Bridgeport’s Klein shows off its new movie screen as it kicks off Cinema Series
Bridgeport’s largest auditorium will kick off the Klein Cinema Series with a highly anticipated documentary film, "Amazing Grace."
The 1972 Aretha Franklin concert will be shown on The Klein's newly installed 30-foot-wide screen, one of many new improvements at the historic home of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony.
The newly released film features Franklin recording the most successful gospel album of all time, also called “Amazing Grace.” Aretha is accompanied by the Southern California Community Choir under the direction of Alexander Hamilton at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.
The film was not released on schedule in 1972 because of difficulties syncing the film with the audio. It was put aside for years until new digital technology fixed the problem.
The Klein is the first venue in the area to show this highly anticipated documentary.
"Aretha Franklin is one of the few soul singers of the 1960s who did not come to Bridgeport and appear live at The Klein, so we’re delighted we can finally share her talents from our stage with the premiere of this dynamic documentary,” said The Klein’s Executive Director, Laurence Caso. “Moreover, she’s providing us a powerful debut for the Klein Cinema Series. We invite all her fans in our area to attend and celebrate Aretha's life and work."
The film will be screened 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. Get tickets here.
The Klein Memorial Auditorium, a 1,447-seat performing arts center, is one of only seven Broadway-sized stages remaining in Connecticut.
Westport Country Playhouse’s 90th season includes a new comedy
The Westport Country Playhouse 90th season will feature five productions starting in April.
Ticket holders will see two musicals, two dramas and a new comedy.
“Our 2020 season speaks to the world today, embraces our communities, and explores new ways of bringing theatrical excitement to life at our historic Playhouse,” said Mark Lamos, who next year will be in his 12th season as Playhouse artistic director.
Lamos noted that the new season has been planned “to build on the excitement generated by the current one, with two great musicals, an evergreen classic, fresh and funny new work and engrossing drama.
Choreographer Camille A. Brown was chosen for a new production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’’ that will feature the music of Fats Waller, a large cast, and lots of dancing, he said.
“I’m thrilled and humbled to direct a fresh new comedy by Michael Gotch called ‘Tiny House,’ which was written for the gifted company of actors who performed in our award-winning ‘A Flea In Her Ear’ last year, the Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware,” Lamos concluded.
The musical “Next to Normal,” with music by Tom Kitt, and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, will open the season April 14 through May 2. Director and choreographer is Marcos Santana, who helmed the Playhouse’s 2019 hit, “In the Heights.”
“Next to Normal,” a 2009 Tony Award-winning musical and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, gives a groundbreaking look at a fami,y in crisis, while pushing the boundaries of contemporary musical theater, Lamos said,
“Tiny House,” a new comedy that was premiered by Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players, will play June 9 through June 27. In the show, fireworks fly when family, friends and quirky neighbors come together for a July 4th barbecue at the off-the-grid, isolated mountain paradise of a young, urban couple. Written by Michael Gotch, who was featured in the Playhouse’s 2018 award-winning comedy, “A Flea in Her Ear,” the play will be directed by Lamos himself.
A reimagined, sassy and sultry “Ain’t Misbehavin’” will run from July 21 through Aug. 8. The 1978 Tony winner for Best Musical celebrates jazz great Fats Waller.
The world premiere translation and adaptation by Kenneth Cavander of Sophocles’ “Antigone” will play Sept. 29 through Oct. 17, directed by David Kennedy, Playhouse associate artistic director. This classic play speaks across centuries to those living in a climate of fear and polarization, said Lamos.
The season will culminate with “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” from Nov. 3 through Nov. 21, written by Pearl Cleage and directed by LA Williams, who directed the Playhouse’s 2019 production of “Skeleton Crew.” The play is set as the creative euphoria of the Harlem Renaissance succumbs to the harsh realities of the Great Depression.
The performance schedule is Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. (No matinees during preview week). Special series feature Taste of Tuesday, LGBT Night, Post-Play Dialogues, Opening Night, Sunday Symposium, Together at the Table Family Dinner, Open Captions, Backstage Pass, Playhouse Happy Hour, and Thursday TalkBack.
New subscription orders will go on sale Nov. 5. Single tickets will be available early next year.
Visit www.westportplayhouse.org, or call 202-227-4177.
Betty Corwin, 98, created film and tape archive of Broadway performances
So much of Broadway would have been lost to history without the initiative and drive of a Weston woman who died Tuesday.
We lost a legend when Betty L. Corwin died at the age of 98 at her home, surrounded by family.
"Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the whole Justice League would be advised to make a place in their number for an authentic hero of the arts,” the New York Observer once wrote about Corwin. “She may look like a mild-mannered, little-old-lady librarian, but, underneath, she’s really Betty Corwin."
The founder and former director of the New York Public Library's groundbreaking Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT), Corwin created one of the most important and vital resources in the theater community.
In November 1969, Corwin came to the Library for the Performing Arts and proposed the idea of preserving visual records of live theatre performances. She was provided with a desk and a phone and initially worked on a volunteer basis. Despite many obstacles and after lengthy negotiations with the theatrical unions and guilds, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) was established and made its first recording in November 1970.
The collection has become the foremost archive of live theater performances in the world and a model for similar archives around the world.
In 2001, Corwin was recognized with a Special Tony Award for her service to TOFT and the preservation of theatre. Corwin is also the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Foundation's Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence (2006), a Westport Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement (2001), an Outer Critics Special Award (1996), a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broadway Theatre Institute (1996), a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of New York (1993 ), an OBIE Award (1993), The League of Professional Theatre Women's Lee Reynolds Award (1993), and awards from the Drama Desk (1998), Women in Communications (1984) and The Villager (1982).
Corwin continued her work into 2018, as the Director of Special Projects for TOFT, for which she coproduced with the American Theatre Wing "The American Theatre Wing's Guide to Careers in the Theatre," a series of videotaped "How To" interviews with 32 creative people describing the role each of them plays in mounting a theatrical production.
Today, TOFT holds more than 8,000 recordings of Off-Broadway, Broadway and regional performances, and interviews with theatre legends.
The family is planning a private gathering later this fall, and a date will be announced for a public memorial at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center.