CRT offers theatrical delights

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Mon., Feb. 21, 2011
(Top) CRT artists create original puppets for CRT's upcoming production of 'A Dream Play,' based on August Strindberg's play. Photo by Joe Therrien. - Contributed Photo

The Connecticut Repertory Theater, the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, has some top-notch entertainment planned for both the near and more-distant future. 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,” said Frank Mack, CRT’s managing director.

From March 24 through April 3, CRT will present August Strindberg’s “A Dream Play,” adapted and directed by Joseph Jonah Therrien. Therrien is a third year MFA candidate at UConn’s Puppet Arts Program.  He has performed, designed, taught, and directed in New York, Chicago, and throughout the northeast.  The puppets and masks that he designed for CRT’s production of Galileo appeared in “American Theater Magazine,” and were also selected to be shown at The 2011 Prague Quadrennial Competition.  Strindberg’s “Dream Play” involves a surrealistic world of gods and humans where, as Strindberg writes in his preface, “Everything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and space do not exist.” Therrien will tell the story through the art of puppetry.

 “In my adaptation, I have attempted to harness Strindberg’s haunting images in order to reexamine what it means to be a human in a world where so much suffering exists,” said Therrien. “Using masks, rod puppets, hand puppets, toy theater elements, and a chorus of Suzuki Method trained puppeteers, the proportions of reality are exaggerated, relationships are stretched, and incongruous images are juxtaposed as the audience journeys…through a dream version of our world to unravel the mystery of human existence.” 

Looking forward to the summer season, CRT announced a summer series that offers something for all ages, scheduled to run from June 2 to July 17. First up, from June 2 through 12, is “Guys and Dolls,” an American musical theater classic.

Playing June 16 through 26 is “Seussical,”a musical that brings the exuberant imagination of Dr. Seuss alive on stage. “Seussical” will feature comedians Steve Hayes as Horton the elephant, and Bradford Scobie, as Cat in the Hat.  “Mr. Hayes is the winner of the Backstage Bistro Award for Comedy Performer of the Year, and three-time winner of the MAC Award for Outstanding Comedian and International Performance Artist,” according to a press release.

Set to a mélange of musical styles ranging from Latin to pop, swing to gospel, and R&B to funk, “Seussical” is madcap and funny, and appropriate for all ages.

Set to run from July 7 to 17 is Lerner and Lowe’s “My Fair Lady.” “CRT is delighted to have Broadway legend Terrence Mann performing as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady,” reads a press release. “Mr. Mann originated the roles of Rum Tum Tugger in ‘Cats,’ Javert in ‘Les Miserables’ and the Beast in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Broadway.” Broadway star Charlotte D’Amboise, most recently starring as Roxie Hart in “Chicago” on Broadway, will choreograph the production.

Please call 860-486-4226 for tickets and additional information. Please call the box office or visit for specific show dates and times, because performance schedules vary and are subject to change.

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