Mlima’s Tale: a powerful and moving drama of the illegal ivory trade now at the Westport Country Playhouse

 

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A powerful, moving and thought provoking play is now on stage at the Westport Country PlayhouseMlima’s Tale is a compelling drama written by two time Pulitizer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and directed by Mark Lamos.  The play was featured Off-Broadway in 2018 and this is its first production since then and cannot be missed.

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The story of Mlima’s Tale is  of a famous and beloved Kenyan elephant named Mlima who lives in a protected national park, but is still being hunted by poachers involved in the illegal ivory trade.   The story follows the hunting of Mlima and the transport of the precious tusks of this animal to Vietnam and finally on to China.  Along the way the elements of human greed, corruption, and crime are exposed as part of this illicit trade.

The author brings not only great respect to the elephants and their plight, but humanizes them during the performance.  We hear the voices of the elephants as they run through the brush to escape the poachers, and as they cry out for loved ones.  It is traumatic tale that grabs the audience and does not let them go. Jermaine Rowe plays Mlima and his words and body language give a voice to this wonderful animal.  After the hunt Mr. Rowe takes on the part of the soul or the spirit of Mlima as the tusks are being transported.  He follow along the trade route and  physically touches each of the persons involved in the trade and marks them with the sign of their crime with white chalk.

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The message of “Mlima’s Tale” is straight forward, clear and direct. This is like no other drama I have ever seen on stage.  The set is simple and allows the actors and the story to drive the message.  The back screen of the stage is lit with changing images as well as  written quotes that convey the inhumanity of how we share this planet with other beings, and harvest them as if they had no soul.   This unique approach to story telling is quite compelling and I found myself riveted to the action on stage during the performance.  The somberness of the subject matter, the creative story telling, and the projected imagery of the written quotes constantly has the audience contemplating the seriousness of the elephant’s plight, and that of all exploited animals.    The play is 90 minutes long with no intermission.  There is no usual break to reflect on what is happening to in the play, but rather the audience is drawn into the story until its conclusion.  Like all his work, director Mark Lamos has done a brilliant job with this unique drama.

The other  three cast members  have the task of playing multiple roles including Kenyan hunters, corrupt officials, Kenyan park rangers, ivory traders, an American ship captain, Vietnamese port officials, and even a wealthy Chinese woman looking to buy an ivory trinket for her luxury flat.  Jeannean Farmer, Adit Dileep and Carl Hendrick Louis are up to the task of the many characters they play. Each has an impressive resume of Broadway, Off Broadway, and television roles and they provide a fine performance.

This is a rare play that is unique in its presentation but powerful in its delivery and its message.  Do not miss it.

for tickets and information >>https://www.westportplayhouse.org/mlimastale

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court

Westport Ct     (203) 227-4177

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Taste of Fairfield:A great event for foodies on Sunday October 13th

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Looking for something to do this coming weekend?  If you are looking for something different then the Taste Of Fairfield may be the perfect way to take spend your day . The event is on Sunday October 13th  from 1pm to 4pm.  Taste of Fairfield is a production of Town Vibe, the publisher of magazines in Fairfield, Westchester, and Litchfield Counties.

Taste of Fairfield  is a great event that brings together in one place restaurants, wineries, distillers, craft brewers and markets. It takes place in a tented  patio area of the elegant Delamar Hotel in Southport, Ct.  Samples of products from all the vendors will be available to taste for all attendees.   I attended the Taste of Fairfield event  last year and had a great time!

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Foodies and their families can enjoy tastes and sips from more than 35 restaurants and specialty markets from the Fairfield area. In addition to fine cuisine, craft cocktails, wine, craft beer, and sweets, there will be live music from local favorite Ellis Island, and returning special guest: psychic medium and “Domestic Diva” chef Lisa Marie Rollieri from “Angel Speaks,” giving “Angel Readings.” There will be a few pop-up shop vendors selling gifts, jewelry, décor and beauty products. Fairfield Moms is presenting the kids area with sweet treats and food, a bounce house, entertainment, a take-home craft from AR Workshop, face-painting, and more.

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Taste of Fairfield takes place rain or shine, from 1 PM to 4 PM, and new this year— a special VIP Preview hour from noon to 1 PM for VIP ticket holders which includes valet parking. The event benefits and showcases charity partner Norma Pfreim Breast Center, celebrating their 20th year.

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS : Artisan, Atria Senior Living, Brick Walk Tavern, Cylinder Vodka Inc, Diageo, Fairfield Craft Ales, Fifth State Distillery, Forza Ristorante, Fred06825, Geronimo Tequila Bar & Southwest Grill, Hub & Spoke, Josh Wines, Kindred Spirits & Wine, Links Drinks Transfusion, Litchfield Distillery, Lobstercraft, Maplewood Senior Living, Nordic Fish, Old Post Tavern, Pizza Truck Company, Playa Bowls of Fairfield, Poppy’s Cheesecake, Puerto Vallarta, Reed’s, Rive Bistro, Sono Baking Company, Sturges Ridge, The Blind Rhino, The Little Pub, Totó Mediterranean Restaurant, Two Roads Brewing, Whiskey Barrel

TICKET PRICES

$55 Adults ($65 at door)
$20 Students 21 & under
FREE Kids 10 & under
$100 VIP ($130 at door) Special VIP Preview hour 12-1 PM with Valet Parking. Limited VIP tickets!

tickets>>https://www.eventbrite.com/e/taste-of-fairfield-2019-tickets-63433064002

This event  sold out last year so don’t wait!

Taste of Fairfield  presented by TownVibe

Delamar Southport   (right off I-95 north)

275 Old Post Road

Southport, CT 06890

 

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Audrain’s Newport Concours d’Elegance: a new world class car event comes to Newport October 3rd to 6th

 

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Billed as “A celebration of all things history, sport and luxury, Audrain’s Newport Concours D’Elegance will bring a new level of  excitement to the car collecting world.  Attendees can spend their  days enjoying fine dining pop-ups, exhibitions of rare and exciting automobiles, seminars, shopping, tennis, golf and sailing along the Newport coast. Then, once the sun goes down, experience exclusive concerts, galas and VIP parties hosted in the mansions that  populate America’s original luxury capital.

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The concours will be presented by the Audrain Automobile Museum in Newport R.I. which opened in 2014 and has been growing  since . Even with years of successful events, Audrain’s wanted to bring a truly great concours to the area. A world class Concours & Motor Week event of this caliber has never been executed in Newport, Rhode Island.  This is your opportunity to experience what is billed to be a truly magnificent event.

The four days of the Concours will feature not only amazing collector cars from near and afar, but a concert with John Legend, a VIP gala, Cars and Coffee, The Concours Village,  Seminars, The Gathering at Rough Point ( a lawn party featuring rare autos and motorcycles in a spectacular setting) and more.

The four-day program concludes with a centerpiece event, the Concours d’Elegance, which will feature a world-class collection of over a billion dollars worth of rare and vintage cars. Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance is the crown jewel of Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week. Concours Chairman, Donald Osborne, has assembled a terrific selection of judges from around the globe. The Concours classes span the decades from early 1900 to 1970 with a focus on cars that pay homage to the theme of history, sport, and luxury.

for information and tickets:   https://www.audrainconcours.com

 

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Ragtime the Musical: a powerful story and great performances take the stage at the Music Theatre of Connecticut

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A moving and very relevant production of  Ragtime the Musical is now on stage at the Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC).  Ragtime relates the story of three different groups of people in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century.    The three groups are  African Americans, an  upper class white family from  New Rochelle in Westchester County and Eastern European immigrants. These groups aver very different but their lives will become intertwined.

The story adapted for the stage by Terrence McNally also weaves actual historical figures of the period along with the fictional characters.  We see appearances from Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, Admiral Peary (polar explorer), Harry Houdini,  Emma Goldman (writer and anarchist), Stanford White (famous architect- Penn Station NYC) and Evelyn Nesbit (actress, model and lover of Stanford White).   The historical figures bring a dose or reality into this otherwise fictional story.    The tale explores the world of early 20th Century America where African Americans represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr. a musician, (Ezekiel Andrew), a white upper class family represented by Mother (Juliet Lambert Pratt) and Father(Dennis Holland) , and the immigrants represented by Tateh (Frank Mastrone) all tell their stories of life in America.   Their worlds are very different, but their world start to collide in unexpected ways as the new century transforms the nation.

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Ari Frimmer and Juliet Lambert Pratt

When Father leaves on a polar expedition he is quite surprised by meeting Matthew Henson, an African American explorer who ventured to the arctic many times. At home Mother discovers an African American baby left in her yard and decides to care for him and his mother Sarah (Soara-Joye Ross) who moves into Mother’s home.   We soon find out that the father is the famous Harlem musician Coalhouse Walker Jr. who comes to Mother’s home in New Rochelle to reunite with his family.  His fine clothes and new Model T are met with resentment and racism by whites in the area.   When Father returns and finds that Mother has taken in the baby and his mother, he realizes that the safe world he knew is changing just as America was changing.  He laments that nothing would ever be the same, but his wife welcomes the changes.image00001

Meanwhile  Teteh and his daughter cannot scratch out a living on the streets of the lower East Side selling drawings, so they move to a factory town in New England where Teteh finds long hours and exploitation.  Still believing in the dream of a better life he moves again to Philadelphia.  Later he crosses paths with Mother in Atlantic City where his artistic abilities have landed him a job as a director of silent films.    The three worlds of very different people cross, and are all transformed as was the nation during this period.

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Jessica Molly Schwartz as Evelyn Nesbit

The music written  by Stephen Flaherty with Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens is woven with period correct ragtime piano pieces that are performed by two pianists on stage. The score is moving and dramatic with lighter songs woven in to break the dramatic tension.  This is a big production for MTC to undertake with 20 songs alone in Act One and 12 in Act Two.  In the end the performance was brilliant. The cast of 16 actors is large for the small size of the theater but credit goes to director Kevin Connors for guiding these wonderful actors so well through a complex production.  This musical does not have the usual dance routines seen in musicals but rather leans on the story, the music and the actors to tell the story.  If you have not been to this theater then you are missing a special experience.  It is a small intimate space with seating for the small audience on three sides.  The effect is that the guests feel as if they are being drawn into the play itself.

The play includes actors with Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours and Regional experience.  Standout performances abound and we loved Juliet Lambert Pratt as Mother.  We last saw her at MTC in Bridges of Madison County. A wonderful acting and vocal performance.   Soara-Joye Ross as Sarah, Brian Demar Jones as Booker T. Washington, Mia Scarpa as Emma Goldman (previously at MTC in Always…..Patsy Cline), Ezekiel Andrew as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. Dennis Holland as Father, and Jessica Molly Schwartz  as Evelyn Nesbit and the rest of the cast  all gave wonderful performances and brought the opening night audience to their feet.

With a moving musical score, relevant story and tremendous performances, you should add Ragtime the Musical on your must see list.   But hurry the show runs through October 13th 2019.

For tickets and information:  https://www.musictheatreofct.com/

Music Theatre Of Connecticut

509 Westport Ave, Norwalk, CT, 06851

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