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Micky and Joyce

World Premiere of New Play
By Mike Reiss


Starring Micky Dolenz and Joyce DeWitt
Executive Producer:  Michael A. Dattilo


New York/Ivoryton – The world premiere of a brand new play by acclaimed writer of The Simpsons, Mike Reiss, will take place at the historic Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, CT. Previews begin September 24th – the play opens on September 26th and runs through October 12th. MICKY DOLENZ (of The Monkees) will star alongside JOYCE DEWITT,  veteran actress and star of the ABC television hit series Three’s Company.

Dolenz has delighted audiences with his performances on stage in the Elton John/Tim Rice production of Aida; Grease; Pippin’; A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum; and, most recently Hairspray in the West End playing Wilbur Turnblad.

Said Dolenz, “The opportunity to originate this role in Mike’s new play is terrific. I am ready to un-leash my inner-comedian.”

Joyce DeWitt is no stranger to the hilarious writing of Mike Reiss as she starred in the world premiere of his play I’m Connecticut in 2012 at CT Repertory Theatre. DeWitt, who has performed in almost every theatrical genre from Medea to South Pacific, jumped at the chance to perform in another Mike Reiss play. “The idea of figuring out how to play this woman who goes through a deep, heart-place transformation/evolution–in the middle of a wonderfully written comedy!  With Micky Dolenz? At the beautiful, historic Ivoryton Playhouse? “Yes” was a no-brainer.”

COMEDY IS HARD is a story of friendship and friction between an aging comedian and a veteran dramatic actress in a home for retired performers.  It’s about life, love, show business, and the importance of growing old disgracefully.

Reiss, who is writer and producer for the long running TV show, The Simpsons, also created the animated series The Critic; the webtoon Queer Duck and worked on the screenplays for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; The Simpsons: The Movies; and, My Life In Ruins. Ivoryton audiences turned out in droves in the June 2013 for his hilarious play, I’m Connecticut, which was a huge popular and critical success.

Comedy is Hard! opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on September 24 and runs through October 12, 2014. Directed by Playhouse Artistic Director, Jacqueline Hubbard, the cast includes Michael McDermott*, Dan Coyle, Dorian Mendez and Michael Hotkowski. The set design is by Dan Nischan, lighting by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Lenore Grunko. Executive Producer is Michael A. Dattilo.

Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm.

There will be talkbacks with the writer – check our website for details. 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  (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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To book your tickets for this event, please follow this link to the HOPE Partnership Website.

HOPE Partnership’s Theatre Night 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
6:00 to 7:15pm – Cocktail Party  |

7:30pm Curtain

Intermission with Coffee & Desserts

$75 per person

Join HOPE Partnership for a special evening featuring cocktails and hors d’hoeuvres on the beautiful terrace at the Ivoryton Playhouse and the premiere of Comedy is Hard! written by Connecticut native, Mike Reiss. The show stars Micky Dolenz, best known for his role in the 1965 TV sitcom The Monkees with Joyce DeWitt from the ABC hit TV series Three’s Company. This event is sure to sell out!

Proceeds benefit HOPE Partnership’s efforts to create affordable workforce housing in our shoreline communities.

Star Sponsors: Guiilford Savings Bank, Liberty Bank and Lorensen Auto Group
Director Sponsors: Clark Group, Essex Savings Bank, Tower Labs & Sonny Whelen
Media Sponsor: Shore Publishing

To book your tickets for this event, please follow this link to the HOPE Partnership Website.

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“The intuitive comes bearing its gifts in the moment of spontaneity.”   –  Viola Spolin


IraColorActing coach Ira Sakolsky invites you to a workshop based on the improvisational theatre games of Viola Spolin and Paul Sills (co-founder of the Second City in Chicago and originator of the Tony Award-winning ‘Story Theatre’).

The games allow students to absorb theatre skills organically, without any conscious effort. The workshop is designed to bring a spirit of spontaneity and play to your work and life. Theatre games were used to train many film & television stars including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey. It is open to and suitable for all levels, from beginners to experienced players. Suitable for students aged 16+. Students are asked to dress comfortably to move.

Ira Sakolsky has worked as an actor in Film, TV, Radio, Broadway and Off-Broadway. He has taught improvisational acting technique for more than 30 years, working with Paul Sills and his daughter Aretha Sills who is dedicated to preserving the pureness of Paul’s and Viola Spolin’s work.  Ira owns Riverway Studio in East Haddam, an award-winning music and production studio.

This workshop will run on Monday nights for six weeks starting Sept. 8th at the Ivoryton Playhouse Rehearsal Room in Centerbrook from 6:30pm-8:30pm.  Fee: $175.  Advance  payment required.  Please send checks made payable to Ivoryton Playhouse to:  Theatre Games Workshop, Ivoryton Playhouse, PO Box 458, Ivoryton, CT  06442.

For more information about the workshop or to sign up, please contact Ira Sakolsky at 860-873-3404 or email:

Photo credit:


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Our thanks to Outthink for producing another great video:

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James Van Treuren* and David Edwards* star in La Cage Aux Folles

James Van Treuren* and David Edwards* star in La Cage Aux Folles

Press Release
July 23, 2014

The Best of Times is Now!
La Cage Aux Folles
at the Ivoryton Playhouse

Ivoryton:  It’s the dog days of summer but in Ivoryton, August is kicking its way through the heat in feathers, glitter and six inch heels! LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, the smash hit Broadway musical opens in Ivoryton on August 6th and runs through August 31st. Written by Harvey Fierstein, Jean Poiret and Jerry Herman, the original 1983 Broadway production received nine nominations for Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. LA CAGE was later turned into a popular movie, The Birdcage, starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams.

After twenty years of un-wedded bliss Georges and Albin, two men partnered for better-or-worse get a bit of both when Georges’ son announces his impending marriage to the daughter of a bigoted, narrow-minded politician. Albin tries to help by making a perfect family with hilarious results. Further complicating the situation, Albin and Georges run a drag nightclub in St. Tropez, where Albin is the star performer ‘Zaza.’ Georges reluctantly agrees to masquerade as “normal” when he meets the family of the bride-to-be. But Albin has other plans, with hilarious results.

The show features some beautiful songs by Jerry Herman including I Am What I Am and Song on the Sand, and some hilarious situations. But, more than anything else, LA CAGE is an old fashioned love story wrapped in feathers, sprinkled with glitter and tied with a bow. This wild and warmhearted farce about the importance of nonconformity and being true to oneself will appeal to audiences of all ages.

Directed by Lawrence Thelen, choreographed by Todd Underwood and musical directed by Michael Morris, the show features David Edwards* as Albin and James Van Treuren* as Georges. Edwards has appeared on Broadway in BY JEEVES and THE ROTHSCHILDS and Van Treuren was in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Both actors have performed these roles before and are good friends on and off stage. Zach Trimmer* is reviving the role of Jean Michel for his third time; marTina Vidmar* is Jacqueline; Frank Calamaro* of Chester is Ms. Dindon and Samantha Talmadge of Groton is Mme. Dindon

The set is designed by Cully Long, lighting by Doug Harry, wigs by Liz Cipollina and costumes by Njaye Olds.

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES opens in Ivoryton on August 6th and runs through August 31st. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. There are 2 extra matinees for this show on Saturday August 16th  and 23rd  at 2pm. 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  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Generously sponsored by:  Sennheiser and Webster Bank

Members of the press are welcome at any performance.  Please call ahead for tickets.

Photo by Anne Hudson

*member of Actors Equity


Looking for something to do?  Ivoryton Playhouse was voted  Best Place to See Live Theatre by the readers of the Shoreline Times!  Come and visit Essex and see a show at this Connecticut historic treasure!

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The Ivoryton Playhouse continues an August full of fun with two more programs geared towards children!

Performances are for children of all ages.  Help your child discover the magic of theatre this summer at the Ivoryton Playhouse.  All performances take place on Fridays at 11:00am.  All tickets $12.00

The Ivoryton Playhouse Intern Company presents Cucumber Phil on August 15th.  Cucumber Phil is the finest cucumber farmer in all of Cucumber Valley.  His life with his somewhat goofy cucumber-growing friends is perfect. Then Artichoke Annie shows up and wants to grow something different. Can Phil be friends with Annie and keep his old friends? Or will he choose to join them in driving Annie away? And what does all of this have to do with Buster the Evil Pig?

144_caseycarle_cdavis-300x222And finally, back by popular demand, Casey Carle’s Bubblemania is on stage August 22nd.  Casey performs tricky undulations, manipulations and juggling with bubbles.   An extremely unique program combining high energy entertainment with artistic achievement, BubbleMania is loaded with visual comedy, quick wit, big band swing music and the untamed, often unbelievable qualities and beauty of spherical liquids. Casey’s creations grow from intricate and imaginative bubble artforms to “trapping” people inside bubbles!  This is a bubble show to keep the 5 to 75 year-olds mesmerized and it always sells out.

Come early and get a glitter tattoo!  Z’s Face and Body Art will be at the Playhouse from 10:15am ready to give you a little sparkle!  Tattoos are very reasonably priced and last for ages!  Many designs available.

Call 860.767.7318 or click here to book your tickets online.



Our Summer Children’s Theatre Series is generously sponsored by:


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Regional Reviews by Zander Opper


By Geary Danihy
For CT Theater News and Reviews and CT Critics Circle

This seems to be the season for rock and roll nostalgia. There’s “Hairspray” at the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, “The Bikinis” playing at Long Wharf, and now “All Shook Up” out at the Ivoryton Playhouse. The good news is, you’ll have an enjoyable evening of theater no matter which of the three you attend, but if you opt for the Ivoryton show, you’re in for a special treat in the form of the two delightful leads, Danielle Bowen and Preston Ellis, two fine young actors whom you will have absolutely no trouble watching.

The musical, with book by Joe DiPietro, is a mash-up of “Footloose” and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” channeled through Elvis Presley. Directed and choreographed by Richard Amelius, “All Shook Up” is a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek romp through much of the Presley songbook that follows a young grease monkey named Natalie (Bowen) who falls for a motorcycling roustabout named Chad (Ellis) when he rolls into a town that is more straight-laced than your great-aunt Mabel’s corset. Chad, a fun-loving guy who has a way with women and juke boxes, feels it his mission to bring some life to the repressed citizenry. His charisma is such that soon many of the townsfolk start falling in love, with all of the wrong people, a game of amorous Twister that is, literally, spotlighted in the finale to the first act, a quite moving rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

Complications abound, exacerbated by the obligatory disguise of a young lady posing as a young man named Ed who attempts to woo the sensuous Miss Sandra (a delightfully lustful Mara Jill Herman) for Chad. Miss Sandra is also being pursued by Natalie’s father, Jim (R. Bruce Connelly), while Dennis is pursuing Natalie, while Sylvia (Onyie) is pursuing Jim, while the taciturn Sherriff Earl (Larry Lewis) is silently pining for Mayor Matilda Hyde (Melissa McLean) and the mayor’s son, Dean (Logan Scott Mitchell) is tentatively making overture’s to Sylvia’s daughter, Lorraine (Danielle Famble). Well, you get the picture. Of course, it all works out in the end with multiple marriages and everyone proclaiming their “Burning Love” for their new mates.

Backed by seven musicians ensconced in a pit hidden below the stage, the entire cast, including the male and female ensembles, nails one Presley song after another, with “One Night With You” used as a recurring, comedic theme. However, as noted above, it’s the two leads that give the extra juice to this production.

Ellis, a seasoned pro, gives his character just the right mix of sneer, bravado and joie de vivre – think Marlon Brandon with manners. He also has great timing and a strong comedic sense about him. Playing against him is Bowen who, amazingly enough, is only a rising senior at Emerson College. Based on her performance you certainly couldn’t tell that she hasn’t yet graduated. Whether she is playing the grease monkey, or Ed with a two-day-old beard as a disguise or, finally, the lovely Natalie, she is a delight. She may not steal the show – that crown goes to Herman – but she doesn’t have to, because from the moment she walks on stage she steals the audience’s heart. One can only hope that once she graduates she will find her way back to Connecticut to grace one of its many stages…before Broadway grabs her up and doesn’t let her go.

So, if you’re an Elvis fan, or just want to enjoy an all-smiles evening of summer theater, get yourself out to Ivoryton. Yes, you’ll be “All Shook Up,” and will sense “The Power of Love.” You’ll have to pledge to “Don’t Be Cruel” and be challenged to “Follow That Dream,” question why “Fools Fall in Love” and, once again, acknowledge that we all, at one time or another, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” In other words, you’ll have a good time.

“All Shook Up” runs through July 27. For tickets or more information call 860-767-7318 or go to

For CT Theater News and Reviews and CT Critics Circle




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