Backyard Theater Ensemble

Your World On Stage

Show History


Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck

November 1-9, 2018
Performed at Hole in the Wall Theater, New Britain
Directed by Ryan Wantroba

Cast: Kailee Ostroski, Chet Ostroski, Amy Petrucci, Doug Benham, Michael Vernon Davis
Production Team: Lauren Dellafera, Chris Petrucci, Tina Parziale

Stamp collecting is far riskier than you think. When their mother dies after an expensive illness and a lifetime of bad choices, two estranged half-sisters, Jackie and Mary, discover a book of rare stamps that may include the crown jewel for collectors. Jackie tries to collect on the windfall, while Mary resists for sentimental reasons. In this gripping tale, a seemingly simple sale becomes dangerous when shady, high-stakes collectors enter the sisters’ world, willing to do anything to claim the rare find as their own. Rebeck’s Mauritius is a tightly-paced, surprising comedic thriller, a look at a seedy and rarified world of philatelic subterfuge, with a dark center of family pain. 


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The North Plan by Jason Wells

April 12th - 13th, 2019
Performed at Hole in the Wall Theater, New Britain
Directed by Dina Addorisio

Cast: Tina Parziale, Rosemary Ijomah, Ryan Wantroba, Anthony Urillo, Victor Tellez, Chet Ostroski
Production Team: Gabby Kunzika, Tina Parziale, Evan Seide, Ryan Wantroba, John Bosco

After a ruthless faction seizes power in Washington, Carlton Berg, a bureaucrat for the State Department, runs off with the new regime's top secret enemies list. Unfortunately for Carlton, the chase has come to an end in a police station in the Ozarks town of Lodus. With a pair of DHS agents on the way, Carlton's last hope is in the people around him: an unsympathetic police chief, an ambivalent administrative assistant, and fellow prisoner Tanya Shepke, a motor-mouthed recidivist who's turned herself in for drunk driving and thinks Skynyrd should be on the new money. The revolution starts now.


The Good Doctor by Neil Simon

November 30 and December 1, 2018
Performed at the Whitneyville Cultural Commons
Directed by Marydelll Merrill, Brooks Appelbaum, Dina Addorisio, Tina Parziale, Dawn DeMeo, Kailee Ostroski

Cast: Chet Ostroski, Ryan Wantroba, Doug Benham, Brooks Appelbaum, Kailee Ostroski, Victoria Addorisio, Tina Parziale, Stephen Sedlak, Taylor Crofton, Christy Donahue, Anthony Urillo, David Macharelli, Dennis Bell, Ryan Devaney
Production Team: Tina Parziale, Kailee Ostroski, Chris Petrucci

This Broadway hit is a composite of Neil Simon and Anton Chekhov. In one sketch, a feisty old woman storms a bank and upbraids the manager for his gout and lack of money. In another, a father takes his son to a house to initiate him into the mysteries of sex, only to relent at the last moment and leave the boy more perplexed than ever. In another sketch, a crafty seducer goes to work on a wedded woman, only to realize that the woman has been in command from the first overture. And let us not forget the classic tale of a man who offers to drown himself for three rubles. The stories are droll, the portraits affectionate, the humor infectious, and the fun unending.

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Fool For Love by Sam Shepard

April 20th - 22nd, 2018
Performed at the Whitneyville Cultural Commons
Directed by Marydelll Merrill

Cast: Chet Ostroski, Kailee Ostroski, Anthony Urillo, Ryan Wantroba
Production Team: Dina Addorsisio, Tina Parziale, Chris Petrucci, Evan Seide

The setting is a stark motel room at the edge of the Mojave Desert. This room is occupied by May, a heartsick young woman in denial, and Eddie, her capricious cowboy lover. May and Eddie have a complex, love-hate relationship. Eddie is frequently away, whether for work or love affairs. May simultaneously misses him and never wants to see him again, but never can find the will to walk away. The desperate nature of their relationship is accentuated by the play's two other characters: a hapless young man who stops by to take May to the movies, getting more than he bargained for, and an old man, displaced from reality, who sits at the side of the stage commenting wryly on what he observes. Through the course of the play, we watch as they wrestle with their inner demons, their passionate love, and a curse from their fathers.

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Catholic School Girls by Casey Kurtti, A Staged Reading


November 17th- 19th, 2017
Performed at the Whitneyville Cultural Commons
Directed by Ryan Wantroba


Cast: Jenny Dressel, Kailee Ostroski, Tina Parziale, Amy Petrucci
Production Team: Chet Ostroski, Chris Petrucci, Evan Seide, Adam Peacock

Catholic School Girls is a unique storytelling experience exploring the trials, tribulations, and joys of growing up Catholic in the 1960s. A cast of four women portrays four young girls, and the nuns that teach them, in this satirical, memory play set at St. George's School in Yonkers, NY. The play opens with the girls on their first day of first grade and follows them through eighth grade and beyond as each of the girls battles with her demons, both internal and external. At times, hilarious, at times, heartfelt and moving-- whether you were raised Catholic, married a Catholic, or simply sat through a Catholic communion ceremony, there is something here for you.


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Extremities by William Mastrosimone


May 27-June 5, 2016
Performed at the Thomaston Opera House Arts Center Theatre
Directed by Lucia Dressel 

Cast: Tina Parziale, Frank Beaudry, Abby Lund, Amy Kopchik
Producer: Kailee Donovan 
Production Team: Ryan Wantroba, Chris Petrucci, Chet Ostroski, Dylan Reilly, Adam Peacock

Extremities is a searing play about rape, power, and gender in society. A young woman, Marjorie, is attacked in her home by a stalker and would-be rapist, Raul. She manages to turn the tables on him, tying him up in her fireplace. Her roommates, Terry and Patricia, come home to discover the attacker bound with cords, belts, and other household items. The roommates express different points of view about rape and justice. Terry, a rape victim herself as a teenager, believes that Raul will not be convicted since a rape did not actually occur and there is no proof. Patricia believes in the judicial system and insists on calling the police. The three friends turn on the attacker and each other at various points in the play.

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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

February 27-March 13, 2016
Performed at the Thomaston Opera House Main Stage
In conjunction with Landmark Community Theatre
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Cast: Chet Ostroski, Lucia Dressel, Nicole Thomas, Matthew Albert
Producers: Kailee Donovan & Jeffrey Dunn
Production Team: Chris Petrucci, Tina Parziale, Dylan Reilly, Adam Peacock, Abby Lund, Alex Dunn, Ten-2-One Painters, Barbara Piscopo

Amanda Wingfield is a faded, tragic remnant of Southern gentility who lives in poverty in a dingy St. Louis apartment with her son, Tom, and her daughter, Laura. Amanda strives to give meaning and direction to her life and the lives of her children, though her methods are ineffective and irritating. Tom is driven nearly to distraction by his mother's nagging and seeks escape in alcohol and the world of the movies. Laura also lives in her illusions. She is crippled, and this defect, intensified by her mother's anxiety to see her married, has driven her more and more into herself. The crux of the action comes when Tom invites a young man of his acquaintance to take dinner with the family. Jim, the caller, is a nice ordinary fellow who is at once pounced upon by Amanda as a possible husband for Laura. In spite of her crude and obvious efforts to entrap the young man, he and Laura manage to get along very nicely, and momentarily Laura is lifted out of herself into a new world. But this world of illusion that Amanda and Laura have striven to create in order to make life bearable collapses about them.

See more photos from The Glass Menagerie!

Read the reviews:

Nancy Sasso Janis, OnStage

Jim Ruocco, Take 2 Blog 

J. Timothy Quirk, Nutmeg Chatter & Register Citizen 

Jessie Sawyer. Entertainment Connect

  Joanne Rochman, Waterbury Republican


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Gidion's Knot by Johnna Adams

August 21-30, 2015

Performed at the Thomaston Opera House Arts Center Theater
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Assistant Director: Chet Ostroski
Cast: Kailee Donovan, Sybil Haggard Chamberlin
Production Team: Chris Petrucci, Adam Peacock, Dylan Reilly

    The setting is a familiar one, a 5th grade classroom. A parent shows up unexpectedly for a parent/teacher conference demanding to know why her son was suspended, which she believes led to his tragic suicide. The emotionally stressed classroom teacher is put on the defensive as she tries to articulate her reasoning for the suspension, and belief as to where exactly to lay the blame for the boy’s death. The two women struggle as they deal with their emotions. The accusations fly as they begin to try to unravel the knot that is Gidion. The play deals with a child’s violent fantasy. It questions free expression, whether it is limited by societal needs, or the desire to neatly label and solve problems that have no solutions, neat or otherwise. It is a visceral and provocative theater experience that is raw, honest, disturbing, and yes, funny at times. It is a tale that must be understood emotionally, not just intellectually. 

See more photos from Gidion's Knot.

Read the review by Nancy Sasso Janis from OnStage.

Read the review by J. Timothy Quirk from Nutmeg Chatter.

Read the review by Jim Ruocco.

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Belleville by Amy Herzog

April 2-12, 2015
Performed at the Thomaston Opera House Arts Center Black Box Theater 

Directed by Marydell Merrill

Cast: Kailee Donovan, Chet Ostroski, Ashley McBride, DaJavon Davis
Producer: Abygale Lund
Technical Director: Liza McMahon
Production Team: Taylor Crofton, Tina Parziale, Chris Petrucci, Christina Domschine, Adam Peacock

Young Americans Zack and Abby have the perfect ex-pat life in Paris: a funky bohemian apartment in up-and-coming Belleville; a stable marriage; and Zack’s noble mission to fight pediatric AIDS. But when Abby finds Zack at home one afternoon when he’s supposed to be at work, the questions and answers that follow shake the foundation of their seemingly beautiful life. "A portrait of a marriage sliding ineluctably into crisis, Ms. Herzog’s delicately constructed drama simmers along coolly until, almost unnoticeably, the small secrets and larger lies that have become woven into the fabric of a young couple’s life begin to tear them apart." -Charles Isherwood, NY Times 

See more photos from Belleville

Read this review by Nancy Sasso Janis from OnStage

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Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley

November 6-16, 2014
Performed at Thomaston Opera House Arts Center, Thomaston, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Cast: Kailee Donovan, Tina Parziale, Dawn DeMeo, Sybil Chamberlin, Sean Gilleylen, Chet Ostroski
Producer: Abygale Lund
Crew: Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly, Chris Petrucci, Taylor Crofton, Christina Domschine

The scene is Hazlehurst, Mississippi, where the three Magrath sisters have gathered to await news of the family patriarch, their grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the local hospital. Lenny, the oldest sister, is unmarried at thirty and facing diminishing marital prospects; Meg, the middle sister, who quickly outgrew Hazlehurst, is back after a failed singing career on the West Coast; while Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after having shot her husband in the stomach. Their troubles, grave and yet, somehow, hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, Chick, and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep Babe out of jail while helpless not to fall in love with her. In the end the play is the story of how its young characters escape the past to seize the future—but the telling is so true and touching and consistently hilarious that it will linger in the mind long after the curtain has descended.

Read this Review from J. Timothy Quirk on Nutmeg Chatter.

See more photos from Crimes of the Heart

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Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl

April 24-May 4, 2014
Performed at Thomaston Opera House Arts Center, Thomaston, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Assistant Director: Kailee Donovan
Cast: Tina Parziale, Tai Spargo, Taylor Crofton, Jennifer Dowker, Chet Ostroski, Sean Gilleylen
Producer: Abygale Lund
Crew: Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly, Chris Petrucci, Kailee Donovan, Abygale Lund, Christina Domschine, Joe Rinaldi

An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man with a lot of loose ends. So begins Dead Man's Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative new comedy by Sarah Ruhl. A work about how we memorialize the dead and how that remembering changes us. It is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. "In her new oddball comedy, Ruhl is forever vital in her lyrical and biting takes on how we behave." - The Washington Post (FOR MATURE AUDIENCES)

See more photos from Dead Man's Cell Phone

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Five Women Wearing the Same Dress by Alan Ball

November 8-17, 2013
Performed at Thomaston Opera House Arts Center, Thomaston, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Cast: Christina Domschine, Kailee Donovan, Abygale Lund, Tina Parziale, Tai Spargo, Chet Ostroski
Crew: Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly, Chris Petrucci, Sean Gilleylen, Joe Rinaldi, Taylor Crofton

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress takes place during an over-the-top wedding reception at an estate in Nashville, Tennessee. The five identically clad bridesmaids seek refuge in the bedroom of the bride's younger sister to discuss life, love, and men. Each woman has her own reason for avoiding the proceeding happening at the reception. They are Meredith, the bride's sarcastic sister, whose tough external demeanor hides pain and insecurity within; Frances, the shy, innocent and deeply religious cousin who is out of her comfort zone; Mindy, the funny and wise-cracking sister of the groom; Georgeanne, whose failing marriage triggers outrageous behavior and Trisha, the jaded beauty queen whose cynicism about the men in her life is called into question when she meets Tripp, the charming bad-boy usher with more than meets the eye. As the afternoon wears on, these five very different women discover a common bond in this wickedly funny, irreverent, and touching celebration of the women's spirit.

See more photos from Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

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1959 Pink Thunderbird by James McLure

March 1-10, 2013
Performed at Thomaston Opera House Arts Center, Thomaston, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Cast of Laundry and Bourbon: Kailee Donovan, Taylor Crofton, Jennifer Dowker
Cast of Lone Star: Chet Ostroski, Kelly Marchand, Sean Gilleylen
Crew: Christina Domschine, Abygale Lund, Chris Petrucci, Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly

Backyard Theater Ensemble revived this production for a new audience in a new theater space.

See more photos from 1959 Pink Thunderbird-Revived!

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The Shadow Box by Michael Cristopher

October 12-21, 2012
Performed at Thomaston Opera House Arts Center, Thomaston, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Cast: Sean Gilleylen, Taylor Crofton, Nora Graseck, Kailee Donovan, Chet Ostroski, Joe Rinaldi, Christina Domschine, Jennifer Dowker, Chris Petrucci
Crew: Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly, Abygale Lund

The Shadow Box is a poignant play which deals with the lives of three separate groups of people living at a hospice in the woods of northern California. The Tony and Pulitzer prize winning play by Michael Cristofer is influenced by Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross' seminal work On Death and Dying which deals with the 5 stages of grief a terminal patient goes through upon learning of their condition. We watch as the families and patients exhibit and deal with anger, denial, depression, bargaining and finally acceptance.

While the play deals which this serious subject, it has lighter moments and humor as they are an inherent part of life and how we deal with the human condition and spirit. The play is finally an affirmation of life and living, reminding all of us how precious each moment and breath we take is. This is summed up in the line of one of the characters who says, "They tell you are dying and you say okay. But if I am dying that must mean that I'm still alive."

See more photos from The Shadow Box

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1959 Pink Thunderbird by James McLure
Two Plays in One: Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star

May 25-26, 2012
Performed at Post University Eagle's Nest, Waterbury, CT
Directed by Donato J. D'Albis

Cast of Laundry and Bourbon: Kailee Donovan, Taylor Crofton, Jennifer Dowker
Cast of Lone Star: Chet Ostroski, Kelly Marchand, Sean Gilleylen
Producer: Kailee Donovan & Chet Ostroski
Crew: Christina Domschine, Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly

Loss! Loss of friends, of trust, of youth, love, and innocence, these are the themes that run through these two one-act plays. The time is 1970 and the place Maynard, Texas. The war raged on in Vietnam and as a nation we struggled with change and loss. Those who left to fight grew up in a time of peace knowing war only from the movies. We charged into battle unprepared for what we would face. Laundry and Bourbon examines the struggles of the women who stayed while Lone Star looks at what happened to those who left and then returned. Both plays are laugh out loud funny. Perhaps the author felt that the best cure for that which ails us is laughter or that we laugh because it hurts too much to cry. Whatever the reason we are shown that we are never as alone as we think we are.

Read more about this production and the founding of BTE.

See more photos from 1959 Pink Thunderbird

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Loose Ends by Michael Weller

September 2-3, 2011
Performed at The Square Foot Theater, Hamden, CT
Directed by The Cast with assistance from Donato J. D'Albis

Cast: Chet Ostroski, Kailee Donovan, Taylor Crofton, Chris Damon, Toby Henst, Amanda Averack, Kelly Marchand, Sean Gilleylen, Jenny Dowker
Producer: Kailee Donovan & Chet Ostroski
Crew: Christina Domschine, Adam Peacock, Dylan Maxwell Reilly

Michael Weller's Loose Ends explores the life and love of two '20 somethings' across the decade of the 1970's. We see the lives of Paul and Susan as they go from trying to find themselves to finding each other. The play, which is shown in eight scenes, deals with the many things, said and unsaid, in their relationship with each other and their dealings with their friends. They are unable to tie up all of the loose ends of their lives and they struggle to connect emotionally. They seem never to be able to express their true desires, wants and needs. Each one loves the other yet their lives spiral in and out of control as they succeed in their business lives but not where it matters most, with each other. They are merely photographs of their lives. Snapshots of their relationship to be observed, critiqued, and then filed away. Where love is never enough and what we gain never equals what we lose.

See more photos from Loose Ends


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