It’s a bold new year for Connecticut theaters, many of which begin their seasons in the fall. For many, this is the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that they can confidently plan full seasons.

After a period of painstaking reconstruction, theaters in Connecticut are back and audiences have taken notice.

A quick scan of offerings from Connecticut’s best-known theaters shows a wonderful variety of loud musicals, thought-provoking dramas, new Christmas shows and plays that speak directly to Latino, Native American and Black communities. The diversity and creativity are dazzling.

This guide is just a taste of the many theatrical experiences coming to the state this fall. Some theaters (Waterbury’s Seven Angels and UConn’s Connecticut Repertory Theater among them) have yet to announce their 2022-23 seasons, and others, like Ivoryton Playhouse and Westport Playhouse, operate on the calendar year rather than schedules. school year, so they’re ending their seasons in the fall rather than kicking them off.

Here, in chronological order, are the top 10 shows to watch this fall, plus tips on many more.

Have a good trip to the theatre!

Playhouse on Park opens its fall season with the popular “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” a dramatic and often tragic portrayal of jazz great Billie Holiday. The show runs from September 28 to October 16 at the Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford. $45 to $55; $42.50 to $52.50 students, seniors and military. Danielle Herbert plays Billie and Broadway star Stephanie Pope Lofgren is the director. playhouseonpark.org.

White South African playwright Athol Fugard remains one of the world’s greatest playwrights, and Connecticut was a big part of his legacy.

The Yale Repertory Theater premiered many of his plays, including “‘Master Harold’…and the Boys”, in the 1980s. The Long Wharf Theatre, which presented the American premieres of “Sizwe Banzi is Dead” and ” Fugard’s The Island” in 1971, held world premieres decades later for four more of his plays between 2009 and 2014. Hartford Stage did its “A Lesson from Aloes” in 2018, and now the small political theater HartBeat Ensemble brings back Fugard’s three-way drama from 1989 “My Children! My Africa!”, which captures the idealist and activist who then led to the fall of apartheid. It’s an inspired choice, a glimpse into social change from a playwright whose name is still widely known in Connecticut. The show is directed by Melanie Dreyer-Lude and HartBeat Artistic Director Godfrey L. Simmons Jr. is among the cast. September 29-9 October at the Carriage House Theater, 360 Farmington Ave., Ha rtford. $25, $20 students and seniors. hartbeatensemble.org.

As for black playwrights writing about racism, this is a bumper season for classic African-American dramas. Endesha Ida Mae Holland’s civil rights memoir “From the Mississippi Delta” runs October 18-30 at the Westport Playhouse (westportplayhouse.org). Playhouse on Park presents August Wilson’s “Fences” November 2-20 in West Hartford (playhouseonpark.org). The nationwide tour of Charles Fuller’s “A Soldier’s Play” (which, like “Fences,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama) will take place at the Shubert Theater in New Haven from December 8-11 (shubert.com).

There’s already a play based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel about the rich who aren’t like you or me: “The Great Gatsby: A Live Radio Play” at Branford’s Legacy Theater through Oct. 1 (legacytheatrect. org). The Ivoryton Playhouse makes a different, more traditionally theatrical adaptation of the novel. This version, by British playwright Simon Levy, has had over a hundred productions worldwide. From September 29 to October 23. $55 adults, $50 seniors, $25 students. 103 Main Street, Ivoryton. ivorytonplayhouse.org/our-season/the-great-gatsby.

Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins aren’t the only couple bickering on stage this fall. Edward Albee’s masterpiece of marital malice, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” opens the 2022-23 season at the Yale Repertory Theater. It is run by Rep Artistic Director James Bundy, who directed Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” there in 2010. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” stars Dan Donohue and Rene Augesen as George and Martha, with Nate Janis and Emma Pfitzer Price as young couple Nick and Honey. October 6-29 at the Yale Repertory Theater, 1120 Chapel St., New Haven. $15 to $65. yalerep.org/productions/whos-afraid-of-virginia-woof/.

“Fun Home” has the potential to match the magnificence of TheaterWorks Hartford’s 2017 production of “Next to Normal,” one of the most acclaimed shows in theater history. For one thing, “Fun Home” has the same director – TheaterWorks art director Rob Ruggiero – as well as one of its stars, Christiane Noll, who here plays the mother in this coming-of-age tale. based on Alison Bechdel. graphic novel memory. October 8-30 at TheaterWorks Hartford, 233 Pearl St., Hartford. $25 to $60. twhartford.org/portfolio-items/fun-home/.

The longest-running play in theater history, Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’, played continuously in London from 1952 until 2020, when COVID shut it down. It reopened in 2021 and could set another record. As popular as it is in England, “The Mousetrap” isn’t making much in America these days, making this new production from Hartford Stage a highly anticipated start to the season. Hartford Stage is no stranger to Agatha Christie, having directed the lavish adaptation of Ken Ludwig’s “Murder on the Orient Express” in 2018. “The Mousetrap” director is tireless creative Jackson Gay, who helmed the premieres world performances of “Make Believe” at Hartford Stage in 2018 and “These Paper Bullets!” by Rolin Jones! at the Yale Rep in 2014. October 13 to November 6 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford. $30 to $100. hartfordstage.org.

Location, location, location. The tour version of the 2018 Lincoln Center revival of “My Fair Lady” has its naysayers. Bart Sher’s production goes back to the musical’s source material, George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” to delve into some of the relationship issues between Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, profoundly altering the story. But dramaturgical disputes likely won’t dampen the excitement of “My Fair Lady”‘s return to New Haven’s Shubert Theater, the very theater where it had its world premiere as a pre-Broadway tryout in 1956. There will be dancing in the streets, as exuberant as Eliza’s father “to get married in the morning”. October 19-22 at Shubert, 247 College St., New Haven. $36 to $114. shubert.com/events/detail/my-fair-lady.

If you miss “My Fair Lady” at the Shubert, the same tour is at Waterbury Palace Jan. 24-26 (palacetheaterct.org).

It’s a read, with a script in hand and without the hassle of sets, props and special effects, but “Flying Bird’s Diary” has the distinction of being the last piece to be performed on the main stage at the Long Wharf Theater at 222 Sargent Drive in New Haven before that company left the building it had lived in for 57 years.

Weekend

Weekend

Weekly

Our picks of activities and places to visit this weekend

Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel’s new drama is about a famous member of Connecticut’s Mohegan tribe, Flying Bird, who in the 19th century fought for respect for his heritage and was the last known speaker of the Mohegan Pequot language. The reading is led by Madeline Sayet, director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. Sayet has staged at theaters across the state, including New London’s Flock Theater, UConn’s Connecticut Repertory Theater and the HartBeat Ensemble. Both Zobel and Sayet are citizens of the Mohegan tribe; the playwright is the mother of the director. October 22 and 23 at the Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Dr., New Haven. $35, $10 students. https://longwharf.org/shows-events/flying-birds-diary/.

More new plays are on the way: World premiere of Leah Nanako Winkler’s baking game “The Brightest Thing in the World” Nov. 25-Dec. 17 at the Yale Rep in New Haven (yalerep.org), the 11th Annual International Playwrights Festival October 14-15 at the Warner Theater in Torrington (warnertheatre.org) and the Hartford Fringe Festival Live Return at the Carriage House Theater on Farmington Avenue October 20-29 (hartfordfringefestival.org).

“Aladdin,” the 2014 Broadway hit based on the 1992 animated film, is Disney’s first musical to star The Bushnell in Hartford since “The Lion King” was there in 2018. Disney tours are still top-notch in terms of production, and seeing “Aladdin” will be especially special since its live-action movie remake was released in 2019. November 8-13 at Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. $38 to $130. bushnell.org/shows-concerts/disney-s-aladdin.

There’s a new Christmas show, and it doesn’t involve Charles Dickens or Jimmy Stewart.

Goodspeed Opera House presents a new musical based on the classic 1945 film “Christmas in Connecticut.” The original starred Barbara Stanwyck as a magazine columnist who portrays herself as a wife and mother who lives on a farm and has to live that lie when put on the spot by her oblivious editor. From November 18 to December 30 at the Goodspeed Opera House, 6 Main St., East Haddam. $36 to $80. goodspeed.org.

Looking for other holiday shows? Hartford Stage has opted to bring back last year’s “golden age of radio” adaptation of Jimmy Stewart’s classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” postponing the return of “A Christmas Carol” from at least a year (hartfordstage.org). The annual national tour of “Elf the Musical,” which has played many different theaters across the state over the years, takes place in Oakdale in Wallingford (livenation.com) November 18-19. And TheaterWorks Hartford’s holiday must-have “Christmas on the Rocks” celebrates its 10th anniversary and promises all-new stages and other surprises (twhartford.org).

Christopher Arnott can be reached at [email protected].