May 18, 2013
Written by Joanne Greco Rochman
Friday, 13 April 2012 10:23
Tom Libonate makes his directorial debut with The Subject Was Roses, the Pulitzer-prize winning work by Frank D. Gilroy on stage at the Sherman Playhouse.
As a director, he has managed to open the wounds of this family so piercingly that the audience feels for mother, father, and the son. The actors are so convincing that we care for the characters.When Tim buys his mother roses and tells his father to pretend that they are from him, our heart goes out to all of them.
Nettie softens at the thought of her husband actually doing something so thoughtful for her; John feels guilty because he knows he doesn’t deserve the tenderness she shows, and Tim just wants his mother and father to love one another.
Matthew Bagley as the returning son portrays a man caught in the middle of an unhealthy relationship, but Bagley manages to keep a perfect balance. M.J. Hartell as Nettie Cleary acts with dignity and poise. As for Matt McQuail, who plays John Cleary, he plays the role of the father forcefully and with deep compassion. All of the actors appear at their best and some of that must be credited to the director. Libonate has brought equal amounts of insight and skill to this outstanding Sherman production.
Kudos also goes out to Bill and Laura Gilbert as well as the director for the set design, which plays so prominent a part in this drama. Since the play takes place in the 1940s, the toaster, oven, and waffle irons look authentic. Peter Petrino’s lighting is also effective and especially noticeable when light of day shows through an open door or when evening sets in over the kitchen and living room. Terry Hawley’s costumes look period-perfect, especially the soldier’s uniform and Nettie’s coat and hat.
Overall, no detail has been overlooked and this production is one that audience’s will talk about for a long time to come. You can see it at the Sherman Playhouse through April 21. Box office: 860-354-3622.
Heart Chart Scale 1 - 5 with 5 Hearts a Rave Review and “NR” as Not Reviewed. Some shows will not have a long enough run to be reviewed, but will be listed in the Heart Chart calendar. Also shows that are in previews and have not opened officially will bear the “NR” rating.
Bushnell, Hartford: Fiddler on the Roof, Equity show; (NR) Box office: (860) 987-5900. Plays through Apr. 15.
Center Stage, Shelton: Enchanted April, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (203) 225-6079. Plays through Apr. 14. (Center Stage is not reviewed at the request of the theater.)
Clockwork Repertory, Oakville Theatre: Looking, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (860) 274-7247. Plays through May 12.
Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Storrs: Spring Awakening, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (860) 486-4226. Plays through Apr. 28.
Curtain Call, Stamford: The Sound of Music, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (203) 461-6358. Plays through Apr. 28.
Goshen Players, Goshen: My Favorite Year, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (860) 491-9988. Plays through Apr. 19.
Hartford Stage Company, Hartford: Bell, Book and Candle, Equity; (5 Hearts) Box office: (860) 527-5151. Plays through Apr. 29.
Palace Theater, Waterbury: Young Frankenstein, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (203) 346-2000. Plays through Apr. 14.
Seven Angels Theatre, Waterbury: Vignettes of an I-talian American Girl, Non-Equity; (4 and 1⁄2 Hearts) Box office: (203) 757-4676. Plays through Apr. 22.
Sherman Players, Sherman: The Subject Was Roses, Non-Equity; (Five Hearts) Box office: (860) 354-3622. Plays through Apr. 21.
TheaterWorks, Hartford: Red, Equity; (NR) Box office: (860) 527-7838. Plays through May 13.
Thomaston Opera House, Thomaston: The Music Man, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (860) 283-6250. Plays through Apr. 29.
Westchester Broadway Dinner Theatre, NY: Legally Blonde the Musical, Equity; (NR) Box office: (914) 592-2222. Plays through Apr. 29.
Westport Community Theatre, Westport: A Picasso, Non-Equity; (NR) Box office: (203) 226-1983. Plays through Apr. 29.
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