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Connecticut Repertory Theatre Continues Its 2019-20 Season With MEN ON BOATS


Connecticut Repertory Theatre Continues Its 2019-20 Season With MEN ON BOATS

Connecticut Repertory Theatre, (CRT) continues its 2019-20 season with Jaclyn Backhaus' Men On Boats, directed by Beth Gardiner.

Performances will be held in Studio Theatre from March 26th- April 5th, 2020. Tickets are $10 for students and range from $26-$35 for adults and seniors.

The press opening takes place Friday, March 27th at 8 p.m.

Ten explorers, four boats and the Grand Canyon take center stage in a subversive re-working of history. Based on 19th-century explorer John Wesley Powell and his devoted crew, playwright Jaclyn Backhaus' hilarious, razor-sharp wit throws the history book off the boat - along with all the men! It's a wild ride guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and hold onto the edge of your seat.

Director Beth Gardiner says, "Men on Boats asks tough questions joyfully. We'll find ourselves in a vibrant, Western-ish world and tell an action-packed, hysterical, heartfelt story. Our Men (played by women) on Boats (made of not-boats) will journey down the rough and tumble waters of the Colorado River and into a thoughtful conversation about the untold stories in America's mythologies and history."

Gardiner is a theatre maker based in New York City. Her work focuses primarily on new plays, or on making old plays feel like new plays. A North Carolina native, Gardiner got her B.A. in Theatre from Wesleyan University and M.F.A. in Directing at UC-Irvine where she co-founded World Premiere Weekend, a festival of new work that premiered nearly forty new plays on campus in its first year. In 2013, she co-founded Three Day Hangover, a New York City theater company that creates fresh, unexpected, immersive productions of classic plays in bars and other not-usually-theater spaces. She is also an Artistic Company member at Burning Coal Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina. Gardiner has worked as a director, dramaturg, assistant director and educator at theaters across the country, including Great River Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Rep, Utah Shakespeare, South Coast Rep, Santa Rosa Summer Rep, Fugitive Kind, Bialystock and Bloom, Milwaukee Shakespeare, The Atlantic Theater Company/NYU Training program and the Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts.

Men on Boats is part of The Studio Workshop series, which emphasizes new more experimental texts and forms. Playwright Jaclyn Backhaus writes a Note on Casting in her script; "The characters in Men On Boats were historically cisgender white males. The cast should be made up entirely of people who are not. I'm talking about racially diverse actors who are female-identifying, trans-identifying, gender-fluid, and/or non-gender-conforming." CRT's all-female cast includes Actors' Equity Association member Sierra Kane as John Wesley Powell, along with Abigail Hilditch as William Dunn, Jamie Feidner as John Colton Sumner, April Lichtman as Old Shady, Maddie Tamms as Bradley, Jasmine Smith as O.G. Howland, Camille Fortin as Seneca Howland, Eliza Carson as Frank Goodman, Te'a Gray as Hall, and Megan Casagrande as Hawkins.

"More and more we are seeing theatre artists who are finding creative ways to challenge our age-old historical narratives that have excluded or diminished parts of our actual history. Men on Boats is one of those contemporary plays about our history that is at once dynamic, physical and highly theatrical, using a diverse cast of women to place the male historical figures in stark relief, and it's a lot of fun!" says CRT Artistic Director Michael Bradford.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 860-486-2113.

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