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The Hartford Courant, Conn., Frank Rizzo Column

June 26, 2008

By Frank Rizzo, The Hartford Courant, Conn.

Jun. 26–Will it be a hit, or a “Myth” — or both?

John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Frankie Valli in “Jersey Boys,” will head the cast in the new musical “Myth,” which is getting a staged reading next week at the National Music Theater Conference at the O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford.

Pamela Myers, Marva Hicks, Paul Oakley Stovall, Wes Taylor, Maureen Silliman, Deborah Lew, Dylan Collins, Dane DeHaan, Brandon Espinoza and William Parry are also featured in the John Mercurio musical, which runs Sunday to July 5. Jeremy Dobrish directs.

The other three shows of the music-theater conference are:

Stephen Bogardus (Broadway’s “Love! Valour! Compassion!”) is part of the cast for the tuner “Iron Curtain” which will also bow there (July 12 to 19). Also featured in the show, directed by Cara Reichel, are Lucy Sorenson, David Abeles, Alison Briner, Monique French, David Gregory, Daniel Levine, Anne Torsiglieri, Dan Sharkey, Robby Sharpe, Gordon Stanley and Jessica Snow Wilson.

“Max Understood,” directed by Jack Cumming, features Kerry O’Malley, Matthew Gumley, Ben Roseberry, Stovall, Lauren Marcus, Hannah Laird and Jonathan Hammond. (July 11 to 13).

“In Transit,” directed by Joe Calarco, features Graham Stevens, Ryan Thomas Dunn, Adam Matta, Adam Overett, Ann Sanders, Denise Summerford and Laird (July 5 and 6).

The National Playwrights Conference, held simultaneously at the O’Neill, , will also feature such New York actors as Maria Dizzia, Jonathan Walker and Mike Doyle in Rachel Axler’s “Smudge,” directed by Daniel Aukin (July 10 and 12).

Harriett D. Foy, Tyla Abercrumbie, Tory Davis, Ted Deasy, Mattie Hawkinson, Brandon Miller, Caitlin O’Connell, Tim Rhoze, David Ross, Stephen Schnetzer, Makela Spielman and Stephen Henderson will star in Regina Taylor’s “Magnolia,” directed by the author, in collaboration with Chicago’s Goodman Theater (July 11 and 13).

Michael Shannon (“Bugs”) and Maggie Lacey (Hartford Stage’s “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore”) will be in Craig Wright’s new play “Mistakes Were Made,” directed by Wendy C. Goldberg, director of the playwrights’ conference. (July 18 and 20).

Johanna Day (Hartford Stage’s “Peter and Jerry”), Mary Bacon, Ross Bickell (Hartford Stage’s “Our Town”), Charlotte Booker, John Jellison, Kevin Geer, Ryan King and Laura Leigh will be in Ann Marie Healy’s “The Legend of Minnie Willet,” directed by Annie Dorsen. (July 24 and 26).

Annie Parisse, Jeremy Bobb, Paul Sparks and Lacey are in Ursula Rani Sarma’s “Without You,” directed by Greg Leaming, formerly with Hartford Stage and Long Wharf Theatre. (July 25 and 27).

Other plays include Alex Lewin’s “The Near East,” directed by Lisa Peterson, with Scott Drummond, Daoud Heidami, Marjan Neshat, Joseph Parks, Jon Norman Schneider, Matt Seidman and Karin Sioud. (July 3 and 5).

Jason Grote’s “Box Americana,” directed by Jackson Gay, will feature Angela Lewis, Don Guillory, Matteo Eckerle, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Spielman, Ross and Bickell. (July 4 and 6.

A. Rey Pamatmat’s “Thunder Above, Deeps Below,” directed by Jesse Berger, features Rey Lucas, Curtis McClaren, Stephen Conrad Moore, Maureen Sebastian, Heather Alicia Simms and Schneider. (July 17 and 19).

Tickets are now on sale. Tickets and information: 860-443-1238 or www.theoneill,org.

The music of Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno and David Byrne moves people. It also moves ODC/Dance, the San Francisco company known for its athleticism, passion and intelligence, which will be dancing to those composers at the CFA Theater on Wesleyan University campus in Middletown. Tickets are $20 ($17 for seniors; $10 for students). Tickets and information: 860-685-3355 or www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.

An extra performance has been added to the sold-out run of Sebastian Barry’s “The Pride of Parnell Street” at New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas. The new show will be Saturday at 7 p.m. The two-character Irish play by the Fishamble Theatre Company is having its U.S. premiere at the festival. Tickets are available at the Shubert Theater Box Office (247 College St.) and by phone at 203-562-5666 or 888-736-2663. For a complete listing of events and to order tickets online, log on to www.artidea.org.

For those who missed the popular family-friendly, inter-active theater event from Italy — “The Japanese Garden” — can catch the show when it travels to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival July 17 to 20. The show is presented by the visual-theater-dance company Teatro di Piazza o d’Occasione. The group will also perform another of its environmental creations, “The Painted Garden.” Tickets and information: 413-243-0745 or www.jacobspillow.org.

Joanne Woodward and Anne Keefe are not only interim artistic directors at the Westport Country Playhouse, they will be actors as well. (Well, we knew Woodward had the chops. She has an Oscar, after all.) They will lead a cast in a reading of “Arsenic and Old Lace” at the theater July 14 at 7 p.m. John Tillinger will direct a cast that also includes Christopher Walken, Noble Shropshire, Mark Shanahan, Jen Waldman, Doug Stender and Tim Donoghue. The show is familiar turf for Woodward who played the lead role (opposite Joyce Ebert) at Long Wharf Theatre in the ’90s. Tickets for the Westport show, part of the “Funny Mondays” series of play readings, are $15 to $25. Tickets and information: 203-227-4177 or 1-888-927-7529 or www.westportplayhouse.org.

Single tickets are now on sale for four up-coming shows at Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts “Hot Chocolate Soul” (Sept. 12 and Oct. 18 in the Autorino Great Hall); “Girls Night: The Musical” (Oct. 2 to 5 at the Belding Theater); “The Jimmies,” a children’s musical event (Oct. 18 at the Belding Theater); “At This Performance…,” a celebration of Broadway standbys and understudies (Nov. 17 at Belding ).

Contact Frank Rizzo at rizzo@courant.com.

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