The Howard – Theater Review “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Hartford Stage


Theater Review by Howard Steven Frydman
Production:               A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Theater:                      The Hartford Stage
Written by:                William Shakespeare
Director:                     Darko Tresnjak

Between day and night, when day is beginning to lower- I take pause in night’s occupation to partake in the premiere performance of The Hartford Stage’s current production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream” – and after seeing it – I profess to heaven above this production is “stellar”- yet at this very moment in time- I am now literally floating on air with a case of star struck-itis – and why not? I’ve had every other malady this year. Yet a veritable “Who’s Who” of CT and NYC theater world folk is in attendance – Actresses Johanna Morrison and Anastasia Barzee to the left of me, Director Darko Tresnjak, Michael Stotts and Theresa MacNaughton to the right, and Here I am, stuck in the middle with you!

Anastasia Barzee and Howard Steven Frydman

I – Howard Steven Frydman, is among the stars! Many I now call friends- I even have their email addresses!! At times I feel like “Izzy” from “Crossing Delaney Street” when she says “I have Isaac Bashevis Singer in my Rolodex”. Yes – and speaking of “Stars” at the Hartford Stage- ( Setting Howard’s Wayback Machine) – it was March of 1981, still in my 20’s, I had the opportunity to invite my father, Jack Max Frydman to join me in seeing the Hartford Stage’s production of “The Undiscovered Country”. I recall it being cold, and those who arrived early before the “doors” opened were huddled in the “Stage’s” front vestibule trying to keep warm, when my father openly stated, “look there’s a bum coming in”! I looked, indeed there was a elderly bearded man, draped in a grey overflowing coat with an old ragged knapsack hung over his back coming thru the doors. I quickly stated, “dad that’s no bum that’s Dr. Jackson” – being a “Guiding Light” fan I knew this “TV star”- otherwise known as the great actor Stefan Schnabel. Unable to find the actors entrance Mr. Schnabel had moseyed through the oblivious throng making his way to the theaters entrance and me- the only one to take note of this now “soap celebrity”. Briefly I got to introduce myself and let him know “he was my number one fan” and throughout the production smile inwardly that I had met greatness that day- and it wouldn’t be the last. Thank you Hartford Stage and now on to more greatness and stars- the Darko Tresnjak directed – “A Midsummers Night’s Dream”!

My friends, let me emphatically state, this is one glorious production, let me further add this is a “one of a kind, not to be missed” Shakespearean event- the last time I said those words it was after seeing The Hartford Stage’s “Cymbeline – and that indeed was one for the ages! Now it’s your turn to see “Bard” Greatness on Stage”. “Midsummer” is the one that is the template for so many a tale i.e.-“LA Story” starring Steve Martin or instead of a denatured donkey- ( I’ll get to the donkey tale in a bit) how about TV’s “Endora” on “Bewitched” with her weekly enchantments- “Durwood I don’t like the way you gloat, – So I’m turning you into a billy goat”! You get the gist! As with many Shakespeare’s plays, the story often revolves around mistaken identities, miss-crossed lovers- such as last year’s Hartford Stages production of “Comedy of Errors” about mixed up twins- even more mixed up twins can be found in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”- I’m sure Mr. S. would have enjoyed Disney’s “Parent Trap” and duel Hayley Mills. But I digress- there are no mixed up twins here – just merry mixups, young love, inept actors and Bewitching spells cast in the name of love- oh how romantic-and as they say- “The play is the thing and all of us are merely players!

Scarlett Pritchett as Titania and Esau Pritchett as Oberon

Esau Pritchett as Oberon

For those unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s tale or have never seen an episode of “Bewitched”-
“A Midsummers Night’s Dream” is a romantic prose intermingled with comedy- here it’s basically four tasty play treats in one – love at first sight, at second sight, love helped with magical enchantments, a frolicking all male farce-athon- and folks please look out for a mischievous fairy – “Puck” and one comedic enchanted donkey named “Bottom” – eeyore, eeyore!! Fantasy and reality are magically intertwined. Tale 1- we are introduced to Theseus, (Esau Pritchett) Duke of Athens, who is preparing a four day festival in honor of his upcoming marriage to Hippolyta, (Scarlet Strallen) Queen of the Amazons. Tale 2 – the mixed up lovers- four Athenian kids, Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius ( Jenny Leona, Tom Pecinka, Fedna Laure Jacquet, Damian Jermaine Thompson) who find “Beach Blanket Bingo” in the enchanted world of the fairies; Tale 3 – “The Mechanicals” – a Marx Brother-esque group of various craftsmen, ( Including Robert Hannon Davis as the Gardener and John Lavelle as Bottom) who in honor of Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding comedically tell the tragic tale of “Pyramis and Thisbe” and finally, Tale 4 – the outlying woods, the home of the fairies, ruled by Oberon, the fairy king, and Titania, his queen, who are currently estranged – bickering over how to raise Titania’s found boy.

Robert Hannon Davis as the Gardener

As mentioned about being star struck, and after witnessing this production, SO WILL YOU!- being star struck that is!
The actors – solid performances from each and every member of the cast- they bring Shakespeare’s MidSummer to full bloom. I can still hear that booming voice of an immense acting talent – Mr. Esau Pritchett- what an amazing actor. Scarlet Strallen as Hippolyta/Titania – loved how she quickly transformed from the Queen A. to Queen T. In fact, it was my seat mate, Anastasia Barzee who kept pointing out to me the amazing costumes, designed by Joshua Pearson, especially the white dress worn by Scarlet in the second act – me thinks Anastasia already knows what she would like for a Christmas Gift Mr. Pearson.

Up next – major kudos to the one and only Robert Hannon Davis in the duel roles of “Egeus” woebegone papa of Hermia and homespun playwright Peter Quince- Robert Davis is “sensational” btw! And now two actors who literally “stole the show”- firstly, Fedna Laure Jacquet as “Helena” – Fedna you reminded me of a female “Steve Urkle” which is a good thing- loved the oversized glasses, wonderful comic timing-you are an amazing actress. Finally, John Lavelle, the role of “Bottom” was made for you and visa versa! You are incredible in this performance. One of the many reasons to see this “Midsummer” is to see Mr. Lavelle, one minute he is an overacting thespian channeling James Cagney and William Shatner, the next a love worn long eared Donkey – the bottom line – “we are swinging on a star- cause we’re better off than we are” for seeing you perform! Folks I told you it was a star studded night!!

Fedna Laure Jacquet as “Helena”

Scarlett Strallen and John Lavelle in the role of “Bottom”

John Lavelle, in the role of “Bottom”

Lastly, you know when something is lovingly crafted- thank you Darko, plain and simply- this production of William Shakespeare’s “Midsummer” is simply – pure poetry in motion. I was totally captivated, as already stated- I sat literally on the edge of my seat – I swear I didn’t want to miss a single nuance of the story or miss a beat of the extraordinary Shakespearean dialogue. There is such a richness in this production from the acting, indelible characters, costumes, and scenic design. Yes its Shakespeare and you are gonna love it!! I have mentioned it before- a glorious renaissance has taken place at the Hartford Stage, once known as a haven for mostly Tennessee Williams, I now so look forward to each new “season of The Hartford Stage”. Thank heaven for the ARTS. Thank heaven for the H-ART Ford Stage!

Tickets for the Hartford Stage production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (860) 527-5151 or by visiting The production runs September 7th through October 8th. Weeknight and evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances are Saturdays, Sundays and select weekdays at 2 p.m.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at


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The Howard BATTLE OF THE SEXES Advance Screening TIXS

You and a guest are cordially invited to a special advance screening of Fox Searchlight’s


Wednesday, September 27
Bow Tie Palace
330 New Park Ave

This is not valid for admission. Passes are required.
To download a complimentary pair of passes, go to




No purchase necessary. Tickets are subject to availability and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Each applicant may select up to 2 tickets. Those who successfully claim preview screening tickets must have ID available if required. No photocopies of the page will be accepted. The screening tickets are not for resale. No cash alternative. No late admittance. The cinema reserves the right to refuse admission. In the event of a dispute, the cinema manager’s decision is final. Seating at the screening is not guaranteed. This film is rated PG-13.
#BattleoftheSexes @billievsbobby

Running Time: 121 mins
MPAA Rating: PG-13

In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s World #1 Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.

Directed by: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton
Written by: Simon Beaufoy
Produced by: Christian Colson, Danny Boyle, Robert Graf
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Natalie Morales, Jessica Mcnamee, Fred Armisen, Lewis Pullman, Martha MacIsaac, Mickey Sumner, Bridey Elliott, Eric Christian Olsen, Wallace Langham, Matt Malloy

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The Howard – E TIXS To VIP Screening of AMERICAN MADE Movie Premiere

Autumn OF ’17 – Hot Movie Free Flicks!


Hey Gang – your old old pal Howard invites you to the gala premiere of “American Made” starring TOM CRUISE.
The screening will take place on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 7pm at BOW TIE PALACE. For your opportunity to see AMERICAN MADE – please download and copy the following e-tix below. ARRIVE EARLY SEATING IS FIRST COME FIRST SERVED!!

first come first served.

Starring Tom Cruise




In the late 1970s, Barry Seal (Tom Cruise)  is a pilot for commercial airline TWA. A CIA agent, Monty Schafer, contacts him and asks him to fly clandestine reconnaissance missions for the CIA over South America using a small plane with cameras installed. Seal accepts.
Later in the 1970s, Schafer asks Seal to start acting as a courier between the CIA and General Noriega in Panama. During a mission, the Medellin Cartel picks Seal up and asks him to fly cocaine on his return flights to the USA. Seal accepts and starts flying the cartel’s cocaine to Louisiana. The CIA turns a blind eye to the drug smuggling, but the DEA tracks Seal down. Schafer warns Seal, who moves to a remote town in Arkansas called Mena.
Later, Schafer asks Seal to run guns to the Contras. Seal soon realizes that the Contras are not serious, so he starts delivering the guns to the cartel. The CIA set up a Contra training base in Mena and Seal flies the Contras in, but most of them disappear as soon as they arrive.

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The Howard – VIP Movie Invite – The LEGO Ninjago Movie-


Hello Friends!

Your Pal Howard would like to invite you to a special Saturday morning animation Screening!!

Please join us for a FREE advance screening of THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE on Sat, Sept 16 at 10am Cinepolis W Hartford.

To download passes, click here:

*Note: Seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed. Please arrive early to get in line and get a seat! Each pass is ADMIT TWO.


Attention, Ninjas!
*NEW* LEGO NINJAGO Movie character posters and featurette links below!

CLOSE UP Character Posters

Nya Back To School Featurette

Jackie Chan NINJAGO Formation

Kicks & Bricks: Making The Lego NINJAGO Movie

Twitter (@ninjagomovie):
Instagram (@legoninjagomovie):


A new animated adventure in Warner Bros. Pictures’ LEGO® franchise, “The LEGO NINJAGO® Movie” stars Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Michael Peña, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, Olivia Munn, and the legendary Jackie Chan.

In this big-screen NINJAGO adventure, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu.

Jackie Chan (“Kung Fu Panda,” “The Karate Kid” stars as Master Wu; Justin Theroux (“Megamind 2,” “The Leftovers”) is Garmadon; Dave Franco (“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”) plays Lloyd; and Olivia Munn (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) is Lloyd’s mom, Koko. Making up the secret ninja crew, Michael Peña (“Ant-Man,” “The Martian”) is Kai; Fred Armisen (“The Jim Gaffigan Show,” “SNL”) voices Cole; Kumail Nanjiani (“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”) is Jay; Abbi Jacobson (“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”) plays Nya; and Zach Woods (“Silicon Valley”) voices Zane.

“The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” will be directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan. The screenplay is by Bob Logan & Paul Fisher & William Wheeler & Tom Wheeler and Jared Stern & John Whittington, story by Hilary Winston & Bob Logan & Paul Fisher & William Wheeler & Tom Wheeler and Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman, based on LEGO Construction Toys.

“The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” is produced by Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who previously collaborated on the worldwide box-office phenomenon “The LEGO Movie” along with Maryann Garger (“Flushed Away”) and Chris McKay (“The LEGO Batman Movie”). The executive producers are Seth Grahame-Smith, Jill Wilfert, and Keith Malone, with John Powers Middleton serving as co-producer.

The film is slated to open on September 22, 2017 in both 3D and 2D formats.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, in association with LEGO System A/S, a Lin Pictures/Lord Miller/Vertigo Entertainment Production, “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

LEGO, the LEGO logo, NINJAGO, the minifigure and the brick and knob configuration are trademarks of The LEGO Group. ©2017 The LEGO Group. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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The Howard – FISH FRY FRYDAY & The Coming of Autumn at Village Pizza





Fish Fry Fryday, Fish Fry Fryday, Fish Fryday, say it thrice and it’s so deliciously Fish Fry nice!
Yes- it’s FRIDAY, and that can only mean it’s time to visit Bloomfield Village Pizza and get in line at the busy restaurant for a wide mouth plate of fresh from the sea to your mouth Fish!


On this Friday, a bevy of waitresses are scurrying about to a full house of Village Pizza & More patrons- “It’s Fish Fry Fryday – Can I take your order please” – the response from the customers- “I’ll have the Fish Please”! The overflowing platters of fish consist of either fresh Haddock or Whiting, hand cut fresh fries, salad or home made coleslaw, with lemon wedges and home made tartar sauce provided on the side of these whale sized platters.

As stated, on this very night, folks are either in line, waiting to be escorted to their table or simply calling to order a freshly made pizza, pasta dinners, grilled chicken salad or the Fish Fry Special. Award winning chef, Maria Rosu affectionately known as the “Empress of Pizza, for her “you can’t just eat one slice” pizza is now welcoming more and more folks, from throughout Connecticut, to her restaurant who are in search for not only authentic Italian cuisine, but the treat of her baked or lightly fried fish, colossal shrimps and Nantucket scallops.

In the coming Autumn months, Chef Maria, will be enhancing her menu with “take the chill off” home-made chili, fully loaded Maine baked potatoes, and her “Country Fair Style” fried dough.
For the month of October, Chef Maria will be preparing her individually prepared “Spirit of Halloween” Pizzas- pizzas with fun “All Hallows Eve”-inspired pizza designs.

Folks, I so encouraged you to visit with Empress Maria at Bloomfield Village Pizza, sample her rich assortment of Italian delights, but when it comes to Friday- remember her Fantastic Fish Fry. Enjoy!!

Bloomfield Village Pizza is located at 34 Tunxis Avenue in Bloomfield, Connecticut. For call ahead reservations, to place an order, or to speak directly with Empress Maria Rosu call 860-242-3339.


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THE HOWARD Premiere Screening Event “IT” – B the 1st 2 C “IT”





For your chance to download passes to the advance screening of IT on Wednesday, September 6 at 7pm at Bow Tie Palace in Hartford, click here:

Remember seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed so please arrive early!

In theaters on September 8

(New Line Cinema)

Director: Andy Muschietti
Writers: Screenplay by Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Producers: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Barbara Muschietti
Executive Producers: Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Walter Hamada, Marty P. Ewing,
Doug Davison, Jon Silk, Niija Kuykendall

Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis,
Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton and Bill Skarsgård

Horror Thriller. New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT,” directed by Andy Muschietti, is based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, which has been terrifying readers for decades. When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.


In theaters on September 8
(New Line Cinema)
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writers: Screenplay by Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Producers: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Barbara Muschietti
Executive Producers: Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Walter Hamada, Marty P. Ewing, Doug Davison, Jon Silk, Niija Kuykendall
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton and Bill Skarsgård
Horror Thriller. New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT,” directed by Andy Muschietti, is based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, which has been terrifying readers for decades. When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

Official site:
Hashtags: #ITMovie



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Bloomfield Couple Organize “Diversity BBQ” for over 300

Bloomfield Couple Organize “Diversity BBQ” for over 300

“This is a good thing” stated Francis Wiggins as she welcomed over 300 guests from throughout Connecticut to her home in the beautiful hamlet of Bloomfield in a celebration of diversity and friendship. Several guests came from as far away as Ireland and Iceland to join participants and to share their different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

For over 10 years Francis and Al Wiggins have organized a “Diversity BBQ” where clergy, laymen, residents and local elected officials can come together to discuss issues, share experiences, provide prayers of peace and have a BBQ fellowship.

Mrs. Wiggins additionally stated, “if there is one thing that can bring folks from all various ethnic and cultural backgrounds together is good food- once we can share a meal, we can then sit back relax, talk and really get to know each other- and you know what? The bottom line is that we are all basically the same”.

Twenty five members of the “Diversity BBQ” team spent an entire week cooking and organizing the “Diversity BBQ” with guests enjoying ribs, burgers, hotdogs, jerk chicken, homemade salads, home-style baked beans, corn on the cob, baked Mac & Cheese and a myriad of tasty treat and desserts.

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