Joseph Harrison has been involved with the theatre in some form or fashion all his life. He holds a Journalism degree from the University of Georgia, but his true love is the theatre which he has been involved in as a spectator as well as an actor for the last 25+ years. He has performed in a variety of musicals over the years including FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, PIPPIN, CITY OF ANGELS, 1776, WORKING, LITTLE WOMEN, WORKING, GODSPELL (Jesus) and JOSEPH..DREAMCOAT (Joseph) just to name a few. He currently resides in West Hartford, CT with his wife, Shannon and their two children.
It's always a pleasure catching up with an old friend, hearing stories you haven't heard in years, laughing together about inside jokes and just feeling comfortable together. These feelings can often be the same when experiencing a theatrical piece again after a long absence. What makes it even more special is when you rarely get to see that friend (or that show). Such is the case, for me, with Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman's THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM, Broad Brook's Opera House Players' current production.BWW Review: THE WHO'S TOMMY at the Warner Theatre February 6, 2017
When the first electric chords of the Warner Stage Company's THE WHO'S TOMMY reverberate through the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT, the audience knows they are in for something different. And TOMMY delivers - it rocks, and deftly tackles the difficult task of bringing an iconic piece to life on the stage.BWW Interview: Sarah Primmer of CINDERELLA at Palace Theater February 6, 2017
You may think you know the story of CINDERELLA, but when the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical plays at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. This updated version which recently closed an award-winning debut on Broadway will take the stage in Waterbury for four performances February 24 - 26. Playing the evil stepmother, Madame, will be Connecticut native, Sarah Primmer. I had the pleasure of speaking with Sarah and learning about her experience with this magical musical.BWW Review: SUNSET BABY at TheaterWorks February 6, 2017
How do you build a world and a home at the same time? What gets lost in the struggle? How can a generation be so brilliant and so self-destructive at the same time? These are the questions that playwright Dominique Morisseau notes are what spark and guide her play SUNSET BABY, currently in its Connecticut premiere at TheaterWorks in Hartford.BWW Review: THE COMEDY OF ERRORS at Hartford Stage January 23, 2017
A lot can change in 500 years. Our world (and worldview) is so different than our ancestors who lived that long ago. But one thing that is as true in 2017 as it was back in the 16th century, is that audiences love a good comedy. And that is why William Shakespeare's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, now playing at Hartford Stage, still works, still gets laughs, and still ultimately entertains almost 500 years since its debut.BWW Interview: Salisha Thomas of BEAUTIFUL - THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at The Bushnell January 16, 2017
When BEAUTIFUL - THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL opens on January 17 at Hartford's Bushnell Theatre, audiences will discover that though they may think they know the songs of Carole King, there is such a rich story behind those familiar lyrics and catchy melodies. BEAUTIFUL tells the true story of King's rise to stardom and illustrates how she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Taking the stage in BEAUTIFUL playing Shirley, the lead singer of the Shirelles is Salisha Thomas who I had the pleasure of speaking with and learning about her experience with this remarkable show about a remarkable woman.BWW Review: [TITLE OF SHOW] at Playhouse On Park January 16, 2017
Broadway has given us many things - both successes and flops, brilliant (and sometimes not-so-brilliant) music, and the opportunity to sit in an audience and be transported to a new reality. For some, myself included, the countless hours spent in an audience (or on a stage), at home listening (and re-listening) to cast albums, or scouring the web for the latest piece of theater gossip are counted as some of the most exciting and memorable moments of our lives. The few hours spent sitting in a darkened theater or following the liner notes as you devour a new musical are sacred - taking us to places we gleefully imagine - places with fantastical characters and beautiful settings. And though you often see a glimmer of familiarity in the plot, the characters you encounter aren't necessarily people you might bump into on the street, have over to watch TV, or call your friends. But in Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen's [TITLE OF SHOW], the current production at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford, audiences aren't asked to suspend reality and take a magical journey to a faraway land, instead, they have the rare opportunity to join four real people, people just like them, who love performing (and making art) as they create something together - an original musical.BWW Interview: Adam Langdon of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at The Bushnell December 27, 2016
It is rare when a show like THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME goes on the road. While audiences across the U.S. may be used to seeing the latest Broadway musicals in their local theaters, they don't always have the chance to catch Tony winning plays unless they take a trip to New York. So when THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME rolls into Hartford, audiences at the Bushnell will have the unique opportunity to meet Christopher Boone, a beautifully complex 15 year-old English boy who sets out on a journey to solve a mystery, and discovers that where one mystery exists, others are just around the corner. Taking the stage as Christopher is recent Julliard graduate, Adam Langdon. I had the pleasure of speaking with Adam and learning about his experience playing this "exceptionally intelligent boy" and his unique connection to the role.BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Hartford Stage December 5, 2016
It's a story most of us have heard or witnessed before. Crotchety and greedy old Ebenezer Scrooge, complaining about the poor, turning down the invitation of his nephew to Christmas dinner, and begrudgingly giving Bob Cratchit the day off for Christmas. We fondly remember past portrayals of Scrooge face to face with the ghost of his ex-partner Jacob Marley, flying through the past and present with amiable spirits and having a change of heart after coming face to face with his own death. At Hartford Stage this season, the story comes to life with renewed excitement and joy in the form of A CHRISTMAS CAROL - A GHOST STORY OF CHRISTMAS. The classic story by Charles Dickens and as adapted and originally directed by Michael Wilson is an annual tradition for Hartford Stage, but one that will be not be the same after this year's production.BWW Interview: J. Harrison Ghee of KINKY BOOTS at Waterbury's Palace Theatre December 5, 2016
What happens when the young owner of a failing shoe factory in Northampton, England meets a fabulous London drag queen named Lola? Well, in three words - BIG FAB FUN! And audiences will have the opportunity to witness this thrilling, yet touching musical tale, KINKY BOOTS, when the show takes the stage at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury, CT on December 6th. Playing the fabulous drag queen, Lola, is J. Harrison Ghee, and I had the chance to sit down with him to talk about the glamour, the hard work, and the absolute thrill of bringing this story to Waterbury.BWW Interview: Susannah Jones of A CHRISTMAS STORY at Waterbury's Palace Theatre November 14, 2016
If the word Fragile (pronounced Frah-GEE-lay) or the phrase "You'll shoot your eye out, kid" bring a smile to your face, then you are likely one of the many people who love A CHRISTMAS STORY, the classic 1983 movie that has become required viewing for many families each Christmas season. And, while you may know the story by heart, you have likely never seen it told the way you will if you check out A CHRISTMAS STORY the musical on stage at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury, CT for just two performances on November 18th and 19th. Told with the flair only a musical can bring, A CHRISTMAS STORY puts an unfamiliar twist on the familiar classic. I caught up with Susannah Jones who plays the role of Ralphie's mother, and discussed her experience with the show, life on tour, and even her childhood equivalent to Ralphie's Red Ryder BB Gun.BWW Interview: Caitlin Meighan of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at The Bushnell, 11/15-20 November 14, 2016
From the world of ballet to the beautiful world of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, Connecticut native Caitlin Meighan will make her hometown musical theatre debut on the Bushnell Theater stage when this beautiful new production rolls into Hartford on November 15. I had the chance to sit down and speak with Caitlin about her career in ballet, her leap into the world of musical theatre, and her love of this timeless story.BWW Review: MY FAIR LADY at Broad Brook Opera House November 14, 2016
A beautiful transformation takes place on stage at the Broad Brook Opera House in the Opera House Players' solid, beautifully presented production of the classic Lerner and Loewe musical, MY FAIR LADY. A classic such as this one requires love and care to ensure that audiences experience all the things they might expect (classic songs, familiar characters and settings) but in a way that feels fresh, new, and exciting. And in this production, the Opera House Players have done just that.BWW Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at the Warner Theatre November 7, 2016
It may be a "tale as old as time", but the Warner Stage Company's season opener, Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, feels fresh, exciting and, as expected, magical. It is hard to find anyone who is not already familiar with the classic Disney tale of Belle, her unfortunate imprisonment in an enchanted castle, filled with staff and servants who have been turned into objects and the blossoming love with a beast who is more than he seems. On the Warner stage, these familiar scenes are all brought to life through beautiful sets, amazing costumes and, most importantly, a talented cast.BWW Review: UNNECESSARY FARCE at Playhouse On Park November 7, 2016
Lately, there have been a lot of slamming doors on Park Road in West Hartford. In its latest production, UNNECESSARY FARCE by Paul Slade Smith, Playhouse on Park gives audiences a fun romp filled with mistaken identities, the Scottish mafia, bumbling crooks (and equally bumbling police officers) and as mentioned, slamming doors - eight of them to be exact.BWW Review: RELATIVITY at TheaterWorks October 31, 2016
Can a great man also be a good man? Is a person defined by the impact they make on the world or by the impact they make on those they love? Does the importance of a piece of art or a scientific breakthrough outweigh the personal actions of the artist/scientist? These are some of the questions that are tackled in the opening production of TheaterWorks 31st season, RELATIVITY by Mark St. Germain.BWW Interview: Kristen Hahn of A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at The Bushnell October 24, 2016
BWW Interview: Kristen Hahn, Phoebe in A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Hartford's Bushnell Theatre, October 25 - 30.
Ever wonder if you might have an unknown rich relative out there sitting on a fortune that could one day be yours? That is exactly what Monty Navarro, the main character in A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER discovers, and the lengths he goes to ensure his inheritance and title is secure, is surprising, shocking, even, yet absolutely hilarious. And along this journey filled with truly dastardly deeds, Monty meets Phoebe D'Ysquith, who finds herself and true love in the most unlikely of ways. Playing Phoebe when A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER stops in Hartford October 25 - 30 will be Kristen Hahn, a Connecticut native who sat down with me to talk about this unconventional, yet entertaining show and share what it is like to return to her home state with this production.BWW Review: THE PIANO LESSON at Hartford Stage October 24, 2016
When is a legacy worth preserving and when is it time to move forward with life? What cost can one pay to jump-start their future? These are some of the central questions tackled in August Wilson's THE PIANO LESSON, which is now playing at Hartford Stage. One of Wilson's "Pittsburgh Cycle" plays (10 plays that shed light on African-American lives in each decade of the 20th century), THE PIANO LESSON - "a ghost story with traditional African-American songs" sits firmly in the 1930's, a time of struggle, change, and a time many African-Americans made the great migration north from the Jim Crow south, looking for a better life.BWW Review: CHASING RAINBOWS: THE ROAD TO OZ at Goodspeed Opera House October 11, 2016
It's probably hard to find anyone around today who is not familiar with Judy Garland. Older generations may have grown up with her in "Easter Parade" or "Meet Me in St. Louis". Others might remember her fondly as a powerhouse entertainer and singer who hosted her own television variety show. But at the very least, even the youngest among us know Judy as the unmistakable and indefatigable Dorothy Gale in the timeless MGM classic movie The Wizard of Oz. But a lot happened on "the Road to Oz", those formative years that put "Baby" Frances Gumm on the path to becoming Judy Garland and a super-star. And that journey is what brilliantly comes to life on the Goodspeed Opera House stage in the latest Goodspeed Musicals production CHASING RAINBOWS: THE ROAD TO OZ.BWW Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Playhouse On Park September 19, 2016
One of the biggest thrills I get as a theatre reviewer is to experience a show that I love in a new light, and to discover things about it that I never noticed before, no matter how many times I may have seen it. This was my experience viewing the first production in Playhouse on Park's eighth season, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.