It’s time to rediscover the performing arts.
Over the last year, life’s been very dull and you’ve kept a low profile for too long. In recent months, out of desperation for some kind of stimulation, you’ve maybe even thought about volunteering to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a friend! That’s sad indeed.
Stop! Sit down. Relax. Now with loosening COVID restrictions, see what’s been going on with the performing arts scene around the state. It’s been revamped, reimagined and reinvented for enjoyable and safe entertainment.
The pandemic has been particularly trying for the theater industry. Since March 2020, many theaters have had to get creative and adapt to the pandemic. They’re offering their patrons virtual performances as well as some live entertainment with proper social distancing.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the arts scene throughout the state. Due to the shifting COVID guidelines, please check dates and times of all performances presented here before making any plans.
The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, Hartford
An architectural gem and one of the most important cultural institutions in the Hartford area, the Bushnell is looking forward to reopening later this fall. They’re kicking things off in October with Escape to Margaritaville, a musical based on the songs of Jimmy Buffet. It has been described by Newsday as “a delightful, energetic frothy drink of a show.”
Looking ahead, notable productions include Hamilton which sold out its entire run the first time it played at the Bushnell in 2018. It returns for a three-week run in June 2022. For more information, visit bushnell.org.
Capital Classics Theatre Company
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, and the return of outdoor theatre, Capital Classics is staging As You Like It, one of Shakespeare’s most popular romantic comedic tales. The Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival runs Thursdays through Sundays for three weekends (July 29 – August 15), under the stars and on the lawn of the University of Saint Joseph’s Autorino Center for the Arts, at 1678 Asylum Ave. in West Hartford. Audience members are encouraged bring blankets, lawn chairs, and dinners, and COVID-19 safety protocols will be in effect. Tickets and information at HartfordShakespeare.org.
College Street Music Hall
Located in the center of downtown New Haven’s arts and entertainment district, College Street Music Hall has become an important venue for live music performances and stand–up comedy. While COVID restrictions have eased, protocols don’t make it practical to reopen just yet. However, upcoming shows this fall include comic Mike Birbiglia on Oct. 1. He is a regular contributor to This American Life and The Moth, and has also released several albums and television shows. On Nov. 4, stand-up comedian Fortune Feimster performs. Feimster, a lesbian, came into her own on Chelsea Lately. After this show, the venue is planning regular live performances well into 2022, including The Moth Mainstage on Sept 22, 2022. For more information, visit collegestreetmusichall.com.
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Last fall, for a second time, Foxwoods was named “the best casino in the country” outside of Las Vegas. This title was bestowed on them by USA Today’s readers’ choice awards. So it’s no surprise that for entertainment, major acts kick off the summer months, including internationally recognized comedic legend Dave Chappelle. He will bring his sharp wit and irreverent social commentary to Foxwoods for five performances on June 24, 25 and 26. Funnyman Tim Dillion will take center stage with his laugh-out-loud set on July 24. For more information, visit foxwoods.com/entertainment.
Garde Arts Center
Built as a grand movie palace in the 1920s, the Garde had a masterful reincarnation over 30 years ago. Today, it is recognized not only for its innovative mix of programming but its atmospheric Moroccan interiors. Hoping to open at 100% capacity this fall, upcoming shows include Melissa Etheridge Sept. 5, The High Kings Oct. 9, Rosanne Cash Nov. 5, Tusk and The Breakers Nov. 6 and Chazz Palminteri in A Bronx Tale Nov. 12. For more information, visit gardearts.org.