The Gary-The Olivia Theater is located in Bethlehem Connecticut on the grounds of the Abbey of Regina Laudis. This lovely open-air theater built in 1982 seats 300 people. The theater is covered but opens at the back to the woods of the Abbey land, and the trees and birds are often a feature of the theatrical world that is created on stage. The link between drama and monastic life is an ancient one, but The Gary-The Olivia Theater in particular owes its existence to Reverend Mother Dolores Hart, the actress, who in 1963 gave up a successful Hollywood career to become a nun at the Abbey. Each summer several annual performances are given in this theater.
The Pitmen Painters written by Lee Hall and loosely based on a book written by William Feaver will be performed June 14 – June 23. The Pitmen Painters is an inspirational story about a close-knit group of miners in Northeast England in the 1930’s who enroll in an art appreciation class as a way of bettering themselves. The story follows members of the group as they interact with a university art instructor, experiment with actual painting and gradually build a body of work that establishes them as The Ashington Group, a briefly celebrated group of painters in the 30’s and 40’s. Receiving critical acclaim in London and on Broadway, The Pitmen Painters is a humorous, thought provoking and moving testament to friendship, human aspiration and the transforming power of art.
A second show, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical Fiorello will be performed from August 1 – 11. Fiorello follows the dynamic professional and political career of Fiorello La Guardia. Elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918, and again from 1922 through 1930 La Guardia served as Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945 and was a major influence in the making of modern day New York. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest mayors in American history. Only five feet tall, he was called “the Little Flower” (“Fiorello” is Italian for “little flower”). The original Broadway production opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in 1959, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960.
General admission seats ($20 Pitmen. $22 Fiorello) for these shows are available now online at http://www.thegarytheolivia.com For special group rates (10 or more) please contact Susan Hackel 860 355-5553 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opening night gala/fundraiser for The Gary-The Olivia Theater is on June 14th (opening night, The Pitmen Painters-$25 pp) and on August 1st (opening night, Fiorello-$28 pp) with wines from Walker Road Vineyards in Woodbury, CT paired with local farmstead cheeses and a meet and greet with the performers.
For area information www.litchfieldhills.com