Connecticut Theatre's Best of 2015

Connecticut Theatre's Best of 2015

With the multitude of regional theaters in Connecticut, audiences were treated to an incredible year of shows. While some theaters premiered bold new work, others unveiled masterful revivals of well known favorites. Here, in no particular order, were the shows that really stood out to our writers and critics. 

'Disgraced' - Long Wharf Theatre

SHIRINE BABB (JORY), BENIM FOSTER (ISAAC), MOHIT GAUTAM (ABE), NICOLE LOWRANCE (EMILY), AND RAJESH BOSE (AMIR). PHOTO: T. CHARLES ERICKSON

SHIRINE BABB (JORY), BENIM FOSTER (ISAAC), MOHIT GAUTAM (ABE),
NICOLE LOWRANCE (EMILY), AND RAJESH BOSE (AMIR). PHOTO: T. CHARLES ERICKSON

Much like a painting in a gallery, your perspective will shape how you see Ayad Ahktar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Disgraced. You may experience awe and disbelief; shock and horror. However you see it, you will feel it: the playwright’s intent from its inception. It is a show to be thought about and talked about. I left the theater reflective and pensive, craving a dialogue with someone else who had just witnessed what I had on stage.  - Tara Kennedy

'The Laramie Project' at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre

"THE LARAMIE PROJECT BY MOISÉS KAUFMAN AND THE MEMBERS OF TECTONIC THEATRE PROJECT ONSTAGE IN CONNECTICUT REPERTORY THEATRE’S NAFE KATTER THEATRE FROM OCTOBER 8-18, 2015.  TICKETS AND INFO AT CRT.UCONN.EDU.  PHOTO BY GERRY GOODSTEIN.  

"THE LARAMIE PROJECT BY MOISÉS KAUFMAN AND THE MEMBERS OF TECTONIC THEATRE PROJECT ONSTAGE IN CONNECTICUT REPERTORY THEATRE’S NAFE KATTER THEATRE FROM OCTOBER 8-18, 2015.  TICKETS AND INFO AT CRT.UCONN.EDU.  PHOTO BY GERRY GOODSTEIN.

 

This is a production first and foremost interested in telling the story of Matthew Shepard’s death through the tales of others, with minimal editorial discretion. Its second purpose is to remind us that there was a time when gay people feared for their lives if they were public with their sexuality. Its third purpose is to explore how a town heals in the aftermath of such an incident, and whether the media makes things better or worse. If any of these things interest you, then see this show. You won’t be disappointed. - Greg Ehrhardt

'Bedroom Farce" at the Westport Country Playhouse

SCOTT DRUMMON (MALCOLM), CARSON ELROD (TREVOR), SARAH MANTON (SUSANNAH) & CLAIRE KARPEN (KATE). PHOTO BY CAROL ROSEGG

SCOTT DRUMMON (MALCOLM), CARSON ELROD (TREVOR), SARAH MANTON (SUSANNAH) & CLAIRE KARPEN (KATE). PHOTO BY CAROL ROSEGG

In his notes, Artistic Director Mark Lamos focuses on the need for great ensemble acting in Mr. Ayckbourn’s plays. “His greatness as a writer has always depended on the interaction of a group of people in situations that crackle with comic conflict,” he writes. The director of his plays must seek a company of actors that are equal in their ability to bring out their own character as well as mesh into a team of players that work together as a strong company. This Equity cast is an impressive one that masterfully does just that. - Nancy Sasso Janis

'La Cage aux Folles' at Goodspeed Musicals

“SO WHEN MY SPIRIT STARTS TO SAG, I HUSTLE OUT MY HIGHEST DRAG, AND PUT A LITTLE MORE MASCARA ON.” JAMISON STERN AS ZAZA WITH LES CAGELLES OF GOODSPEED MUSICALS’  LA CAGE AUX FOLLES NOW PLAYING AT THE GOODSPEED OPERA HOUSE THROUGH SEPTEMBER 10.  PHOTO CREDIT © PHOTO BY DIANE SOBOLEWS

“SO WHEN MY SPIRIT STARTS TO SAG, I HUSTLE OUT MY HIGHEST DRAG, AND PUT A LITTLE MORE MASCARA ON.” JAMISON STERN AS ZAZA WITH LES CAGELLES OF GOODSPEED MUSICALS’  LA CAGE AUX FOLLES NOW PLAYING AT THE GOODSPEED OPERA HOUSE THROUGH SEPTEMBER 10.  PHOTO CREDIT © PHOTO BY DIANE SOBOLEWS

James Lloyd Reynolds brought lots of charm to the leading role of Georges and had a wonderful singing voice. Jamison Stern was amazingly accurate as the flamboyant Albin and brought down the house as Zaza sang the anthem “I Am What I Am” at the close of act one. Such was the power of his beautiful voice and stage presence. - Nancy Sasso Janis

Kiss Me Kate - Hartford Stage

PHOTOS BY T. CHARLES ERICKSON

PHOTOS BY T. CHARLES ERICKSON

You can tell when you're seeing a Darko Tresnjak directed production. Beyond the creative staging and stellar design (mostly provided by the excellent Alexander Dodge), what is very clear is Mr. Tresnjak's adoration for the material he's presenting. The result is a fully realized production, rich with artistic performance. His latest offering of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate is another example of trademark Darko Tresnjak excellence.  - Chris Peterson

Taboo Theater: Crowd Funding & Self Promotion

Taboo Theater: Crowd Funding & Self Promotion

Auditioning Mom: How to Change a Diaper on a Moving Train

Auditioning Mom: How to Change a Diaper on a Moving Train