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Backstage, CT

by Mara Dresner

Mrs. Huxtable is in town! Phylicia Rashad, who played the beloved Clair on The Cosby Show, is in New Haven, directing Fences for Long Wharf Theatre. While it’s her first time working on the play, she’s a long-time fan of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning classic by August Wilson. Asked which aspect of the play resonates most with her, she laughed. “That’s like asking someone if they like cherry or apple pie! How can you choose?”

It’s her Long Wharf directorial debut and she’s loving the experience.

Fences is part of Wilson’s renowned Century Cycle. “It’s a timeless piece; it’s a great part of the treasury of American theater,” Rashad said.

The play concerns the life of Troy Maxson, who found glory in his youth battling fastballs on the outside corner in the Negro Leagues. But now it’s the 1950s; his opportunity to play in the major leagues has passed and he’s a garbage man. He struggles to provide for his family, trying to contain his bitterness as he seeks solace by spinning tales on his front porch. Because of his race Troy is left in a world where life’s daily battles take on the scope of epic conflict.

Rashad sees a universality to the story. “This is the overall experience that we as artists want our audiences to have – that they see a shared humanity with the people on the stage,” she said.

The show runs through Dec. 22. Info at (203) 787-4282 and longwharf.org.

 

Also in New Haven is Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Yale Repertory Theatre, the explosive political farce by Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright Dario Fo, adapted by Gavin Richards from a translation by Gillian Hanna, running through Dec. 21.

Did he fall? Or was he pushed? Only one man can cut through massive bureaucratic duplicity and reveal what happened to the suspected anarchist who died at the bottom of a fourth-floor police station window. In a world of commonplace deception and organized corruption, he stands as a bastion of honor and justice – he also happens to be a notorious liar, quick-change con artist, and certified maniac.

Will definitely make for some interesting conversation on the ride home! Tix available at yalerep.org and (203) 432-1234.

 

Valentine’s Day is still months away, but love is in the air when Westport Country Playhouse presents the romantic comedy Crossing Delancey as their next Script in Hand play reading on Monday, December 9, directed by Anne Keefe.

Isabel is a modern young woman who lives alone and works in a bookstore. When she is not pining after a handsome author, she is visiting her grandmother in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This delightfully nosy old lady and her friend the matchmaker have found a “good catch” for Isabel – Sam, the pickle vendor.

For more information or tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177 or 1-888-927-7529, or go to westportplayhouse.org.

 

Comedian Rob Bartlett makes an appearance at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury on Sunday, Dec.15 at 7 p.m. Doors open one hour before the show. Tix at (203) 757-4676 or sevenangelstheatre.org.

 

It’s the final weekend of Relatively Speaking at Farmington Valley Stage Company; the show closes Dec. 7.

Three of America’s leading playwrights join forces to provide an evening of comedy. In Talking Cure, Ethan Coen uncovers the gene pool that can only come from relatives. Elaine May explores how some families react to the passing of a loved one in George is Dead, and in Honeymoon Motel, Woody Allen invites you to the sort of wedding day you won’t forget. Don’t you feel better about your family already? Performances are at Canton Town Hall. Tickets and info at fvstage.org.

The world’s most famous detective comes across the pond to Playhouse on Park in a hilarious retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on his estate and the evidence points to a supernatural beast, it is up to Sherlock Holmes and his trusty companion, Dr. Watson, to gather the clues and solve the mystery around an ancient family curse. With a wide array of characters played by only three actors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most renowned story gets a gloriously funny makeover.

The Hound of the Baskervilles runs through Dec. 22. For information and tix, call (860) 523-5900 x10, or visit www.playhouseonpark.org. You can still subscribe for the Main Stage season, which includes The Hound of the Baskervilles, and save 15%.

Jerry Seinfeld comes to the Bushnell for one night only, Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. Tix at bushnell.org.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the stunning Palace Theater in Waterbury. The theater offers guided tours on the first Friday of every month from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Private tours are also available – both for individuals and organizations. What a great way to spend some time on a winter’s afternoon! To schedule yours, call Sheree Marcucci at (203) 346-2008.

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