This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.
CRT summer seaon to feature
playwright's lab and lighter fare
May 4, 1998

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will showcase musicals and a drama for its 1998 Nutmeg Summer Series..

Professional actors and performers from across the country will take part in the series..

"Traditionally we focus on somewhat lighter, more entertainment-based theater," says Gary English, CRT artistic director and head of the dramatic arts department. "Those students who get the opportunity to perform in the summer face stiffer competition because they are paid for their talents."

The summer season will open on June 5 with Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, a New England romance in which a carnival worker and a mill worker fall in love. The musical will be directed by English, and choreographed by Schellie Archbold, who collaborated on the 1997 Nutmeg Summer Series opener, Man of La Mancha. Carousel will run until the June 20, giving way to the Andrews Sisters' musical Over Here! on June 26.

Over Here! features two sisters in search of a third voice to fill out their act, as they entertain soldiers on a train riding across the United States during World War II. The sisters find their person, but the person happens to be a German spy. The musical, a Broadway hit in 1974, launched the careers of many of its cast members, including John Travolta and Marilu Henner. Over Here! will be playing until July 11.

The summer series will conclude with the world premiere of Ellen Lewis' Eastville from July 17- 25. The drama is set shortly after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. To pay off a gambling debt, a Quaker is building shelves in the home of a lonely black woman. One day a mysterious visitor arrives at the house and the two realize she is Harriet Tubman, a fugitive because she is the conductor of the Underground Railroad. So the two are torn between turning her in for a substantial reward or obeying their consciences.

Eastville is one of five plays that will also comprise the inaugural season of the CRT Playwright's Lab. The lab will provide playwrights and theater institutions the resources to allow promising new American plays to reach their full potential, says English.

Operating under an agreement with Actors' Equity Association, the lab will also benefit students and faculty, who will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of roles in the development of high quality plays by leading playwrights.

From June 26-28, the lab will present:
Sockdology which explores the events that occurred in the Ford Theater the night President Lincoln was assassinated.

Signals Never Heard, a one-woman show about writer and artist Edna St. Vincent Millay.

From July 10-12:
Vishnu's Song addresses the effects of war on children.

U.S. Drag looks at two young women in search of love and happiness in Manhattan in the year 2001.

The lab will workshop the five plays for two weeks each over a four-week period of time. A workshop emphasizes the development of the text, rather than the creation of a finished production. The lab will culminate with one or two readings of each play - staged or sit-down - that will be open to the public.

All readings will take place in the Studio Theater on campus.

Summer series performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Firday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on selected Saturdays and Sundays. For ticket information call (860) 486-4226.

Luis Mocete