Connecticut Repertory Theatre is the producing arm of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Dramatic Arts. CRT produces under a year-round contract with Actors’ Equity Association, and serves as a cultural center for Connecticut and the New England region. CRT productions are directed and designed by, and cast with, visiting professionals, equity actors, faculty members and the department’s most advanced students.
Selling more than 19,000 tickets annually, and nearly 3,000 subscriptions, CRT presents a wide range of material including premieres, contemporary plays, classics of the American musical theatre, and great works from the canon of world drama presented with both traditional and experimental points of view. CRT is also the performance outlet for the Department of Dramatic Art’s internationally acclaimed Puppet Arts program, the only degree-conferring puppetry program of its kind in the United States.
CRT offers a subscription series of six plays and musicals during the academic year – two in the 486 – seat Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre, two in the 241 – seat Nafe Katter Theatre (the Main Stage series), and two in the 116 – seat Studio Theatre (The Studio Works Series, emphasizing new, more experimental texts and forms). CRT offers the very popular, three production, Nutmeg Series each summer. Each year, some of those productions comprise CRT’s Morning Matinee Series, which introduces more than 3,000 middle and high school students and senior citizen groups to theatre at CRT.
A constituent member of The Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for the professional theatre, CRT is committed to the development of new work. CRT world premieres include Mike Reiss’ I’m Connecticut starring Jerry Adler and Joyce DeWitt, Brad Korbesmeyer’s Open Window (a co-production with Merrimack Repertory Theatre, later sold to CBS for development as a television movie), Ellen M. Lewis’ Eastville, and Puppet Arts adaptations of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Bell. Recent CRT regional premieres include Teresa Rebeck’s O Beautiful, Stephen Svoboda’s Odysseus DOA, Simon Stephen’s Punk Rock, and Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot: A Play.
Guest artists recently at CRT include actors Terrence Mann, Jerry Adler, Joyce DeWitt, Kevin Meaney, Kim Zimmer, Andrea McArdle, David Patrick Kelly, Judy Kaye, Pat Sajak, Barett Foa, Steve Hayes, Liz Larsen, Patrick Kerr; directors Joseph Hanreddy, Paul Mullins, Robert Ross Parker, James Warwick, Victoria Bussert, Michael Montel, Nagle Jackson, B. Peter Westerhoff, Connie Grappo, Peter Bennet, Leah C. Gardiner, Larry Carpenter, and Peter Wallace; choreographers Sara Andreas, Gerry MacIntyre, Tony Stevens, Jayme McDaniel and Schellie Archbold; and designers Dennis Parichy, Campbell Baird, Jane Reisman, Mimi Sherin, Eric Renschler, Marilyn Rennagel, Crystal Tiala and Tim Hunter.
MEDIA RELEASE August 15, 2012
Contact: Frank Mack, Managing Director, email@example.com, 860-486-4799
Exciting, Insightful Stories of a Polarized Culture
Connecticut Repertory Theatre Season Explores a Disparate Society Through Diverse Theatrical Productions
Storrs: The Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) announces its 2012 – 2013 season which will include a wide variety of exciting theatrical styles investigating a polarized society. For detailed information and tickets call the box office at
860-486-2113 or visit www.crt.uconn.edu.
Artistic Director Vincent J. Cardinal said, “In the new play O Beautiful by Theresa Rebeck, Benjamin Franklin appears on a Glenn Beck style “television news” show and states, “I am advocating temperate debate, and common sense.” To which the TV host fires back, “These are not temperate or sensible times!” Our current Presidential election campaign and the political discourse on both sides of the debate proves the TV host’s observation. Each of the plays this season examines personal stories at moments in our history when the national conversation favored division and the human heart sought compassion.”
THE MAIN STAGE SERIES
O Beautiful October 4 – October 14, 2012
By Theresa Rebeck, Regional Premiere Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre
Directed by Joseph Hanreddy
O Beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves . . . In our age of cyber-bullying and aggressive patriotism remember those lyrics – or else! Theresa Rebeck, Broadway playwright and creator of the TV series Smash, pens a theatrically inventive mash up of contemporary American life and the history that got us to this politically polarized age. Its fiercely funny story explores the lives of high school students, teachers, and their families as they cope in a world of real personal problems and extremist ideological rhetoric that gets so heated that Jesus, Saint Paul, Joan of Arc, John Adams, Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin, among others, show up to weigh in and mix it up. Alternately sweet and fiery, and as topical as tonight’s newscast, O Beautiful lands the complex realities of our culture squarely on the stage deck in an electrifying blend of ancient characters, founding fathers and your neighborhood high school.
Warning: This show includes political, social and religious content that some will find challenging, maybe even offensive. Don’t miss it!
Romeo and Juliet November 29 – December 9, 2012
By William Shakespeare Nafe Katter Theatre
Directed by Vincent J. Cardinal
This timeless tale of “star-cross’d lovers” fills the stage with dizzying swordplay and delightful wordplay. From the first blush of forbidden teenage love, to the blooming of a passion that fuels death itself, Shakespeare’s classic love story thrills anew in every generation. In the heat of a raging feud between their two households, teenagers Romeo and Juliet lose their hearts to each other in a chance meeting. With a price on Romeo’s head, and Juliet suddenly betrothed to another man, the young lovers share a night of forbidden passion before Romeo flees the city. Juliet’s desperate pleas to call off the wedding are denied, and she hatches a secret plan for them to be reunited, with devastating consequences. Connecticut Repertory Theatre winds up 2012 with a play as passionate, comic and frightening as love itself.
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Season Announcement (continued)
His Girl Friday February 28 – March 10, 2013
Adapted by John Guare From The Front Page Nafe Katter Theatre
By Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur & the Columbia Pictures Film, Directed by Dale AJ Rose
His Girl Friday is an all American rat-a-tat comedy adapted from the film to the stage by acclaimed playwright John Guare. It’s August 1939 in the Press Room of the Criminal Courts Building in Chicago. On the world stage Hitler is about to invade Poland, but tonight Hildy Johnson just wants to bid farewell to her old pals, get married and leave the newspaper racket behind, which should go well unless she runs into her hard-boiled editor and ex-husband Walter Burns who wants to keep her on the beat and in his life. With rapid-fire dialogue and a crackling conflict, His Girl Friday remains one of our wildest, wittiest whirlwinds of American romantic comedy.
Hairspray April 25 – May 5, 2013
Music by Marc Shaiman Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre
Music & Lyrics by Marc Shaiman & Scott Whittman, Book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan
Directed by Paul Mullins, Choreographed by Gerry McIntyre, Musical Direction by Ken Clark
Move over Baltimore! Storrs is the new home for Tracy Turnblad, the big girl with the big hair and the even bigger passion – to dance! It’s 1962 and Tracy wins a spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show.” Overnight Tracy is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can an unconventional trendsetter in dance, music and fashion vanquish the program’s reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her ‘do? Hairspray, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, is a family-friendly musical piled bouffant high with laughter, romance, and deliriously tuneful songs.
THE STUDIO WORKS SERIES
Intimate Apparel October 25 – November 4, 2012
By Lynne Nottage Studio Theatre
Directed by Michael Bradford
At 35, Esther is lonely. A skilled African-American seamstress in 1905 Manhattan, she makes exquisite undergarments for clients including a sincere socialite from tony Fifth Avenue and an earnest prostitute. Strong, practical and confident Esther resists her landlady’s insistence on marriage for marriage’s sake while cautiously allowing an unexpected friendship, filled with longing, to grow between her and her fabric merchant, an immigrant Jew. After exchanging letters with a West Indian laborer, Esther finally accepts his invitation and marries this man she has never met. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage stitches a tale of romance, greed and ambition – and also a tender story of seeking real friendship across the vast social gulf separating a seamstress and a socialite, the yearning of inter-racial as well as inter-faith love, and the persistence of spirit as Esther tries to craft a life as beautiful as one of her camisoles. “Ms. Nottage writes big-hearted plays,” – New York Times
Punk Rock March 28 – April 7, 2013
By Simon Stephens Studio Theatre
Directed by Kristin Wold
Variety calls Simon Stephens “one of the most important and exciting British playwrights working today…” His play Punk Rock, set at a British boarding school, is inspired by the 1999 Columbine shooting, which Stephens says, “felt like the start of the 21st century.” Ferociously funny, complex, contemporary and unnerving, Punk Rock explores the underlying jittery tensions, hormonal headiness and potential violence in a group of affluent, articulate seventeen-year-old students as they begin to plan for college and the rest of their lives. What happens when kids have the world at their feet, and its weight on their shoulders?
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Season Announcement (continued)
O Beautiful is a plea for civil discourse and empathy by one of our most important contemporary writers. Set in an average American suburb, the play asks, through sharp humor and electrifying theatrical invention, what happens to our teenagers as they try to find their way in a world defined by polarizing rhetoric and vitriol? O Beautiful is controversial, challenging, and human. In the end, Rebeck finds our common values through our best hopes and aspirations. Veteran playwright and director Joseph Hanreddy will helm this regional premiere. CRT audiences loved Hanreddy’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in 2011.
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a long divide between the Montague and Capulet families causes tragic results. Over the centuries this feud has been re-imagined by each generation to reflect the racial, cultural, familial and ethnic separations, propagated by the elders that define the times. This masterpiece has much to contribute to CRT’s season-long conversation about finding genuine connection in a polarized world.
Romantic polarization is the engine of screwball comedy and playwright John Guare brings one of the great comic films to the stage with his new adaption of Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday. Guare’s adaption sets this comic war of wills against the backdrop of a United States about to go to war, which adds gravitas to the prickliest, and funniest, romance since Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedict.
CRT will close the Main Stage Series full of nostalgia and hope, with the deliriously tuneful dance musical Hairspray, which takes on racial segregation, bullying, and social prejudice without missing a step or hitting a sour note. Paul Mullins, director of last season’s hit premiere I’m Connecticut, will helm this irresistible Broadway musical. As The New York Times said, “If life were everything it should be, it would be more like Hairspray.”
In the Studio Works Series, a series of student productions in the intimate 116-seat Studio Theatre, CRT will present Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynne Nottage’s Intimate Apparel about a modest African American seamstress who fashions delicate undergarments for women across social strata in the New York City of 1905. Intimate Apparel explores the common thread of love and aspiration across racial, social, and cultural divides. The spring Studio Works show will be Simon Stephens’ Punk Rock. Punk Rock makes a nod to familiar territory covered in the much-appreciated History Boys, Catcher in the Rye, even TV’s Skins, but Stephens manages to capture something uniquely of this moment in time. These current teens, vicious with laughter and frustrated in everyday hope, internalize the pressures they are forced to endure and the result is shocking, devoid of nostalgia, and resonant with warning.
Near the end of O Beautiful at a particularly heated town meeting, Jesus, a member of the community, quiets the chaos with a loud whistle and a prayer. He says,
Please let us remember we are a community of beings who share this earth with each other.
Let us listen to each other with grace and humility. Amen.
SPECIAL PUPPET ARTS PRODUCTION
The Dick Myers Puppet Theatre Project April 11 – 14, 2013
In the 1960’s and 70’s Dick Myers toured his one-man puppet performances based on classic fairy tales throughout Europe, The Soviet Union, Japan and the U.S. Jim Henson and Frank Oz both proclaimed Dick Myers as “the genius of American Puppetry.” MFA Puppet Arts student, Seth Shaffer will restore the original puppets and remount two of Dick Myers’ shows under the direction of Bart Roccoberton, Head of the renowned UConn Puppet Arts program. Tickets for this special presentation will be available exclusively to CRT subscribers through Oct. 31 by calling 860-486-2113. General audience tickets will go on sale Nov. 1. Ticket prices are $15 for general audiences, and $12 for CRT subscribers. Seating will be limited, so call quickly!
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Season Announcement (continued)
Photo: Seth Shaffer and one of Dick Myers original puppets.
Current CRT subscribers have been sent a subscription renewal form. New subscriptions are on sale now. Please call 860-486-2113 for information on subscribing and general ticket information. The CRT Box Office is now located at the Nafe Katter Theatre, 820 Bolton Road, on the Storrs campus. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.
Performances are usually Wednesdays through Sundays. Wed. & Thu. evening performances start at 7:30 p.m., Fri. and Sat. evening performances start at 8 p.m., Sat. and Sun. matinee performances start at 2 p.m. There are occasional Tues. evening performances at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $6 to $36, and subscribers receive a discount of up to 25 percent off regular ticket prices.
All plays, dates and times are subject to change.
Connecticut Repertory Theatre
CRT is the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. CRT productions are directed, designed by and cast with visiting professional artists, including Equity actors, faculty members, and the department’s most advanced student artists. The synergy between professional and advanced student artists creates extraordinary theatre and a unique learning environment.
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