A Complete History

2016

October 2016: Capital Classics Theatre Company's "Radio-Readers Theatre” returned to the Mark Twain House & Museum during Halloween week (October 28–30) to bring back to life H. G. Well's classic "The War of The Worlds!” As part of this radio-theatre performance, Company members used the same 1938 radio script by Howard E. Koch that was performed by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre. Just like the days of the golden age of radio, Company members used live sound effects, music, and their storytelling vocal skills to tell the story of an invasion of Earth by inhabitants of Mars.


[poster]

July 2016: Our Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival presented a play as timely now as it was over 400 years ago — "Othello” (Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy, duplicity and destruction). Over three weekend of performances (July 14–31) the Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival attracted thousands of families to enjoy "Shakespeare under the stars.” Our Festival also featured pre-show entertainment, including the Elizabethan Consort, lectures by local professors and our Youth in Community Arts program with pre-show performances by local student arts organizations.


[poster]
2015

October 2015: Capital Classics Theatre Company's "Radio-Readers Theatre" returned to the Mark Twain House & Museum during Halloween week for an original adaptation — by Geoffrey Sheehan — of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Just like the days of the golden age of radio, Company members used live sound effects, music, and their storytelling vocal skills to tell the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow! Sold-out performances were held in the Mark Twain House auditorium on Thursday, October 29 and Friday, October 30, 2015.


[poster]

July/August, 2015: To celebrate our 25th anniversary, our Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival presented Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's tragic tale of two star-crossed lovers. Over three weekend of performances (July 23 through August 9) the Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival broke our prior attendance records with thousands of families enjoying "Shakespeare under the stars." Our Festival also featured pre-show entertainment, including the Elizabethan Consort, lectures by local professors and our Youth in Community Arts program with pre-show performances by local student arts organizations.

[poster]

Yearlong: On the first Monday of each month, our Co-Founder Geoffrey Sheehan "sets up shop" at the Noah Webster Public Library in West Hartford for our popular "Shakespeare Book Club." Sheehan moderates a discussion with dozens of attendees — of all ages — on Shakespeare's most famous plays. Come and join the fun next month!

[poster]
2014
October 2014: Capital Classics company members packed the spooky basement of the Mark Twain House & Museum with terrified audience members for four performances of radio theater-style readings of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," adapted by Geoffrey Sheehan. It was howling good time!
[poster]
July/August, 2014: For our 24th Annual Summer Shakespeare Festival, we presented "All's Well That Ends Well," s a romantic comedy "full of comic surprises and passionate poetry" that tells the tale of an indomitable heroine who cunningly sets out to win the heart of a man who wants adventure more than marriage. And this summer, we also featured "pre-show" entertainment, including the Elizabethan Consort, lectures by local professors and our 'Youth in Community Arts' program with performances by the Mark Twain House and Museum's "Write to the Point," Hartford Stage's "Breakdancing Shakespeare" and Charter Oak Cultural Center's "Hartford All-City Youth Orchestra."
[poster]
2013
October, 2013: Poe Down Below, in partnership with The Mark Twain House & Museum, featured Edgar Allan Poe's most famous (and spookiest) short stories, "The Fall of the House of Usher,""The Tell Tale Heart" and more. Directed and adapted by Artistic Director Laura Sheehan and featuring core company members (Michael Nowicki, David Regan, and Geoffrey Sheehan), Capital Classics staged four sold-out performances in the basement of the Mark Twain House that also featured live sound effects, reminiscent of the "Golden Age of Radio."
[poster]
July/August, 2013: The Shakespeare Festival presented "The Winter's Tale," a fantastical fable with kings and queens, long-lost children, destructive passions, and miracles born through the redemptive power of love.
2012
July, 2012: The Shakespeare Festival presented Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's classic comedy of mistaken identity, separated twins, deflated ego, and gender-crossing disguise, all undertaken to overcome obstacles and find "true" love.
[poster]
2011
July, 2011: The Shakespeare Festival tackled our first history play with Richard III. "The winter of our discontent," played out under the beautiful summer stars and the grateful audiences enjoyed the strong ensemble cast and were thrilled by the amazing fight choreography that ended our production. Truly a terrific tale of evil incarnate!
[poster]
2010
October, 2010: A Macabre Macbeth, performed in the allegedly haunted basement of the Mark Twain House, treated audiences to an efficiently pared-down, extra-spooky one-hour staged reading of the Scottish Play.
July, 2010: The Shakespeare Festival celebrated our 20th Anniversary Season with A Midsummer Nights Dream. A cast of 24 made Athens and the enchanted surrounding forest appear before record-breaking crowds during our three week run at Saint Joseph College. A gorgeous and memorable production.
[poster]
March, 2010: The Women Writers Series made its debut with staged reading of two new works for the theatre: The Woman Behind the Man Behind the Podium Making the Apology by Laura Sheehan, and Code Red or The Last Day at Dick High by Jeanne Zaino. The readings offered the playwrights a chance the hear their words take to the air for the first time and offered the audience members a chance to interact with the actors, directors and playwrights by giving their insightful opinions and suggestions for future revisions to these new works. An excellent, provocative and exciting evening that showcased new theatrical voices from promising female playwrights.
2009
July, 2009: The Shakespeare Festival transformed the grounds of Saint Joseph College into the shipwrecked island of Prospero for a memorable production of The Tempest. Preceded by music from The Elizabethan Consort, the production featured live music and singing, elaborate choreography and, of course, powerful classical theatre with our unmistakable attention to performance detail and quality!
2008
July, 2008: The Shakespeare Festival returned to Saint Joseph College with a production of Hamlet, preceded by curtain teaser performance of Moliere's The Seductive Countess. The festival featured professional and student performers delivering another installment of our trademark style of accessible and engaging classical theatre!
2007
July, 2007: The Shakespeare Festival once again came to life on the grounds of Saint Joseph College with The Comedy of Errors, preceded by a theatrical fair that included dance, music and an original commedia dell'arte scenario. The production featured professional and student performers, live music, spectacular costumes and creative make up effects. It was an uproarious and hilarious event!
2006
July, 2006: The Shakespeare Festival celebrated the company's 15th Anniversary with Macbeth. The Scottish Play was forcefully brought to life with an outdoor, theatre-in-the-round production on the grounds of Saint Joseph College. The production featured professional and student performers, live music, spectacular costume and scenic elements and intense and remarkable stage combat.
2005
July, 2005: The Shakespeare Festival featured Romeo & Juliet, the star-crossed lovers under the stars! Shakespeare's greatest love story was performed outdoors on the grounds of Saint Joseph College. The production featured professional performers, students from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, live music, dance and exciting stage combat.
2004
July, 2004: The Shakespeare Festival featured The Merry Wives of Windsor, one of Shakespeare's greatest farces, played on the pastoral grounds of Saint Joseph College. The fast paced production featured professional performers and live music—artful entertainment for the whole family!
2003
May, 2003: The Learned Ladies: A 17th century farce by French playwright Moliere. Performed at The Carol Autorino Center at Saint Joseph College, the production included live music, physical humor and colorful costumes.
2002
December, 2002: Our first production of It's A Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play, which ran annually through 2004. An old-time radio version of America's holiday classic performed in the style of radio's Golden Age. The theatre assimilated a live radio broadcast as actors perform before microphones accompanied by live music and sound effects. The script was adapted by Connecticut playwright Joe Landry. Performed in The Carol Autorino Center at Saint Joseph College.
2000
May, 2000: Homecircles: Chapters in the Life of Noah Webster. This revival of the previously titled An Agreeable Day was commissioned by the Noah Webster House and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The one-act original play, written by Laura Sheehan, utilized writings of Webster and his family in innovative theatrical form and was performed by Capital Classics within the rooms of Webster's childhood home.
1998
July & August, 1998: The Shakespeare Festival and Theatrical Fair: Capital Classics expanded its Shakespeare program to include a two production summer season, consisting of Measure for Measure and The Comedy of Errors. The Festival played both afternoon and evenings on the Bushnell Park Pavilion Stage. Sunday matinees were preceded by the Theatrical Fair, a family event consisting of commedia dell'arte, music, dance, puppetry and stage combat. Approximately 40 local professional theatrical artists were hired including Equity and non-Equity performers, directors, musicians, technicians, stage managers, designers, and student interns.
1997
May & August, 1997: The Capital Classics Radio Revue Series: a series of original radio productions done in the style of the Golden Age of Radio. Both shows, designed to coordinate with a season and with popular local events, toured a variety of locations throughout the Greater Hartford region, as part of our Community Outreach Program. Productions included Spring Fever in New England (featuring themes of St. Patrick), The Lazy Days of Summer (part of Mark Twain Days Festival).
July, 1997: A Midsummer's Eve at the Bellamy-Ferriday: a special adaptation of Shakespeare's magical comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream commissioned exclusively for the Bellamy-Ferriday historical home and played in its renowned garden setting.
1996
New Year's Eve, 1996: Hartford First Night: '97: Il Capitano Revealed, an original Commedia dell'Arte performance featuring slapstick comedy, madcap characters, and classic frolicking family fun. Developed by Capital Classics' company of performers specifically for First Night. Performed at the Wadsworth Atheneum's Aetna Theatre.
November, 1996: An Agreeable Day Capital Classics joined forces with the Noah Webster House to develop this original one-act play, written and performed by core company members. The house itself served as the setting for this living history production based on the life and letters of Noah Webster.
September, 1996: The Capital Classics Radio Revue: High on the Hill-Stead! Capital Classics returned to the Golden Age of Radio with this original revue written especially for Farmington's Hill-Stead Museum. Comedy, drama, music, sound effects, and game show fun comprise this evening of nostalgic entertainment.
July & August, 1996: The 6th Annual Shakespeare Festival in Bushnell Park, featuring: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, The Imaginary Cuckold by Moliere, Elizabethan folk dancing choreographed by Sonia Plumb, an Elizabethan quartet, juggling, magic and puppetry.
1995
October, 1995: The Pavilion in Bushnell Park; In celebration of the opening of the Bushnell Park Pavilion, Capital Classics presented a half-hour adaptation of As You Like It, thematically centered on the "foibles of love."
July & August, 1995: The 5th Annual Shakespeare Festival in Bushnell Park, featuring As You Like It by William Shakespeare, an authentic commedia dell 'arte piece, The Fake Madwoman, Elizabethan folk dancing choreographed by Sonia Plumb, an Elizabethan quartet, juggling, magic and puppetry.
June, 1995: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Family Letters: A dramatic reading of Stowe family circular letters (commissioned by the Stowe Museum) adapted for the stage in celebration of the Stowe family reunion.
1994
New Year's Eve, 1994: The Capital Classics Radio Revue, Hartford First Night '95; A "Golden Age of Radio" Theatre performance featuring an authentic radio thriller, In The Fog, an original comedy, The Time Travelers, live music, sound effects and spoof commercials.
October & November, 1994: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Family Letters: A dramatic reading of Harriet's letters to family, friends and famous contemporaries, along with selections from Uncle Tom's Cabin adapted for the stage in celebration of the dedication of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center's new name.
August, 1994: The 4th Annual Shakespeare Festival in Bushnell Park featuring A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare in collaboration with The Sonia Plumb Dance Company.
1993
New Year's Eve, 1993: The Capital Classics Vaudeville Revue, Hartford First Night '94; Classic old-time variety entertainment featuring comic skits, singing, dancing, opera and zany characters from the history of American Vaudeville Theatre.
August, 1993: The 3rd Annual Shakespeare Festival in Bushnell Park featuring the popular comedy, Twelfth Night.
1992
August, 1992: The 2nd Annual Shakespeare Festival in Bushnell Park featuring Shakespeare's The Tempest.
1991
September, 1991: The Inaugural Capital Classics Shakespeare Festival: Capital Classics initial Bushnell Park production, The Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare. The start of a trend!
2008
The company was in residency at Hartford Magnet Middle School in Hartford, working with eight grade students on Romeo & Juliet. An example of our Living, Breathing Shakespeare Educational Programing.
2007
Working with the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts' Education Department, residency at Lewis Fox Middle School in Hartford, centering around The Comedy of Errors.
2002–​2004
Partnership with local public schools including Quirk Middle School, Hartford; Pulaski Middle School, New Britain; Weaver High School, Hartford; and Bloomfield High School; school groups invited to attend matinee performances and participate in post-show master class; teachers provided with study guides detailing history and activities of performance styles and era relevant to production.
2003
Dance CT Summer Program; Capital Classics' managed the theatre education component of summer program, including hiring all theatre educators and developing curriculum.
1997–​2003
The Bushnell Partners Program; Capital Classics is hired each academic year to stage professional play readings of scripts developed as part of the sixth grade curriculum in Hartford and Bloomfield schools.
1997–​2001
Trinity College, Hartford; Capital Classics staged professional play readings of scripts developed in Trinity's graduate and undergraduate playwriting courses, utilizing local professional actors.

[photo]

We have a history of comedy and tragedy.

*Show posters (displayed for 2010 onward) designed by Cipher Creative Group.