Spring into fun and enjoy the warmth of a Connecticut theater season jam-packed with great shows and big name box office draws. While every theater has a lineup to keep audiences intrigued and loyal throughout the entire year, there are some shows that will draw audiences far and wide. Here are five of them.
(credit: americanidiotthemusical.com)

(credit: americanidiotthemusical.com)

American Idiot
The Bushnell
166 Capitol Ave.
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 987-6000

Dates: Feb. 26 through Mar. 3

“American Idiot” is somewhat of a phenomenon. It is based on punk rock band Green Day’s concept album with the same title. Focusing on three young guys who search for the meaning of life after suburbia, the show opened on Broadway, where it only received mixed reviews. It lasted for about a year on the Great White Way. What is so interesting is that it is now a touring production and is being widely presented and wildly received. Go figure. You can catch a performance of this rock musical at Hartford’s The Bushnell theater from February 26 through March 3, 2013.


Yale Repertory Theatre
1120 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06520
(203) 432-1234

Dates: Mar. 15 through Apr. 13

There’s a lot of talk in Connecticut theater circles on Paul Giamatti playing the title role of “Hamlet” at the Yale Rep. “He’s too old for the part,” said one young thespian. Considering that Shakespeare’s great play on revenging the murder of a father has been played in different eras, by different sexes, and interpreted in all sorts of ways, why not Giamatti? For the Academy Award nominee, it’s like coming home again. Giamatti was born in New Haven where his father served as President of Yale University before becoming a commissioner of baseball. Paul Giamatti received his MFA in drama at Yale. He’s such a great actor that this show is bound to have a big draw. “Hamlet” plays at Yale from March 15 through April 13, 2013.

Related: Top Spots To See Ballet In Connecticut

Man In A Case

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

Dates: Feb. 21 through Mar. 24

Love the classics? It’s hard to get more classic than Anton Chekhov’s short story “Man in a Case” featuring none other than Mikhail Baryshnikov, but Hartford Stage’s world premiere of this tale comes to life fusing everything from dance and music to video. The story itself is about a rigid disciplinarian who falls for a laid-back and with-it young woman. What is so ironic is how this man is so boxed into his daily affairs that he literally winds up in a case. The production plays at the Hartford Stage from February 21 through March 24, 2013.

Curse of the Starving Class
Long Wharf Theatre
222 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 787-4282

Dates: Feb. 13 through Mar. 10

Judith Ivey, a Tony Award-winning actress, will star in Sam Shepard’s “Curse of the Starving Class.” While this play has been presented many times before at other theaters, this is a first for Long Wharf. It’s definitely a tragic story on the human condition. This is a dark comedy about a very dysfunctional family. Absurd in every way, it’s nonetheless a close up on family, class, control and the ultimate search for freedom. It plays from February 13 through March 10, 2013.

The Immigrant
Seven Angels Theatre
1 Plank Road
Waterbury, CT 06705
(203) 757-4676

Dates: Mar. 21 through Apr. 21

If ever there was a musical that could thaw the coldest heart and prepare it for a new life, it is the musical “The Immigrant” by Mark Harelik. This is about a Russian Jewish man who immigrates to Texas and gets help from a Christian family. Both families come together in the most interesting way and discover the true meaning of the American dream. See the performance from March 21 through April 21, 2013.

Related: Top Spots For Cabaret In Connecticut

Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.