Ether Dome

September 11 - October 5

By Elizabeth Egloff
Directed by Michael Wilson

Running Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes, including two 12-minute intermissions.
Recommended for mature audiences.

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Ticket Prices

$25 | $39 | $55 | $70 | $85

Student Ticket Prices

All Student Seats $20.

Includes all fees. Prices subject to change without notice. Student tickets by phone only, please. Please call for Student Matinee Rates.


Danielle Bonanno, Michael Bakkensen, Lee SellarsL to R – Richmond Hoxie, Ken Cheeseman, William Youmans, Tom Patterson, Bill Kux, Greg Balla (seated)L to R – Ken Cheeseman, Greg Balla (seated) Richmond Hoxie, William Youmans, Tom Patterson, Bill Kux (seated)Tom PattersonL to R – Tom Patterson,Richmond Hoxie, Andrew Bryce (seated) Greg Balla, Michael BakkensenMichael Bakkensen, Amelia Pedlow L to R – Bill Kux, Richmond Hoxie, William Youmans, Salvatore Mitsou, Jacob GrannanWilliam Youmans, Tom Patterson (seated)William Youmans, Richmond HoxieL to R – Salvatore Mitsou, Erik C. Bloomquist, Greg Balla, Lee Sellars (seated), Richmond Hoxie, Andrew BryceL to R – Richmond Hoxie, Lee Sellars (seated) Greg Balla, Tom Patterson, Salvatore Mitsou, William YoumansGreg Balla, Tom Patterson, Richmond Hoxie, Lee Sellars (seated)Ken Cheeseman, Richmond Hoxie, Greg Balla, Bill KuxTom PattersonLiba Vaynberg, Tom PattersonWilliam Youmans, Richmond Hoxie

Photos by T. Charles Erickson


East Coast Premiere
A co-production with Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and Huntington Theatre Company.

Surgery is pain. Torturous, gut-wrenching, terrifying pain. Until a discovery in 1846 that changed all of humankind forever—anesthesia. Ether Dome is a psychological thriller that pits three men against each other on their quest for salvation, scientific prowess and glory. In an epic battle between altruism and financial gain, personal struggles send each man into a harrowing downward spiral into despair, and even insanity. Based on the true story of Hartford’s own Dr. Horace Wells – reputedly the inspiration behind Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!

Darko's Comments...

The opening production of our 51st season features a cast of characters whose names may be familiar to you. Dr. Horace Wells. The Wadsworths. The Trumbulls. That is because Ether Dome is set in Hartford in 1846. It is an epic play about Dr. Wells, the discovery of ether as an anesthetic, and the ensuing battle between altruism and financial gain.

The production will coincide with Hartford’s annual Envisionfest. It is a perfect time to produce a play about the scientific discoveries that have shaped our world – and our own city – almost two centuries ago and that influence our lives to this very day.

Ether Dome is a major co-production between Hartford Stage, Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and Huntington Theatre Company in Boston. It will be directed by Michael Wilson, our previous artistic director, whose movie version of The Trip to Bountiful, starring Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams, is currently playing on Lifetime Television. I am thrilled to welcome Michael back to Hartford Stage and to introduce our audience to the prodigious voice of our playwright, Elizabeth Egloff.


Michael Wilson

Shirley Fishman

Set Designer
James Youmans

Costume Designer
David Woolard

Lighting Designer
David Lander

Sound Designer
John Gromada

Stage Manager
Lori Lundquist

Assistant Stage Manager
Alex Hajjar

Associate Director
Rachel Alderman


Horace Wells
Michael Bakkensen

Greg Balla

Inman/As Cast
Erik Christopher Bloomquist

Girl in White
Danielle Bonanno

Paul/Medical Student
Andrew Bryce

Dr. Gould
Ken Cheeseman

Medical Student/As Cast
Jacob Grannan

Dr. Warren
Richmond Hoxie

Bill Kux

Medical Student/As Cast
Salvatore Mitsou

Mrs. Wadsworth
Johanna Morrison

William Morton
Tom Patterson

Elizabeth Wells
Amelia Pedlow

Dr. Colton
Lee Sellars

Lizzie Morton
Liba Vaynberg

Dr. Jackson
William Youmans

Production Sponsor

Ether Dome is funded in part by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project

Darko’s Book Club

Ether Day

By Julie M. Fenster
Host: Darko Tresnjak
Guest Co-host: Elizabeth Williamson, Dramaturg and Director of New Play Development

Monday, Sept. 15, 2014

On Friday, October 16, 1846, only one operation was scheduled at Massachusetts General Hospital… That day in Boston, the operation was the routine removal of a growth from a man’s neck. But one thing would not be routine: instead of using pulleys, hooks, and belts to subdue a patient writhing in pain, this crucial operation would be the first performed under a general anesthetic. No one knew whether the secret concoction would work. Some even feared it might kill the patient. This engrossing book chronicles what happened that day and during its dramatic aftermath.

Note: To join Darko’s Book Club, you must join for the entire season. Sign up here »

The Producer’s Table

September 25, 5:45pm

Managing Director Mike Stotts hosts a pre-show dinner, where he gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce a play. (Tour at 5:45 p.m.  and Dinner at 6:00 p.m. before the 7:30 p.m. curtain.
Please note this is an UPPER LOBBY event.

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AfterWords Discussion

September 23, 24, 30

Join members of the cast and our Artistic staff for a free discussion, immediately following select 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday or 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees. FREE

Sunday Afternoon Discussion

September 21

Enjoy a lecture from artists and scholars connected with the production immediately following the 2 p.m. matinee. FREE

Open Captioned Performances

September 28, 2:00pm & 7:30pm

For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. FREE

Audio Described Performances

October 4, 2:00pm

For patrons who are blind or have low vision. FREE