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Trumbull New Theatre finds temporary home at Robins

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

• Trumbull New Theatre has called Niles home since 1957, but it will return to it Warren roots, at least for its next production.

TNT will stage the thriller “Wait Until Dark” at the Robins Theatre in November.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” said Ron Sinesio, who is directing the show. “I haven’t worked in a theater that large for a while. … I think it will be a lot of fun, and it’s such a beautiful space.”

While other area theaters have moved productions online, TNT announced plans to stage the Frederick Knott play back in July with hopes that restrictions imposed on live performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be loosened.

They were … a little. Current directives allow indoor performances at 15 percent capacity. With TNT intimate performance space in Niles, that would be mean an audience of less than 25 people. Under those restrictions, the Robins can house a larger audience than TNT can at full capacity.

The cast will continue to rehearse in Niles, and the set will be built there and transported to Warren, Sinesio said.

Exact dates in November still are being worked out. Instead of a three-weekend run, which is the norm for TNT shows in Niles, “Wait Until Dark” will feature five performances in the same week with evening shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday and matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

The Robins will handle ticket sales — with an on-sale date to be announced — and families can purchase seats together, and the ticketing system automatically will block off the neighboring seats to keep people separated.

“I’m happy about the chance to get a show up, and we can social distance in there,” Sinesio said.

• I enjoyed three different kinds of entertainment over the weekend that wouldn’t have been an option — or at least not a priority — a year ago.

The Grays went to their first drive-in concert, catching JD Eicher at Canfield Presbyterian Church last Friday.

Even with a screen, the view of the performance was hit or miss. I had a clear shot of both Eicher and the screen from the driver’s seat. The rest of the family wasn’t as fortunate. But the radio sound was clear and strong, and Eicher was entertaining as always.

On Sunday my older daughter made a donation to get access to the livestream of the cast of “The Princess Bride” reuniting for a script reading and Q&A. I only watched the first hour or so, but the actors clearly were having fun being back together, and newcomers like Josh Gad (who played Fezzik in place of the late Andre the Giant) seemed giddy to be included.

There were some technical glitches that hindered the dramatic flow, but my “Princess Bride”-obsessed daughter considered it money well spent.

I bailed to watch Miscast 2020, which normally is a live benefit featuring Broadway stars performing songs for roles in which they never could be cast. Proceeds benefit New York’s MCC Theater. This year the performances were pre-recorded, and it premiered Sunday on YouTube.

Norbert Leo Butz’s amped up rendition of “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” had an arrangement that reminded me of an ’80s hair metal power ballad, but it worked better than that description might indicate. And he was followed by Beanie Feldstein doing “Dancing Through Life,” a song Butz sang nightly as the original Fiyero in “Wicked.”

Ingrid Michaelson’s version of “You Will Be Found” (accompanied by Lauren Ridloff’s signing) from “Dear Evan Hanson” gave me chills. Robert Fairchild did some impressive rooftop dancing on “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” and Joshua Henry did a wistful, acoustic guitar arrangement of the “Annie” standard “Tomorrow.”

It’s still available on YouTube, and theater fans should seek it out.

Andy Gray is the entertainment editor of Ticket. Write to him at agray@tribtoday.com

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