Tag Archives: TheaterWorks

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.”




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!”

Time for Some Fa La La La La Spirit Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Less than two weeks and counting Christmas fans! And if you need a little fa la la la la lift, there’s a lot to choose from this weekend.

Thursday morning the Catholic Charities holds its 8th annual “Help and Hope Breakfast” at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco is the guest speaker at the event that benefitting families in need.  

On Friday, head over to the Glastonbury Hilton Homewood Suites where the Salvation Army and WTIC radio will hold the 24th annual Holiday Store “Pajama Party” beginning at 5:30 a.m. The event raises money and toys for gifts for those in need.  

Fridabeaty is “Liquid Lounge” night at the Connecticut Science Center. The party, beginning at 6 p.m. will include three floors of DJs, ice sculptors, gourmet food carts, games & crafts, specialty drinks and live burlesque from Hartford’s own Beat City Beauties. The entire event is Hollywood-themed and there will be prizes for guests who dress up like their favorite movie characters. Information: ctsciencecenter.org.

Hartford’s Nook Farm will provide a pleasant look back intime this weekend as it hosts its annual “Stowe & Twain’s Olde Fashioned Christmas.” Both the Stowe and Twain Houses will be decorated for the holidays Saturday from 10 to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. twainhouse

The open house includes tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, entertainment and a visit from St. Nicholas. Information: harrietbeecherstowecenter.org.

Thinking about eating out? You might want to consider Hartford and enjoy a trolley ride.

Several restaurants are among the stops as part of this year’s holiday trolley that runs between trolleyKeeney Memorial Cultural Center in Olde Wethersfield and Bushnell Park in Hartford.

Trolleys provide the free, continuous back-and-forth rides on Friday and Saturdays from 4 to 11 p.m. with stops at  Costa Del Sol, Carbone’s, Casa Mia and Andreas, Mozzicato’s and Francesco’s, J Restaurant/Bar and Bushnell Park where Winterfest is underway. On New Year’s Eve, transportation will be available from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The route takes about 30 minutes.

Lowadstree17oking for some on-stage inspiration when it comes to Christmas? Take your pick. Hartford Stage is featuring its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” (hartfordstage.org) through Dec. 28 , while over at TheaterWorks, catch the off-beat “Christmas on the Rocks” (theaterworkshartford.org) through Dec. 22.

And finally, the Wadsworth Atheneums’ 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions continues through Sunday. Information: 860-838-4100 or thewadsworth.org

TheaterWorks Opening Night Includes A Party

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theaterworks1It was a sassy holiday crowd at TheaterWorks Saturday night due in part to it being the opening night of the theater’s new holiday show “Christmas on the Rocks” and its offbeat theme, whatever did happen to some of those beloved Christmas characters when they grew up?

“I’m a fan of the movie and I had first choice so I of course chose Cindy Lou Who,” grinned well-known playwright and Hartford fav Matthew Lombardo at the opening night that included a pre-show and post-show party.  Lombardo wrote a vignette on the sweet-turned-sour Cindy Lou years after her “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” fame.

Lombardo and fellow contributing playwrights, Jacques Lamarre, Theresa Rebeck, Edwin Sanchez, Jonathan Tolins and John Cariani were on all hand for opening night, with just one of the group of writers, Jeffrey Hatcher, unable to attend. Gov. Dannel P. and Mrs. Cathy Malloy were also in the opening night audience as well as a slew of regular theater supporters including best-shoes-of-the-night Jennifer DiBella and her husband Marc DiBella, best-Christmas-card-so-far Karen Wheat and her husband John  Wheat.

“It was fun,” said Tolis who provided the creative career choice, and holiday disenchantment of Miracle on 34th Street’s youngster-turned-adult, Susan Walker.theaterworks2

For some members of the audience, the evening provided some gentle reminders of their own childhood.

“I was that kid,” said TheaterWork’s board member Dennis Russo remarking on the piece featuring the Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle-infatuated “Ralphie” from “A Christmas Story.” “My parents wouldn’t buy me one for Christmas when I was a kid so I bought one for myself when I grew up!”

Get Your Christmas (And More) On This Weekend

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It’s time to get that holiday season really rolling and this weekend in the Hartford area, you cannot avoid it. Some of the area’s biggest holiday events are going on, with some extra thrown in for good measure.

Things kick off Thursday with the opening of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s 40th Annual Festival of Trees & Tradition. Begun in 1974, the annual event transform the landmark museum into a holiday wonderland with trees, wreaths and table decorations, all  enhanced with daily family programming and more. More than 11,000 visitors are expected at  the festival with proceeds benefiting museum programs.

treefest16A preview party will be held Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.  On Friday  “The Night of Illumination”  festivities will be held  featuring refreshments, performances and a light display. Information: 860-838-4100 or  thewadsworth.org   

Also on Thursday, Foxwoods Resort Casino will kick off the holiday season with the opening of its Winter Skating Rink & Patio. Former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan will christen the rink with a special performance and then join Boston hockey legend Terry O’Reilly for a meet and greet autograph session. 

The opening festivities will also include VIP reception featuring hors d’oeuvres, a ribbon cutting and official tree and rink lighting. Members of the local Mystic Ballet Company will perform and award-wining ice sculptor Gregory Shimoda from the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will carve a winter masterpiece to fit the winter wonderland.  Information:foxwoods.com

If ymashouseou are looking for an eyeful of decorations visit  Governor and Mrs. Dannel Malloy’sgovres Prospect Avenue governor’s residence Friday through Sunday for their annual Holiday Open House. The residence has been decorated with four trees and over-the-top trimmings and gingerbread houses (like the one above from Max Downtown pastry chef Warren Hardman)  on mantels and tabletops, all for public viewing Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to the Toys For Tots holiday gift-giving program. Information: 860-524-7355 or ct.gov

Friday begins with a Girl Scout breakfast at The Hartford Club. “The Breakfast Badge” awards program will honor Teresa Younger, executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and past girl scout board president. Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. Information: 860-522-0163 or gsofct.org

Alsonusser on Friday, you can head over to the Connecticut Convention Center for the Greater Hartford Women Against MS Luncheon. Guest speaker at the event that includes shopping, a luncheon will be motivational speaker Larissa Nusser. Information: 860.913.2550 or nationalmssociety.org 

The Children’s Law Center of Connecticut will hold its “Imagine…Growing Our Garden” fundraiser at The Hartford Golf Club Friday. The 20th anniversary gala celebrations includes cocktails, dinner and auctions. Information:ctcct.org or 860-232-9993

Looking for some on-stage inspiration when it comes to Christmas? Take your pick. Hartford Stage is featuring its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” (hartfordstage.org) through Dec. 28 (while over at Theaterworks, catch the off-beat “Christmas on the Rocks”  (theaterworkshartford.org) through Dec. 22.  And at the Bushnell Saturday, The Hartford Symphony Orchestra along with The Hartford Chorale and special guest soloists will perform “Handel’s Messiah.” Information: hartfordsymphony.org

bearAlso on Saturday , grab the kids and head over to Max Downtown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its annual “Teddy Bear Tea.” The event includes light treats, a signature Max bear, a photo and some family fun. Guests 13 and under are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  Information: 860-522-2530 or maxrestaurantgroup.com

Wait, there is still more!

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit several distinctive Hartfordtwainxmas and West Hartford homes all decked out for the holidays as part of the Mark Twain House & Museum’s 33rd Annual Holiday House Tour on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Among the six homes that are featured on the tour are the former Katharine Hepburn residence in West Hartford, The Isham-Terry house in Hartford and of course, The Mark Twain House in Hartford.

As an added bonus, author Carlo Devito, who wrote a new book called “A Mark Twain Christmas” will be at the MTH to autograph copies. Information: 860-280-3130 or marktwainhouse.org.

lego_optAnd finally, don’t forget it is Lego KidsFest weekend over at the Connecticut Convention Center.

If you or your kids are fans of those little plastic blocks, plan to be happily overwhelmed with master builder creations and more. There is limited ticket availability for the show that runs Friday through Sunday. Information: legokidsfest.com 




Dr. Ruth Comes To Theaterworks, Really!

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How does it feel to watch a play about yourself?

Pretty good as far as author, media personality and sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer is concerned.

She was at Theaterworks in Hartford Friday, Saturday and Sunday to catch performances of the poignant “Becoming Dr. Ruth,” by Mark St. Germain.

“I pinch myself when I watch so I keep my mouth shut,” said the petite Westheimer who celebrated her 85th birthday earlier in the week. “I sit on the edge of my seat when I watch the play. They have done an incredible job.”

Westheimer, whose pre-celebrity story includes fleeing from the Nazis in the Kindertransport when she was 10 years old, joining the Haganah in Jerusalem as a scout and sniper and her life as a single mother in America, gave actress Debra Jo Rupp a thumbs up when it comes to playing the role of the pioneering radio and television sex therapist, whose given name was Karola Ruth Siegel.

“She did a tremendous job,” said Ruth, who on opening night Saturday, was wearing a silver heart and chain Rupp had surprised her with for her birthday.

The good doctor had much to say about Hartford, noting that her visit was one of “all smiles.”

“I rode the carousel at Bushnell Park today for free,” she said, explaining how she was the 92nd person out of first 100 who were eligible for the free ride during Connecticut Open House Day Saturday. “I had not ridden a carousel since I was a child in German.”

And on Sunday, she was treated to a private tour of the Mark Twain House & Museum, courtesy of Jacques Lamarre, the well-known, multi-talented outgoing communications director there.

“He’s a show in himself,” quipped Theaterworks artistic director Rob Ruggiero who arranged the special visit for Westheimer. “I’ll pick you up at 10:20. It’s a date.”

“Don’t say that,” said the feisty Westhheimer who was widowed many years ago. “I don’t want people to think I have someone. I’m looking!”

“Abby” A Wise Woman Who Could Dish In Lots of Ways

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dear_abby[1] “Dear Abby,” Pauline Friedman  Phillips, passed on today.

Not only could she dish out advice on virtually any topic,  she also had some  great recipes that she would publish  from time to time including this one for her famous Pecan Pie.

And for those who loved her, and her and her twin sister,  advice columnist, Esther Friedman, better known as Ann Landers,  there was this TheaterWorks play .