May 19, 2022

“Star of Freedom” Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse

This lively scene from ‘Star of Freedom’ features (from left to right) actors Danny Adams, Ayla Stackhouse, Richard E. Waits, and Ben Hope. Photographs courtesy of Jonathan Steele.

IVORYTON — Last Thursday, April 7, a new musical written by Connecticut writers took the stage in Ivoryton, sparking laughter, cheers and a standing ovation.

Star of Freedom, with music and lyrics by Jeff Blaney and book by Lawrence Thelen, opened the Playhouse’s 2022 Season.

Based on Blaney’s concept album Exodus, Star of Freedom takes the audience on a journey with Sean and Chloe as they search for the meaning of home in 1860s America.

The two come from completely different worlds – one an Irish immigrant, the other an African-American slave – but when the Civil War forces their lives to intersect, they demonstrate what it means to be American during the 19th century.

At a time when America is struggling with its identity, it is worth looking back to another difficult time in history that ultimately led to a stronger and more unified nation. Though today, the flaws and scars that this history left behind are still visible, Star of Freedom offers a ray of hope through the lives of these two very different characters.

Star of Freedom is at times funny and whimsical, while at other times painfully sad, yet it never loses its focus as a love story in a time of strife.

Blaney’s intimate and refreshing score (played by the actors on stage) is steeped in Irish and Southern traditions, making it both contemporary and nostalgic at the same time; while Thelen’s book is timely and theatrical.

Conceived and directed by the Playhouse’s own Artistic Director, Jacqueline Hubbard, this world premiere musical features a strong line-up of actor/musicians, including Danny Adams as Sean, and Ayla Stackhouse as Chloe.

The nearly 30 other characters in the story are handled by Brian Michael Carey*, Luke Darnell*, Richard E. Waits * and Ben Hope,* who also musical directs. Karilyn Ashley Surratt joins the creative team as choreographer.

The show has sets and lights designed by Marcus Abbott; costumes by Elizabeth Saylor; and sound by Adam Jackson.

Star of Freedom runs through Sunday, May 1, 2022. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm; evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

There will be one Thursday matinee on April 7 at 2 p.m. and one Saturday matinee on April 9 at 2 p.m.

This season, the Playhouse is back to full capacity for the first time in two years, yet audience safety remains the primary concern. Masks are no longer required, though recommended, and patrons must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result for admittance. Knowing all audience members are COVID-free will provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Tickets are $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $25 for students. Tickets go on sale beginning March 1 and are available online at ivorytonplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 860.767.7318.

For information on group rates, call the box office.

For more information on the entire 2022 season, visit ivorytonplayhouse.org. The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*Denotes a member of Actors Equity.

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