Outdoor jazz, Shakespeare and a ghost convention are among 10 best bets this week in Connecticut

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Our art picks for things to do in Connecticut the week of July 10 to 16 are rife with legends and classics: a Shakespeare Festival at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, outdoor jazz in Bushnell Park in Hartford with Al Foster, an indoor performance by Wynton Marsalis at Ridgefield Playhouse, Jackson Browne in Bridgeport and a stop by Robert Earl Keen at Hartford’s Infinity Hall. “Day of Absence,” a Black protest drama from the 1960s, is playing at Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain.

Oh, and The Amazing Kreskin makes an appearance among the ghosts at the second annual ParaConn, dubbed “Connecticut’s Original & Premier Paranormal Convention.”

Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival

University of Saint Joseph, 1678 Asylum Ave., West Hartford

Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival is marking its 30th anniversary, rather humbly considering the play’s title, with “Much Ado About Nothing,” July 14 to 31. The Capital Classics company is back frolicking on the lawn outside the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford. In case of rain, the show moves indoors to the university’s Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. usj.edu/arts/autorino-center-for-the-arts/.

Wynton Marsalis

Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz this weekend and the Hartford Jazz Society’s Monday series not enough for you? No less a jazz icon than Wynton Marsalis is playing July 10 at 5 p.m. at the Ridgefield Playhouse. $120-$150. ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

Hartford’s Monday-night outdoor jazz series

Bushnell Park, 99 Trinity St., Hartford

Hartford Jazz Society’s Monday night outdoor jazz series in Bushnell Park kicks off July 11 at 6 p.m. The local opening act is pianist Alex Nakhimovsky and vocalist June Bisantz and the nationally known headliner is Al Foster, who has played and/or recorded with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and Joe Henderson. hartfordjazzsociety.com.

Robert Earl Keen

Infinity Hall, 32 Front St., Hartford

Well-respected Texas country/Americana singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen plays July 13 at 8 p.m. at Infinity Hall in Hartford. This is his “I’m Coming Home” tour, and he’s announced that it’s his last. $85-$95. infinityhall.com.

Jackson Browne

Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater, 500 Broad St., Bridgeport

Jackson Browne is touring behind his new album “Downhill From Everywhere” and its latest single “Minutes to Downtown,” July 13 at 8 p.m. at Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport. His reputation is that he’s one of those performers who says “I’d like to play something new from my latest album,” then does so. This will be a low-key “An Evening With...” type of show, albeit in a 5,700-seat amphitheater. $29-$275.50. hartfordhealthcareamp.com.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz

Bushnell Park, 99 Trinity St., Hartford

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz comprises more than two dozen hours of some of the greatest jazz artists in the Hartford area, the New England region and the U.S. in general. There are even a few jazz dance interludes. The action-packed schedule includes:

  • July 14 from 6 to 8 p.m., with the Hall High School Jazz Band featuring Chris Crenshaw)

  • July 15 from 7 to 11 p.m., with Boney James, Vincent Ingala, and the Chembo Corniel Quintet featuring Ray Vega

  • July 16 from 2:30 to 11:30 p.m., a long day ending with Spyro Gyra and Average White Band but also featuring Will Prince and Friends, Isaiah Sharkey, the trio of Brian Simpson, Jakeim Joyner and Steve Oliver

  • July 17 from 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., featuring the Funky Dawgz Brass Band, Matt Marshak, Firey String Sistas, Marquis Hill and The Manhattan Transfer. hartfordjazz.org.

Death Cab for Cutie

Mohegan Sun Arena, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd, Uncasville

Death Cab for Cutie has been around for 30 years, one of the bands that helped make indie and alternative sounds go mainstream, is at Mohegan Sun Arena July 15 at 7:30 p.m. with a much young opening act, Illuminati Hotties (who formed in 2017). $35 and $45. mohegansun.com.

‘Day of Absence’

Hole in the Wall Theater, 116 Main St., New Britain

“Day of Absence” is a classic Black American satire from 1965 by Douglas Turner Ward. It’s set in a small town where all the Black residents suddenly disappear. Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain is revisiting this ever-timely racial drama July 15 to 30. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. plus a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. $25, $20 students and seniors. hitw.org.

Rosemary Minkler

Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main St. Middletown

Rosemary Minkler is an accomplished singer/songwriter and keyboardist who has released some beautifully produced pop songs. She sounds different, though just as good, live. Minkler, who was born in Waterbury and lives in Stamford, plays July 16 at 8 p.m. at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown. $15. buttonwood.org.

ParaConn

Ansonia Armory, 10 N. State St. Ansonia

The second annual ParaConn, dubbed “Connecticut’s Original & Premier Paranormal Convention,” emanates from the walls of the Ansonia Armory July 16 and 17 from 1 pto 6 p.m. Among the attractions: old-school mentalist “The Amazing Kreskin,” more than 80 vendors and just plain spooky vibes. Admission is $14.99 or $19.99 for special “VIP” access an hour before everyone else. There are also separate fees for a Saturday-night afterparty ($19.99 or $29.99 VIP). paraconn.ticketleap.com.

Christopher Arnott can be reached at carnott@courant.com.