2014 Connecticut Fall Theater Preview

September 1, 2014 8:00 AM

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Connecticut has no shortage of first-rate venues that host live theater. The upcoming fall season looks especially promising, with a diverse mix of dramas, comedies and musicals. From centuries-old classics to 2014 premieres, these are the best shows worth attending this autumn.

Hartford Stage
50 Church St.
Hartford,CT 06103
(860) 527-5151

Date: Oct. 16, 2014 to Nov. 16, 2014

The Hartford Stage presents “Hamlet,” Shakespeare’s greatest play – and thus arguably the greatest play ever – for a month-long engagement beginning on October 16. The stage’s artistic director Darko Tresnjack will be at the helm for this production, fresh off his 2014 Tony win for Best Direction of a Musical (“A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder”). “Hamlet” is the tale of the Prince of Denmark, who is urged by his father’s ghost to kill his murderer – his brother and Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, who has now married Hamlet’s mother. Tresnjack also designed the sets and promises a bold, lavish interpretation.

“Our Town”
Long Wharf Theater
222 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 787-4282

Date: Oct. 8, 2014 to Nov. 2, 2014

Thornton Wilder’s poignant Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Our Town” will play at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater for three weeks beginning October 8. The story takes place in the fictional New England town of Grover’s Corners and is divided into three acts. It focuses on the romance between the characters Emily Webb and George Gibbs, with the audience learning the couple’s fate in the final act. This adaptation is directed by Gordon Edelstein.

“Chang & Eng”
Spirit of Broadway Theater
24 Chestnut St.
Norwich, CT 06360
(860) 886-2378

Date: Oct. 29, 2014 to Nov. 30, 2014

This musical, first staged at the theater in 2005, is loosely based on the lives of the Chinese brothers Chang and Eng Bunker, which were unquestionably dramatic. They were Siamese twins joined at the sternum who toured Europe and America for audiences who paid to look at them early in the 19th century. In 1839, they bought a North Carolina farm and fell in love with some local girls, but also raised the ire of some townspeople, causing them to look into separation surgery. Their fascinating story will be brought to life by director Brett Bernadini.

Related: Top Directors In the Local Theater Scene In Connecticut 

Irving Berlin’s “Holiday Inn”
Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main St.
East Haddam, CT 06423
(860) 873-8668

Date: Sept. 19, 2014 to Nov. 30, 2014

The Goodspeed Opera House will be the home for the world premiere of the musical “Holiday Inn.” The show is based on the hit 1942 movie which starred Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, and is set in a Connecticut country home that hosts parties on every major holiday. Expect to hear plenty of classic Irving Berlin tunes in the Gordon Greenberg-directed musical. After the performances on October 16, 23 and 30 and November 13, the audience will be invited to meet and ask questions of the cast.

“Comedy Is Hard!”
Ivoryton Playhouse
103 Main St.
Ivoryton, CT 06442
(860) 767-7318

Date: Sep. 24, 2014 to Oct. 12, 2014

Connecticut native Mike Reiss, a veteran of “The Simpsons” writing staff, will open his new play “Comedy Is Hard!” at the Ivoryton Playhouse on September 24. Directed by Jacqueline Hubbard, the play depicts the often contentious friendship between Lou, a retired stand-up comic, and Kay, a classically-trained actress. The lead roles will be played by Mickey Dolenz (“The Monkees”) and Joyce DeWitt (“Three’s Company”). It’s possible “Comedy Is Hard!” will become, like many productions that debuted at the Playhouse, the next big Broadway hit.

Related:  Top Small Theaters In Connecticut

Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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