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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Bruce ConnellyR. Bruce Connelly is an Ivoryton Playhouse favorite! 

He has acted and directed at the Ivoryton Playhouse since first appearing as Jesus in Godspell in 1974.  Recent productions he has starred in include The Bells of Dublin, The Producers and Last of the Red Hot Lovers.  He directed Playhouse productions of Oliver! and Barefoot In The Park.  We caught up with Bruce after the opening matinee performance of I Ought To Be In Pictures now on stage at the Playhouse.

Why Neil Simon?

As an actor and a director, you are in great hands with a writer like Neil Simon.  You know, the writers of Sid Caesars’ Your Show Of Shows – one of the best TV variety shows ever produced – were Neil Simon, Mel Brooks and Larry Gelpart and there have been many shows produced at the Playhouse that were written by these talents including The Producers and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.  But I Ought To Be In Pictures is different because there is a heartfelt story here – a difficult situation is being explored and made better in this play.  There is a great deal of heart and it’s very moving.  Besides the jokes you expect from a Neil Simon comedy, there is also a lot of honest emotion for the audience to respond to.

What makes this cast special?

They all say yes!  As a director I had a vision to guide them into the same world and into the same energies and timing.  The three people starring in this play took every single director’s note they said “Yes! I’ll do that” and “Yes! I’ll change that”, supporting me by their positive and open attitudes.  Each of them are very funny in their own way – they brought that comedy with them.  They can make us laugh but they can also make us cry and that’s what this play demands.

As an accomplished actor, was directing always something you wanted to do?

I started directing in 4th grade with a chaotic production of Hansel and Gretel in Grammar School in Wallingford!  It wasn’t until college that I started directing seriously – and I found that directing also helps me as an actor.  I like to have a director guide me through a scene or monologue to help me get to where I need to go honestly.  Since I’ve had good directors in the past, they have helped me to help other actors.  Miss Constance Welch, who founded the Yale School of Drama with George Pierce Baker, was my drama coach at Southern Connecticut State College and I direct in the same style.  It was her kindness and support of actors that inspires my work as both an actor and a director.  She’s been gone since 1976, but she still directs me today!

What makes acting or directing at the Ivoryton Playhouse so special?

The staff and crew are some of the best that I’ve ever worked with.  It’s always a pleasure to come back here.  From the people who greet you at the door as you arrive to the crew behind the scenes – every one of them is so good at what they do and so easy to work with.  When I come back to Ivoryton it’s like my home away from home.  Jacqui a310px-Barkley_tumblrnd Suzy and Ed Burke (at whose home I stay when in Ivoryton) are like family.  They always make me feel very welcome whenever I come back.

Bruce is looking forward to directing Pickwick Papers for the Battell Arts Foundation in Norfolk, CT in August and he continues as Barkley the Dog on Sesame Street as he has since 1993.


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LibbyHerb on phoneHerb and LibbyHerb and Libby huggingWith thanks to Anne Hudson for these pics from I Ought To Be In Pictures!  Call 860.767.7318 to book your seats now.  Runs until May 11.

Pictures feature Mike Boland* as Herb, Siobhan Fitzgerald* as Libby and Jeanie Rapp* as Steffy.

SteffySteffy and Herb

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I Ought To Be In Pictures at The Ivoryton Playhouse

I Ought To Be In Pictures at the Ivoryton Playhouse April 23 - May 11

Mike Boland* as Herb and Siobhan Fitzgerald as Libby

Ivoryton: What’s a daughter to do when she wants to get in touch with her father who she hasn’t seen in 16 years and who lives 3,000 miles away? Well, if you’re Libby Tucker you hitch hike and bus your way across the country with nothing but a backpack full of dreams and spare socks. Libby travels from Brooklyn to Los Angeles ostensibly to break into movies but mostly because she needs to find out why her dad and left and does he still love her.

I Ought To Be in Pictures opened in New York in April 1980, and in 1982 was turned into a movie starring Walter Matthau and Ann-Margret. This is Neil Simon at his best – poignant and funny. For dads and daughters everywhere, this will be a memory to treasure.

I Ought To Be In Pictures opens at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 23rd and runs through May 11th. Directed by R. Bruce Connelly, the cast includes Mike Boland*, Jeanie Rapp* and Siobhan Fitzgerald. The set design is by William Stark, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costumes by Kari Crowther.

Mike Boland and Jeanie Rapp star in I Ought To Be In Pictures

Mike Boland* (Herb) and Jeanie Rapp* (Steffy) star in “I Ought To Be In Pictures” opening April 23rd

I Ought To Be In Pictures opens in Ivoryton on April 23rd  and runs through May 11th. 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  (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

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

*denotes member of Actors Equity Association

Generously sponsored by First Niagara Bank and Middlesex Hospital


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