Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”
Theater: TheaterWorks Hartford
Playwright: Jacques Lamarre
Director: Rob Ruggiero
Based on Stories by: Giulia Melucci
The Howard says – “SECONDO” – A Sizzling Summer Sensation!
Krackaboom-KrackaPow!!! Heaven’s above – that’s the sound of lightning striking twice!! “Secondo” is a Sizzling Summer Sensation! It rains laughs – achieves thunderous applause! Yesiree – famed Connecticut Playwright Jacques Lamarre, Director Rob Ruggiero and actress Antoinette LaVecchia are all onboard once again for this second entry, “Secondo”, the life, loves and further adventures of novelist Giulia Melucci. The World Premiere of “Secondo” – the sequel to “I loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” is currently in production from July 29th till August 28th at TheaterWorks in downtown Harford, Connecticut.
“Is that the one about the woman who cooks pasta on stage”? I’ve heard that question countless times over the years, whenever I’ve spoken about seeing the premiere of “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” at TheaterWorks over twelve years ago. In fact, I was sitting next to then Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford, during intermission we both lamented how hungry we were getting as actress Antoinette LaVecchia spunned out freshly made pasta, yes-cooked on stage and offered to fortuitous attendees. Both of us were not selected. Luckily after the performance, both Mayor Segarra and I hurried over to the after-party at the Goodwin Hotel for “Mangia”-eating delicious culinary selections inspired from the production. By the way – sorry to say no ‘sharing the herring” during “Secondo” as LaVecchia prepares delicate Egg Yolk Ravioli – “Uova da Raviola”- yes I drooled over both the delicately prepared food and the invigorating on-stage production!
Firstly, let me state this fact from the get go – I admire the work of Jacques Lamarre- he is fast becoming Connecticut’s premier and oh so prolific contemporary playwright/dramatist. I have often stated he has wit, charm, style and an unequivocal flair for the written word with a well-respected roster of plays including; “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti”, “Love & Spumoni”, and “Raging Skillet”, one of our all-time favorites “Ja-La” plays- about the life and times of “Chef Rossi – celebrity executive chef and caterer to the stars. Hmmm, ya notice that a majority of Jacques’s productions all have to do with food? It’s a good thing – we enjoy good food and good plays – Lamarre’s new play “Secondo” has both!! By the way Governor Ned Lamont – how about appointing Jacques Lamarre as honorary State Playwright Laureate? Sounds good to me!!
“Secondo” – yes, it is ten years later since we fell in love with the absolutely amazing actress Antoinette LaVecchia aka Giulia Melucci. During this time, she has finally found true love and on this very night of nights, her 10th anniversary, we find her all-a-dizzy as she explains some wayward marital infidelities all the while preparing an exceptional dinner for her “he’s coming home” hubby – Gavin, who is on return flight from the Cannes Film Festival. But all is not as it’s cracked up to be, like those innocent dozen eggs awaiting to be turned into the Egg Yolk Ravioli or that mysterious Marriage Certificate that either disappears or keeps falling off the shelf. What could it all mean- from a mysterious caller, Bob-a purveyor of “Ladyfingers”, to an all-knowing “Alexa” with a song that matches Giulia’s every mood!
Well let me tell you – Theater Works has done it again! This is a marvelous reunion with a joyous friend we have come to know and love. At plays end – I yen for more please! I even mention to playwright Lamarre and the absolutely charming Giulia Melucci, that I would love to see further exploits of Giulia, a TV series-namely “I LOVE GIULIA” a liken to such current TV trends including; “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “Jane the Virgin”, or “Nora From Queens starring Awkwafina. By the way I want to mention, I did meet the elusive Gavin, – a nice chap indeed! What did we all discuss, food of course and the Pizza made by Chef Maria Rosu at Bloomfield Village Pizza. By the way I want dibs on that outstanding kitchen set by Brian Prather – like this production – absolutely stellar. So? What are you waiting for – Go See Secondo!! Enjoy.
Performances of Secondo will take place from July 29th thru August 28th, 2022, at TheaterWorks Hartford located at 233 Pearl Street in downtown Hartford. The performance schedule is Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm. In-person tickets are priced at $25–$65. All tickets can be purchased online at twhartford.org or by calling 860.527.7838. Please visit twhartford.org for more information.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.