Sunday, May 28, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 402, A Review: "Masters of Puppets" (Legacy Theatre)


By James V. Ruocco

It's about commitment, timing, exposure, collaboration and feedback.
More importantly, it's a mission like no other.
The development and production of new plays and musicals by established or emerging playwrights is an artist-driven initiative.
It is also one of celebration and discovery for the theater, the production team, the artists and the audience, all of whom lay claim to being the first to see it, the first to perform it and the first to experience it.
This practice - the commission and presentation of world premiere events - is commonplace at several regional theatres throughout the country including the Geffen Playhouse, the American Repertory Theatre, the Goodman Theatre and the Firehouse Theatre as well as several regional theaters in Connecticut include Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre.

At Legacy Theatre in Branford, the tradition of producing new works continues with "Masters of Puppets," a brand-new play by Laurence Davis, a dramatist and storyteller challenged and rocked by the corrupt world of pro wrestling, its fake and real undercurrents, its unarmed mock combat, its star performers, its competitions, its rivalries, its power plays, its wealth, its publicity and its behind-the scenes manipulators. Or, as one might say, the puppeteers pulling the strings.


An aggressively witty piece of contemporary theatre, "Masters of Puppets" is lucidly perched between pro wrestling send up and impossibly confidant tell-all serve and manifest, mixed intoxicatingly with situations and dialogue that pulls you in, slaps you in the face, pushes your mind into overdrive and kicks you in the ass with motive, possibility, trick, lampooning and seamless legibility.
Its blend of ideas, humor and pathos, are combined with relished hauteur, deviousness and commitment. And, as the story evolves, the high level of acidity and stir created by Davis is always in top form, matched by scenes, characters, story arcs and verbiage that keep you thoroughly engaged, engrossed and wondering what exactly the hell is going to happen next.
As dramatist, Davis has much to unpack thematically as his characters run around in circles, hoping to avoid getting crushed, manipulated or seduced by the puppet masters of his engrossing scenario.  Precisely structured, "Masters of Puppets" plays out in multiple scenes (Jamie Burnett's atmospheric scenic and lighting design complements and enhances the production's shifts of time and place most effectively), each encapsulating the brutality, seduction, fantasy, reality and mind games of Davis's playtext with eerie, moody, acute impact.
This being a play, with a beginning, middle and end, Davis only tells his audience so much. Who's lying? Who's telling the truth? What's fixed? What's rigged? Who's the manipulator? Who's the blackmailer? Who's going to die? Who's fucking whom? What secrets are going to be revealed? Will the big televised pro wrestling match succeed, fail or push its audience over the edge? It's a pitch anchored by so many possibilities, ticks and revelations, these questions and others easily astound, alarm and delight. Or prompt the obvious thought - "Bloody hell, I never saw that coming."
And therein, lies the power, the crackle, the grounding, the crumble and the reckonings of "Masters of Puppets."

Staging "Masters of Puppets" at Legacy Theatre, director Gabe McKinley takes Davis's character-driven narrative and creates a combative, intriguing tango of sorts that is both smart and savvy, ego clashing and bone-dry, putdown entertaining. His love for the theatrical medium is balanced by attention-seeking, shrewd antics and cleverly balanced sequencing that is often cinematic, artsy or red orange tinted.
Directorially, he knows how to frame a scene, when to take a breath, how to shift and manipulate, what to ultimately blurt out, what to cypher, what to highlight and how, in terms of storytelling, to completely mess with your senses. It's all cooked up with red-hot justification, mixed impressively with smug, smarmy, blistering evolution, art, structure, grit and sweat.
The immersive, in-your-face environs of Legacy Theatre, also contributes greatly to McKinley's interpretation of Davis's work. The closeness between actor and audience prompts immediate connection and interest in the ongoing story. Breaking down the fourth wall by having the actors come directly into the audience for certain pivotal moments works most advantageously as does McKinley's choice to slowly drop the front stage curtain down at the end of Act I during a heated, sexually charged moment between two of the on-stage characters. This trickle-by-trickle effect, timed perfectly by the director and his exceptional technical team not only adds a voyeuristic, peek-a-boo allure to the seduction itself but prompts an interval excitement for the remaining second half of the "Masters of Puppets" story.

"Masters of Puppets" stars Kurt Fuller as Victor Kragston, Amanda Detmer as Delia Kragston, Michael BobenHausen as Jace Powers, Michael Hogan as Rainey Dayes, Dana Ashbook as Ted Blasendale and Joshua Heggie as Leonard "Reaper" Barnett.
The cast, all well-chosen for the respective roles, bring plenty of emotion, angst, twist and confidence to the piece, which, in turn, heightens the play's attitude, footing, excitement, outrage, shock, fantasy and amusement. As a result, things are primed, ready, eerie and full of potential - ready to shake you up, knock you off balance or drop your jaw in amazement.
All six performers take a deep dive into the "Masters of Puppets" story with such a natural, committed trust, the play's narrative unspooling, erupting spins, tilts and slides easily complement Davis's play and its surprising presence, ubiquity and evolution.
PS: Wait until you see the red-headed dummy. Incredible stuff. But no spoilers here. That would spoil the character's interaction with the cast including the ovation-worthy curtain calls.

An articulate, edgy, bracingly apparent comedy-drama, "Masters of Puppets" swells with emotion while deftly illustrating the events and consequences here with heightened fun, humor, element and surprise.
It's fun. It's deep. It's wild. It's wicked. It's sexy. It's unpredictable.
Playwright Laurence Davis swerves into sarcasm and fantasy with bite and snap. Things are cleverly couched and diagnosed by director Gabe McKinley. And the cast - all six of them - glide and pivot center stage completely in sync with Davis's vision, McKinley's weighty inspiration and the brilliantly pitched puppetry that swallows them up whole and spits them out ready for round two or three or whatever comes their way.

Photos of "Masters of Puppets" courtesy of Samuel Bibbins

"Masters of Puppets" is being staged at Legacy Theatre (128 Thimble Islands Road, Branford, CT), now through June 11, 2023.
For tickets or more information, call (203) 315-1901.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 401, A Review: "On Golden Pond" (Ivoryton Playhouse)

By James V. Ruocco  

Norman: "You want to know why I came back so fast? I got to the end of our lane. I couldn't remember where the old town road was. I went a little ways into the woods. There was nothing familiar. Not one damn tree. Scared me half to death. That's why I came running back here to you. So, I could see your pretty face and I could feel safe and that I was still me."

Ethel: "Noman Thayer, will you shut up? Your fascination with dying is beginning to frazzle my good humor."
Norman: "It's not a fascination. It just crosses my mind now and then."
Ethel: "Every five minutes. Don't you have something else to think about?"
Norman: "Nothing quite as interesting."

And so, it begins.

A nostalgic, bittersweet tale of life, of family and more importantly, of growing old, Ernest Thompson's celebrated 1979 play "On Golden Pond," first produced on Broadway at the New Apollo Theatre with a fiercely dedicated cast that included Tom Aldredge, Frances Sternhagen and Barbara Andres, replays the familiar story of Norman and Ethel Thayer, an elderly, longtime married couple who have returned to their New England lakeside cottage of 48 years to spend yet another summer fishing, reading, reminiscing, gathering strawberries and enjoying the comforting sounds of the loons in the distance grounds and waters of their comfy Maine retreat.
However, with the 
arrival of their troubled 42-year-old daughter Chelsea, her new dentist boyfriend/fiancée Bill and his 13-year-old son Billy Ray Jr., conflicts are established, conversations become strained and the sudden realization that death may very well take Norman away, fuel and ignite this iconic comedy-drama with an emotional thrust and sentiment that breathes newfound life into its inspired, lovingly crafted character study.

Thompson, as playwright, articulates his narrative with heightened awareness, savvy accompaniment and ideally flexed humor and release to illustrate the fine points, the consequences, the philosophies and the intimacies that rock and spark his oft-produced play text.
As "On Golden Pond" evolves, he gives enough information and backstory to fully understand what's going on, scene by scene, act by act, month by month. Moreover, he writes from the heart. His plot details and characterizations intrigue, delight and surprise. His verbiage is natural and well observed. He never loses sight of the humanity within each of his characters. His play is full of sentences, one-liners, jokes and comebacks that would make great stand-alone quotes. There's also enough delicateness and conflict within the piece to shake you up, bruise your heart and perhaps even shed a tear or two. Not to mention several reflections about the realities of growing old that may or may not be based on the playwright's actual parents, Esther and Theron Thompson.

In short, what's not to like or admire?
Forty-four years after its Broadway debut, "On Golden Pond" loses none of its charm, its immediacy, its command, its clash or its undeniable poignancy.
It is delicately poetic.
It trickles with imagination and purpose.
It holds up a mirror to the elderly with respectful framing and accent.
It digs into familiar terrain with apt putdown and bone-dry reflection.
It is also emboldened by an alertness and energy that makes every moment count.

At Ivoryton Playhouse, Thompson's thoughtful, determined comedy-drama is given a first-class treatment that smartly counterbalances the play's theories, ideas, events, sense of fun and its artfully arranged dance of life and its aching, uncertain future and dissolve.
Played out against Marcus Abbott's atmospheric set - an impressive, handsome, lived-in habitat adorned with a vintage, late 1970's Better Homes and Gardens rustic ambiance - "On Golden Pond" arms its audience with a dancing intelligence and warmth that befits and complements the environs of this inviting, immersive venue.

This production is being staged by Brian J. Feehan whose directorial credits include "The 39 Steps" and the Ivoryton Playhouse incarnations of "The Fantasticks," "Tenderly," "Burt & Me" and "Native Gardens." Directorially, the play's ingredients are validated with range and connection by Feehan, suffused with rich concentration on wordplay, interaction, evolvement, eclipse and evaluation. 
There's lots going on, but the real satisfaction comes from how assuredly he paces the play, how he creates and emphasizes key moments, small moments, observations, pauses, first words, last words, exits, entrances and more importantly, the playwright's fluent, erupting crescendos of memory, sensibility, discovery and consequence.
It's all beautifully rehearsed, acted and pieced together with an onstage honesty, charm and blossoming that serves the material and the actors well as "On Golden Pond" inches toward its bittersweet, justifiable, tearful conclusion. 

"On Golden Pond" stars James Naughton as Norman Thayer, Mia Dillon as Ethel Thayer, Stacie Morgain Lewis as Chelsea, Josh Powell as Bill Ray, Sabatino Cruz as Billy Jay, Jr. and Will Clark as Charlie.

The ideal actor to play the lead role of Norman Thayer, James Naughton delivers a strong, passionate, likeable performance that is very much the heart and soul of Thompson's amusing, substantial memory play. He tosses off the play's comic dialogue with laidback wit and intelligence. His droll, deadpan expressions are amusingly rendered. He connects wholeheartedly to the material before him. He also projects the image of someone who has navigated through the difficulties and joys of life with a steadfast proudness that even in the wake of adversity, allows him to stand tall and face the challenges that tomorrow may or may not bring.
They don't come any finer than Mia Dillon, an accomplished, award-winning actress who always goes the extra mile in comedies and dramas that showcase her marvelous range of talent including "Seder," "Crime of the Heart," "Cloud Nine," "The Miser," "4000 Miles" and "Agnes of God." Here, she brings depth, radiance and sweetness to the part of Ethel Thayer, handling the role with the warmth and tenderness envisioned by Thompson when he first created the role for the original Broadway production. On stage at Ivoryton, Dillon also brings just the right amount of poignancy and amusement to her many scenes with the equally talented Naughton. Their pairing - a winning combination - is absolutely perfect. 

The part of Norman's estranged daughter Chelsea is played perfectly by Stacie Morgain Lewis, a charismatic actress who's such a natural fit for the role, she pretty much owns every scene she appears in. She also makes it known - great dramatic acting on her part - why she calls her father by his name Norman, rather than just Dad. 
Sabatino Cruz, as the free-thinking Billy Ray, Jr., invests his role with a refreshing context and manner that brings genuine sprit, spunk and personality to the part of the young man who becomes Norman's new friend and fishing partner. The chemistry between him and Naughton is one of the many high points of this staging.   
As Charlie, the overly cheery mail carrier who once dated the Thayer's daughter Chelsea, Will Clark is a likeable sort with a purposely loud, affecting laugh that he orchestrates with an "Odd Couple" glint, spark and gait that makes his onstage moments resonate with bumptious rapture. In the role of Billy Ray, Chelsea's dentist fiancée, Josh Powell plays his important, underwritten role with comfortable collectiveness, wit and nicely orchestrated reactiveness.

"On Golden Pond" is being staged at Ivoryton Playhouse (103 Main St., Ivoryton, CT), now through June 11, 2023.
For tickets or more information, call (860) 767-7318.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 400, Front Row Center: Legacy Theatre Presents "Masters of Puppets"

By James V. Ruocco

In the hands of different directors and the committed performances of those actors who have been chosen to bring a new work to life, the end result, as reflected through the eyes of critics and audiences' alike, is one of joy, gratification and more importantly, the opportunity to showcase a brand-new play or musical for the very first time.

Think about it.
World premiere.
Sustainable model.
Season lineup diversity.
Opening night word of mouth.
The possibilities are endless.

Legacy Theatre - now celebrating its third season in Branford - fully endorses this production mindset and concept. Last season, the theater presented the world premiere engagement of "Joan Joyce," a new musical about the iconic Connecticut softball legend. The year before that, it was "Just Desserts" by Milford's Pantochino Productions.

For 2023, in a lineup that includes Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," Mischief Theatre's "The Play That Goes Wrong" and "The Musicals of Musicals (The Musical!)," Legacy Theatre will present the world premiere engagement of "Masters of Puppets" as its official season opener.

"How exciting to begin the season as host of the world premiere of this thrilling new work," explains Keeley Baisden Knudsen, the artistic director of Legacy Theatre who also staged and co-wrote the book and lyrics for last year's "Joan Joyce" at the Branford-based venue.
"Orson Welles presented his bold, new theatrical work [a two-week run of "Too Much Johnson" in 1938] at this very location in the 1930s, and I am moved to produce programming in a similar vein nearly a hundred years later, championing new works that challenge and thrill audience.
"This one is particularly fulfilling as I am collaborating with artists, I have known for 25 years."

Despite its title," "Masters of Puppets" has nothing to do with puppets, the making of puppets or puppetry as an art form. Here, the word "puppets" refers to a person or group of people under the artistic or manipulative control of one another.
Written by Laurence Davis, the play offers theatergoers a fictionalized, up-close, passionate glimpse into the dirty underbelly of professional wrestling. It is based, in part, on the playwright's personal viewpoint of the popular sport itself.

“I have been a pro wrestling fan my whole life," says "Masters of Puppets" producer James Roday Rodriguez ("A Million Little Things," "Pysch," "The Crossover") "From its humble beginnings in traveling carnivals to the billion-dollar industry that fills arenas across the world, one thing has always been intrinsic to its machinations: storytelling.
" 'Masters of Puppets' peels back the canvas and gives us a peek at the shoots behind the works, and it's absolutely electric. "

Directed by Gabe McKinley, "Masters of Puppets" stars 
Dana Ashbrook ("Blue Bloods," "The Resident," "Twin Peaks") as Ted Blasendale, Amanda Detmer ("Psych," "The Vampire Diaries," "Empire") as Delia Kragston, Kurt Fuller ("No Holds Barred") as Victor Kragston, Michael Horgan ("The Sopranos," "S.W.A.T." "Much Ado About Nothing") as Rainey Dayes, Michael Bobenhausen ("Imposters," "Hannah Senesh") as Jace Powers and Joshua Heggie ("Big River," "Roofless").as Leonard "Reaper" Barnett.
Headlining the creative team at Legacy Theatre are Jamie Burnett (lighting and scenic design), Gali Noy (costume design), Adam Jackson (sound design), Erica Pajonas (props design), Emmett Cassidy (fight choreographer) and T. Rick Jones (production stage manager).

"We are very happy to present this world premiere," states Jeff Provost, managing director of Legacy Theatre. "There's always been questions as to what's real and what's fake in the world of wrestling, and those questions continue to this day.
"This piece explores the topic in a really thought-provoking way. It's a gritty, no-holds-barred approach to the subject matter."

"Masters of Puppets" is being performed at Legacy Theatre (128 Thimble Islands Road, Branford, CT) from May 25 through June 11, 2023.
Performances are 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets are $25-$35.
For reservations or more information, call (203) 315-1901.

Please note: This play is for mature audiences. It contains violence, harsh language, and drug use.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 399, A Review: "Gypsy" (Goodspeed Musicals)

By James V. Ruocco

The overture begins.
The actor's take their places.
The lights come up.
The story slides into view.
A wave of excitement - on stage and off - sweeps the theater.
It's impossible to look away.
In less than four or five minutes, "Gypsy," the popular 1959 Broadway musical about a domineering stage mother's valiant attempt to turn her children into top-billed vaudeville stars of the Orpheum Circuit shifts into gear with the gusto, shimmer and pizzazz of something great while, at the same time, carefully exposing one mother's hardened obsession with showbiz, backed by songs, dialogue, characters, scene changes and events that brilliantly mirror the flawless, wry, sustained, breathtaking style of the classic American 1950s musical.
Fused with deftness, structure and commitment and lovingly intermingled with the vintage, vaudevillian, immersive, indoor 1877 Victorian-style environs of the Goodspeed Opera House itself, "Gypsy" time warps back to the days of early vaudeville and burlesque and unfolds with real breakthrough and dash, appropriated by a resilience and sustained sense of drama and humor that is truly breathtaking.
It soars.
It snaps.
It engages.
It pops.
It celebrates.

This is a major Goodspeed production, much like last year's "42nd Street" that showcases its riches, sings it songs, gallops through a forgotten timeline and scrutinizes the entertainment industry with just the right amount of scope and inquiry necessary to make it fly and resonate. It also unfolds with a certain freshness and honesty that respects and honors the original libretto by Arthur Laurents.

Based in part on the 1957 book memoirs of real-life striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, "Gypsy" is the story of a stage mother, who, after realizing that life has passed her by, decides to live her life through her two daughter's June and Louise - one with talent and the other, with no talent at all.
Told in two acts, the musical charts Lee's early childhood days in theatre when she toured the vaudeville circuit with her sister June and how, years later, she became America's most celebrated stripper, a showbiz fluke that propelled her to stardom with Minsky's Burlesque.
Billing herself as a high-class stripper more prone to tease than strip, Lee referred to herself as "an ecdysiast," which, in her eyes, was a more dignified way of describing her chosen backdoor profession.

Then and now, one of the most joyful things about "Gypsy" is the musical score, which from start to finish, is done right on every level. The Goodspeed production confirms that notion.
It's edgy. It's clever. It's satisfying. It's dramatic. It's humorous. It's passionate. It's driven. It's limelight ready.
Penned by Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), the "Gypsy" songbook is coupled with transitions, spins, arcs, music and lyrics that brilliantly echo the thoughts, moods, ideas and values of the onstage characters who get to bring them to life, night after night, performance after performance.
They are: 
"May We Entertain You?" "Some People," "Some People (reprise)," "Small World," "Baby June and Her Newsboys," "Mr. Goldstone, I Love You," "Little Lamb," "You'll Never Get Away From Me," "Dainty June and Her Farmboys," "Broadway," "If Momma Was Married," "All I Need Now Is the Girl," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Madame Rose's Toreadorables," "Together, Wherever We Go," "You Gotta Get a Gimmick," "Small World (reprise)," "Let Me Entertain You" and Rose's Turn."

At Goodspeed, musical direction for this revival falls into the more than capable hands of Adam Souza, a conductor and keyboardist whose Goodspeed Musicals credits include "42nd Street," "Cabaret," "Rags," "Brigadoon," "A Grand Night for Singing" and "Because of Winn Dixie." Here, as in last season's "42nd Street," Souza 's spin on a classic American Broadway musical is enlivened by his innate sense of theatricality, his pop and zing, his rhythmic shading, his melodic investment, his mixing and coalescing and finally, the grace and charm he brings to the iconic Styne and Sondheim score.
Backed by strong performances all around (the vocals are outstanding), Souza and his well-honed orchestral team produce a sound that is smooth, beautiful, excitable and musically pleasurable.
Yes, the music and lyrics are familiar. Yes, it's obvious who is going to sing what and when? Yes, pretty much everyone in the audience can hum the lyrics to "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Let Me Entertain You" and "Together, Wherever We Go." 
Regardless, Sousa, as musical director, brings a spark and newness to the material, which, despite familiarity, benefits greatly from his emotional, committed continuity, his melodic flicker, his perched enhancement and the obvious delight that comes from uncovering a new detail or two within the iconic score itself. 
As with "42nd Street," "Gypsy" abounds with showstoppers aplenty. It's a task that Souza and his orchestral team fulfill with festive, blaze of glory, recreation.
Among them: "May We Entertain You?" "Dainty June and Her Newsboys," "You Gotta Have a Gimmick," "Together, Wherever We Go," "All I Need Now Is the Girl," "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Mr. Goldstone, I Love You."

With several acclaimed Goodspeed musicals to her credit - "The Music Man," "Anne of the Green Gables," "Bye, Bye Birdie," "Oklahoma!" - Jenn Thompson is back in the director's chair, as both storyteller and orchestrator. An instinctive, adventurous director who takes chances, navigates things stylishly and finds incredible veins of truth and emotion in everything she builds and creates from day one in the rehearsal hall right through to opening night on the main stage, Thompson brings total commitment and seamlessly woven force and balance to her staging of "Gypsy."
She creates. She embellishes. She experiments. She negotiates. She programs. She delivers. As director, she also avoids routines. She avoids repetition. She doesn't copycat. Instead, her ideas and thoughts take comfort in originality, lament and a full-bodied richness that flickers with fanfare, revelation, illumination and atmospheric dynamic.
"Gypsy," by all accounts, is a loving, nostalgic paean to old Broadway. But when Baby June and Baby Louise take center stage to perform the musical's thrilling opening number "May We Entertain You?" it's more than just another vaudeville routine. June, in turn, craves attention, in pretty much the same way as Baby Jane Hudson did in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" She flirts with the audience (drilled coaching from her mother, of course), hogs the spotlight, giggles, shrieks and squeals with ear-splitting glee and begs everyone in the theater for thunderous applause until she's satisfied with their ovation-worthy reaction.

It's a jaw-dropping moment - fun, obnoxious and rushing - and one that sets the stage for the musical events, dances and story that follows. It also allows Thompson to dig deep and deliver something more profound and edgy than just your standard show biz rags-to-riches biography with a programmed happy ending. 
She succeeds swimmingly.
Here, as with her staging's of both "The Music Man" and "Oklahoma!" the fizzy energy, the quality of playing, the allure and gleam and the evolution of the actual musical narrative are served up by Thompson with maximum achievement, honed individuality and airborne thrust and glide. It's all very beautiful to look at - crisp, animated, absolute - offset by grand theatricality and primed, breathtaking choreography, the latter of which is executed with vaudevillian finesse by Patricia Wilcox in several of the musical's big production numbers including "All I Need Now Is the Girl," "Baby June and Her Newsboys," "You Gotta Have a Gimmick," "Broadway" and "Dainty June and Her Farmboys."
Elsewhere, the implementation of boys for Baby June's traveling act via an imagined moving car is a prime piece of staging; the dancing cow with a deadpan "Moo" during the buoyant "Farmboys" number is a stroke of genius; the time warp advancement of younger actors into their older selves during the encore of "Baby June and Her Newsboys" gallops with driven, exciting, strobe light flourish; and lastly, the troupe's Act II segue into the seedy world of burlesque and the desperate lives of striptease artists Mazeppa, Electra and Tessie Tura is vamped and readied with bumps, grinds, tilts and swerves that bring the house down with rip-roaring laughter and applause.

Lost youth, missed opportunities and plentiful dozes of sadness and regret are achingly intertwined in Judy McLane's triggered, emotional portrayal of Rose Hovick, the outspoken, manic stage mother of Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc. It's an admirable, gutsy portrayal of "a pioneer woman without a frontier" that smartly reflects the character's blindness toward the cruel realities of the entertainment industry, the dropped dreams and hopes, the delusions, the struggles and the harsh reality that the big break everyone is waiting for will probably never come.
As "Gypsy" evolves, she nicely captures the obsessiveness of her hard-nosed character, her reliance on showbiz dreams and her belief in second changes and eleventh-hour situations. Vocally, she gets to perform some of the best show tunes on record from "Some People" and "Small World" to "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Rose's Turn." But she does the latter without the big-belt sound of Ethel Merman who originated the role on Broadway and the hard-edged stamina and angst of Rosalind Russell who played the role in the 1962 movie. It's a creative choice that sometimes lightens the overall effect of the material but doesn't detract from Rose's race and hunger for the spotlight, her motherly clawing, her fixation on new acts or her final comeuppance at the end of Act II when she bares her soul completely during the exhilarating, fiery show biz anthem "Rose's Turn."
Philip Hernandez brings plenty of leading man charm, poise and definition to the pivotal role of Herbie, Rose Hovick's love interest and agent/manager of her progeny's traveling road show. He sings beautifully and in his many scenes with McLane, creates a magical, intuitive rapport that sings, resonates and catches fire. But, unlike Jack Klugman who played the part in the original 1959 Broadway musical and Karl Malden who assumed the role in the 1962 film musical adaptation, his Herbie is more of a laid-back second banana than a fierce competitor for Rose's heart and an at-odds survivor in her fabled world of show business.

In the lead role of Louise Hovick, the young woman with no talent who later finds stardom as striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, Talia Suskauer delivers an exquisite, beautiful, nuanced performance similar in style to that of Sandra Church who created the role on Broadway and Natalie Wood who played part in the glossy 1962 film adaptation. Absolutely perfect on every level, she charts her character's transition from gawky tomboy to reawakened, lovesick butterfly with a natural, evolutionary ease that blossoms from scene to scene and song to song offset by a breezy charm, sensibility and musicality that lights up the stage and heightens the Cinderella aspect of the story with the luminosity and spirit reflected in the musical's original libretto. She also intuitively conveys the character's sudden discovery that she is not only beautiful ("I'm pretty mama") but after entering the world of burlesque as a novice finds herself seduced by her own success story, its glamour, its position, its name-dropping antics and its ability to open doors to an industry that previously shunned and ignored her.
Looking very much like a young Natalie Wood when she played the part of Gypsy Rose Lee back in 1962, Suskauer turns "Let Me Entertain You" into the big showstopper it was intended to be. She also finds the right mood swing, warmth and dramatic range for both her heartfelt rendition of "Little Lamb" and the ever-so-delightful "If Mamma Was Married" duet alongside Laura Sky Herman who plays her teenaged sister June. 

She's only on stage for approximately 25-30 minute but Emily Jewel Hoder, as Baby June, makes such an impression in the role, her big star turn, erupts into a bigger star turn like no other, always leaving you wanting more. Satirically laced with a full-fledged mindset of scene-stealing obnoxiousness, ego and center stage cuteness, Hoder pretty much owns every scene and musical number she appears in. It's the "younger star" performance of the season. And Hoder - Simply AMAZING.
As the grown-up Dainty June, Laura Sky Herman tackles the part of the once bratty, self-centered child star, with truth, intuition and mirrored spectral. Like Miller, she's a natural fit for the role, crafting an affectionate, determined performance of impish delight, headache and deep, desperate yearnings. Vocally, she has great fun in all of her character's musical numbers using her emotion-filled, perky voice to find the exact meaning behind every lyric of Styne and Sondheim's sunny, playful musical score.

It's a plum role for any actor and Michael Starr, in the role of Tulsa, the boyish, dreamy-eyed dancer from Dainty June's washed-up vaudeville act, sets the Goodspeed stage ablaze with "All I Need Now Is the Girl," a hypnotic song-and-dance routine that magically showcases his character's desire to form his own act and take it on the road.
Starr, in turn, puts his own personal stamp on this iconic musical number, his head held high with expressions of heated energy and longings that glitter and gleam throughout, matched by brilliant, athletic choreography that celebrates Tulsa's dance journey, his fancy footwork and his fervent desire to rise to the top, even if it means branching out on his own.
As Tessie Tura, Mazeppa and Electra, the three striptease artists with no talent who've made themselves a home in the sleazy world of sideshow burlesque, Valerie Wright, Romelda Teron Benjamin and Victoria Huston-Elem, play out the gaudiness, kitsch and red-light splendor of "You Gotta Have a Gimmick" with an illuminated newness and brazen wickedness that nearly blows the roof off the Goodspeed Opera House. It's such unabashed fun, one wishes that there was an encore of two.

One of the greatest Broadway musicals of its time, "Gypsy," at Goodspeed, soars and roars with excited sentiment, playful abandonment and brash and brassy opinion.
It's timeless. It's impressive. It's grand. It's powerful. It's inspired.
It's got everything you could absolutely hope for in a musical - songs, story, characters, dancing, star turns, popularity - laced with powerful moments, great direction, convincing storytelling and a theatrical incandescence that Godspeed Musicals is famous for.
This is theatre - real musical theatre - amped to perfection and simply priceless in execution.
And boy, do we need it now.

"Gypsy" is being staged at Goodspeed Musicals (6 Main Street, East Haddam, CT), now through June 25, 2023.
For tickets or more information, call (860) 873-8668.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 398, A Review: "Guys and Dolls" (Fairfield Center Stage)

By James V. Ruocco 

It's a gamble that pays off.
"Guys and Dolls," as presented by Fairfield Center Stage is absolutely thrilling.
Everything about it is perfect - the acting, the singing, the staging, the direction, the story, the music, the songs, the costumes, the choreography, the orchestra. 
There's buzz.
There's snap.
There's rise.
There's eruption.
There's surprise.
There's dazzle.
There's promenade.
There's truth.
There's chemistry.
There's connection.
There's glide.
This is one of those big Broadway musicals that not only honors its values, its traditions and its irresistible telling of a marvelously complex tale, but one that sets its boundaries afloat with playful dozes of wit, eccentricity, nostalgia and discovery.
As musical theatre, it also respects the time period from whence it came - 1950, to be exact - and stays true to that year, its mindset, its innocence, its language, its silliness and its highlighted sense of whimsy.
There are no updates. There are no shifts in mood and tone. Nothing is out of sync. The dialogue and the songs remain unchanged. Nothing has been reinvented or reimagined. There are no huge leaps of faith.
That plan, or required sense of thinking, brings both humor and chutzpah to this inspired revival. The big numbers mirror supper club tradition. The wide-ranging musical score is timeless and resourceful. The important love stories, the comic banter, the set ups, the jokes and the dramatic repercussions all unfold with nurtured flight and gallop. And finally, standouts are aplenty.

First performed on Broadway in 1950 and followed three years later by its debut in London's West End, "Guys and Dolls" is based on two short stories by Damon Runyon - "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure." It also borrows characters, dialogue and story elements from other popular Runyon stories including "Pick the Winner."
Written for the stage by Abe Burrows, the two-act musical charts the hilarious comic and romantic misadventures of the New York City underworld's gangsters, wheeler dealers, gamblers, showgirls, missionaries and other assorted characters.
At the center of the story are high stakes roller Sky Masterson, a dashing gambler who falls head over heels for Sarah Brown, a Times Square missionary scouting converts and smooth-talking Nathan Detroit, another risk-taker who has been engaged for 14 years to Miss Adelaide, a headliner at the Hot Box Supper Club.

"I am not putting the knock on dolls," remarks Sky Masterson. "It's just that they are something to have around only when they come in handy - like cough drops."

"I've been running the crap game since I was a juvenile delinquent," Nathan Detroit tells Miss Adelaide.
"Speaking of chronic conditions," she replies. "Happy Anniversary."

The "Guys and Dolls" musical score - bright-sounding, glistening, rhythmically spirted - was created by Frank Loesser (music and lyrics), an award-winning composer whose Broadway credits include "The Most Happy Fella," "Greenwillow" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." It contains 18 memorable songs, all of which glide and swing with purpose, command and Broadway musical bravura.
They are: "Fugue for Tinhorns," "Follow the Fold," "The Oldest Established," "I'll Know," "A Bushell and a Peck," "Adelaide's Lament," "Guys and Dolls," "If I Were a Bell," "My Time of Day/I've Never Been in Love Before," "Take Back Your Mink," "Adelaide's Second Lament," "More I Cannot Wish You," "Luck Be a Lady," "Sue Me," "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," "Marry the Man Today" and "Guys and Dolls (reprise)."
Musically, the message is clear. In terms of pace, flow, boom and pitch, "Guys and Dolls" has it all. As the production evolves, musical director Frank Martignetti's interpretation is natural, realistic and fully formed.
The playing is excellent. The orchestral sound he creates with his talented team of onstage musicians is fulsome, prepared, beautifully captured and lovingly engineered. Here, what matters most are the gorgeous melodies, the symphonic sound, the emotional harmonies, the build ups, the breaks and pauses and the natural, impressively managed vocal outpourings of the entire cast. That full command brings opportunity and scope to the popular score, its nostalgic representation and its rising, erupting mastery.
Showstoppers are aplenty.
Among them - "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat," "Fugue for Tinhorns," "If I Were a Bell," "A Bushell and a Peck," "The Oldest Established" and "Adelaide's Lament."

Staging "Guys and Dolls" for Fairfield Center Stage, director Brian Crook crafts an exuberant, swiftly paced production with game-playing affection, steam, naughtiness and seamless narrative sway and spin.
There are cleverly couched glimmers of Broadway's past throughout the musical presentation alternating between first-rate vaudevillian schtick, jazzy 1950s repartee and blossoming giddyap. Crook, as director, also breaks down the fourth wall from time to time moving the action from the proscenium stage right into the audience.
Here, comic moments as well as certain songs and dances adapt an actor-audience closeness that is nicely defined, staged and performed evoking a Donmar Warehouse quality of complete immersion, commitment and uptake on the actual progression of the show, where it is going and how it will eventually play out once the action continues on the main stage. It's a directorial conceit that Crook invests with imagination, recognition and excited investment. 

The spirit of Damon Runyon's original stories and his bustling take on Runyonland is accentuated greatly by the "Guys and Dolls" cast.
As Miss Adelaide, the intellectually challenged New York supper club entertainer who has spent the last 14 years as Nathan Detroit's perplexed fiancée, Christy McIntosh- Newsom's standout performance is a delightful treat of open-hearted tenderness, brass and sass, mixed lovingly with genuine sparkle, musicality and hallmark comic inspiration. It's a part that showcases her talents beautifully and one that comes complete with many iconic Frank Loesser songs including the deliciously witty "Adelaide's Lament," which Newsom navigates with the humor, irony and chutzpah envisioned by the composer when "Guys and Dolls" first played Broadway back in 1950.
As Nathan Detroit, the double-talking gambler hoping to find the right spot for his next illegal crap game, Marc Improta is smooth and slippery never once losing sight of the character's broad comic appeal, his clever, wordy verbiage, his full-blown Runyon antics or his madcap relationship with Miss Adelaide, the latter of which is revealed through the hilariously executed rendition of "Sue Me." Both he and Newsom are the ideal idiosyncratic comic couple - a paring that the duo pull off swimmingly never once missing a comic beat or tilt, as set forth in Abe Burrows crazily executed libretto.

Rebecca Borowik, as Save-A-Soul Mission sergeant Sarah Brown, not only gives one of the best renditions of "If I Were a Bell" in the last decade or two but comes to "Guys and Dolls" with such vigor, command and persuasion, it's easy to see why Crook cast her in this iconic female role. She's absolutely perfect.
Blessed with a soprano voice that rings true and clear, she captures the intended meaning behind every lyric and note. She is also well-matched opposite Robert Agis who has been tapped to play the romantic leading man character of Sky Masterson, which he exudes with a natural charm, dash and charisma. 
As Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Jeffrey Fulton's big vocal "Sit Down Your Rockin' the Boat" is just as powerful and commanding as Stubby Kaye's was in the 1950 original Broadway production of "Guys and Dolls" and the subsequent 1955 film adaptation. Kevin Pelkey (Benny Southstreet) and Michael Traum (Rusty Charlie) invest their broad comic roles with Runyon flair, execution and set up. 

A joyous, tuneful look at the golden age of Broadway musicals, "Guys and Dolls" is an achingly tender, eclectic production that sizzles and snaps with savvy accent and collection.
It's fun, It's delightful. It's passionate. It warms the heart. Brian Crook's good-natured direction, mixed joyfully with Bonnie Gregson's bright and bouncy choreography is tonic ready and willing, iced and diced to perfection by an enthusiastic ensemble cast who have great fun taking their audience on a Runyonesque journey of great songs, big musical moments and scene-stealing comic turns that are merrily tinkered and displayed, thus producing, a good time for all.

Photos of "Guys and Dolls" courtesy of Kate Eisemann Pictures

"Guys and Dolls" is being performed at Fairfield Center Stage (First Congregational Church, 148 Beach Road, Fairfield, CT), now through May 21, 2023.
For tickets or more information, call (203) 416-6446 (voice mail).

Saturday, May 13, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 397, Front Row Center: Seven Angels Theatre Presents Steve Solomon's "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm Still in Therapy"

By James V. Ruocco

"Watching Steve Solomon perform is a bit like listening to a mockingbird. You'll catch a little Alan King here, a pinch of Seinfeld there, with a smidgen of Don Rickles, Billy Crystal and George Carlin thrown in. Adding to the sense of comic deja vu, his delivery is peppered with clever vocal effects - the kind that were Billy Cosby's trademark during his standup days."

"It's So Clever! You're Going to Love It."

"Steve Solomon is like the uncle at Thanksgiving who just won't stop cracking jokes."
The New York Times

"Perfect Comic Timing."
The New York Post

"He lands the punchlines with gusto. His sense of humor is pungent and juicy. He's disarmingly honest. He knows how to work an audience. His comedy act is kosher pickle perfect with infectious sprinklings of matzo ball chicken soup, lasagna, spaghetti sauce and potato latkes all rolled into one."
From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2

The good news: Steven Solomon is back.

After more than 10,000 live performances worldwide and a record-breaking one million in ticket sales from his critically acclaimed comedy shows, the Brooklyn native is back in town doing what he does best - stand-up comedy front and center - fueled with a scripted, laugh-a-minute, often improvisational mindset that's guaranteed to keep you howling for weeks.

Similar in style to "Cannoli, Latkes & Guilt," "From Brooklyn to Broadway in Only 50 Years" and Solomon's deliciously witty "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy," his current gig, aptly titled "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm Still in Therapy" travels back to the past with a prequel concept, populated by the same loveable and humorous characters the comedian has used in pretty much all of his time-honored comedic outings.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone, grab a ticket or two and get ready for a comedy night of fun, surprise and impromptu situations - the kind where anything can happen and does.

"My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm Still in Therapy," directed by Andy Rogow, is being showcased at Seven Angels Theatre (1 Plank Road, Waterbury, CT) from May 19 through 21, 2023.
Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

This all-new show journeys back in time to follow Steve and his twin sister (i.e., the smoker) from their toddler years right up to the present.
Along for the ride are 30 different characters including Uncle Willie, Demented Cousin Kenny, Uncle Paulie, Stuttering Cousin Bob and Steve's new therapist Cousin Sal.
As with the comedian's previous shows, all of these characters, and others, are brought to life on stage with Solomon - front and center - channeling their emotions, quirks and ticks with specially created voices and dialects that make them sing, dance, swim and pivot.
Sound effects - wacky, unique and side-splitting - heighten and mood and hilarity of each story and remembrance.

"I wanted to write something that was universal - that was accepted universally, and it worked," says Solomon. "You don't have to be Jewish or Italian to love the show. All you have to do is recognize a family that you happen to know and come home from a dinner with a heartburn and a headache."

As created by Solomon, "My Mother's Italian My Father's Jewish & I'm Still in Therapy!" is classic comedy stand-up laced with funny bone essentials, perks, gadgets, one-liners and memories that celebrate his Jewish-Italian heritage, his upbringing, his thoughts, his ideas, his conversations and his gifted, wonderfully unique comic persona.
Pretty much anyone who buys a ticket can relate to anything he says and does - growing pangs, mixed marriages, ex-wives, meddling parents, Kosher cooking, Jewish grandmothers, etc.
The possibilities are endless.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Solomon grew up in the multi-cultural neighborhoods of Sheepshead Bay. The perfect training ground for the up-and-coming comedian, he knew at an early age how to use observations, dialogue and real-life events - class clown, Chinese delivery boy, among them - to hone and develop accents, jokes, one-liners, comic characters and crafty comic routines.

In addition to his popular comedy fests, the comedian has penned the best-selling book "Political Correctness and Other Forms of Insanity," which was also the basis for comedic episodes produced for The Golden Network TV Channel and programs of the same name that are currently being streamed on all ROKU devices.
He is also the recipient of the Connecticut Critic's Circle Award; the "Best New Off-Broadway Play" award from; and "Audience Favorite Play" from Broadway World.

"What is comedy?" says Solomon. "Comedy is being able to laugh at yourself. That's funny. That's comedy.
"When you grow up in a big family, as I did, you grow and change. You tolerate things as a kid because you didn't know any better. When you come back, one uncle has dementia and the other has terminal gas."

For tickets to "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm Still in Therapy," call Seven Angels Theatre at (203) 757-4676.

A special note: This preview marks the premiere launch of my new "Take 2" column "Front Row Center," which is similar to my "Weekend Round Up" commentary from my newspaper days.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2, Column 396, A Concert Review: "Sunday Broadway Concert Series - Jenn Colella" (Legacy Theatre)

 By James V. Ruocco

There's no mistaking the obvious.
Jenn Colella possesses a singing voice that is lush, powerful, lovely, inspired and completely engaging.
Not only is she a pleasure to listen to, but the experience of watching her connect to the material she has chosen to sing produces a ripple effect of emotion, abandonment and illumination like no other.
She's smooth.
She's strong.
She's rich.
She's versatile.
She's creative.
She can to it all.
Pop, rock, jazz, ballad, show tune, showstopper and pretty much anything else in between.

Onstage for Legacy Theatre's acclaimed, popular "Sunday Broadway Concert Series," Colella shoots straight from the hip, knows how to get the ball rolling and let's it be known, through song and melody, that this "silly little lesbian" with "a belt voice" can shift gears in a heartbeat, run with the tide, let a lyric linger and keep you on the edge of your seat happily entertained by the gift of music she so proudly and intuitively conveys.
Here, she does just that - and so much more - with the stamina, grit and perseverance of a seasoned concert performer who not only loves what she does, but more importantly, takes a moment or two to entertain and enthrall her audience with songs that they already know or may not have known before.
As with previous concerts at Legacy Theatre, the staging is simple: a piano, a microphone, a stool, a table, a glass of water, mood lighting, great acoustics and a closeness between performer and audience that is the perfect setting for Colella's polished, distinct voice.
At the piano, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning musical director John McDaniel brings expansive warmth and vigor to the proceedings, the result, of which is a fruitful collaboration between performer and accompanist.

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Colella made her Broadway debut in the 2003 production of "Urban Cowboy," for which she received an Outer Critic's Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. Other Broadway credits include "High Fidelity," "Chaplin: The Musical" and the 2014 production of "If/Then," which starred Inina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, LaChanze and James Snyder.
In 2017, she returned to Broadway to star in "Come from Away," the award-winning musical based on the real-life stories and events that took place on September 11, 2001, when 38 planes, carrying 7,000 passengers were ordered to land at Gander International Airport in the Newfoundland town of Gander following the terrorist attacks that took place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
For her portrayal of American Airlines aircraft pilot Beverley Bass, Colella won the Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Circle award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. She also received a Tony Award nomination in the same category.

For her Legacy Theatre concert engagement, Colella's setlist - an eclectic, soulful and cheer-roaring mix of Broadway showtunes, ballads, personal favorites and treasured, little-known songs - is lovingly assembled with that special magic, sparkle and musicality that makes each and every one of her choices come to fruition with channeled engagement, style and relaxed, in-the-moment exploration.
There are 12 in all, every one of them important to her concert story, its evolution, its remembrance and its laidback, personal conviction.  
"Everybody Says Don't"
"Hopalong Heartbreak"
"Times Like This"
"Me and the Sky"
"I Could Have Danced All Night"
"If You Leave Me"
"When It All Falls Down"
"Getting My Shit Together"
"Something to Talk About"
"Take My Breath Away"
"Don't Rain on My Parade"
"Me and Bobby McGee"
The songs themselves also remind fans (once again) why they love Colella on stage, why they bought a ticket and why seeing her LIVE on concert is ever so special. 

Opening the "Sunday Broadway Concert Series" with "Everybody Says Don't," the cult favorite Stephen Sondheim show tune from his ill-fated 1964 Broadway musical "Anyone Can Whistle," Colella addresses this flip, sardonic take on how to consider, make and address life's choices with brilliantly crafted immediacy and arrangement, playfully negotiating the beats, rhythms and words the composer set forth in his original composition. It's a fabulous, forthright turn that sends Colella on a riveting musical journey of discovery, beauty, arrangement and signature bravura.
"Me and the Sky" from "Come from Away" finds the actress/singer back in Gander as Beverley Bass recalling how she found emotional fulfillment by overcoming several obstacles to eventually become the first female pilot and captain of an American Airlines commercial plane. Here, her interpretive specificity - dramatic, glowing, poignant - is both personal and steady, giving the song itself the respect, privilege and reverence it deserves.

Lerner and Loewe's "I Could Have Danced All Night" from the 1956 Broadway production of "My Fair Lady" finds Colella standing center stage singing joyfully about the excitement of an impromptu ballroom dance with her tutor. It's an exhilarating turn that for concert staging, is jazzed up nice and fizzy to match Colella's song style. The sex of the tutor is also changed from male to female which works splendidly and brings an LGBTQ quality to the song and its recurring enchantment.
"Something to Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt brings Colella right into the audience wildly flirting with her adoring crowd, all of whom willingly succumb to her breezy charm and energized twang and swagger. Legacy Theatre's Colin Sheehan, Community Arts Coordinator and Producer of the Broadway Spotlight Series, chimes in with a hand mike for a playful duet with the singer, fueled by "spot on" harmony, charisma and improvisational magic that thrusts this number into orbit with touchstone roar and double-header giveaway. 

When the singing stops, Colella, all smiles and spotlight ready to engage with the audience, cuts loose to share recollections and important moments from her life including her October 2022 marriage to partner Mo Mullen; the ups and downs of trying to break into the business; the gratification that comes from getting your first break on Broadway; the pressure of auditioning even when things go completely wrong; the memory of being part of Broadway's "Come From Away;" living in Brooklyn; working with and bonding with award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown; seeing "The Phantom of the Opera" as a teenager for the very first time on the New York stage; and the excitement of having your very own song written especially for you in a Broadway show.
Candid, natural and completely engaging, Colella's small talk also included wonderful tidbits about visiting Branford for the very first time and her immediate attraction to both the Legacy Theatre ("I have to come back") and the Thimble Islands ("I'm ready to explore. Let's do it after the show.")
When you think about, who wouldn't want to tour the Thimble Islands with the charming, personable and effervescent Colella? 

Colella ends her "Sunday Broadway Concert Series" engagement with "Don't Rain on My Parade" from "Funny Girl" followed by American singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee," made famous by the late Janis Joplin.
Both songs - great choices to close and encore her performance - not only portray her gift for bold, brave musicality and directness, but her versatility, tilt, kinship and template as a concert performer.
The voice is hers.
Full, colorful, soaring, charming.
The pleasure is ours.
Quality, thrill and spill to the fullest.
All of the selected songs not only complement her range but allow her to change mood, style and opportunity in a given moment.
It's a large repertoire - belts, sweetness, warmth, drama, projection - matched and complemented with stellar, affecting accompaniment by McDaniel, who, like Colella, works intuitively to create an intimate, Broadway backdrop that can brighten any Sunday afternoon.

"Sunday Broadway Concert Series - Jenn Colella" was performed at Legacy Theatre (128 Thimble Islands Road, Brandford, CT) on May 7, 2023.
For tickets or information on all upcoming events, call (203) 315-1901.