7; Kelli O’Hara is Julie Jordan. Also remember to check out Playsinthehouse.org, IrishRep.org, Rodgers & Hammerstein YouTube channel, and the Show Must Go Online YouTube channel. They are doing readings of all of Shakespeare’s plays, though each is only available for a limited time.

In Memoriam: One of my closest critic friends, someone who might be called the dean of Connecticut critics, David Rosenberg, passed away recently. His death, not related to COVID, will be a loss for Connecticut theater. He was a co-founder of the Connecticut Critics Circle (I was an early member) as well as covering New York Theater, teaching, and directing. He will be missed by all of us.

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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