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Sharon Playhouse

April 6th, 2018

“The historical aspect of the Sharon Playhouse makes it a one-of-a-kind venue.  It has been producing home-grown theatre and performances since 1955 in its current building but has been in existence since the 1930’s.  Being in the theatre brings back the nostalgic feeling of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney putting on a show in a barn.” – R. Levinstein

Our entire community is excited to welcome Robert Levinstein & Alan Wager to the Sharon Playhouse! Seasoned veterans in theatre, Mr. Levinstein & Mr. Wager share a strong desire for community involvement and resounding enthusiasm for bringing the Playhouse back to its heydey – a  place that reflects the interests and values of the Northwest Corner.

Read below to hear more about that Mr. Levinstein & Mr. Wager had to say about the exciting upcoming season at Sharon Playhouse.

What brought you to the area?
We had been working in Fairfield County in Rowayton Connecticut with Shakespeare on the Sound producing live Shakespeare in a wonderful outdoor setting when we were recommended by a colleague, as the Playhouse was seeking new leadership with a new vision.  Prior to Rowayton, we spent 10 years in Ogunquit Maine working at the Ogunquit Playhouse which is another historic theatre.  We are very familiar with producing live regional theatre.

Any interesting facts about the Sharon Playhouse building itself?
The most interesting fact is that the seats in the auditorium are from Broadway!  What most people do not know is that in the 1990’s when the Virginia Theatre (Ausust Wilson) was being renovated, a group of Sharon Playhouse supporters from New York and Broadway were able to get the seats donated to the Playhouse!!!
Which productions can we expect this season?
We are excited to announce that the Playhouse is celebrating its 59th season of Producing live theatre in Litchfield County.  We are calling this year THE SEASON OF HITS.
Anything Goes!
Cole Porter’s Tony Award-winning musical is a hilarious shipboard romp, wrapped around one of Cole Porter’s most magical scores, ANYTHING GOES is Delightful, Delicious, and De-Lovely.  It’s the hilarious musical set aboard the S.S. American. Billy is a stowaway in love with Hope, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn. Former evangelist and current nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin aid Billy in his quest to win Hope.  Join the voyage and tap your toes to the hits Anything Goes, You’re the Top, I Get a Kick Out of You and more!

All Shook Up
Based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and features the songs of Elvis Presley in this musical comedy about a mysterious, leather-jacketed guitar-playing roustabout who shakes up a square little town and everyone he meets in this hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy that’ll have you jumpin’ out of your blue suede shoes with such classics as Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock & Don’t Be Cruel.
Barefoot In The Park
Neil Simon’s Tony award-winning hit is a romantic comedy of newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter, who move into a tiny walk-up apartment in NYC. While straight-laced Paul tries to prove himself as a young lawyer, free spirit Corie sets up her straight-laced mother with their peculiar and eclectic neighbor!  After a strange night, they wonder if maybe they are too different for one another.
Closing our season will be the Off-Broadway hit:
Always…Patsy Cline
The show is based on the true story of one of Country Music’s Legendary and most beloved artists, Patsy Cline and the country stars friendship with housewife Louise Seger.  Louise tells of the day in 1961 when she met Patsy at Houston’s Esquire Ballroom.  Patsy kept in touch by writing letters until the day she died, signing them “(Love) Always…Patsy Cline.” The show combines humor, heartache and over 30 of Patsy’s hits like Crazy, I Fall To Pieces & She’s Got You to name a few.
In addition, we are bringing Children’s Theatre back to the MainStage at the Playhouse, offering Patio Cabarets on Friday and Saturday evenings during the runs of Anything Goes and All Shook Up.  We also have additional special event performances planned for the MainStage and Bok Gallery.  These will be announced shortly and will be on the website for additional information.
Are there children’s programs available this summer? 
As we mentioned, we are happy to bring Children’s Theatre back home to the historic Sharon Playhouse stage itself. We have two different shows planned…101 Dalmations Kids and Willy Wonka, Jr.   We can’t wait to see so many children running around our theater campus for a full 3-4 weeks!!!  The shows will rehearse at the playhouse and perform on the MainStage.  Admission to the shows is by donation only.   There’s more information on the website.
Is there anything new we can expect this season in terms of offerings or style?
In sort of a “retro” new style, we are striving to bring back the heyday of the playhouse…when the community was highly involved and the shows reflected the desires of the audiences.  Big shows, Great Casts filled with locals and professionals and interesting Special Events.  We are also pleased to offer a new special ticket offer.  EVERY seat, EVERY show, EVERY Thursday night is just $20.   We want people to be able to enjoy live theatre and entertainment, whether they be new to the playhouse or are returning patrons.
Also, this year, we are excited that the Sharon Historical Society is working with us to create an exhibit for the Sharon Playhouse so keep your eyes out for that.

Mr. Levinstein’s (Managing Director) knowledge of technical theater and finance, coupled with a creative eye offers a unique blend of business and art.   As Associate Producer/Casting Director for the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, he managed all aspects of theatrical production, served as a conduit between various diverse departments, controlled and supervised a multi-million dollar annual budget and cast of such luminaries as Stefanie Powers, Sally Struthers, Jefferson Mays, Carson Kressley, to name just a few.  As a Producer/General Manager 22Q Entertainment productions included the Off-Broadway play Would You Still Love Me If… starring Kathleen Turner at New World Stages, the critically acclaimed Kick!, directed by Lynn Taylor-Corbett, It Is Done, a thriller set and performed in a bar (a critical success in New York…and award-winning in the Los Angeles transfer) along with the New York City premiere of The Spoon River Project, which played under the stars at the historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. As a Production Stage Manager, he has worked on Broadway (Waiting in The Wings with Lauren Bacall), National Tours (Camelot with Michael York), The Actor’s Fund, and television…including shows for NBC, TBS and network award shows. For the last few years, Mr. Levinstein has been nominated for a DAYTIME EMMY AWARD for his Producing work on the hit Amazon Prime series TAINTED DREAMS.

Mr. Wager (Artistic Director) brings over 30 years of experience working in theater, television and film to the Sharon Playhouse.  As a director, he has steered successful productions of Beauty and the BeastOklahoma!Guys & Dolls, among others.  As an actor, he’s appeared in leading roles ranging from Broadway, National Tours and regional theaters all over the United States.  He is a sought-after vocal coach who has worked with performers such as Patrick Cassidy, Amy Peitz and Veanne Cox. Alan is also a musical theater composer.   Concept recordings of his shows feature such gifted artists as Brent Barrett, Andrea Burns, Diana Canova, Meg Bussert, Elizabeth Loyacano and Glory Crampton. In 2011 Wager and Levinstein formed 22Q Entertainment which was represented in North Hollywood with an award-winning production of Always…Patsy Cline starring Sally Struthers, while back in New York City, the company produced the My Big Italian trilogy.

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