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Theater

'Saturday Night Fever': Euripides Meets The Bee Gees

At its heart, “Saturday Night Fever” is a latter-day Greek tragedy. The flaws of the central character, Tony Manero, are shared by his buddies, and they stumble through the sometimes painful coming-of-age story. The haunting refrain of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” opens the musical and telegraphs the message of the evening. “I’m goin’ nowhere … somebody help me …”

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'Far Away': A Tense, Muddled Take On Churchill’s Short Fairy Tale

Caryl Churchill is one of the finest playwrights in the English-speaking world. Any of her plays — and she has written nearly 50 in the last 45 years — can surprise, shock, challenge conventional assumptions, mix horror with her own notions of humor, find seemingly endless ways to explore the dystopian world in her head, even mix historical figures with contemporary characters. No wonder young directors want to bring her plays to stage with their fresh eyes and ideas.

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Everybody Cut Footloose

‘Footloose” started life as a 1984 movie musical with a cute Kevin Bacon playing Ren, who tries to tame his bushy hair and Chicago ways to survive life in Bomont, a small farming town out west. Of course he irks Bomont’s minister, who sees song and dance as the devil’s work. But for Ren and his new friends, it’s a way to let off steam and adolescent stress.

Sarah Combs, a longtime director for the Sharon Playhouse, has presented the musical many times. Her version opens there for a three-day run on Friday.

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50 Years Later, It’s Still A Must-See

Theater: ‘Hair’

I’m old enough to remember the original Broadway run of “Hair.” It would be difficult to overestimate what a groundbreaking experience that was. The country was as divided then as it is now, but in addition to the liberal/conservative rift there was a schism between “the establishment” and those young people who didn’t want to go gently into their expected roles. This was a time when simply refusing to put on suit and tie and go to work in an office for the rest of your life was considered an act of rebellion. 

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Beautiful And Fresh

Theater: ‘Children of a Lesser God’

The essence of Mark Medoff’s still compelling play, “Children of a Lesser God” — it was first performed on Broadway 37 years ago — is in two lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”: “As if some lesser god had made the world, But had not force to shape it as he would.”
There are two lesser gods in Medoff’s play: a hearing teacher, James Leeds, and his irremediably deaf student, Sarah Norman, a maid at the school where he teaches. 

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A Cast of Strong, Clear Voices

'Ragtime'

The early 20th century saw significant changes in societal and cultural America. The same holds true for the nation’s popular music, when ragtime brought a new beat to the hearts, not to mention feet, of the country.
Ragtime’s central structure emphasizes the weak beats instead of the strong beats, creating a syncopated, or “ragged,” rhythm. This musical style enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1918, but it still has a strong following today.

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'Anything Goes'

Delightful Dancing And Catchy Tunes

There’s a reason that high schools and regional theaters everywhere love to put on “Anything Goes,” the Depression-era musical with songs by Cole Porter. It features a large cast of exaggerated characters, incredibly catchy tunes and a relentless barrage of silly jokes, and the songs are mostly deceptively simple to sing.

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‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ at Warner

The Warner Stage Company presents “Peter And The Starcatcher” in the Warner Theatre’s Nancy Marine Studio Theatre on June 23 and 24 at 8 p.m. and June 25 at 2 p.m. The production is directed by Katherine Ray with musical direction by Dan Ringuette. For tickets, call 860-489-7180 or go to www.warnertheatre.org.

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If You Love Dogs, Don’t Miss It

Theater: ‘Sylvia’

Dog love, in either direction, inspires the Goshen Players’ “Sylvia,” a play by A.R. Gurney about a man and his canine. In love. With each other. 
The Goshen Players’ cozy theater displays donated photos of locals hugging their Labs, spaniels, poodles and mutts. One man is photographed on a leather couch with a dog in a chair behind him, listening. Another fellow hugged his creature as though it were his infant. For those of us who love dogs, really love them, this is all very compelling.

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A Generation Apart

Theater: ‘4000 Miles’

Sometimes it’s easier to get along with relatives a generation away. Which is why Leo, after crossing the country west to east by bicycle, losing a best pal and then a girlfriend along the way, takes refuge with Vera, his lefty grandmother who lives in a nice, rent-controlled Greenwich Village apartment with parquet floors and molding on the plaster walls. 
He is young, wayward, lost.

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