|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2010)|
Hartford Stage Company, John W. Huntington Theatre, 2010
|Address||50 Church Street|
|Owned by||Hartford Stage|
|Capacity||John W. Huntington Theatre: 489|
Hartford Stage, located in Hartford, Connecticut, is one of the leading resident theatres in the United States, known internationally for entertaining and enlightening audiences with a wide range of the best of world drama, from classics to provocative new plays and musicals and neglected works from the past. The theatre has earned many of the nation's most distinguished awards, including the Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Margo Jones Award for Development of New Works, OBIE awards, a New York Critics Circle award, a Dramatists Guild/CBS Award and an Elliot Norton Award.
Founded in 1963 by Jacques Cartier, Hartford Stage began in a former grocery store warehouse on Kinsey Street. On April 1, 1964, Othello, directed by Cartier, opened the theatre, which quickly established itself as a major cultural resource for the region, producing seasons offering a range of works from Molière to Beckett to Genet. Paul Weidner, who assumed leadership of the theatre in 1968, oversaw its move to its present home-the 489-seat John W. Huntington Theatre, designed by renowned architect Robert Venturi. Weidner continued the theatre's dedication to both classic and contemporary works, as well as representing diverse communities with productions of Ray Aranha's My Sister My Sister and Miguel Pinero's Short Eyes, with its original cast of ex-convicts. Mark Lamos became Artistic Director in 1980, bringing international recognition to Hartford Stage during his seventeen seasons with explorations of the great works of dramatic literature, most notably the plays of Shakespeare, Molière, Ibsen and Schnitzler. In January 1998, Michael Wilson became the fourth artist to lead Hartford Stage, launching the Tennessee Williams Marathon, the annual production of A Christmas Carol, the annual Brand:NEW festival, and SummerStage. Darko Tresnjak will become the fifth Artistic Director in July 2011.
Among the plays produced at Hartford Stage are nine plays by Edward Albee, nine by Molière, 14 by Tennessee Williams, 22 by Shakespeare, and 55 World or American premieres, including works by Edward Albee, Horton Foote, Eve Ensler, Alfred Uhry, Christopher Durang, Beth Henley, Vladimir Nabokov, Kia Corthron, Israel Horowitz, William Luce, Theresa Rebeck, Allan Havis, José Rivera, Edwin Sànchez and Tennessee Williams.
Most recently, Hartford Stage has sent productions of Enchanted April and The Gershwin's Fascinating Rhythm to Broadway, Tiny Alice, Necessary Targets, The Carpetbaggers Children and Tea at Five off Broadway, and touring productions to Cleveland, Houston, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Montreal and Paris. In 1975, Hartford Stage's production of Edward Albee's All Over was aired nationally on the PBS series Theater in America, the first time one of the author's works was filmed for television. In 1988, in the first exchange between an American and a Soviet theatre, Mark Lamos staged Desire Under the Elms at Moscow's Pushkin Theater and the renowned Russian director Yuri Yeremin staged A Paper Gramophone in Hartford.
The Tennessee Williams Marathon, launched in 1999, has become a distinguished celebration of the author's range of work in productions, readings, film screenings, workshops and scholarly panels and discussions. In 2003, Hartford Stage draws national attention with the premieres of three neglected Williams' plays-Now the Cats with Jeweled Claws, The Palooka and The One Exception.
From its inception, Hartford Stage has maintained a strong commitment to community partnerships, educational programs and humanities initiatives. Reviving an old collaboration, in 2000 Hartford Stage joined with the Artists' Collective for the production Oedipus, set in modern-day Africa. Through a partnership with the City of Hartford, HUD, and Theater Communications Group, the theatre developed the Oral History Project, resulting in the piece My Hartford, developed and performed by teens from the Hartford area. The theatre continues its two highly successful education programs, InterACT and Connections, reaching Connecticut students from elementary through high school. Through an association with The President's College of the University of Hartford, the theater presents provocative series of discussions and lectures. A collaboration with the Greater Hartford Arts Council's Neighborhood Studios program resulted in the Breakdancing Shakespeare project, in which local Greater Hartford high school students perform using three different forms of expression: breakdancing, rap, and Shakespeare’s language to help make the play immediately accessible to audiences of all ages. The youth troupe has currently performed Romeo and Juliet (2006), A Midsummer Night's Dream (2007), Antony and Cleopatra(2010), The Comedy of Errors"" (2009), Macbeth"" (2010), The Tempest"" (2011), Much Ado About Nothing"" (2012), and Two Gentlemen of Verona"" (2013).
Hartford Stage is an important institution in the life of Hartford and Connecticut, and serves as a vital home for artists from around the country.
Darko Tresnjak, Artistic Director*: Darko Tresnjak was the Artistic Director of the Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego from 2004 to 2009. His directing credits at the Old Globe include Cyrano de Bergerac, Coriolanus, The Women, The Pleasure of His Company, All’s Well That Ends Well, Bell, Book and Candle, Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale, A Comedy of Errors, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Pericles. He received four awards from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle: for outstanding direction of Cyrano de Bergerac, The Winter’s Tale, and Pericles and for Excellence in Artistic Direction.
Tresnjak’s directing career began at the Williamstown Theatre Festival where over eight seasons he directed The Skin of Our Teeth, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Love of Three Oranges, Princess Turandot, The Blue Demon, The Winter’s Tale, Moving Picture, and Under Milk Wood. He has also directed at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, Theatre for a New Audience, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Vineyard Theatre Company, and Blue Light Theater Company. From 2002-2004 he was Director in Residence at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company where his productions included What the Butler Saw, Heartbreak House, and Amphitryon.
Tresnjak grew up in Yugoslavia, the United States and Poland. He was educated at Swarthmore College and Columbia University and became an American citizen shortly after graduation. Between college and graduate school, he studied at the Martha Graham School, performed with numerous Philadelphia dance and theatre companies, and toured across the United States and Japan with Mum Puppettheatre. He is the recipient of grants from Theatre Communications Group, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Alan Schneider Award for Directing Excellence.
- Position permanently endowed by Janet S. Suisman
Michael Stotts, Managing Director: Michael Stotts is in his sixth season as Managing Director of Hartford Stage. Recent accomplishments include an $11 Million Capital and Endowment Campaign, and the renovation and expansion of the Stage’s theatre facility. In 2010, in partnership with Michael Wilson, he produced Horton Foote’s The Orphans’ Home Cycle which won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, among others. During his three-year tenure as Managing Director at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Mr. Stotts produced a significant number of new plays including works by Paula Vogel, Craig Lucas, James Lapine and Julia Cho, among others. Sixteen Wounded by Eliam Kraiem moved to Broadway in 2004, and Cho’s BFE and Lapine’s Fran’s Bed with Mia Farrow subsequently transferred to Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons. Prior to Long Wharf he served as Managing Director at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and for nine years he served in the same capacity at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, New Jersey, where he successfully initiated and managed a $7.5 million capital campaign to build the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, which opened in 1998. Mr. Stotts began his professional career at the Manhattan Theatre Club where he served in a number of management capacities from 1986–1990. Mr. Stotts currently serves on the boards of Hartford Performs, and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation. He was a co-founder and President of the Connecticut Arts Alliance, a statewide arts advocacy organization; he continues to serve on that board. He has recently served on the board of the National Corporate Theatre Fund. In New Jersey, Mr. Stotts served as Chairman of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and served on the board of ArtPride New Jersey. In 2005, Mr. Stotts was honored with a Distinguished Advocate Award from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and in 2011 he received the Commission’s Elizabeth L. Mahaffey Arts Administration Fellowship.
Noted directors and actors
Hartford Stage premieres
- 1964 Putting on the Agony (Joel Oliansky)
- 1969 The Waltz Invention (Vladimir Nabokov)
- 1970 The Trial of A. Lincoln (James Damico)
- 1971 A Gun Play (Yale M. Udoff)
- 1972 Rooted (Alexander Buzo)
- 1973 My Sister, My Sister (Ray Aranha), Nighlight (Kenneth H. Brown)
- 1975 Afternoon Tea (Harvey Perr)
- 1976 The Estate (Ray Aranha)
- 1977 Eve (Larry Fineberg), Past Tense (Jack Zeman), Counting the Ways and Listening (Edward Albee), A History of the American Film (Christopher Durang)
- 1978 Catchpenny Twist (Stewart Parker), They'd Come to See Charlie (James Borrelli), Mackerel (Israel Horowitz)
- 1980 Einstein and the Polar Bear (Tom Griffin)
- 1981 Is there life after high school? (Jeffrey Kindley and Craig Carnelia), I, James McNeill Whistler (Lawrence and Maggie Williams)
- 1982 The Wake of Jamie Foster (Beth Henley), The Greeks (adapted by John Barton and Kenneth Cavander), The Isle is Full of Noises (Derek Walcott)
- 1983 Dog Eat Dog (Mary Gallagher)
- 1984 The Mystery Plays (John Russell Brown), The Value of Names (Jeffrey Sweet)
- 1985 No Mercy (Constance Congdon), America's Sweetheart (Alfred Uhry, Robert Waldman & John Weidman)
- 1986 Mark Twain and C.D. Warner's The Gilded Age (adapted By Constance Congdon), Distant Fires (Kevin Heelan)
- 1989 Stand-Up Tragedy (Bill Cain), The Illusion (adapted by Tony Kushner), The Paper Gramophone (Alexander Chervinsky)
- 1991 The Snow Ball (A.R. Gurney)
- 1992 Hidden Laughter (Simon Gray)
- 1993 Martin Guerre (Laura Harrington and Roger Ames)
- 1994 Bailey's Café (Gloria Naylor)
- 1995 Clean (Edwin Sanchez), A Dybukk (adapted by Tony Kushner)
- 1997 The Gershwin's Fascinating Rhythm (Mel Marvin and Mark Lamos), Pearls for Pigs (Richard Foreman)
- 1998 Digging Eleven (Kia Corthron), Sueño (adapted by José Rivera)
- 2000 Baptiste (William Luce), DollHouse (adapted by Theresa Reebek), Enchanted April (Matthew Barber)
- 2001 The Carpetbagger's Children (Horton Foote), Necessary Targets (Eve Ensler),
- 2002 Tea at Five (Matthew Lombardo)
- 2003 The Palooka, The One Exception, Now The Cats With Jeweled Claws (Tennessee Williams), Diosa (Edwin Sánchez), Edgardo Mine (Alfred Uhry)
- 2004 Peter and Jerry: Act I-Home Life, Act II-The Zoo Story (Edward Albee)
- 2005 The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue (David Grimm)
- 2007 Nightingale (Lynn Redgrave)
- 2011 Water by the Spoonful (Quiara Alegria Hudes)
- 2012 A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (Steven Lutvak and Robert Freedman)
- 2013 Breath & Imagination (Daniel Beaty), Man in a Case (adapted by Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar)
- 1974 My Sister My Sister
- 1978 A History of American Film
- 1981 Einstein and the Polar Bear
- 1982 Is there life after high school?, The Wake of Jamey Foster
- 1991 Our County's Good (Drama Critic Circle and Tony nomination), Stand-Up Tragedy
- 1997 The Three Sisters
- 1999 The Gershwin's Fascinating Rhythm (originally produced at Hartford Stage)
- 2003 Enchanted April (Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, Best New American Play)
- 2013 A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
- 1974 My Sister My Sister
- 1989 Other People's Money (Outer Critics Circle, Best Play)
- 1991 From the Mississippi Delta, Marvin's Room (Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Best Play)
- 1997 Pearls for Pigs
- 1999 The Clearing
- 2000 Sueño
- 2001 Tiny Alice (Lucille Lortel Award, Best Revival)
- 2002 Necessary Targets
- 2002 The Carpetbagger's Children (American Theater Critics Award, Best Play)
- 2003 Tea at Five
- 2007 Nightingale
- 1997 Pearls for Pigs, The Trial of A Lincoln
- 2001 The Glass Menagerie (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Visiting Production)
- 2002 Tea at Five
- 2013 Man in a Case