Tag Archives: Hartford Stage

GHAC Celebrates A Good Year, Gets Ready For Another

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artsc1It was one big arts party over at Spotlight Theatres Wednesday as the Greater Hartford Arts Council  celebrated a successful 2014 year that included its $2.7 million campaign,  and said ‘hello’ to its 2015 fundraising plan.
Besides naming the Phoenix as campaign chair for 2015 at the annual celebration, it was also time to say goodbye to its Director of Communications & Donor Relations Tim Yergeau, who is joining Civic Mind, a Hartford marketing and branding company.
Yergeau, who has been with the council for four years, received a special shout-out from executive director Cathy Malloy during the program that was followed by a party in the theater’s main lobby and bistro.
For Malloy, there will be two campaigns going on in her life, one for the council and the one for her artsc4husband, Democratic incumbent Governor Dan Malloy who is running for reelection.
“His thing,” she said smiling when asked about juggling a couple of campaigns at the same time. “That won’t really get going until fall.”
artsc2It seemed anyone who was anyone with the arts attended the event including a more relaxed than usual including fresh-off-a-motorcycle ride Bushnell CEO David Fay and Michael Stotts, managing director at Hartford Stage.
“I’m always relaxed,” grinned Stotts adding that it was a little less hectic than usual at the theater because of the season break and theater renovations that will mean a new look in the fall.
“New paint, new seats, new carpeting, you won’t recognize the house,” he said.
artsc3Also doing a bit of celebrating was newly-elected council president, Atty. Moe Banks.
“My passion is to get what we need to put instrument in the hands of more Hartford students,” he said explaining his plans during his tenure.
Founding executive director Dollie McLean took the opportunity to give a thank you shout out to the council, noting the non-profit she began with her husband, celebrated musician Jackie McLean, and is responsible for a lot of what the venue has achieved over the decades.

“If it were not for the Arts Council, we could have not maintained a program,” said McLean. “And we are thankful for that.”

Tony Winner Comes Home To Hartford

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darkot1It was not your usual hum drum Hartford Stage annual meeting Tuesday.
Besides a crowd that was twice as large as usual, there was a champagne toast and an unexpected Tony Award winner in the room, executive director Darko Tresnjak.
Tresnjak,, who won the Broadway Tony Sunday for “best direction of a musical” earlier in the week, came home to Hartford for the annual meeting and the crowd went wild.
“It is still the most wonderful feeling,” said a beaming Tresnjak, who won for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” which premiered at Hartford Stage in 2012. “That moment when they call your name, the feeling is so great. ”
“Gentlemen’s Guide” also won the prestigious “best musical” award.

So where does Tresnjak plan to display that precious, marble-based Tony that he was carefully darkot2showing the crowd.
“My favorite spot,” the kitchen” he grinned. “I love to cook, am always in the kitchen so that’s where it has to go, right next to my Cuisinart.”
While the stage basks in the glow of the two major awards, and then two more including one for costume design by Linda Cho, and book to musical by Robert Freedman, Tresnjak predicted more to come when it comes to award-winning work from Hartford.
“Just wait for next season,” smiled Tresnjak as the annual meeting got underway. “We are not done yet.”

Dress For Success Hosts Annual Capital Catwalk

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dressfor55There were the usual big names at the Dress for Success 9th annual Capital Catwalk fundraising fashion show at Hartford Stage Monday.

But it was the youngest participant who stole the runway.

The nearly seven-month-old William “LB” Petit III, son of Christine Paluf Petit and Dr. Bill Petit was the clear star, curls and all.

“He is beautiful and so happy,” said Windsor resident Mavis Langley, part of the sold-out crowd who oohed and ahhed over the baby decked out in a summer madras outfit and hat for the show that also featured his mom as one of the models.  “I am so happy for all of them.”

Dr. Petit lost his wife and two daughters in a deadly home invasion in 2007. He married Paluf Petit in 2012.

There were other well-knowns on the  runway including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, WFSB personalitiesdressfor22 including Mark Dixon, Klarn DePalma, Dennis House, Scot Haney, Kara Sundlun, and Denise D’Ascenzo , Hartford leaders including Mayor Pedro Segarra and Hartford Deputy Police Chiefs Neville Brooks and Brian Foley, and radio celebs including Chaz and AJ from WPLR and WTIC’s Christine Lee.

“This is the first time I’ve done this,” said the not-usually fashion-forward Chaz, who was decked  out in summer Bermuda shorts with a martini shaker pattern and lime green pullover. “Same for me, first time,” said on-air sidekick AJ, who was done up in a coral summer outfit.

dressfor10Another star of the show was Dress for Success client, Nancy Guerard, who credited the organization that provides support and clothes for women seeking jobs, with helping her get back on her professional feet.

“The help was priceless,” said Guerard who lives in Wethersfield and now works for Lincoln Financial Group. “I lost my job after 18 years and Dress for Success provided me with the skills and support I needed to find a new job.”


Hartford Celebrates ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ Tony Wins

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tony55New York City had nothing on Hartford, Ct. Sunday as Hartford Stage supporters in two states celebrated big time when it came to the bouquet of Tony Awards gathered by “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”

The play, which premiered at Hartford Stage before going on to Broadway, not only won best musical, but picked up three other precious Tony awards including “Best Direction of a Musical,” presented to Hartford’s Stage’s own Darko Tresnjak.

“I am overwhelmed,” said a tearful Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra as Tresnjak won his award early in the tony44program. “Anyone who thinks the arts don’t have value, just come to Hartford,” he added later after GGTLM won the big prize, “best musical.” “I am so proud of my city.”

Segarra, with husband Charlie Ortiz and sister Miriam Charles-Flores, were joined what seemed to be the entire Hartford Stage staff, board members and supporters who ate dinner in front of a big screen tv at The Society Room. Among the longtime Hartford Stage fans who attended were Cheryl Chase, hubby Stuart Bear, and Belle Ribicoff.

tony22“It doesn’t matter whether the play wins or loses tonight, it has to go to London,” said Ribicoff about the romp of a play about an aspiring earl who uses homicide as a means to his dream. “The Brits will get this play.”

Other awards picked up by GGTLM were “Best Book of a Musical” presented to Robert L. Freedman and “Best Costume Design of a Musical” presented to Linda Cho.

Chase and Bear had their own bragging to do as everyone waited for the awards show to start. Their niece, Sara Chase, daughter of Arnold and Sandy Chase, is one of the co-stars in a new NBC comedy series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” with Tina Fey and slated for the early 2015 season.

And their son-in-law, Ross Dyer, married to daughter Dara, will be one of the voices you hear on ESPN Radio broadcasting the World Cup games that begin June 12.

For more pictures go here.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”:

Happy ‘Hours’ And The Arts Rule This Weekend Hartford

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The first week of June brings more than signs of summer, the end of the school year and the arrival of prime wedding and prom season.

It brings some seriously good get-togethers at some of the Hartford area’s favorite places.calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]

Head over to the Wadsworth Atheneum Thursday and get your groove on at is “First Thursday” party. The 70’s themed social from 5 to 9 p.m. includes hustle dance lessons, a 70’s band, body art, a disco-ball craft activity, the film “American Hustle” and a new VIP lounge. For more information go here.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center will honor the 2014 recipients of the Student Stowe Prizes at the Big Tent Jubilee Thursday evening on the Stowe Center lawn.  Madeline Sachs of University of Chicago Laboratory High School (Chicago, IL) and Donya Nasser of St. John’s University (New York, NY) will receive their awards from Teresa Younger, newly appointed president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.  For more information go here. hbs

On Friday, head over to the New Britain Museum of American Art for its “First Friday” soiree beginning at 5:30 p.m. The R&B band, Strutt, will provide the sounds and there will also be appetizers, beverages, a poetry reading and more. For more information go here.

Attention, lords and ladies of the Seven Kingdoms, get your fill of jousting, fortune-telling, fencing andthrones more at the CT Science Center’s “Liquid Lounge” get-together Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. The 21+ party is going back to  the age of knights, fair maidens and dragons and if you dress as your favorite medieval or Game of Thrones character, you get a chance to win glittering prizes. Food, entertainment, hands on science and more are always the features at this  downtown bash. For more information go here.

As we mentioned, it’s not all about that end of the day unwinding this week.

MTH Exerior.28.25.04Head over to the Bushnell Saturday night and get your Dan Brown fix. The best-selling author of books including “The Da Vinci Code” and “Inferno” is doing a program there thanks to The Mark Twain House & Museum. The evening als includes a meet-and-greet with the famed author for those with VIP tickets. For more information go here.

On Sunday, it’s off to Max Downtown where the Greater Hartford Arts Council will hold its annual wine dinner fundraiser benefiting its summer arts program. For more information on the wine-paired dinner and evening of fun  go here.

And in case you forgot, Sunday is Broadway’s Tony Award day and Hartford Stage and itsgentguide “Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder” is a front runner. The Stage will be holding a  Hartford party at The Society Room where guests will watch the televised show in New York and keep their collective fingers crossed that Hartford’s own play will be picking up its deserved Great White Way honors. For more information go here.

Celebrate May’s Last Weekend Hartford!

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Where did the month go? May is nearly done and only blue skies, sunshine and summer to lookcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] forward to as we wait for June, July and August to arrive.

But let’s not shortchange these last days of May. There are plenty of choices when it comes to getting out before the month changes again.

On Friday, “living legend”  and Grammy award winner Tony Bennett will be at The Bushnell belting out the classics that have made him one of the most popular and talented singers of the past 50+ years.

tonyBennett will be performing with his daughter Antonia Bennett in the show featuring his hits like  “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “Rags to Riches”  and “Who Can I Turn To.” Tickets are $59 to $129. for information go to  bushnell.org or call  860-987-6000

Also on Friday, head to The Pond House Café for the 5th Annual Rainbow Ball Masquerade from 6:30 p.m. to midnight.  For more information go here.

The evening includes food, entertainment and fun with all proceeds going to CLARO, a non-profit organization promoting homophobia and heterosexism policy and education.

Saturday is a day for dancing and art and good causes.

Interval House, the non-profit providing assistance to victims of domestic abuse, will hold its annual interval“Step Up and Step Out” benefit  at The Society Room in Hartford. The black tie event includes a red carpet welcomes, wine-paired dinner,  and auction benefiting the agency and its work. Get ticket information here.

Saturday also marks the fifth  annual “Art for Aids” party, benefiting  AIDS Connecticut, with a portion going to ACT’s permanent endowment, The Richard B. Fried Fund, administered by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

The evening includes the “art grab” allowing each guest to take home an original 12′ by 12′ canvas,artforaids as well as music, food, art and more. There is also an art show sale.

Go here for more information.

Also on Saturday, The Hartford  Symphony Orchestra closes its 2013-2014 “Pops!”  series with “Do You Hear What The People Sing?” at 7:30 p.m. at The Bushnell.  For information go here.

All weekend you can head to Theaterworks for its new play “Love/Sick”  and Hartford Stage for its production of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”




Hartford Stage Parties Like It’s 1964

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hartstage100 (2)It was all “check it out” and “crack up” at the Hartford Stage Paint House on Murphy Road Saturday as its workshop was transformed to a time when girls groups, Motown, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles ruled, cocktail dresses were in and Hartford Stage was a fledgling glimmer in the Hartford eye.

“Consider us the captain and stewardess from flight hartfordstage121964,” said stage staffers Andy Palmer and Stacie Synder decked out in “Airport” garb as they welcomed guests to the annual “Party in the Paint House” party, a special one celebrating the theater’s 50th anniversary.

And as good theater should, the Stage was ready and willing to help guests get their groove on and feel the vibe by setting up a retro-60s living room, hartfordstage14complete with a hastily purchased vintage Admiral console tv from eBay, mod-style orange, gold and brown furniture, and accoutrements including ashtray, dial phone and a chrome and glass bar cart.

“I remember my grandparents having this kind of set-up,” said Melanie Masterson, a Springfield resident who was attending her first theater party. “It is just so cool,” she said, batting layers of false eyelashes and doing a twirl in a 60s-era cocktail dress she found online. “I feel like I’m ready for the Ed Sullivan Show or something.”

And while guests either brought or found their 60s self once they arrived, there were vestiges of the year that just had to be left behind.

hartfordstage11“I wanted to bring my 1964 Mustang,” explained Ct Superior Court Judge Mike Riley. Riley and buddy Jerry Bundy, had planned to bring the Mustang and a vintage 1964 Ford Corsair to the event but said they were dissuaded because well, there were some other ‘sponsored’ cars on display.

Fresh off the train from New York City where he is directing a play was Hartford Stage’s artistic director, Darko Tresnjak, who only knows tales of 1964.

“I wasn’t anything in 1964, “said the 40-something year old.” Not even a fetus.”hartfordstage13

But his goal for the night as the theater held one of the last of its anniversary special events?

“I don’t want this to a proper party,” quipped the evening jacket clad, good time-loving host as the music was turned up and the guests began to loosen up a bit. “I hope it’s all improper.”

For more pictures go here.

A Weekend Sure To Wonderfully Wear You Out Hartford!

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If you haven’t squeezed in a nap by now this week, you are out of luck. calendar_clip_art-1_opt

There is so much going on in and around Hartford going forward,   that there is no time for weekend snoozing.

Fun begins Thursday  at On20 in Hartford with a launch party celebrating the “Best of Hartford.” The event features the May issue of Hartford Magazine and the people, restaurants, shops and services named to its 11th annual “Best of” list.

Also on Thursday, the state Office of Tourism will hand out its annual “Pineapple Awards” at the Connecticut Conference on Tourism at the Connecticut Convention Center. Awards in categories including Excellence in Tourism, Tourism Ambassador and Volunteer of the Year will be presented to each of the state’s three tourism districts.

pineappleAmong those competing for awards in the Central Connecticut district are the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, the Marriott Hartford Downtown Hotel, Farmington Valley Trails Council and Mark Twain House & Museum.

Keynote speaker at the daylong event is Daniel Levine, global editor of the website WikieTrend.org. For information go here.

Also on Thursday , the Simsbury Performing Arts Center will hold its Kickoff Celebration at the Hop Meadow Country Club beginning at 6 p.m. The event will highlight the upcoming 2014 season which includes performances by  Willie Nelson and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Proceeds from the event will benefit the center.

For information go here.

On Friday, the Wadsworth Atheneum opens its “Art and Flowers” weekend. On Friday, floral FineArtFlowers_wadsworthatheneumF-10-2_WEB[1]designer Bill Graham who will create arrangements based on “the little black dress” theme. The demonstration is followed by lunch.

On Saturday, there will be a farm-to-table dinner and tours of the galleries and art and flower displays. For ticket information for both events  go here.

And what is spring without Meriden’s annual Daffodil Festival?

DaffodilsThe sea of yellow is ready and waiting at Hubbard Park  and opens Saturday at 10 a.m. Celebrating its 36th year, the festival includes 600,001 daffodils, food, arts and crafts, children’s rides, entertainment, a parade, and firework on Saturday , and arts and crafts, food, children’s rides and entertainment on Sunday.

For more information go here.

Saturday night has more events than any one person can possibly get to but here goes.

The American Red Cross will hold its “Red, White And You Ball” at the Connecticut Convention Center.

stew (2)The black tie evening, emceed by WFSB personalities Dennis House and Kara Sundlun and ESPN’s Kevin Negandi, features educational exhibitions, digital storytelling, three-dimensional installations and imaginative pop up booths.

Honorees for the night will be Kim and Stew Leonard Jr. who will receive the Red Cross 2014 Community Impact Award.

For information go here.

Meanwhile over at Hartford Stage’s “Party in the Paint House” time once again, this one hs13celebrating the theater’s 50th birthday.

Titled “1964” Hartford Stage Gala” the evening is all about the year the theater began and will feature its paint shop turned into a “oh-those 60s” party venue. For information go here.

At the Bond Hotel, CRIS Radio will host its 4th Annual “Dancing in the Dark” gala featuring a dance competition with celebrities including Broadway actor Billy Johnstone, NBC CT anchor Todd Piro, Miss Ct. Kaitlyn Tarpey, WFSB reporter Courtney Zieller, tv host Jose Vega, the Bushnell’s Paul Marte and emceed by WFSB personality Scot Haney.

Cris Radio Dining & Dancing in the Dark April 21, 2012For information go here.

And at the Bushnell, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will perform its 2nd annual “Playing With Food” concert, a collaborative effort with several Hartford area restaurants.  Music based on food dishes will be featured. For more information go here.

Like chocolate? On Sunday head over to the Connecticut Science Center for the Chocolate World Expo. All things chocolate  including baked goods, special foods, gelato and more will be featured at the event that runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  For more information go here.

UConn Parade, UConn Gala And More This Weekend

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]uconngala2Yes,  we have two national championship teams here in Connecticut so it just follows that it is all about UConn this weekend. And so it should be!

But besides the Championship Parade on Sunday in Hartford, the UConn Foundation  will be doing some celebrating of its own on Saturday night at its Fifth Annual “White Coat Gala.”  The event will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center.

The Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honor recipients  this year are Richard and Jane Lublin and UConn Auxiliary president Irene Engel . Also being honored with the corporate philanthropist award at the ball is Cigna.

For more information go here.

But let’s back it up a bit. On Thursday, the Ct Historical Society will host an opening  reception for its new display honoring acting icon, Katharine Hepburn.

Titled “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen,” the exhibit features over 40 costumes the Oscar-winning,  Connecticut resident wore in 21 films and six stage productions, including “Adam’s Rib,”  “The Philadelphia Story”  and “Coco.” The display also includes vintage posters, playbills and photos and, of course, an ensemble of her signature tailored beige trohepburn-sponsorship-page-header[1]users and linen jackets.

The exhibit was organized by the Kent State University Museum and will be on display in Hartford through Sept. 13.

For more information go here.

Also on Thursday, the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford will host its annual “Opening The Door openingCelebration” at the Connecticut Convention Center. The event features the induction of the 2014  Hall of Fame inductees, Kevin Henry, Joseph Horvath, Darryl Thames and
Clarence (Sonny) Thomas.

The evening includes dinner, a reception, auctions and some surprises. For more information go here.

Also on Thursday at The Pond House Cafe in Elizabeth Park, the Interfaith Education Task Force will hold its 7th annual “Soaring for Success” fundraising party.

Profits from the party support a collaboration between Noah Webster and Rawson Schools and  the task force that provides volunteer tutors for students in need.

Tickets are $35  and available at the door.

Spgoodspeedyankeesring is absolutely here for two reasons. Baseball season has begun and the Goodspeed in East Haddam opens Friday for the season.

And its opening production is the best of two worlds for a baseball-conflicted Connecticut. It’s “Damn Yankees” with a Red Sox twist.

Opening night of “Damn Yankees, The Musical (The Red Sox Version)  includes some Sox treasures including its World Series trophy which will be on display for ticket holders before the show begins. There will also be some other Red Sox surprises including Wally the Mascot and Sox “ball girls”  at the opening night event .

For more information go here.

And speaking of theater, “Somewhere” opens Friday night at Hartford Stage. For ticket wetstasteinformation go here.

On Saturday, you can also enjoy a dine around by attending the Wethersfield Historical Society’s Taste of Wethersfield from 7 to 9 :30 p.m. The dine-around will be held at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center at 200 Main St. Cost is $50 per person for early admission at 6 p.m. and $35 per person for admission at 7 p.m. A host of area restaurants will be serving featured foods. There will also be live entertainment and auctions. For information go here.

On Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m., at The Studio at Billings Forge in Hartford, GLAD will honor John and Becky Glezegladn for their efforts on behalf  the LGBT community.

The couple have not only financially supported organizations like True Colors,   but have also served as activists for gender equality in the state. For more information go here.


TheaterWorks Unveils New Show, New Digs

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theater3The evening was supposed to be about the opening of TheaterWorks latest production “The Other Place.”

But before the show began Friday, there was the celebration of another “other place,” the dazzling new administrative digs at the Pearl Street theater.

A select group of the well-known got the first peek of the new second floor office space that includes a box office, meeting room and some impressive new territory for TheaterWorks producing artistic director Rob Ruggiero.

“It’s just nice to have us all in the same place,” enthused Ruggiero, whose opening night guest theater1list including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and, his wife, Greater Hartford Arts Council Cathy Malloy. “It is just so much nicer than being spread out all over the place.”

And if the old adage that your workspace determines how you work, then watch out. The seemingly unstoppable Ruggiero will undoubtedly be bringing even more to the creative table.

“I love my sand box,” said Ruggiero whose minimalist but sophisticated office includes a small desktop sand box where he can dig for new ideas, a chalkboard wall already filled with inspirational sayings and notes to himself and assorted art and posters, all aimed at artistic succtheater2ess.

Among the VIP’ers at the pre-show reception was Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. He could not stay however; he had some cooking to do back at his Prospect Avenue home.

“Charlie is at home and I have to get back to help him,” explained Segarra. Seems the power couple was hosting and cooking for a Hartford Stage party.

And on the menu?

“We are serving Cornish game hen with a guava glaze and roasted pork loin with pigeon peas,” Segarra reported.

But what about the TheaterWorks show?

“I’m going to catch it on another night,” Segarra said as he headed out the door. “I have to go cook!”