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West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park Participating in Greater Hartford Arts Council’ Theater Week

West Hartford's Playhouse on Park. Courtesy image (we-ha.com file photo)

Playhouse on Park and Hartford Stage Company will host the panel discussion ‘Jane Austen: From Page to the Stage’ JANE in conjunction with the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Theater Week.


The Greater Hartford Arts Council (GHAC) has announced the inaugural program, “Theater Week” – a 14-day experience that will increase access and expand audiences to theatrical performances in the pursuit of healing, transforming, and creating a community of belonging through the arts. Possible offers to the community from Theater Week may include discounts on tickets, backstage tours, conversations with cast members, and workshops with screenwriters, directors, and producers.

Performances are from Oct. 1 through Oct. 14 and will be available at six locations throughout Greater Hartford, including at West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park.

HartBeat Ensemble: Community-based professional theater company that creates provocative theater that connects our community beyond traditional barriers of race, gender, class and geography. Working largely with local artists and civic themes, HartBeat is unlike any other theater in Greater Hartford.

Hartford Stage: A Tony Award-winning regional non-profit theater located in downtown Hartford. The theater’s mission is to enlighten, entertain, and educate by creating theatrical programming of the highest caliber that has a transformative impact on audiences, the community, and its field.

Little Theater of Manchester: Presenting a wide variety of performing arts programs; to provide training for the development and perfection of skills of every phase of the dramatic arts; to present a variety of live theatre productions, concerts and other performing arts programs; and to operate Cheney Hall, the oldest operating theater in Connecticut, as a core cultural treasure in the State.

Playhouse on Park: Managed under the direction of Playhouse Theatre Group, Inc., Playhouse on Park is Greater Hartford’s award-winning destination for the performing arts. Playhouse on Park offers a wide range of thought-provoking, inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable professional theatre productions that leave audiences often smiling, sometimes crying, and always talking about what they have just experienced.

The Bushnell: A dynamic 21st Century performing arts center that presents, creates, inspires and shares the best in the performing arts; and in partnership with others, serves as a catalyst to advance education, promote economic development and build a sense of community in Central Connecticut.

TheaterWorks Hartford: With more than 30+ years of producing award-winning theater, this ‘state of the art’ performance space is as intimate as ever, reaching out to welcome the community in the city we call home.

“Theater Week is where our premiere theaters take center spotlight, illuminating the vibrant arts scene of the Hartford region. The extraordinary 14 days will not only showcase the unparalleled talent and creativity of our local theaters but will also open the doors to a world of live performances and events, bringing the magic of theater to every corner of our community. Get ready to be captivated, inspired, and transported as Theater Week unveils the power of the performing arts, uniting us all in a shared experience that will leave you craving for more,” said Rev. Dr. Shelley Best, CEO of the Greater Hartford Arts Council.

“TheaterWorks Hartford is excited to kick off Theater Week with a series of events inspired by its current production of LIZZIE: the musical. The Arts Council’s support of this new exciting initiative creates a great opportunity for area theaters to leverage what they do best to bring the community together. It’s going to be a ‘bloody good time’ thanks to GHAC,” said Rob Ruggiero, artistic director of TheaterWorks.

From Page to Stage

Playhouse on Park and Hartford Stage Company are thrilled to collaborate on a panel discussion in conjunction with the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Theater Works. On Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., join prestigious guests as they discuss Jane Austen’s influence in the 21st Century in one of Hartford’s most historic and literary homes. The panel discussion will take place at The Mark Twain House & Museum (351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105). For tickets, visit www.playhouseonpark.org.

As the panelists discuss their own unique experiences with Jane, they’ll also explore why, over 200 years later, we are still reading, adapting, producing, and celebrating the work of Jane Austen. Tickets are $10; each ticket includes a tea/coffee and pastry reception, panel discussion, Q&A, and more! “Jane Austen: From Page to the Stage” will be moderated by Amanda Forker. Panelists include Barbara M. Benedict, Charlotte Northeast, and Rachel Ropella.

The panel will take place during the runs of “Pride and Prejudice” at Hartford Stage (By Kate Hamill, adapted from the novel by Jane Austen, Directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo) and the New England Premiere of “The Complete Works of Jane Austen (Abridged)” at Playhouse on Park (By Jessica Bedford, Kathryn MacMillan, Charlotte Northeast, and Meghan Winch, Directed by KC MacMillan). To learn more about these productions, visit www.HartfordStage.org and www.PlayhouseOnPark.org. To learn more about events and performances in conjunction with the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Theater Week, visit www.LetsGoArts.org.

Amanda Forker (Panel Moderator) is a proud Jane Austen enthusiast aka ‘Janeite.’ She has been performing at Playhouse on Park since its memorable first season and is a (singing) member of Darlene Zoller’s stop/time Dance Theater. Some favorite POP acting credits include: Mother Superior (NUNSENSE), SAY THINGS FUNNY: A Loving Tribute to Carol Burnett, Host (MAMA D’S OUTRAGEOUS ROMPs) and Heidi [TITLE OF SHOW]. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Western Connecticut State University.

Barbara M. Benedict (Panelist. Trinity Professor, Published Author). Professor Barbara M. Benedict earned her BA at Harvard University and her PhD. At UC Berkeley. She is the Dana Chair of English at Trinity College, CT, where she has taught for almost 40 years. She has published numerous articles and chapters on Jane Austen and on the literature, culture and book history of the eighteenth century, and three books: Curiosity: A Cultural History of Early Modern Inquiry (Chicago 2001); Making the Modern Reader: Cultural Mediation in Early-Modern Literary Anthologies(Princeton 1996); and Framing Feeling: Sentiment and Style in English Prose Fiction,1745-1800 (AMS 1994). She has also edited Eighteenth-Century English Erotica, 1700-1800, vol. 4: Wilkes and the Late Eighteenth-Century (Pickering and Chatto, 2002), and, most recently, with Deidre LeFaye, Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (Cambridge 2006). She is currently working on a book on literature and material culture.

Charlotte Northeast (Panelist. Actor and Co-Creator of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN (ABRIDGED), on stage at Playhouse on Park through October 22nd)

Charlotte Northeast Playhouse on Park debut! Regional: Philadelphia Artists’ Collective: Jane/Co-Creator JANE EYRE); Lantern: Miss Bates EMMA; InterAct Theatre Ina SKIN IN FLAMES; Walnut Street Theatre Miss Casewell THE MOUSETRAP; Delaware Theatre Company Cratchit/Marley A CHRISTMAS CAROL; Education: Circle in the Square. Recipient of two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Also a director, writer and coach, Charlotte lives with her husband, son and too many cats in Collingswood, NJ. www.charlottenortheast.com

Rachel Ropella (Panelist. Assistant Director of PRIDE & PREJUDICE by Kate Hamill. Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen, on stage at Hartford Stage, October 5th – November 12th). Rachel Rosella (she/her) is a Midwestern director and theater maker. A graduate of St. Olaf College and the National Theater Institute, she was a Directing/Dramaturgy Apprentice at Portland Stage for their ’22-’23 Season. Co-founder of the Minneapolis theater company Melancholics Anonymous, she has spent the past four years directing and writing award-winning new works at the Minnesota Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe. @rachel_ropella

For more information or tickets, call the Playhouse on Park Box Office at 860-523-5900 x10 or visit www.playhouseonpark.org.

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