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Music and History at Art Center; Neil Simon Comedy at Cheney Hall; Idina Menzel Coming to Hartford

Enrich your life, Feb. 24 – March 2, 2011

Not your everyday concert is this inventive collaboration between flutist Barbara Hopkins and guitarist Judy Handler. The pair, billed as the Rosewood Chamber Ensemble, embark on a musical journey through the life and times of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, and a noted diplomat, theater and opera devotee, and flute player. Featured in the March 3 concert is music from Adams' travels in Paris, London, Berlin, and the United States including dances and popular music from his favorite operas, as well as music from Adams' student days at Harvard University. The concert is performend on period flutes including Hopkins' original Asa Hopkins flutes, made in Litchfield, circa 1830.

Starting time is 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $10 at the door. The Windsor Art Center is at the corner of Central and Mechanic streets in Windsor. For more information, visit www.windsorartcenter.org or emailinfo@windsorartcenter.org.

Neil Simon's Rumors at Cheney Hall

When four couples gather at a posh suburban residence to celebrate their hosts' 10th wedding anniversary, something is awry. The hostess is missing, and the host, who happens to be Deputy Mayor of New York City, has shot himself in the head. The injury is only a flesh wound, but the Deputy Mayor's attorney begins a coverup that is the stuff of farce. Sara Logan directs.

Tickets are $17 to $24. Rumors runs Feb. 25 to 27, March 3 to 6, and March 11 to 13. Cheney Hall is at 177 Hartford Road, Manchester. For tickets and more information, visit www.cheneyhall.org or call 860-647-9824.

Girl's Night of Comedy at Playhouse on Park

Heads up, ladies. Feb. 26 is Girl's Night Out at West Hartford's Playhouse on Park. Three stand-up comics of the female persuasion are featured. Back by popular demand is Massachusetts-based Jennifer Myszkowski, a self-proclaimed "corporate drone" by day who performs in comedy clubs at night. Also on the roster are Deb Farrar-Parkman, "one of the most consistently inventive performers" on the Boston comedy scene, according to the Boston Globe, and Kelsey Flynn, who has performed in clubs from San Francisco to Cambridge. She is a founding member of the August Company.

Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Playhouse on Park is at 244 Park Road, West Hartford. For more information, visitwww.playhouseonpark.org or call 860-523-5900 x10.

Heart Gallery at Children's Museum 

Photographic portraits of children in need of adoptive families, grouped under the heading the Heart Gallery, is on view through the end of April at West Hartford's Children's Museum. The Heart Gallery began in 2003 as a collaboration between local photographers, The Hartford courant, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and area agencies that recruit and train foster/adoptive families. The first Connecticut Heart Gallery resulted in the adoption of more than half of the children featured. This year's exhibit, which features 21 portraits, travels to various public exhibit spaces across the state throughout the year. “It is a natural association for us to exhibit these portraits,” said Don Peterson, Interim Director of the Children’s Museum. “There is an ongoing need for families to care for and love these children, and we are a gathering place for families. We hope that by participating we can help even one child find that family that will change her life forever.” Information on the children being featured in the exhibit can be found at www.ctfosteradopt.com.  

The Children's Museum is at 950 Trout Brook Drive, West Hartford. Visitwww.thechildrensmuseumct.org or call 860-231-2824.

Folk Hero Bill Morrissey at Roaring Brook

If there are monsters in the field of folk music, Bill Morrissey is one. The twice Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-guitarist stops at Canton's Roaring Brook Nature Center for a Feb. 26 concert of new songs and audience requests. After that, the Hartford-born Morrissey departs for Paris where he is scheduled to sign copies of his novels Imaginary Runner and Edson. Stephen Holden, writing in The New York Times, compares Morrissey's work to that of other literary giants: "Mr. Morrissey's songs have the force of poetry ... a terseness, precision of detail and a tone of laconic understatement that relate his lyrics to the fiction of writers like Raymond Carver and Richard Ford."

Tickets cost $16 in advance; $18 at the door. Roaring Brook Nature Center is at 70 Gracey Road, Canton. Visit www.roaringbrookconcerts.org.

And the Oscar Goes To . . .

Will the golden statuette go to Natalie Portman, who is having the year of a lifetime, or to Annette Bening, long overdue for her prize? Will Colin Firth prevail over Oscar fave Jeff Bridges and 127 Hours star James Franco? Which of the 10 nominated films will win best picture? Find out all the answers in the company of fellow film fans when the Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition presents its annual Oscar Night on Feb. 27. Tart up (formal or outrageous attire is encouraged), walk a red carpet, and watch the 83rd annual Academy Awards telecast at Dish Bar & Grill in Hartford. Prizes are given for most glamorous costume.

The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $55 per person or $100 per couple. All proceeds benefit CARC. Buy tickets at http://www.ctaidscoalition.org. Dish Bar & Grill is at 900 Main St., Hartford. 

Divine Rivalry at Hartford Stage

What if three of the great minds of the Renaissance came together and met? Veteran political journalist and playwright Michael Kramer was inspired by just such an event – a little-known meeting of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. Kramer used the meeting as the springboard for Divine Rivalry, a play that explores the pursuit of personal riches, great art and immortality, and asks what happens when art is used as a tool for political and personal ambition. Hartford Stage artistic director Michael Wilson stages the world premiere of Kramer's work.

Divine Rivalry runs Feb. 24 through March 20 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford. Hartford Stage is at 50 Church St., Hartford. For tickets or more information, visit www.hartfordstage.org or call 860-527-5151.

Idina Menzel Coming to Hartford

Consider this early notice on an event that is likely to sell out: Broadway and television superstar Idina Menzel, Tony Award-winning star of Wicked and TV's Glee, joins the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for a one-night-only performance on May 6. The program features a mix of musical theater favorites (including hits from Wicked and Rent), classic pop songs from Menzel's album I Stand, and tunes from her appearances on Glee. The HSO players are donating their services for this concert, which benefits the orchestra's cultural, educational, and community engagement programs.

Show time is 8 p.m. at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, 166 Capitol Ave., Hartford. HSO and Bushnell subscribers and Idina Menzel Fan Club members may purchase tickets beginning Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. Tickets go on sale to the general public March 2 at 10 a.m. Tickets range in price from $35 to $125 (plus applicable service charges). To buy tickets, call the Bushnell box office at 860-987-5900. For more information, visit www.bushnell.org.

Landmark Portrait Retrospective at Yale Center for British Art

Thomas Lawrence was the most important portrait painter of his generation. The artist, who lived from 1769 to 1830, created images that captured the leading figures of the Regency period. More than 50 of Lawrence's works are on view in the traveling exhibition Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance, which opens Feb. 24 at New Haven's Yale Center for British Art. The Yale Center is the only North American stop for the show, which explores the development of Lawrence's career as one of the most celebrated and influential artists in Europe in the early 19th century.

Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance runs through June 5. The Yale Center for British Art is at 1080 Chapel St., New Haven. For more information, visit www.ycba.yale.edu or call 203-432-2800.

Long Wharf Premieres a Tale of Immigrants

Immigrants making their way in an American city are the subject of Agnes Under the Big Top, a play about hope and disillusionment, identity and reinvention, and isolation and migration. Written by Aditi Brennan Kapil, a Minneapolis-based actress, writer, and director of Bulgarian and Indian descent,Agnes begins performances March 2 at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre. The world premiere production is directed by Eric Ting.

Performances run March 2 to April 3 on Long Wharf's Stage II. Tickets cost $45 to $65. Long Wharf Theatre is at 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven. For tickets or more information, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.

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