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News : Entertainment Mar 12, 2014 - 8:58:50 AM

Quirky Dark Comedy Calls Dressing Room Theatre Home

By Curtain Call

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Carlotta (Femi Shabiolegbe), the "other woman", meets Jean (Stephanie Hazard) thinking that were both lovers of Gordon, in Dead Man's Cell Phone playing in Curtain Call's Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, march 14 through 29. (contributed photo)
An incessantly ringing cell phone breaks the silence of the early moments of Dead Man’s Cell Phone which will play in Curtain Call’s Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, from March 14 through 28.

Dead Man's Cell Phone begins while Jean is finishing up a bowl of lobster bisque in a cafe when the cell phone of a man at another table rings. When the man doesn't answer, she picks up the phone herself, takes a message, then realizes that the man is dead. From that moment on you know this is not a Neil Simon comedy, but rather the work of award-winning contemporary author, Sarah Ruhl.

Romantically entwined, yet almost strangers, Jean (Stephanie Hazard) and Dwight (Mark Rossetti) steal away in the storeroom of Dwights stationery store in Dead Man's Cell Phone playing in Curtain Call's Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, march 14 through 29. (contributed photo)
“This small-cast show is perfect for the intimacy of The Dressing Room Theatre,” said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call executive director and producer of the play. “I knew when I saw the show in NYC several years ago that the DRT would a great home for this unconventional romantic comedy of sorts,” he added.

Indeed, Dead Man’s Cell Phone is laced with adult themes and some foul language as we watch Jean involve herself in the lives of the dead man’s family and friends. But it is the type of contemporary writing that Ursone wants to occasionally include in a season filled with old classics like A Streetcar Named Desire and Fiddler on the Roof. “We work hard to present a very diverse program mix, hoping to find something for everyone in the course of a season,” Ursone added. (Their next two big shows are old standards: The Wizard of Oz and Gypsy.)

Jean (Stephanie Hazard) and Dwight (Mark Rossetti) meet for the first time at the home of the dead man's mother, in Dead Man's Cell Phone playing in Curtain Call's Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, march 14 through 29. (contributed photo)
Directing the play is Trumbull resident and veteran director Karen Randazzo, whose work at Curtain Call includes, Bus Stop, Baby, Sweet Charity and, most recently, The Sound of Music. The cast features Stamford residents Mark Rossetti in the dual roles of brothers, Gordon and Dwight; Annalisa DiNucci as Gordon’s widow, Hermia; and Femi Shabiolegbe as Carlotta. Betty Kaye of Weston plays the dead man’s mother, Mrs. Gottleib, while New Canaan resident, Stephanie Hazard plays the leading role of Jean, originated in New York by Mary Louise Parker.

Production design for Dead Man’s Cell Phone is by Fairfield resident Peter Barbieri, Jr., with costumes by Norwalk resident Christine Mallardi. The Stage management team includes Joe Vitti and Julia Zimmerman, both of Stamford.

The recent widow, Hermia (Annalisa DiNucci) steps out for a few drinks with the woman who last saw her husband alive, jean (Stephanie Hazard) in Dead Man's Cell Phone playing in Curtain Call's Dressing Room Theatre, Stamford, march 14 through 29. (contributed photo)
Tickets are available from the Box Office at 203-461-6358 or online at– Adults: $29. / Senior Citizens: $22. / Students and children: $14.50. Five, seven and ten-ticket Flex Passes are available and reduce ticket prices by up to 25 percent. The remainder of Curtain Call's 23rd season includes, Gypsy and The Wizard of Oz, and many other special events including concerts by Frank Mastrone and comedy nights featuring Michael “Motts” Pelazza.

Curtain Call is the nonprofit, professionally-run, community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and educational workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre.

Curtain Call has been voted Fairfield County’s BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP 2005 through 2013 in the Annual Readers’ Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly as well as BEST LOCAL THEATRE by StamfordPlus magazine for the past five years and as BEST VENUE by Stamford Magazine readers.. Curtain Call also received The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Culture and Tourism for 2011 and in a 2012 statewide Facebook poll, Curtain Call was noted as the most popular theatre in Connecticut and second most favorite attraction in the state.

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