The theater season slows down a bit in the first two months of the year. Because too many shows have been cancelled due to snow in past years, many theaters shy away from January and February productions. Nonetheless, diehard theatergoers will find that there’s still plenty of theater  to keep boredom and cabin fever away.

Westport Country Playhouse opens on Jan. 9 with Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie. It was an Off-Broadway hit and has a limited engagement at the Playhouse, but it’s definitely worth seeing. I saw the show when it played at TheaterWorks in Hartford a few years back. I gave it a rave review because the four character play is like a concert of iconic folk singer Woody Guthrie. I said, “This guitar and harmonica playing singer sang about the lives of everyday hard-working honest Americans.” It really is a great American story from the 1930s to the 1950s told through music.

I did see David M. Lutken in the title role in Hartford, and he will reprise that role in Westport.    He’s absolutely fabulous. He will delight audiences as he performs more than 30 songs. One of Guthrie’s many famous songs include “This Land Is Your Land.” Definitely a timely piece with one scene focusing  on apple pickers waiting for work and  in another scene men are dying in war. What is so amazing about Lutken’s performance is that he is so convincing that you forget he is playing the role of Guthrie. This is definitely worth bundling up in your warmest coat and heading to the Westport Playhouse for a memorable night out. The Westport box office is: 203-227-4177.

Also a theater ushering in the first month of the New Year with theatrical excitement is the Phoenix Stage Company in Oakville. Oakville is easy access off of Route 8 and just outside of Waterbury. From Jan. 18-20, this theatre presents three days of original One Act Plays from around the world. The theater’s reading committee has read scripts from all over our country as well as from countries such as Japan, Russia, France, Scotland, and Uzbekistan.

This year the Phoenix Stage Company is offering a Full Festival Pass. For $35 you can attend all three days. Individual tickets without the pass cost $15. For more information contact: Box office: 860-417-2505.

Happy Theater in 2018!

Joanne Greco Rochman is a founder and former member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and is currently an active member in The American Theatre Critics Association.  She welcomes comments. Contact: