By Frank Rizzo
Now that summer is over, it’s time to store the shorts until next year and get out the glitter for a night on the town this fall. Here are just a few of the many shows around the state—and a bit beyond—that are getting us excited.
The Bushnell in Hartford
Nov. 21 to Dec 3
Attention party-goers, this fall’s big Parisian blast takes place at The Bushnell when the Broadway tour of Moulin Rouge plays Hartford. The Tony Award-winning musical, based on the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film, has production values that are stunningly over-the-top with spectacular costumes, a dazzling night club setting and a score chock full of contemporary pop songs, but with a French twist. (Just keep the the ‘ooh-la-las’ to yourself.) BTW: Candace Bushnell will be at The Bushnell Nov. 4 talking about Sex and the City, and no doubt, And Just Like That…
Shubert Theatre in New Haven
Dec. 7 to 10
Yes, we’ve seen this evergreen show before. It’s still running on Broadway after 27 years, and yet we can’t get quite enough of those hot guys in leather, slinky gals in satin, the razzle-dazzle and, of course, all that jazz. Cue the vamp.
Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam
Nov. 10 to 30
And we’re telling you we are going. Of course we are because the songs are fab, the wigs are high, and the drama mamas are off the charts. It’s a more contempo show than Goodspeed usually presents, and we can’t wait for the glam and glitz. (Oh, and we’re Team Effie.).
Ridgefield Playhouse Oct. 19 and
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
on the UConn campus in Storrs
All hail our fave queen of sass and satire: Randy Rainbow (and for the umpteenth time, yes that’s his real name). His YouTube parodies got us through the Trump administration, not to mention the pandemic, and his barbed musical pieces still skewer the crazy right wing. (Check out his latest Trump parody, “Don’t Arraign on My Parade, inspired by “Don’t Rain on my Parade.) Yaz, queen.
On Your Feet: The Story of
Emilio & Gloria Estefan
Palace Theatre in Waterbury
Dec. 15 and 16
We all know the Estefans are Miami-bred Cuban-Americans who, first with the Miami Sound Machine and then with Gloria’s solo career, personified the Latin sound for American pop music. Here’s their story on stage, and the title sort of tells you where you’ll be during this tour stop because, well, “Rhythm is Gonna Get You.” Wear sensible shoes. Or maybe a pair of hot stilettos. Your call.
Warner Theater in Torrington
We love Tig’s off-beat, deadpan comedy and her very personal storytelling. (Just listen to “Boyish Girl Interrupted” and her tale of when she introduced her wife to some overzealous Mississippi relatives.) The American stand-up comedian, writer, radio contributor, and actor will make a stop in Connecticut with her “Hello, Again” tour and we can’t wait to say hello, too.
CT Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Show
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Center in Old Saybrook
What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a gaggle of gay guys singing their out their hearts in harmony? The Kate is the perfect intimate setting for a musical event that speaks to community, pride, the Christmas spirit, and Daddy kissing Santa Claus. So sing out, Louis.
The Palace in Stamford
Our favorite literary elf from his famous The Santaland Diaries returns to Connecticut no doubt bringing us up-to-date with post-pandemic tales—often hysterically funny but sometimes dark and poignant, too —about his colorful family, marathon walks, and his decades-long boyfriend Hugh. This sui generis humorist — and Amy’s brother—never fails to delight and even disturb—whenever he presents his latest “carnival of snackery.” (which is also the title of his latest book). Plus, you get to say hi to him after the show for a book signing.
Our favorite Fall River daughter is back with a rock musical of her own—and don’t you get just a teensy gay vibe in the story? Think Six, with a Yankee twist. It’s a 19th Century mystery that still haunts us more than a century later with its tale of murder, money, and mutton—and now you can dance to it.
Wish You Were Here
Yale Repertory Theater in New Haven
Oct. 5 to Oct. 28
Hot off her Pulitzer Prize win in drama last year for English, San Toss will present a world premiere play about Iranian women in revolutionary times in 1978 grappling with the question of whether to stay or emigrate. Sounds dramatic.
Pride and Prejudice
Oct. 12 to Nov. 11
Complete Works of Jane Austen (Abridged)
West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park
Sept. 27 to Oct.22
For all those Austen-philes (or “Jane-ites,” according to a Playhouse promotion) it’s a bonanza this fall with one show that celebrates her most famous novel, in the Kate Hamill adaptation that’s been a hit around the country. The other
tackles all the novels and gives you a crash course in the world of landed gentry, English social mores, and sharp-witted women. (We always thought Mr. Darcy was pretty dreamy, too.)
Patti Labelle at Foxwoods
Nov. 24 and
Kesha at Foxwoods
We couldn’t choose between diva and the divine, so we suggest both performers for their own distinct style of empowerment that celebrates—thanks Kesha—”We R Who We R.” Patti turns 80 next year, and what a great way to celebrate her prideful career. (“I’m the original drag queen,” she boasted to the New York Post. “I was wearing crazy hair, crazy makeup, crazy clothes [from the beginning]…I think my gay following realizes that I’m one of those girls that they can come to say whatever they have to say, and I say, ‘It’s OK.’”) Awww, we love you, Patti.
Derek Hough – Symphony of Dance
Mohegan Sun Arena
If we can’t dance with a star, we can at least watch one of our favorite dancer-choreographers Derek Hough show off his fancy footwork with precision, style and smoldering sexiness. (We think his sultry dance floor moves could qualify as foreplay.) He brings a cast of dancers that also features Haley Erbert performing an array of dance styles to a live band.
College Street Music Hall, New Haven
Oct. 10 with his “House on a Hill Tour.
We’ve been a fan ever since we heard the Korean-American singer-songwriter refuse to dress up as famous gay celebrity on “SNL Korea” because he didn’t want to stereotype and poke fun at the LGBTQ+ community. Oh yes, his pop-dance songs are also irresistible. When he sings “You’re-Sexy-I’m-Sexy,” we all feel sexy. (Also featured is choir-boy-turned-popster heartthrob Alexander Stewart.)
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Who says the era of swooning over a leading man is over? “Stokes” (as his friends call him) has wooed audience in Broadway musicals for decades including Ragtime, Man of La Mancha, and Kiss Me Kate, and the man can still make us melt. His solo show at the cozy theater just makes it more personal.
The Year of Magical Thinking
Various New Haven spaces in November.
(Dates and places to be announced. Check out longwharf.org.) Kathleen Chalfant (Tony Award-nominee for the original “Angels in America”) performs this stage adaptation of Joan Didion’s deeply personal memoir. But the stage will be especially intimate as Chalfant performs the piece in some people’s living rooms, as well as small spaces in libraries, art organizations, and local retail businesses around the New Haven area. Long Wharf Theatre and the NYC-based Keen Company are partnering in this unique experience.
A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) in Ridgefield
Oct. 26 to Nov. 19
This (relatively) new theater in Fairfield County is getting good buzz. So, we’re eager to return the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and, of course, our favorite queen of delusion (sorry, MTG), Norma Desmond, forever ready for her close-up.
Broken Chord by Gregory Maqoma
Quick Center at Fairfield University
One of South Africa’s leading choreographers, Maqoma conceives works that combine beauty with political awareness. As a visionary who merges movement, theater, dance, visuals, and music, his latest work was created with composer Thuthuka Sibisi, it features four soloists and an onstage a cappella chorus as the piece tells a compelling story of a group of Cape Town singers on tour in England in 1891. The Guardian called the show “a potent performance.”
The Color Purple
Sept. 28 to Oct. 22
We’re eager to see the film version of the Broadway musical at Christmastime—but there’s nothing like live theatre, and one of the best little theaters around is presenting the powerful coming-of-age tale of Celie this fall. (And who can forget those scenes with the seductive Shug?)
Garde Arts Center in New London
Comedian Lewis Black rants for all of us, and we’re sure he has a lot of finger-poking in store when he returns to Connecticut. (BTW: He’s a Yale School of Drama grad, ‘77.) We also liked what he said about the new LGBTQ+ generation: “There’s a sense of ‘we’re not going to take it anymore; we’re not going to be threatened anymore.’” And coming from the king of rage, that’s high praise indeed.
XL Center in Hartford
Feeling classy and classic? The great Italian tenor returns
to Hartford for the first time in 25 years with classics (and a few holiday tunes, too, no doubt.) It will be a family affair in Connecticut when his handsome 25-year-old son Matteo—a tenor as well—performs at Foxwoods’ Great Cedar Showroom on Dec. 15 as part of a separate world tour promoting his solo album “Matteo.”
The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show
College Street Music Hall, New Haven
This is our kind of holiday show. Drag superstars BenDaLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon — favorites from the world of RuPaul’s Drag Race—will bring their fifth international tour in its only Connecticut gig with a mix of songs, sass and drag glam.
Maidens, Witches and Femmes Fatales:
The Women of Opera
Madison Lyric Opera
(Oct. 14 and 15)
Want a bit more opera this fall? This all-female evening sounds grand (and puckish) as it features some of the greatest arias and scenes from the world of opera, featuring works by Bizet, Barber, Britten, Mozart, Puccini, Verdi Strauss and Wagner.
Collective Consciousness Theatre New Haven
Nov. 2 to 19.
This is another hot, new theater company in then state whose work we loved. It will be presenting Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a middle class African-American family preparing for a grandmother’s birthday dinner only to be watched by four white people. It’s exploration of black life and the white gaze promises to be a stunner.