ACT Of CT Announces Its 2021-22 Season
RIDGEFIELD — ACT of CT announced its upcoming season on July 23, and it is sure to be winner, with something for everyone and lots for all.
Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine is responsible for selecting the season. In doing so, he must keep in mind a number of calculations to ensure that each production is a good fit.
According to Levine, to provide a range of musical styles and messages, the season always includes one big blockbuster. For 2021-22 it will be Jesus Christ Superstar, with music by Andrew Lloyd Weber and lyrics by Tim Rice, filling that slot.
Levine has a long history with this beloved and moving musical. With its large cast, familiar songs, and Levine’s own spin on this work, it is bound to be spectacular. Performances are planned for March 24-April 17, 2022.
A somewhat more obscure but accessible piece is also selected. Jonathan Larsen’s Rent is slated to take that space.
Rent is a show that many have heard of but may not have seen. This musical is about community and love. It renders a well-drawn portrait of bohemian life on New York’s Lower East Side prior to gentrification. This is an exciting opportunity to see this respected and powerful piece close to home. Performances are scheduled for May 26-June 19.
To its immense credit, ACT is dedicated to producing new works from less-established writers and composers, offering staged readings for new works, which can be just the beginning for the next big hit.
The new season will include Nickel Mines, a musical from ACT’s New Works program. Nickel Mines is a unique take on the 2006 Lancaster, Penn., Amish schoolhouse shooting which left five girls dead and five others injured. The musical conveys a message of hope and forgiveness.
With music and lyrics by Dan Dyer and book by Andrew Palermo and Shannon Stoeke, it will be presented in Ridgefield in association with Anita Donofrio, an advocate for gun control.
Andrew Palermo will be the director-choreographer, and the production is slated for a limited run of ten performances, January 20-30, 2022.
Last on this list but first up in the season is Smokey Joe’s Café, The Songs of Lieber and Stoller, both of whom were writing rock’n’roll before it was coined rock’n’roll. Their list of recognizable hits will jolt audiences out of their seats onto their tapping feet.
A fabulous fun musical that is inherently inclusive and, according to Levine, the perfect show to start up the new season, Smokey Joe’s Café will be directed by original West End cast member Stephanie Pope Lofgren. Performances are planned for September 30-October 24.
An additional offering is ACT’s own Broadway Unplugged, coordinated and made musically possible by the brilliant Bryan Perry, who arranges and plays along with Broadway talent for an evening of song and storytelling. This year’s performance is scheduled for December 6.
ACT also has big news on another front. Stephen Schwartz was so thrilled with last season’s filmed production of Snapshots that he requested a cast album be created from the performance.
While in pandemic mode, Levine directed this gorgeous production of Stephen Schwartz’s musical about a marriage hanging in the balance. The score is filled with memorable songs from a number of Schwartz’s musicals. The process of remastering and remixing is underway.