The popular Nutmeg Summer Series, sponsored by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT), always promises delightful family entertainment, and this year is no exception. This summer, the Series features two award-winning Broadway musicals, Man of La Mancha and Pirates of Penzance, as well as the Neil Simon classic, The Odd Couple .
The season will kick-off on June 7 with the five-time Tony Award-winning musical, Man of La Mancha. Starring Broadway veteran Terrance Mann as the unforgettable Don Quixote, the play also features UConn Graduate Richard Ruiz (’98 MFA) and Alix Page, both of whom appeared with Mann in last year’s production of My Fair Lady here in Storrs. Among Mann’s most notable achievements on Broadway are original performances in the roles of Rum Tum Tugger in Cats, Javert in Les Miserables, and the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. As accomplished behind the scenes as he is in front of an audience, Mann will direct the production of The Pirates of Penzance later in the summer.
The Odd Couple, which begins on June 21, stars Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak as Felix Unger and veteran news anchor and featured actor in the original Hawaii Five-0, Joe Moore as Oscar Madison. Sajak and Moore will be joined on stage by a group of Broadway veteran comic actors including Patrick Kerr as Vinnie and Murray Rubinstein as Murray the Cop. Kerr is probably best known for his recurring role as Noel Shempsky on TV’s Frasier and appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld. He has appeared as Zazu in Disney’s The Lion King for the past three years. Rubinstein is a veteran of Neil Simon’s work, having appeared in the Broadway National tours of Lost In Yonkers as Uncle Louie and as Stanley in Broadway Bound. Rubenstein has also appeared in 25 prime time series including Frasier, Law and Order, Family Law, American Dreams, and Home Improvement.
Playing the roles of the Pigeon sisters will be Liz Larsen (Gwendolyn) and Kathleen McNenny (Cecily). McNenny is currently appearing in Death of a Salesman on Broadway with Philip Seymour Hoffman. She has also appeared on Broadway in The Constant Wife, After the Fall, and A Few Good Men and she has multiple television appearances to her credit. Larsen was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in The Most Happy Fella. Her other Broadway credits include Hairspray, Rocky Horror Show, Annie, Damn Yankees and Fiddler on the Roof.
Completing the Nutmeg Summer Series will be Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance which begins on July 12. CRT welcomes back comedian Steve Hayes in the lead role of the Modern Major General. Last year, Hayes played Horton the Elephant in the summer production of Seussical the Musical. He 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.
The Pirates of Penzance is as irreverent and appealing today as it was when it first opened in 1879. This is Gilbert and Sullivan at its swashbuckling best and it promises to leave the whole family singing.
Performance and Ticket Information
Evening performances for the 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.
All performances are in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on the UConn campus in Storrs. Tickets are available as a subscription or as single tickets by calling 860-486-2113 and visiting www.crt.uconnn.edu.