May 19, 2014
02:02 PM
Arts & Entertainment

Leslie Uggams and Jerry Adler Headline Summer Theater Series at UConn

Leslie Uggams and Jerry Adler Headline Summer Theater Series at UConn

Leslie Uggams

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will take audiences behind the curtain with two classic musicals and a play all centered on theater life, and featuring some major stars, during the 2014 Nutmeg Summer Series.

It all begins June 5 with the opening of "A Chorus Line," the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which tells the story of the unsung heroes of the Broadway musical—the dedicated, talented and overworked chorus dancers.

"A Chorus Line" will run from June 5 to 14 in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

The talented cast of relative unknowns will be led by Lori Ann Ferreri (best known as Nesa Rose in Broadway’s "Wicked" and the national tours of "West Side Story" and "Footloose") as Cassie (left).

“A Chorus Line is one of the most incredible dance shows in musical theater,” says director and choreographer Cassie Abate. “Michael Bennett’s choreography and direction were groundbreaking when the show premiered, and remain profoundly influential today…The flashy dancing draws audiences in and the complex characters touch the heart.”

Next up will be the Neil Simon comedy "The Sunshine Boys", starring veteran actors Jerry Adler  (who lives in Roxbury, Connecticut) and Richard Kline as the vaudeville duo reunited for an once-in-a-lifetime television special.

"The Sunshine Boys" will run from June 19 to 29.

Adler (below) who can currently be see on CBS’s “The Good Wife” and is well known for roles in “The Sopranos” and “Rescue Me”, was last seen on CRT’s stage in the 2012 world premiere of "I’m Connecticut" by The Simpsons writer Michael Reiss (who grew up in Bristol, Connecticut.)

This will be Kline’s CRT debut. He is perhaps best known for his role as Larry Dallas on “Three’s Company.” He made his Broadway debut in "City of Angels" and was featured as the wizard in the first national tour of "Wicked".

They will be joined by Broadway star Tina Fabrique ("Ragtime" and "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" among others.)

Interim Managing Director Matthew Pugliese called Fabrique “an icon along the same lines as Leslie Uggams,” the star of CRT’s final performance in the series, "Gypsy".

"Gypsy" will run from July 10 to 20.

The Tony- and Emmy Award-winning Uggams will star as Rose—her first time in the role. Rose is known as the ultimate stage mother and "Gypsy" tells the story of her dream to raise her two daughters to perform on the vaudeville stage.

Aside from her accolades on Broadway, Uggams (at top) is perhaps best known for her stirring portrayal of Kizzy in the landmark TV mini-series Alex Haley’s “Roots,” for which she received a Critics Choice Award and Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

Gypsy is arguably the best musical ever written,” says Pugliese. “It has everything going for it—a strong story, strong complicated characters and great music.”  

With so many stars and classic shows, this is sure to be a strong season at CRT. 

"We try to provide some balance [and keep it] light and bright and fun for everybody," says Pugliese. "We really try to make it something you can bring the family to. It's doable with the family to come up for the day, get ice cream at the UConn Dairy Bar and see a show." 

For tickets to any of these shows and additional information call 860-486-2113 or visit www.crt.uconn.edu

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

Leslie Uggams and Jerry Adler Headline Summer Theater Series at UConn

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