×

I’m Connecticut

As wacky, fast-paced and sweet as a stretched-out episode of "The Simpsons," the skein on which the scribe has been a writer and producer for decades.

With:
Marc - Harris Doran
Grandpa - Jerry Adler
Polly/Judith - Joyce DeWitt
Diane/Georgia - Maggie Sulka
Kyle - Michael John Importa
Manager - Darrell Hollens

With a title like “I’m Connecticut,” you’d think Mike Reiss’s frosh full-length playwriting effort would be more suited to a public service announcement for state tourism. But this preem comedy at Connecticut Repertory Theater on the UConn campus in Storrs is as wacky, fast-paced and sweet as a stretched-out episode of “The Simpsons,” the skein on which the scribe has been a writer and producer for decades. Gags and surreal interludes are nonstop, but what makes this more than a one-off for state natives is that it is a sweet romance as well.

Still, for the short play to travel beyond Connecticut’s square borders, Reiss has to work on expanding the characters’ conflicts, make the romance something more than generic and have something a little more to say beyond its single theme. Clocking in at 75 minutes, there’s time to expand and explore.

Still, helmed with sketch comedy speed and largeness by Paul Mullins and supported by its well-seasoned comic actors — including “Three’s Company”‘s Joyce DeWitt and theater vet Jerry Adler — the piece is damn funny.

Story centers on a geeky, unlucky-in-love, twentysomething neuroscientist from Simsbury, Conn. (“It sounds like a computer simulation of a town”) named Marc (a wry and likable Harris Doran). The character, who makes nice with the aud, calls to mind Woody Allen’s film persona with his Jewish angst and romantic longing — coupled with feelings of inadequacy, because Marc comes from Connecticut, land of steady habits, sanity and blandness.

He falls for Diane (Maggie Sulka), a Southern peach of a receptionist at a speed-dating service where Marc has just failed to impress several Cosmo gals. When he takes her to the Upper West Side apartment he shares with his early-stages-of-Alzheimers’ grandfather (Adler), a little lie Marc tells helps win Diane over. But when the fib is later revealed, she splits and Marc is back bemoaning his lack of color as a native of the most boring state in the union.

That running gag becomes the plays raison d’etre and provides fodder for much of the show’s many surreal bits, including actors portraying various states. (If you wondered which state has the biggest and smallest penis, wonder no more.) Mark Twain, who built a house and lived in Hartford for years yet failed to write more than a sentence about the state, also makes an appearance, all adding to Marc’s torment. Even nice-guy Canada gets in the act.

Despite all that, there’s no doubt that in the end, the man with sensible shoes and smile will get the girl — which is celebrated by a big musical production number, just for the Connecticut heck of it.

Popular on Variety

I'm Connecticut

Harriet S. Jorgensen Theater, Storrs, Conn.; 486 seats; $29 top

Production: A Connecticut Repertory Theater presentation of a play in one act by Mike Reiss. Directed by Paul Mullins.

Creative: Sets, Michael Anania and Matt Iacozza; costumes, Sara Ewing; lighting, William R. Albertelli; sound, Steven Magro; music direction, Ken Clark; choreography, Posy Knight; projection designers, Allison McGrath and Greg Purnell; stage manager, Laura Marsh. Opened, reviewed Dec. 2, 2011. Runs through Dec. 10. Running time: 1 HOUR, 15 MIN.

Cast: Marc - Harris Doran
Grandpa - Jerry Adler
Polly/Judith - Joyce DeWitt
Diane/Georgia - Maggie Sulka
Kyle - Michael John Importa
Manager - Darrell HollensWith: Alyson Danielczuk, Will Graziano, Hannah Kaplan, Ryan Marcone, Coles Prince, Bryan Swormstedt, Kaitlyn Gorman, Harrison Greene, Briana Maia, Molly Martinez, Adam Schneeman, Tiffany Vinters.

More Legit

  • Secret Derren Brown review

    Review: 'Derren Brown: Secret'

    Audiences love to be fooled, whether it’s with clever plotting with a twist, the arrival of an unexpected character or even a charming flimflam man with a British accent. The latter is Derren Brown, and he’s entertaining audiences for a limited run at the Cort Theatre, where he is playing head-scratching mind games and other [...]

  • Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica ParkerNew York

    Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker to Reunite on Broadway for 'Plaza Suite'

    Real-life couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are hitting the Broadway stage again for a reboot of the late Neil Simon’s 1968 play “Plaza Suite.” The staging will mark the Broadway directorial debut of Tony award-winner John Benjamin Hickey. Set in New York City’s Plaza Hotel in Suite 719, “Plaza Suite” is comprised of [...]

  • Derren Brown

    Listen: Derren Brown Spills His Broadway 'Secret'

    Derren Brown has spent a lot of his career performing magic shows on theater stages — but he’ll be the first to tell you that magic usually doesn’t make for great theater. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “If you’re a magician of any sort, you can make stuff happen with a click of your [...]

  • A Very Expensive Poison review

    London Theater Review: 'A Very Expensive Poison'

    Vladimir Putin owes his power to the stage. The president’s closest advisor trained as a theatre director before applying his art to politics, and ran Russia like a staged reality, spinning so many fictions that truth itself began to blur. By scrambling the story and sowing confusion, Putin could exert absolute control. The long-awaited latest [...]

  • Betrayal review Tom Hiddleston

    Broadway Review: 'Betrayal' With Tom Hiddleston

    and Zawe Ashton as a long-married couple and Charlie Cox as the secret lover. Director Jamie Lloyd’s impeccable direction — now on Broadway, after a hot-ticket London run — strips Pinter’s 1978 play to its bare bones: the excruciating examination of the slow death of a marriage.  It’s a daring approach, leaving the characters nowhere [...]

  • Jayne Houdyshell arrives at the 71st

    'The Music Man' Revival Adds Four Tony Winners to Broadway Cast

    Tony Award-winners Jayne Houdyshell, Jefferson Mays, Marie Mullen and Shuler Hensley will join stars Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in the upcoming Broadway revival of “The Music Man.” In “The Music Man,” Jackman will play con-man Harold Hill, who arrives in a small, fictional Iowa town called River City and urges the townsfolk to start [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content