Vote for the Ivoryton Playhouse! The e-list has just launched their 9th Annual Best of the Shoreline Readers’ Poll. Vote for us (because we LOVE to win!) and all your favorite places on the shoreline.

As an added incentive, fans who fill out the poll will be entered to win a $150 Gift Certificate to The Essex.

Click on the link below to fill out the Best of the Shoreline!


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Actress Paige McNamara talks about keeping the spirit of Janis Joplin alive in one of the hardest rocking shows to take the stage at Ivoryton Playhouse.

“Our job is to honor Janis and honor that energy,” McNamara says of the cast and crew at Ivoryton Playhouse. In A Night with Janis Joplin, she and co-star Francesca Ferrari take turns playing the legendary singer who changed the future of rock ‘n’ roll as one of its pioneering women.

The show is a fun, fervent tribute to the life and music of Janis Joplin as well as the women who inspired her. In addition to the familiar songs of Joplin’s repertoire, the audience will enjoy captivating character appearances from Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. A star who burned so bright for such a short time, Janis forever left her mark on the music world with hits like “Piece of My Heart,” her cover of “Me and Bobby McGee” and many more. Spend an evening getting to know the incredible woman behind the music.

Tickets $55 for adults; $50 for seniors; $25 for students and $20 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860.767.7318 or by visiting our website


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THE FRONT ROW: A Night with Janis Joplin
By Brooks Appelbaum for the Shoreline Times


From the Desk of Jim R, Take 2
By Jim Ruocco


Connecticut Theater News and Reviews
Posted by Geary Danihy

Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin. Photo by Curtis Brown.

She was born on January 19, 1943 and died on October 4, 1970. Do the math – her life spanned a mere 28 years, yet she is a Rock and Roll and Blues icon whose albums have sold over 15 million copies. Her name is Janis Joplin, and she has come back to life at the Ivoryton Playhouse in an evening of sheer electricity.

Given the vocal requirements of the performance, the role of Joplin is shared on alternate nights by Francesca Ferrari and Paige McNamara. On opening night, it was McNamara who took the stage. McNamara brilliantly captures Joplin’s hyperkinetic stage presence, which was fueled by drugs and alcohol. Her legs can’t stop jerking; her arms shoot up as exclamation points; her body channels the rhythm and beat of the music. There are moments when you think she might just explode out of her skin, that what she is experiencing on stage is sheer synesthesia, a mesh and merger of sight and sound that enflames her mind.

Backed by eight highly talented musicians who make the rafters of the venue shake, rattle and roll, McNamara offers up bits of Joplin biography with numerous references to those artists who influenced her: Bessie Smith and Odetta (Aurianna Angelique), Etta James (Tawny Dolley), Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone (Amma Osei) and the lead Chantel, also billed as the Blues Singer (Jennifer Leigh Warren). Thus, this walk down memory lane captures much of an entire era that embraced Soul, R & B and Rock. Often, as with the number “Summertime,” we are offered the traditional version (compliments, in this case, of Osei) and then Joplin’s more kinetic cover of the number.

A lot of the production has been imported – it’s a co-production – but Ivoryton has adapted what was brought in – essentially sets, blocking and lighting plot – brilliantly. This is especially true of the lighting, which was originally created by Ryan O’Gara. There are numerous cues and effects, and on opening night they seem to have come off without a hitch. Although the show was originally created, written and directed by Randy Johnson, Tyler Rhodes deserves a lot of credit for making the show “fit” the Ivoryton stage.

Joplin was a unique performer, and her brash, sometimes over-the-top presentation, with a voice that often sounded like gravel being dumped from a truck, is there for all to see and hear in McNamara’s performance, including the occasional slugs from bottles of Southern Comfort (one assumes they are props). Although the evening is essentially a juke-box musical, there is a build of sorts, for the second act encompasses the haunting “Stay With Me,” as well as the iconic “Me and Bobby Mcgee” and, finally, “Mercedes Benz,” with the audience chiming in and chanting.

This is somewhat unusual fare for the Playhouse, but the scheduling, based on the opening night audience, seems to have worked, for there was a cross-section of generations in the audience, all of whom responded with stand-up enthusiasm. Think of it this way: your grandfather, who has always been into music, sits you down and gives you a crash course on the music that filled his younger years, putting on LPs (that’s long-playing records, for those of you who are from the “download” generation) and playing cuts and then reminiscing. He plays “My Baby” and “Turtle Blues,” “Spirit in the Dark” and “Kozmic Blues,” and as he does you are transported back to a time when he was young and just a bit wild, and you see him in a different light, a golden (or neon) glow, if you will, that evokes a time and a place (or multiple places) when Janis Joplin was one of the voices that defined an era…and moved multitudes.

A Night With Janis Joplin” runs through June 24. For tickets or more information call 860-767-7318 or go to


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Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin.  Photo by Curtis Brown.

The Queen of Rock and Roll
A Night with Janis Joplin
Opens the summer season at the Ivoryton Playhouse

The Ivoryton Playhouse will present the 2014 Tony Award-nominated 2013 Broadway Musical A Night With Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson, from May 30 to June 24, 2018.

Born in Port Arthur, TX in 1943, Janis Lyn Joplin challenged racial and sexual stereotypes and created a sound and a style that has become legendary. She exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the queen of rock and roll. The unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with more than a touch of Southern Comfort made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock Her unique sound, however, was originally created as a result of her love for some of the greatest African-American singers of all time. Now, theatergoers can share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll and her musical influences in A Night with Janis Joplin.

Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin.  Photo by Curtis Brown.

On Jan. 12, 1995, when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, her profile proclaimed, “Janis Joplin’s star rose fast, burned bright and burned out too soon. The blues-influenced rocker had one of the most powerful voices of the Sixties. Her voice is equal parts tough and vulnerable, a shout into the void that resonated with a generation.” Joplin biographer Myra Friedman added, “It wasn’t only her voice that thrilled, with its amazing range and strength and awesome wails. To see her was to be sucked into a maelstrom of feeling that words can barely suggest.”

A Night with Janis Joplin made its Broadway debut, under the direction of Randy Johnson, on Oct. 10, 2013 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it played for 140 performances before closing on Feb. 9, 2014. Mary Bridget Davies, who made her Broadway debut in the title role, earned a 2014 Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, and won a 2014 Theatre World Award for her critically acclaimed performance.

Sharing the lead role of Janis Joplin in this production are Francesca Ferrari* and Paige McNamara*. The cast also includes Aurianna Angelique*, Jennifer Leigh Warren*, Tawny Dolley*, and Amma Osei* who take on the roles of the many women who influenced Janis – Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone and many more.

Paige McNamara as Janis Joplin.  Photo by Curtis Brown.

A Night with Janis Joplin opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on May 30th and runs through June 24th, 2018. Original direction by Randy Johnson, original set design by Brian Prather, original lighting design by Ryan O’Gara, original projections by Darrel Maloney, original costume designs by Amy Clark and original wig designs by Leah Loukas. This production is co-directed by Tyler Rhodes. Musical Director is Michael Morris.
Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.

Tickets purchased before June 1st are $50 for adults, $45 for seniors, $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at

After June 1st, tickets are $55 for adults and $50 for seniors. (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity
Members of the press are welcome after May 31st.
Please call ahead for tickets.

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Current Ticket Prices

Single ticket prices for A Night with Janis Joplin, Grease, A Chorus Line and ONCE are:  $55 adult; $50 senior; $25 student; $20 child

Single ticket prices for Queens of the Golden Mask are:  $50 adult / $45 senior / $22 student / $17 children 12 and under

Call the box office 860.767.7318 to secure your seats or book online 24/7 by following this link.

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Third annual Women Playwrights’ Initiative:

Our mission is to Inspire, Empower, Validate, and Celebrate women playwrights.

The Women Playwrights’ Initiative at the Ivoryton Playhouse develops new one-act plays by and about women, and the issues that shape their lives. Friendship, political and economic advocacy, sexual satisfaction, aging, gender equality, racial issues, marriage, singlehood, motherhood, careers, and power. The Initiative provides a safe, nurturing environment for play development, including a week of intensive rehearsal with the playwrights, directors, and actors. The workshopping week culminates in a staged reading festival, featuring interactive talkbacks with the playwrights, directors, actors, and audiences.

CALL FOR SCRIPTS: Please read the submission policy carefully


  1. Starting May 15, women playwrights are invited to submit one-act plays written solely by women via email in standard Samuel French playwriting format: 12 point font, character name centered, 1” margin all around. Plays should be emailed to Laura Copland
  2. Ten minute plays are acceptable and no play may run longer than one hour—approximately 50 pages. Longer submissions will not be considered.
  3. No one-person plays or musicals will be accepted.
  4. Only one submission per playwright will be accepted. Scripts will not be returned.
  5. Submissions are limited to the first 150 scripts received. No play will be accepted before May 15.
  6. The title page must include the playwright’s name, email address, mailing address, and telephone number. Resumes must be sent as a separate file and NOT included in the PDF file of the play.
  7. Please do NOT include a synopsis.
  8. The call is open from May 15 to July 31, 2018 OR until we receive 150 plays. Playwrights will be notified if their play was received after receipt of 150 plays or the deadline and thus, not considered.
  9. Submissions will be acknowledged by email. Playwrights will be notified in the fall by email if their play is selected. Playwrights whose plays were not selected will also be notified.
  10. Playwrights will stay for the week of rehearsals beginning Saturday, February 23, 2019 through to the staged readings on Friday, March 1, and Saturday March 2, with a departure day on Sunday, March 3, 2019.
  11. The WPI is a workshop and playwrights are encouraged and should be prepared to work on their play, including rewrites, as needed.
  12. Stipend: $500, plus travel to and from Ivoryton, CT, and housing is provided.

DIRECTORS: The WPI also seeks resumes from directors. Stipend: $300 and housing is provided.

READERS: We seek resumes from readers to evaluate the plays and to email feedback on a form provided.

Play submissions, and Director and Reader resumes should be emailed to Laura Copland, Director of Play Development at Ivoryton Playhouse,

For more information, visit IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE at

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Call, click or stop by:

Telephone:  860.767.7318

Purchase online by following this link

Stop by our office at 22 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT  06442 (opposite Pizza Pub)

Single ticket pricing:  $50 adult / $45 senior / $22 student / $17 children 12 and under

After June 1, 2018 single ticket prices for A Night with Janis Joplin, Grease, A Chorus Line and Once will be:  $55 adult / $50 senior / $25 student / $20 children 12 and under.



Written and Created by Randy Johnson
Wednesday, May 30 – June 24, 2018

From Broadway to Ivoryton, come share an evening with the Queen of Rock and Roll. Featuring such unforgettable songs as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Piece of My Heart,” “Mercedes Benz,” “Cry Baby” and “Summertime,” A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN, is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences—Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith.


Book, Music and Lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey
Thursday, July 5 – Sunday, July 29, 2018,

It’s the original high-school musical, featuring all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including “You’re The One That I Want”, “Summer Nights”, “Hopelessly Devoted To You”, “Greased Lightnin” and many more. Dust off your leather jackets, pull on your bobby-socks and take a trip to a simpler time as Danny and Sandy fall in love all over again.


Music by Marvin Hamlisch, Lyrics by Edward Kleban, Book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante
Wednesday, August 8 – Sunday, September 2, 2018

The musical for everyone who’s ever had a dream and put it all on the line, A CHORUS LINE examines one day in the lives of seventeen dancers, all vying for a spot in the “chorus line” of a Broadway musical. Based on real Broadway dancers’ stories, A CHORUS LINE is funny, heartbreaking, and refreshingly honest. This singular sensation is the longest-running American Broadway musical ever.


Book by Enda Walsh
Music and Lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Wednesday, September 19 – Sunday, October 7, 2018

Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, ONCE is a truly original theatrical experience. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. It’s an unforgettable story about going for your dreams and the power of music to connect us all.


Written by Carole Lockwood
Wednesday, October 31 – Sunday, November 18, 2018

Set in Alabama in 1962, this stunning new play about a group of mothers and daughters takes us from church picnics and summer camp to the secrets and hypocrisy that lie just beneath the surface. A world premiere.

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NOW OPEN: Love Quest


State of the Arts – WPKN


iCRV Radio – The Stream Feeding the River Valley


Press Release
April 4, 2018
It’s a match!

LOVE QUEST – a world premiere
By Mary Maguire & Steven McGraw

Ivoryton – A renowned scientist once theorized that finding “intelligent life” on other planets in the universe would be like shooting a particular blackbird in a room full of blackbirds, with the lights out. Ironically, the same probability applies for finding a “normal man (or woman)” on an online dating service.

Love Quest – a new comedy opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 25 – explores the journeys of two women in the perilous world of online dating.

Kate Crawford, 60, was married for 30-years and divorced for 3. Her husband left her for a younger woman and she is dealing with issues of abandonment, old age and the new world order of internet dating. It is a position in which she never thought she would find herself. Her concerned daughter, Megan, posts Kate’s profile on the Love Quest dating site and Kate is thrust into unknown territory. The “gentleman caller” is a thing of the past. Now a relationship is decided in a millisecond with the “swipe” of a finger across your smart phone. And speed dating gives Kate sixty seconds to present herself, thirty seconds too long for many of the younger men who sit across from here.

Brook Davis, 35, single, has climbed the corporate ladder in the fashion industry with a driven, single minded focus. Her ambition left her little time for socializing which is just fine with her. Raised in foster homes she has learned to only trust herself. A relationship would only get in her way. However, executives in her firm want her to raise her celebrity profile by being seen and photographed at the right places with eye candy dates. Her assistant, Bové, reluctantly signs her up on Love Quest. Brook is far more cynical than Kate and is more amused than shocked by what she encounters in the world of high speed dating.

Kate and Brook meet after a bad date goes awry and become friends and allies in this strange new dating world. This is their story.

Jacqui Hubbard – Playhouse Artistic Director – is taking the helm of this new production. “It has been part of the mission of the Ivoryton Playhouse for the last 5 years to try to include one new play in our season. I saw a reading of Love Quest in the city last year and was immediately impressed by the humor and the heart and most especially, audience response. This is a funny, poignant and very timely story that I know many in my audience will relate to.”

Love Quest stars Linda Purl* as Katherine Crawford. Many will remember Linda for her roles at Charlene Matlock in Matlock and Ashley Pfister, Fonzie’s girlfriend in Happy Days but her career has included many movie and TV appearances. She can currently be seen in The Oath (recurring), and in recent episodes of Homeland, True Blood, The Office, and  Designated Survivor.

Sharing the stage with Linda are Playhouse favorites Josh Powell* (My Way) and Mike Mihm* (Biloxi Blues). Jes Bedwinek, Joe Candelora* and Susan Slotoroff will be making their Playhouse debut.

Love Quest opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 25th and runs through May 13th, 2018.  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 $50 for adults; $45 for seniors; $22 for students and $17 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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The Essex is an American Restaurant and Bar with a strong focus on seasonal ingredients, marrying classic French technique to progressive interpretations of timeless dishes.

Chef and Co-Owner Colt Taylor, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, tells us about The Essex:  “passion, love and innovation fuel our vision to bring a full spectrum experience to our guests. We value the foundation of fine dining: from classic French technique to reverence for ingredients.

Farm-to-table restaurant in Centerbrook, CT


The Essex marks the transition between old New England charm and upscale elegance; a time that calls for refreshment and rejuvenation.

Steeped in the rich heritage of the Connecticut River Valley, the land infuses our culinary vision with the freshest locally-sourced products available from farm and sea.

At the same time, we call on traditions from around the world, as well as the avant-garde to represent both the nostalgic and the modern through progressive interpretations of timeless dishes.”













Colt removed the walls from the dining room to showcase the art of cooking in an open kitchen to pay homage to the food, wine, spirits and hospitality that is at the essence of everything!

The Essex offers a variety of restoratives and invite all to imbibe in an atmosphere of satisfying food, spirits and good cheer.

Check out their Retro Happy Hour, Tuesday Burger and Beer, Experimental Wednesday, Thursday Tacos and Tequila or their Sunday Boozy Brunch!

Cited by Town & Country as one of the “27 reasons this part of the East Coast
is being dubbed the new Hamptons”

“There’s nothing like The Essex on the shoreline….” – E list

Tuesday through Saturday, 4:30-10pm.
Sunday Boozey Brunch 12-3pm
Sunday Supper 4-8pm

30 Main Street
Centerbrook, CT 06409

Special promotion: show your Ivoryton Playhouse tickets for their prix fixe theatre special.

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