The Connecticut Season: May 31 was the unofficial end of the Connecticut 2011-'12 theater season. So what did we like? Our top productions include several from Westport Country Playhouse and Hartford Stage; these two companies and their artistic directors, Mark Lamos at Westport and Djarko Tresnjak at Hartford, had the best seasons. Westport gave us three terrific productions-The Circle, Suddenly Summer, and Into the Woods. Hartford gave us The Tempest, Water by the Spoonful, and The Whipping Man. Goodspeed presented us with a wonderful Showboat and a very good Mame. Other top picks: A Doctor in spite of Himself at Yale, The Producers at Ivoryton, The Sty of the Blind Pig at TheaterWorks, and My Name Is Asher Lev and Molly Sweeny at Long Wharf. In talking with our fellow critics, the shows that got the most mixed reviews were September House at Long Wharf; Bell, Book and Candle at Long Wharf and Hartford; City of Angels at Goodspeed; The Realistic Joneses at Yale; and The Tempest at Hartford.
Tony Wrap-Up: We hope you watched the Tony Award show on June 10. Many of the winners were predicted by the experts-like the wins for Once, Death of a Salesman, Audra McDonald, and Mike Nichols, among others-but some were more surprising. Follies was thought to be the choice for best revival of a musical, but Porgy and Bess won it. James Cordon's best actor award for One Man, Two Guvnors was deserved, but most thought Philip Seymour Hoffman would win it for Death of a Salesman. The best actress award-won by Nina Arianda for Venus in Furs-was somewhat of a surprise since Stockard Channing and Linda Lavin were thought to be favored. The best actor in a musical award went to Steve Kazee of Once; Danny Burstein of Follies was again thought to be favored. Now that the Tony's are done, some shows will post closing notices.
Country Music: Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn's little sister, will appear in concert of the Downtown Cabaret in Bridgeport for two shows on Saturday, June 23. For tickets, call 203-576-1636 or www.downtowncarbaret.org.
Turner to Long Wharf: Kathleen Turner will return to the Long Wharf stage from Nov. 28 through Dec. 23 as both the star and director of a new adaptation of the 1960s British black comedy The Killing of Sister George; it replaces the previously announced God of Carnage. Sister George was a controversial British play about an actress playing a nurse (Sister George) on a TV soap opera and what happens when she is written out of the show. The actress playing Sister George is not a meek, feminine individual, but instead a cigar-smoking masochist.
Coming to TheaterWorks: The upcoming season for TheaterWorks was announced by acting artistic director Rob Ruggiero. While dates are still to be announced, the shows will include Venus in Furs, Almost Maine, The Mountaintop, Time Stands Still, and a "special project." Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies has been on the schedule the last two years but been bumped for other productions; we hope this year Connecticut audiences get to see it. Venus in Furs is a dark comedy about some kinky goings on. The Mountaintop had a run on Broadway this year. It's about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the afternoon of his assassination. For information and subscriptions, visit www.theaterworkshartford.org or call 860-527-7838.
Summer Theater: For theater lovers, the Berkshires can be a summer delight. It isn't too far for a day trip, but it also makes a great overnight destination. Berkshire Theatre Company, whose main location is in Pittsfield, has a full season of main and second-stage productions. Some shows are in Stockbridge. Some of the productions on the schedule are A Chorus Line, running from July 2 to 21; A Thousand Clowns, from July 16 to 28; and Edith, a new play about First Lady Edith Wilson, running from July 31 to Aug. 11. Brace Yourself runs
Aug. 14 to 25. For information, call 413-997-4444 or visit
Bob and Karen Isaacs are North Branford residents with a five-minute radio show, Two on the Aisle, and a DJ Memory Lane show every Monday from 8 to 10 a.m. Both shows are broadcast on University of New Haven's radio station, WNHU 88.7 FM, and online at www.wnhu.net.