Godspell: A theatrical tour de force now on stage at ACT in Ridgefield

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A total modernized and powerful version of the 1970s classic musical Godspell is now on stage at ACT ( A Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut) in Ridgefield Ct.  It was our first time seeing a play  at this theater and we spellbound by this  incredible production.  If you see only one play this year, make it Godspell at ACT.

The original production of Godspell which opened in 1971 off-Broadway and the 1973 film of the same name was a lighter play with the characters dressed in colorful period clothing.   The story features Jesus in a modern setting with his disciples (though given different names), and the story follows parables from the New Testament which teach the lessons of forgiveness, charity, kindness to all,  and that man must worship God and not money.  These lessons can be appreciated by anyone of any faith or background, and seem even more relevant today.

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Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine was given permission by the show’s creator, Stephen Schwartz to revise Godspell and cast it in a new light.  Levine has brought Godspell from 1971 to 2020 and in the process created a powerful and moving production.   The play opens in an abandoned church in Manhattan that where some homeless have taken refuge.   Enter the developers and realtors who reveal that this old magnificent structure will be demolished to build high priced condos for the wealthy.  They care not for the church nor its purpose as they discuss the price of these condos to be built and brag about how the building is 90% sold.  Suddenly from the ruins of the church, Jesus appears to transform the greedy and to open their eyes to his lessons.   The stage design of the abandoned church is magnificent with its Gothic pillars, and stained glass windows  which creates the perfect mood for the play.   Levine was inspired to set the musical in an abandoned church after witnessing the fire at Notre-Dame in Paris.  Reid Thompson who is the scenic designer helped bring a Broadway quality set to our backyard and in doing do brought Levine’s vision to fruition.

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The score from Godspell is memorable and includes such favorites “Day By Day”,  “All the Best”. “Light of the World”, and from the film, “Beautiful City”.   The sound is professional and some of the best and clearest we have heard at any theater.  Credit goes to Sound Designer John Salutz and his talented team.  The vocals are outstanding with great performances from the entire cast.

The story is not all heavy, as lighter comedic moments are part of the show including satirical references to the President  as well to Harvey Weinstein.    The cast also interacts with the audience playfully, and even leaves the stage to move about the theater.  During the intermission the actors appear and begin to mingle with the audience while still in character.  This was effective in really allowing the attendees to feel immersed in the story and not a passive observer.

The cast was brilliant and even included an ensemble of children actors who make brief appearances as they represent the innocent and the future of us all.   The cast of actors have numerous Broadway, off Broadway, National Tour and regional credits.   It was an evening of wonderful performances with Trent Saunders (Jesus), Jaime Cepero (John the Baptist), Shalen Harger, Jacob Hoffman, Katie Ladner, Alex Lugo, Andrew Poston, Monica Ramirez, Phil Sloves, Morgan Billings Smith , Emma Tattenbaum-Fine, and Cameron Nies.

We were totally mesmerized by this stunning new interpretation of  Godspell.  It is a show for us all and so relevant today.  The show runs through March 8, 2020 and it has to be on your must see list.

ACT    A  Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut

36 Old Quarry Road

Ridgefield, CT 06877

Box Office: (475) 215 5433

web  >>>https://www.actofct.org/

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Five Guys Named Moe: a funny music filled show that will have you smiling

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The Westchester Broadway Theatre is currently producing the musical “Five Guys Named Moe” a musical revue inspired by the jazz blues pioneer Louis Jordan.  The show is lively, upbeat and had the audience on their feet on opening night.   The show was produced originally in the UK and later on Broadway where it was nominated for two Tony awards.

The production features 25 songs many of which were written by Louis Jordan.  His blues and jazz style would influence other blues artists and early rock and roll artists such as Chuck Berry.   The story is about a man No Max who is down on his luck, has lost his girlfriend and has turned to hitting the bottle pretty hard.   He is listening to music on his radio when seemingly spring from the airwaves themselves are five performers.  The five men, Eat Moe, No Moe, Four Eyed Moe, Big Moe and Little Moe spring out on stage to sing the first of the evenings songs, “Early in the Morning”.  Though the story is a bit thin, its purpose is to tie together the musical numbers.  Along the way the Five Guys help  No Max out of his situation and make him a better man.

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The fast moving Act One features some excellent numbers such as “I Like ‘Em Fat Like That”,  “Safe, Sane and Single” and the fun calypso inspired song “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie” which encourages the audience to actively participate in the singing.  A lyric sheet is given to each audience member so they can sing along.

Act Two wastes no time getting the audience back into the groove with one great song after the other.  Memorable songs such as “Let the Good Times Roll”,  “Caledonia” and “Don’t Let The Sun Catch you Crying” really moved the audience.  The cast was excellent with Quentin Avery Brown as Eat Moe, Tyler Johnson-Campion as No Moe, Napoleon M. Douglas as No Max, Douglas Lyons as Four Eyed Moe, Tony Perry as Big Moe and Isaiah Reynolds as Little Moe.    The cast is backed by an on stage live band of John Daniels (music director/piano), Steve Bleifuss (trombone), Jim Briggs (clarinet, sax), Dave Dunaway (upright bass), Jay Mack (drums) and Brian Uhl (Trumpet).  Having a live band on stage really brought out the authenticity of this great music and complemented the casts vocals.

Directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford, the show runs through March 1, 2020.

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

Westchester Broadway Theatre

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York

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Captain Crab: welcome aboard for a Cajun crabboil and fun tropical drinks

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An eatery with tropical drinks, cool nautical decor and Cajun style seafood is right up my culinary alley.   Captain Crab has recently opened on Central Avenue in Hartsdale and is a fun place to gather with friends and enjoy an old fashioned Cajun crawfish boil.

The decor of Captain Crab is pure fun and escape with fish nets hanging everywhere, a mural of tropical fish in one room (dubbed the fish tank), sharks hanging from the ceiling and so much more.  The interior design transports you to some fun dockside restaurant.

 

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The “crawfish boil” is a fun event where Cajuns boil crawfish, potatoes, onions and corn in large pots. Lemons and small muslin bags containing a mixture of bay leaves, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, and other spices, commonly known as “crab boil” are added to the water for seasoning.   At Captain Crab you then poor the bag of your boil and sauce into a round flat metal bowl.  Patrons are given a plastic bib, plastic gloves and plenty of napkins so they can dive into the tasty concoction.

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Cajun Shrimp Boil in a mild sauce and served with corn and potato

At Captain Crab you can choose the ingredients of your boil from crab, crawfish, mussles, crab legs, lobster shrimp or clams.  Then pick your sauce (or no sauce at all) pick a level of spiciness, and then add your sides.   The ingredients are all cooked, placed in bag with the sauce,  shaken table side by the server and you then can pour it into your flat metal bowl.  Then you dig in!  It is quite the dining experience.

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Cajun boil with crab legs and mussles

If do not choose the boil, you can opt for appetizers from crab cakes to fried calamari to fried cheese sticks.  There are several salads, and two gumbos.   Po Boy sandwiches are popular at Captain Crab with shrimp, catfish, oyster, crab, and chicken offered.  Lobster rolls are also  on the menu.   There are oysters on the menu both raw and chargrilled and we enjoyed half a dozen of the raw Blue Point oysters that were fresh with just the right  hint of brine.

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Blue Point oysters

Captain Crab also delivers with a full bar and a slate of fun and colorful tropical drinks.  We enjoyed in a few glasses of these sweet colorful cocktails served in a hurricane glass and were instantly transported to a fun seaside location.

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Captain Crab is a unique dining experience, so grab your friends and your appetite and come aboard!

Captain Crab

145 South Central Avenue Hartsdale New York

tel.  914.368.8818 

web   https://captaincrabny.com/

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Smorgasbord: a hilarious ode to food now at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

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A hysterical new musical Smorgasbord is now on stage at the Ridgefield Theater Barn.   The play billed as “A Musical Menu” is the creation of Bradford Blake, a very talented and funny lyricist.  His holiday themed “Wreck The Halls” was a big hit at the Theater Barn in the past.  This musical revue has  food as its subject matter and Blake (who also directs the play), takes the audience on a wild comical ride through the world of food.

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Anya Caravella, Robert Geils, Tracey Marble and Zachary Theis serving up comedy and music

 

The stage of the theater features three talented musicians under the direction of Charles Smith.  They are dressed as chefs and set the tone for the evening.  The very talented and humorous cast of Anya Caravella, Tracey Marble, Robert Geils and Zachary Theis are tasked with leading the audience through a menu of 19 intricate original songs.   The vocals are quite good, and the comical acting of the cast had the opening night audience laughing the entire evening.  The cast is very talented and the vocals of Anya Caravella were quite impressive.  The direction by Mr. Blake was excellent as the timing of the comedy is spot on.

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Act One which was called “First Course” is composed of 10 different songs taking the audience on a tour of different foods.  Some of the standout numbers were “Chez McDonald’s”,  “De Fruit Song” and “Pigoletto” a hilarious look at Italian cuisine.   Eating alone is never fun and “The Frozen Turkey TV Dinner Blues” is a witty look at the subject.

The “Second Course” is just as creative and comical.  The audience responded to “Taco”, “Tomorrow’s the First Day” (an amusing look at dieting), “Sukiyaki Sue” and one  of our favorites “At Lebebschmittel’s Deli”, a  very funny tune about a Jewish deli. The evening concludes with an ode to ice cream in “One Scoop”.  The song draws inspiration and from the classic 1970s musical, “A Chorus Line”.

Opening night for Smorgasbord was filled with laughter at the Theater Barn.  This is a unique venue which you must experience.  Doors open one hour prior to the performance and guests sit at tables and are encouraged to bring their own food to enjoy prior to the show.   The lobby also features a snack bar that also features wine and beer.  Support local theater and enjoy a great evening of laughter.

This very witty and amusing show runs through February 29th.    This is a show is just the recipe to shake off the winter blues with non stop comedy.

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield CT 06877

tel .203.431.9850

web  https://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/

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