Life backstage and behind the curtain is the focus of the 2014 Nutmeg Summer Series of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in performances of three classic productions from June 5 through July 20 at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on the Storrs campus.
Nine-time Tony winner “A Chorus Line,” composed by Marvin Hamlisch, opens the season on June 5 and continues through June 14. Tony nominee Jerry Adler of “The Sopranos” and “The Good Wife,” and Richard Kline of “Three’s Company,” headline in the Neil Simon comedy “The Sunshine Boys,” from June 19 to June 29. Tony-winner Leslie Uggams stars as Mama Rose in “Gypsy: A Musical Fable,” from July 10 to July 20.
“A Chorus Line” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with its depiction of the backstage story of 17 aspiring dancers, while tracing the story of the unsung heroes of the Broadway musical – the dedicated, talented, and overworked chorus dancers. It remains one of the longest-running Broadway productions in history, revised most recently last year in the West End.
Adler, an adjunct professor of dramatic arts at UConn, returns to CRT with Kline, who is making his Storrs debut, for the tale of the once-in-a-lifetime reunion of vaudeville’s undisputed Kings of Comedy. Adler was last seen on CRT’s stage in the 2012 world premiere of “I’m Connecticut.” Kline made his Broadway debut in “City of Angels,” and was featured as The Wizard in the first national tour of “WICKED.”
Uggams is a legendary actress and singer who began her career as a child on the 1950s television show “Beulah” before making her singing debut on the “Lawrence Welk Show,” and then became a regular on “Sing Along with Mitch,” led by record producer-conductor Mitch Miller. She broke new ground in 1969 when “The Leslie Uggams Show” became the first network television variety show hosted by a female African American. She received Emmy nominations for her roles in the television miniseries “Roots” and “Backstage at the White House.” She won the Tony for Best Actress in a musical for “Hallelujah, Baby!” and earned a Tony nomination for her work in August Wilson’s “King Hedley II.”
Evening performances for the CRT Nutmeg Summer Series start at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. In conjunction with the “STAGECRAFT: 50 Years of Design at Hartford Stage” exhibition at The William Benton Museum of Art, patrons can save $5 on a ticket for the Nutmeg Summer Series by using the offer code “BENTON” when ordering a regular price ticket. For more information, visit www.crt.uconn.edu .
CRT’s Community Partners for the Nutmeg Summer Series include SI Financial Advisors, Hamilton Sundstrand, the Nathan Hale Inn, and the UConn Dairy Bar.