Monthly Archives: May 2014

Click on the link below to view the piece that ran on Fox 61 this morning.  What a great show!!!

http://video.foxct.com/Fingers–Toes-At-Ivoryton-Playhouse–26196413?playlistId=12598#.U4jQMNq9KK1

Featured in the piece:  Jacqueline Hubbard; Exec/Artistic Director, Ivoryton Playhouse

Aaron Berk; Vocals/Playing Piano

Rick Faugno; Actor/Performer (Tap Dancing)

Also appearing in Fingers & Toes:  Joyce Chittick; Actor/Performer (Tap Dancing)

Fingers & Toes opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse Wednesday, June 4th and runs until June 22nd.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $42 for adults, $37 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

 

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The Ivoryton Playhouse is delighted to welcome Rick Faugno to our stage for Fingers & Toes opening June 4th. 

rick faugnoRick Faugno has been performing professionally since the age of 12 when he played Will Rogers, Jr. in “Will Rogers Follies” on Broadway. Faugno went on to study acting and theatre, and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from New York University. Since, his career has included such memorable shows as “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Fosse,” “Wonderful Town,” and “Conversations with My Father” on Broadway, as well as national tours of “The Boy Friend,” directed by Julie Andrews and “Jersey Boys,” in the critically acclaimed role of Frankie Valli.

In 2009, Faugno was named ‘Best Singer in Las Vegas’ by Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 2010, Faugno showcased a standards-influenced songbook in “Songs My Idols Sang (And Danced)” and in 2011, created the New Classic Vegas one-man show, “Body & Soul” at the Las Vegas Hilton. In January, 2012, Faugno launched his new self-titled show, “Rick Faugno,” at The Lounge in the Palms Casino Resort.

Faugno has appeared on television programs including the Tony Awards, America’s Got Talent, The Jerry Lewis Telethon, and LIVE! with Regis and Kelly.

RICK STUDIO017In 2012, Faugno received the award for “Best Lounge Act” from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, in 2012, for his self titled one man show “Rick Faugno.”

As he is about to start rehearsals for Fingers & Toes, we asked Rick about his career:

How and when did your love for tap dancing start?

I took my first tap class when I was 4. My parents wanted to see how I would take to it since my dad tap danced when he was a kid. I really enjoyed it and from there, tap dancing continued into other forms of dance, singing and acting. I guess you could say, though, that tap dancing will always be my first love.

Congratulations on winning “Best Lounge Act” from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, for your self titled one man show “Rick Faugno.”  That’s quite an achievement!

Thanks! My self-titled show at the Palms Hotel was the culmination of 3 one man shows that I did at 3 separate casinos.

The first show I did was entitled ‘Songs My Idols Sang (& Danced)’, which was an autobiographical style one man show about my life in show business from 12 years old onward. It played at the South Point Hotel and Casino.

wr-3My inspiration for this show came from all the people who helped me get where I got in show business (i.e. my mother and father, my dance teacher, etc.) and also about the people in my life who continue to inspire me (i.e. my grandmother, my wife). It was my wife who helped direct and choreograph this show and helped me see it to fruition.

I was also inspired to create this show by the greats of show biz who preceded me, like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett and others. The songs would often tie in to stories about my life and the people in them

The second show I created was called ‘Body & Soul’ which debuted at the Las Vegas Hilton. It was a more relaxed, Sammy Davis, Jr. style show, that was a true throwback to the old days of Las Vegas. This was the show that actually won the award for ‘Best Lounge Act.’

This grew out of my love of the old song and dance performers and the old Las Vegas entertainment scene. I wanted to bring back a taste of what Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. used to do when they performed there. That meant using no tricks or gimmicks; just good old fashioned entertainment. The same motto held true for all my shows, actually.

My third effort was simply called ‘Rick Faugno’ and it played at the Palms Hotel. It was more along the same lines as the Hilton show, but with a more pop/rock vibe and a younger audience. I guess you could say it was like old Vegas for a new generation.

Tell us about Fingers & Toes.  What is it about Logan Medland’s Fingers & Toes that interested you?

Immediately what drew me to the project was Logan’s innate understanding of the old musical theater world. You could just tell from reading the script that he totally understood the genre of classic musicals and how to bring them into the 21st Century, without making them gimmicky. His music is also fantastic. He has an ear for writing songs in the Cole Porter/ George Gershwin style without sounding like he’s trying to copy them. It really was amazing to realize that this kind of show writing still exists and that there are people willing to write them.

My character, Dustin “Toes” McGrath is also right up my alley, as far as characters go. I mean, he’s a wise-cracking, tap dancing, song and dance man who knows his way around women. How could I not want to play this role?!

IMG_2579_2_2What are looking forward to most when you come to the Ivoryton Playhouse in June?

I think what I’m looking forward to most about coming up to Ivoryton Playhouse is trying out a new/old musical like “Fingers & Toes” at such an historic theater. I really feel that the history behind the playhouse will lend itself nicely to the kind of show that we’re doing. I’m big on the spirits and the soul of the places that I perform. I really feel that all of the people and shows that came before resonate with what we’re doing now. Theater is a very superstitious profession.

I’m also looking forward to going back to Connecticut to perform, again. It’s such a beautiful place and a fabulous location to do theater in the Summer! I have performed twice at Goodspeed and I had a terrific experience both times. I’m now looking forward to performing at Ivoryton and soaking up that history, as well.

Lastly, it always thrills me when I get to do something that’s new for people. Not that tap dancing is new, but the fact that it’s never been done at Ivoryton the way that we do it is an exciting thing. We’re cutting up some serious wood and I love seeing the expressions on people’s faces when they watch us.

There is nothing more on Earth that I enjoy more than performing for a crowd who loves what I’m doing. It is the greatest high you could ever experience. Knowing that I will have enthusiastic crowds waiting to see out little musical is a big thrill. I want them to be taken back to a time they might remember or a time they wish they knew or simply transported somewhere different for a couple of hours. That’s what theater really is all about.

Fingers & Toes opens June 4 and runs until June 22nd.

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Robert Moss, theater. 2009.

The Ivoryton Playhouse is thrilled and honored to announce that Robert Moss will be coming to Ivoryton to direct Fingers & Toes opening June 4th.

Robert Moss ran the Edward Albee Playwrights Unit from 1970 to 1971.  Then from 1971 to 1981 he simultaneously founded and ran Playwrights Horizons, The Queens Theater in the Park, and helped develop Theater Row on West 42nd Street.  In 1982, he became the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca and ran it until he took over Syracuse Stage from 1996 to 2008.  He served on the board of OOBA (now ART/NY) for five years and during the same time period sat on the Equity Showcase Code Committee.  He has been a Board Member of the SDC Foundation, TCG, the Drama League Directors Project, and a panelist for both the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.  His extensive directing contracts include LORT, SPT and University.  His teaching credits include initiating the undergraduate directing program at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School (affiliated with NYU) and The Lab Company at the Hangar.  Prior to all this, he culminated an active stage manager career as PSM with the touring APA Repertory Company in residence for four years in L.A., Toronto, Ann Arbor, and at the Lyceum on Broadway. Bob Moss is a member, and currently serves on the board of trustees of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a national theatrical union.

Playwrights Horizons outsidePLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS is a writer’s theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists, and to the production of their new work.  Founded in 1971 by Robert Moss, the theater was located at the Clark Center Y, before moving to 42nd Street in 1974 where it has been instrumental in the revitalization of Theater Row.

In a city rich with cultural offerings, Playwrights Horizons 43 year-old mission is unique; they are the only major theater in New York with this specific mission.  They have distinguished ourselves by the caliber of their work and their steadfast commitment to the voice of the American writer.  It is a mission that is always timely, and it is essential to the future of the American theater.

Playwrights Horizons encourages the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. Writers are supported through every stage of their growth with a series of development programs: script and score evaluations, commissions, readings, and musical theater workshops.  They present six productions annually on our two stages, each of which is a World, American or New York premiere.

Robert Moss directing young drama students. Fingers & Toes opens June 4th and runs until June 22nd at the Ivoryton PlayhousePlaywrights Horizons has presented over 375 writers and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a special 2008 Drama Desk Award for “ongoing support to generations of theater artists and undiminished commitment to producing new work”.

Notable productions include five Pulitzer Prize winners—Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award, Best Play); Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play); Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play); Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George; Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play); Kirsten Greenidge’s Milk Like Sugar (two 2012 Obie Awards); Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal—as well as Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn; Bathsheba Doran’s Kin; Adam Bock’s A Small Fire; Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I; Melissa James Gibson’s This (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist); Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie’s Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards); Craig Lucas’s Prayer for My Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play); Adam Rapp’s Kindness; Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone; Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting) amongst many, many others.

In addition to thPlaywright Horizonseir artistic programming, they train over 150 undergraduate students through the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, in association with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and welcome ten to twelve aspiring theater professionals into a rigorous Theatrical Residency Program.  They also provide low-cost, state-of-the-art ticketing services to the Off-Broadway performing arts community through a Ticket Central box office and offer low- cost rehearsal and performance space.

André Bishop served as Artistic Director from 1981 to 1991, followed by Don Scardino who served through 1995.  Tim Sanford was named Artistic Director in 1996.

http://www.playwrightshorizons.org/

http://phtschool.org/

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3_fingers_and_toes

Fingers & Toes opens June 4th and runs until June 22nd.  Directed by Robert Moss and starring Aaron Berk, Joyce Chittick and Rick Faugno.

Tap dancer “Toes” MacGrath, and pianist “Fingers” St. Claire have managed to talk a major Broadway producer into coming to see their show in two weeks: a boy meets girl tap dance spectacular on the theme of love. A brand new work from Logan Medland, this entertaining production sizzles with exhilarating music, delightful witticisms, and high-energy tap routines that evoke the magic of the Fred Astaire – Ginger Rogers era.

For more information, follow this link!

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Four reviews are listed here:  Bonnie Goldberg,  Geary Danihy for the Connecticut Critics Circle, Amy Barry for Shore Publishing community weeklies, online at zip06.com and theday.com, and Zander Opper for Talkin’ Broadway Regional News & Reviews.

 

TAKE A FRONT ROW SEAT FOR “I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES”
BY BONNIE GOLDBERG

When nineteen year old Libby Tucker arrives from her home in Brooklyn, unannounced and uninvited, on her father’s Hollywood doorstep, she claims she is there to advance her show business career.  Her desire to be in the movies is the excuse she gives dad, a man she has not seen or heard from in sixteen years.

Only Neil Simon could conjure up this bittersweet comedy “I Ought to be in Pictures,” and only the Ivoryton Playhouse could provide it such a promising production until Sunday, May 11.

The father-daughter dynamics fuel this family interaction/confrontation.  Libby is refreshingly candid, spunky and endearing in the hands of Siobhan Fitzgerald.  She wears her heart on the sleeve of her camouflage jacket even as she tries to hide her vulnerability.  Her dad, Herb, is a screenwriter who hasn’t made it big YET.  He has three failed marriages to his credit and is struggling to make it on all fronts.

Mike Boland is appropriately shocked by Libby’s sudden appearance in his life.  With sheepish humor, he tries to justify his past actions and defend his decisions.  Libby will have none of that nonsense.  He owes her, and owes her in spades, and now is the day of reckoning.  She is the steam roller and he is the freshly paved road.  His good care in nurturing a lemon and an orange tree do not equal his blatant abandonment of his wife, son and daughter more than a decade and a half ago.

Playing referee in the family squabble is Steffy, a sweet and forgiving Jeanie Rapp, who quietly tries to make everything neat and tied up with a bow.  Is Herb able to help his long lost daughter?  Can all three of them discover their heart’s desire?  Director R. Bruce Connelly makes us care a great deal about this human triangle and root for the long promised happy ending.

For tickets ($42, seniors $37, students $20, children $15), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at
www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come meet Libby and cheer her on in her quests to find her dad, to discover why he left, to learn if he loves her and, just maybe, to make it in the movies.

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PICTURES AND POPPAS

By Geary Danihy
Connecticut Critics Circle

In ancient Greek theater the actors wore masks, a tradition that has come down to us in the form of the familiar “sad” and “happy” masks so often used on the front covers of books about playwriting, in regional theater logos and the ads seen in theater programs. The two masks denote tragedy and comedy, and they are shown together for a good reason, for scratch the surface of a good comedy and you will find beneath it a tragedy neatly averted. The prolific playwright Neil Simon understands this well, for many of his comedies tremble on the brink of tragedy – one false step by one or more of his characters and we no longer have “The Odd Couple” but “Of Mice and Men.” Such is the case with “I Ought to Be in Pictures,” which recently opened at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Simon’s 1980 play, which was subsequently filmed in 1982, is a somewhat bittersweet take on love, family, commitment and parenting given a warm, engaging treatment that, over its run, should mature into a totally satisfying evening of theater.

The premise of this three-character play is relatively simple. Herb (a solid Mike Boland), is a Hollywood screenwriter suffering a writer’s block of glacial proportions who gets an unexpected guest in the form of his 19-year-old daughter Libby (Siobhan Fitzgerald), who has traversed westward from the Bronx to confront the man who left his family 16 years ago. She hopes that he can, among other things, give her an intro into the world of acting. Her appearance on his doorstep disturbs the comfortable relationship he has with Steffy (Jeanie Rapp), a movie studio make-up artist with whom he has had an on-again-off-again “understanding” for the past two years. Libby, after some cajoling, moves in, and the rest of the play deals with the sometimes fractious maturing of the father-daughter relationship which, as a by-blow, also throws light on Herb’s relationship with Steffy.

Under the direction of R.Bruce Connelly, with a period-perfect, down-at-the-heels set by Bill Stark and a subtle, emotive lighting design by Marcus Abbot (several fade-outs are quite notable), the play pleases on many levels and you can’t help but leave the theater with a warm glow. Yet, some directorial decisions (or, perhaps, lack of decisions) form a slight cloud over the production, a cloud that might be easily dissipated.

Boland’s performance is rock solid, conveying both the frustration of a writer who has lost his confidence and, once Libby moves in, a man slowly coming to realize what it means to be a father. However, the cloud, or clouds, as diaphanous as they might be, hang over the two female characters.

Fitzgerald is a delight to watch, but there is a problem with how she delivers, or has been allowed or directed, to deliver her lines. Early in the first act Herb complains that he has suddenly been confronted with and invaded by a daughter who sounds like Marlon Brando. Either Fitzgerald or Connelly, or both, have apparently fixated on that line of dialogue as a cue as to how Fitzgerald should speak and move. The result is Brando channeled through The Fonz via Marisa Tomei in “My Cousin Vinny.” It seems forced. stagey, even distracting, and the proof that it can be otherwise comes late in the second act when Libby has a highly emotional scene with Herb. Fitzgerald’s delivery speeds up and, although the Bronx accent is still evident, it does not dominate and therefore seems natural. Perhaps, over the course of the play’s run, if Fitzgerald takes most of the air out of her lines – “You know…what I…mean…dontcha?” — her Bronx background will be just that, a background to a character she appears to be more than capable of bringing to full life.

If Fitzgerald is, at this point early in the run, a bit too over the top, Rapp is just a bit too subdued. Again, a subtle change is all that’s necessary. Right now her character often seems to be on a low dose of Librium (the drug of choice back then). All she needs to do is add a bit of bite to her delivery and her Steffy will come to the fore.

Again, these are early days for “I Ought to Be in Pictures.” Actors settle into roles often only after performing in front of an audience, sensing what does and doesn’t work, and doing a bit of self-evaluation. If Boland holds what he is doing, Fitzgerald brings it down a notch and Rapp ramps it up a bit, then Ivoryton will have a fine, crowd-pleasing production on its hands.

“I Ought to Be in Pictures” runs through May 11. For tickets or more information call 860-767-7318 or go to www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.

Posted 4.26.2014

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I Ought to Be in Pictures — Snappy production at Ivoryton Playhouse

By Amy J. Barry

I Ought to Be in Pictures was a mid-career comedy of Neil Simon’s that enjoyed a good run on Broadway in the late ‘70s before it was made into a motion picture directed by Herbert Ross in 1982.

The three-person ensemble is about what happens when Libby, a 19-year-old aspiring actress hitchhikes across country from Brooklyn to LA to meet Herb, the screenwriter father she’s been estranged from for 16 years. Her plan is to discover why her father abandoned her and her brother by moving 3,000 miles away and maybe break into the movies while she’s at it, using her father’s connections.

Although this contemporary comedy is more than 30 years old, the subject matter — divorce — is as current as ever. As unfortunate as it is that divorce is still so prevalent, it helps make the Ivoryton Playhouse production feel relevant rather than dated. The only thing missing is cell phones and texting.

The dialogue between Libby (Siobhan Fitzgerald) and Herb (Mike Boland) feels authentic and heartfelt. Fitzgerald has most of the funny lines in the play, which she delivers in a believable New York accent, such as relaying the conversations she has with her dead grandmother at her graveside.

It’s not easy living up to Tony Curtis, who played Herb in the play and Walter Matthau, who played the role in the film, but Boland is a natural as the curmudgeonly, commitment-phobic writer with writer’s block.

Herb gets his nose out of joint when Libby, who has no acting experience besides as an understudy in an Erasmus High School production of Miss Jean Brodie, has the chutzpah to ask him to help her get into “the pictures.” He thinks she’s just there to take advantage of him. She sees it as the least he can do after being out of contact for most of her life. A lot of verbal sparring — both bittersweet and funny — goes on between them.

The third role is Herb’s on and off again girlfriend, Steffy (Jeanie Rapp). Herb’s growing relationship with Libby forces him to confront his commitment issues with her. Rapp is well cast as the attractive and people-wise girlfriend who gives Herb good advice about how to be a better father to Libby. Steffy becomes increasingly tired of being in a relationship of convenience and Rapp could show more edginess and impatience in her delivery, which is a little too gentle for the message she’s giving Herb.

Although it’s a comedy, there are some moving scenes between father and daughter and in Neil Simon style, the characters show their warts, as well as their ability to grow and change and find forgiveness.

R. Bruce Connelly’s spot-on direction brings the production pleasingly together. Bill Stark has done a good job filling the Playhouse stage with Herb’s 70s style messy bachelor pad, nicely lit by Marcus Abbott. Kari Crowther’s fun costumes are appropriate to the time and place.

Performances of I Ought to be in Pictures continue through May 11 at the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton. Tickets are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.

This review appears in Shore Publishing community weeklies, and online at zip06.com and theday.com

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CONNECTICUT
Regional Reviews by Zander Opper

My review of “I Ought to Be in Pictures” was just posted and here is the link:

http://www.talkinbroadway.com/regional/ct/ct250.html

 

 

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All Shook Up by Joe DiPietro

   Equity Submissions

Ivoryton Playhouse    Ivoryton, CT    SPT     $420.

First rehearsal: June 17; First performance: July 2; Close: July 27.

Executive/Artistic Director: Jacqueline Hubbard

Director/Choreographer:  Richard Amelius

Please send a headshot and resume with relevant experience to casting@ivorytonplayhouse.org

Video submissions are welcomed and songs from the show are encouraged.

Looking for:

CHAD (25-35 – baritone): a great-lookin’, motorcycling, guitar-playing, leather-jacketed roustabout.

JIM HALLER (mid 40’s-50’s – baritone): Natalie’s widowed father.

Theatre’s mailing address:  Ivoryton Playhouse, PO Box 458, Ivoryton CT  06442.

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