Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, 39 Steps and Gem of the Ocean Part of Hartford Stage Season

News   Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, 39 Steps and Gem of the Ocean Part of Hartford Stage Season The 2010-2011 season at Hartford Stage will boast appearances by Tony Award-winning theatre veterans Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen, as well as productions of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean and the gospel musical Sheila's Day.
Chita Rivera
Chita Rivera Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Opening the season July 22-Aug. 15 will be Sheila's Day, created by Sarafina! author Mbongeni Ngema and Ebony Jo-Ann. Conceived and written by Duma Ndlovu, Ricardo Khan will stage the musical that tells parallel stories of two groups of women suffering from racial injustice in Alabama and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sheila's Day will be presented at the Roberts Theatre at the Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford while Hartford Stage completes its first phase of renovations, which were announced in January. The remaining season will take place in the company's Church Street home.

Patrick Barlow's stage adaptation of The 39 Steps, based on the Hitchcock film and novel of the same title, will follow. A cast of four portrays over 150 characters in the theatrical film-noir-inspired mystery.

The world premiere of Michael Kramer's Divine Rivalry, in which a little-known painting unites Renaissance icons Michelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci and Machiavelli, will be directed by Hartford Stage artistic director Michael Wilson.

Later in the season, Hana Sharif will stage Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. The mythical 1904-set work traces one man's spiritual journey to a city in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Hartford Stage will also offer its annual production of A Christmas Carol.

The SummerStage programming will feature Chita Rivera: My Broadway June 22-27. The two-time Tony-winning actress will perform highlights from her career including, West Side Story, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Rink.

From July 6-11, SummerStage will offer An Evening with Ben Vereen. A Tony winner for Pippin, Vereen will perform such songs as "Defying Gravity," "Being Alive," "Something's Coming" and "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries."

Tickets for the SummerStage concerts are now on sale. Season subscriptions are also available.

For tickets and more information, phone (860) 527-5151 or visit hartfordstage.org.

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