Connecticut stages to offer world premieres

From left, Sloane Wolfe, Alexa Skye Swinton, Roman Malenda and RJ Vercellone in “Make Believe.”

It’s a new season and Connecticut’s rich assortment of professional regional theatres have several new plays making their world premieres in the state as well as some tried and true classics. Nutmeggers can count themselves lucky for the varied theatre menu currently being offered. A brief overview follows.

Hartford Stage (www.hartfordstage.org): A new play, “Make Believe” from playwright Bess Wohl whose “Small Mouth Sounds” was a delight at Long Wharf last fall, kicked-off the new season in Hartford last week. The theatre will also produce Shakespeare’s “Henry V” and debut several new works including “The Engagement Party” by Samuel Baum, “Perfect Nonsense”, based on the words of P.G. Wodehouse, “Detroit ‘67” by Dominique Morisseau and a world premiere musical, “The Flamingo Kid” with book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music by Scott Frankel. Like their previous “Anastasia”, does the theatre have another Broadway-bound musical on their hands?

Long Wharf Theatre (www.longwharftheatre.org): Jen Silverman’s contemporary two-hander, “The Roommate”, opens Long Wharf’s 53rd season. It will be followed by the prolific Dominique Morisseau’s “Paradise Blue”, “Miller, Mississippi” by Boo Killebrew, “Tiny Beautiful Things”, adapted by Nia Vardalos and based on the book by Cheryl Strayed, “An Iliad”, a riff on Homer’s epic by Lisa Peterson and actor Denis O’Hare and Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2”. Hnath’s Tony winning play is being widely produced across the country and will also be seen this season at TheaterWorks.

TheaterWorks (www.theaterworkshartford.org): Hartford’s pluckiest theatre company will see how Jez Butterworth’s critically drubbed “The River” fares without Hugh Jackman in the leading role. Also on tap is “A Doll’s House, Part 2”, the solo play, “Fully Committed” by Becky Mode and Anna Ziegler’s “Actually”, an all-too-timely he-said, she-said drama about date rape on a college campus.

Westport Playhouse (www.westportplayhouse.org): Artistic Director Mark Lamos takes on the 1960s musical warhorse, “Man of La Mancha” this month followed by the world premiere of Matthew Greene’s provocative new play about a school shooting, “Thousand Pines”, directed by Austin Pendleton. The oft-produced one-woman play with music, “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” starring author/musician Mona Golabeck, closes out 2018 at the Playhouse.

Yale Repertory Theatre (www.yalerep.org): Connecticut’s most adventurous venue will offer no less than three world premieres: “El Huracan” by Charise Castro Smith, “Good Faith”, four chats about race and the New Haven Fire Department by Karen Hartman and “Cadillac Crew” by Tori Sampson. Also included is a US premiere, “The Prisoner” by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne as well as “a vibrant, Afro-futurist” production of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, “Twelfth Night”. Only at Yale, folks, only at Yale!

Tom Holehan is one of the founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.