My 10 Favorite Connecticut Plays Of The Past 40 Years
This year marks 40 years since I began writing about Connecticut theater. I’ve often been asked to name the best shows I’ve seen here and have always fumbled in answering. So I finally sat down, waded through my programs and memories and came up with these 10.
What determined a show’s inclusion? It could be a thrilling new theater voice, a production of perfection, or a wondrous show that captured the zeitgeist.
But before I get to the list…
• There were legendary shows that I just missed by arriving a year or so too late: Streamers, The Changing Room, The Shadow Box, The Gin Game, all at Long Wharf Theatre. And, of course, I just missed the Meryl Streep years at Yale, including the Rep’s legendary A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (I did catch it when Robert Brustein later revived it and it was still enchanting.)
• Though I began covering theater in 1977, I made several trips to the state as a kid from my Massachusetts home, mostly to Stratford’s American Shakespeare Theatre. If I were to go beyond that 40-year limit, I would include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starring a sizzling Elizabeth Ashley and King Lear starring Morris Carnovsky.
• There were a number of plays that sent me to theater heaven, but they originated elsewhere, or were touring shows, so not really homegrown. So I might have included Theatre de la Jeune Lune’s Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream at Yale Rep, Marvin’s Room at Hartford Stage, and from New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas, Copenhagen and Macbeth, the latter starring Antony Sher and Harriet Walter and the best production of that play I’ve ever seen.