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 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.BWW Review: THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL at the Broad Brook Opera House September 19, 2016
Musicals have an amazing way of transporting an audience to exciting, sometimes magical places. You might find yourself in the middle of a romantic kingdom, on the rooftops of turn-of-the-century London, or in the catacombs of a French opera house. But when the lights come up on the latest show at the Broad Brook Opera House, audiences find they have been transported to a place that is, well, a little less magical - the Armadillo Acres Trailer Park in Starke, Florida.BWW Review: MIDSUMMER (A PLAY WITH SONGS) at TheaterWorks August 15, 2016
When David Greig and Gordon McIntyre's MIDSUMMER (A PLAY WITH SONGS) begins, and Helena (Rebecca Hart) and Bob (M. Scott McLean) enter the stage each with a guitar in their hands, the audience gets an immediate sense for what they are in for - a quirky, funny, frantic, beautiful, and somewhat unlikely love story told through scene and song.BWW Review: SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL at the Warner Theatre August 1, 2016
"Oh, the Thinks you can Think, when you think about Seuss!" These are some of the first lyrics heard in the Warner Stage Company's current production of SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL. And boy, what thinks have been brought to life on the stage in this fresh, fun, and family friendly musical at the Warner Theatre in Torrington.BWW Interview: Jackie Burns of IF/THEN at Bushnell Theatre July 25, 2016
Do you ever wonder what your life would have been like if you had made different choices? Would you have a different job? A different love? Would your life have been better, or maybe worse? In the first show of Hartford's 2016-2017 Bushnell Broadway Series, IF/THEN, one woman finds herself at the intersection of choice and chance, and takes audiences on a journey guided by the whims of fate. Playing, Elizabeth, the woman whose life splits into parallel paths due to one fateful choice, is Jackie Burns, a Connecticut native who is returning to her home state to bring this contemporary musical to the Bushnell stage. I caught up with Jackie to talk about the show and hear how it feels to return home with IF/THEN.BWW Review: BYE BYE BIRDIE at Goodspeed Opera House July 18, 2016
When looking for memorable images from America in the late 50's/early 60's, you are bound to find some old standards. Mom in the kitchen baking, Dad returning home from a long day at the office, children playing with their Slinky/Mr. Potato Head while drinking Tang, or the iconic footage of man walking on the moon for the first time. These images immediately place you firmly in an era where tradition crashed headlong into a world of new sights and sounds. And it is these images that brilliantly set the stage (and the mood) during the overture for Goodspeed Musicals' new production of the classic Adams/Strouse/Stewart musical, BYE BYE BIRDIE; and they signal the nostalgic, yet amazingly fresh romp the audience will experience for the next two hours.BWW Review: A CHORUS LINE at Playhouse On Park June 19, 2016
There's a reason A CHORUS LINE, the hit musical about seventeen dancers auditioning for a Broadway show played for 6,137 performances in its original run. Audiences simply connected with these people and their experiences - with the universal feeling of wanting something so bad you can taste it, and with the fascination of seeing the blood, sweat and tears that go into casting a production. This connection, this fascination and this joy is absolutely apparent on the Playhouse on Park stage in their season 7 closing production of A CHORUS LINE.BWW Review: ANYTHING GOES at Goodspeed Opera House May 2, 2016
Some musicals make you think, some make you cry, while others just give you a permanent smile on your face for the duration of the show. The latter was the state of this reviewer as we set sail on the S.S. American for a rollicking "Bon Voyage" in Goodspeed Musicals' opening show of the 2016 season, ANYTHING GOES. This production is truly "De-Lovely" and lives up to the standard and quality that audiences are used to experiencing in the intimate, beautiful setting that is the Goodspeed Opera House.BWW Review: I HATE HAMLET at Playhouse On Park February 29, 2016
If you ask the average theater-goer their opinion of Shakespeare, you are bound to get a variety of answers. Some will immediately begin gushing about which of the bard's plays they have seen, which they like the best, or which they don't care for. Others will pretend to be fans, but make excuses anytime they are invited to one of his plays. But some will just say outright, 'I hate Shakespeare', or in the case of Andrew Rally the television star who finds himself in the middle of a surreal, and altogether paranormal situation, 'I Hate Hamlet!' That, however, is soon to change.