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Ariana Straznicky-Packer

Ariana Straznicky-Packer

No stranger to the stage, Ariana Straznicky-Packer is a professional violinist whose heart belongs to Broadway. A classically-trained musician, actress, vocalist, and writer, she is full of surprises. One thing you can always count on: She is always creating. 

After spending fourteen years building a flourishing career as a violinist, she is thrilled to return to the musical theater world as a singer, actress, and now, reviewer. With a Master of Music Degree from The Hartt School, Ariana performs in Connecticut's premier symphonies, teaches at her private studio, and founded award-winning wedding music company, Ariana Strings LLC. Thriving amidst the battle between time management and ambition, she also strongly advocates for musicians by serving on orchestra committees and as newly-appointed President of the American Federation of Musicians Union (CT Local). 

Pre-conservatory, Ariana made fond memories in community and college theater: learning to tap in Nunsense is a particular highlight. Thrilled to dust off her tap shoes, she recently returned to the stage as leading lady, Linda Mason in Holiday Inn at CT Theatre Company. 

Ariana is a triple threat performer who is taking up the mantle of a critic to defend and promote the arts she has dedicated her life to. Away from the arts, you'll find her spending time with her husband and little dog, studying languages, eyeing the latest designer bags, and traveling the world (22 countries and counting!) 


TOOTSIE is Unstoppable at The Bushnell
February 24, 2023

Tootsie, the musical comedy based on the 1982 film of the same name, is visiting The Bushnell now through February 26th. With music and lyrics by David Yazbek and book by Robert Horn, this Tony-Award winning show shines a light on society's treatment of women and the trouble with show business, all while delivering laughs galore.

Review: SIX: THE MUSICAL at The Bushnell
January 18, 2023

What did our critic think of SIX: THE MUSICAL at The Bushnell?Six: The Musical is a refreshingly self-actualized, informative, fun, empowering, modern feminist musical that is not to be missed. Bring your bestie and expect to have a blast.

Review: 42ND STREET at Goodspeed Opera House
October 22, 2022

Though I’m a huge musical fan, the 1933 film never really made a big impression on me. When I heard 42nd Street was coming to The Goodspeed, I hoped it would change my mind. Spoiler alert: It absolutely did! The timeless musical is a perfect addition to the season. It’s charming and delightful, as well as substantial.

October 4, 2022

Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and see your favorite musician in concert? Well, now is your chance at Playhouse on Park. Their 14th season opening was nothing short of spectacular.

August 17, 2022

Brand new musical Anne of Green Gables is at the Goodspeed now through September 4, 2022. The classic story is brought to life in a heartfelt and clever folk-rock musical with beautifully developed and charming characters. he cast is absolute perfection and I would fight anyone who dares to change it. The writing and music is more than promising and I wish I could get my hands on this exact soundtrack. Anne of Green Gables is charming, well-written, and the performances are phenomenal. Don’t miss this bold and vibrant new musical.

Review: SECONDO at Theaterworks Hartford
August 15, 2022

Featuring a picture frame with perfect timing and a judgmental Alexa, Secondo is a heartwarming and clever comedy not to be missed.

Review: PIPPIN Spreads Sunshine, Bringing the Party to West Hartford at Playhouse On Park
July 28, 2022

What did our critic think of Pippin Playhouse on Park? It's the final production in the Playhouse on Park 13th season and runs from July 6th - August 21st. Come for the show, stay for the great dancing, fun music, and comedy.

Review: Oh, What a Night! JERSEY BOYS Rocks the House at The Palace Theater
July 1, 2022

I thoroughly enjoyed the production alongside an equally energetic crowd who delightfully sang along and met the cast with an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Review: HAMILTON Brings the Revolution to The Bushnell
June 30, 2022

June 22nd through July 10th, The Bushnell is The Room Where It Happens. On Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of seeing the Hamilton National Tour alongside a fully packed house of diehard fans, who bopped along in their seats with delight and delivered a well-deserved standing ovation. I know it’s cliché to say Hamilton is excellent, but it’s excellent.

BWW Review: KISS MY AZTEC! at Hartford Stage
June 14, 2022

Kiss My Aztec! Is a hilarious musical based on Latin American history “…. Very loosely!” This upbeat show is a real party with entirely original music, bold and bright-colored sets and costuming, as well as an exceptionally multitalented cast that keeps the energy up from start to finish.

BWW Interview: John Leguizamo of KISS MY AZTEC! at Hartford Stage
May 29, 2022

Read an interview with John Leguizamo in which he takes about Kiss My Aztec! an irreverent new musical loosely based on Latin American history. Travel back to the 1500's as a group of Aztecs lead the resistance against Spanish invaders. With a fierce female warrior at the helm and a not-so-fierce clown in tow, they mount a scrappy attack - and get entangled with royalty, colonizers, pop stars, and puppets

BWW Review: CABARET at The Goodspeed
May 26, 2022

Wilkommen, bienvenue, and welcome Cabaret to the Goodspeed Stage! The classic musical makes its premiere on the Goodspeed Stage and runs now through July 3rd, 2022.

BWW Review: ZOEY'S PERFECT WEDDING at TheaterWorks Hartford
May 25, 2022

Zoey’s Perfect Wedding is a hilarious play about love and relationships with a deeper message about the pressures we endure from societal expectations. Set at the most disastrous wedding reception of all time, the title is assuredly ironic, featuring drunken speeches, an incompetent wedding planner who makes everything worse, and hi-jinx galore.

BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Shubert Theatre
May 20, 2022

The national tour of An American in Paris is making its final stop at Shubert Theatre, New Haven, now through May 21, 2022. Based on the Academy Award winning 1951 film starring Hollywood legends Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the production features the iconic music of George and Ira Gershwin, including “I Got Rhythm,” “S’Wonderful,” and more.

May 17, 2022

Madison Lyric Stage Presents Double-Feature of Two Rare Works: The Seven Deadly Sins and Curlew River

April 29, 2022

I had the opportunity to see PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, during its visit to The Bushnell in Hartford. Based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved 1990’s movies that launched America’s sweetheart, Julia Roberts, into stardom. Fans of the movie will be happy to see that the story hasn’t dramatically changed and includes all the fun, quotable lines (like, “Big Mistake. Huge!”) and unforgettable moments, like the spicy piano scene.

BWW Review: LOST IN YONKERS at Hartford Stage
April 15, 2022

Lost in Yonkers Finds Standing Ovation at Hartford Stage Opening Night Hartford Stage presents Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Lost in Yonkers, featuring four-time Academy Award-nominated, two-time Golden Globe Award winner, Emmy Award-nominated actor and director Marsha Mason (co-director and performing as Grandma Kurnitz), running April 7 - May 1, 2022.

BWW Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN at The Bushnell
April 2, 2022

Dear Evan Hansen is an award-winning show that explores deep, dark themes and intricate relationships which I’ve never seen so well-defined on a musical stage. The new National Tour’s performances felt raw, real, and powerful. While the script has brief moments of comedy to balance the dark with light, it never takes away from the beautiful story arc and will give you, as our beloved Gen-Z says, “All the feels.”

BWW Interview: Toshiyuki Shimada, Joseph Butch Rovan of SCATTERING at Garde Arts Center
March 30, 2022

On February 19, 2022, I had the opportunity to perform with Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO) in the world premiere of Scattering, a ground-breaking electroacoustic piece that explores two of today's most prominent world events: the Covid-19 pandemic and the death of George Floyd, all the while including a brand new instrument especially designed for the orchestra conductor to wear on his wrist, performing alongside the musicians. In the months prior to the performance, the ECSO recorded small excerpts which the composer, Joseph Butch Rovan, then analyzed and reimagined, changing the sound entirely and making it coordinate with a special wrist-worn device during the live performance. The device, called TOSHI (The Orchestra Synthesis Human Interface) was expertly worn by its namesake, Toshi Shimada, the ECSO conductor. The piece continues to break barriers with not only the invention of a new instrument, but by making it one that the conductor wears to make him a performer alongside the symphony musicians. Furthermore, the device communicates with the composer’s laptop at the back of the audience, sending out a variety of sounds (including the sound of a person exhaling) through the surround system at the theater. After learning about this novel work, I wanted to learn more, so I sat down with the conductor and composer just before the premiere.

BWW Review: WAITRESS at Schubert Theatre
March 6, 2022

WAITRESS, the hilarious hit Broadway musical, is playing at The Schubert, New Haven March 4–6, 2022. The Waitress tour is every bit as fresh and delightful as ever, serving up all the best ingredients of this fan-favorite musical.