Felice County Fair features live bands, food and craft beer at Arrowood Farm Brewery in the Catskills. Saturday October 1st.

Here is a fun event this weekend.  Take a ride to  Arrowood Farm Brewery in Accord New York, Ulster County.  The farm is an easy 90 minute drive from Northern Westchester County and lies just west of New Paltz New York in the beautiful Hudson Valley.

This year’s Felice County Fair will take place on Saturday, October 1, 2022 at Arrowood Farm Brewery.  The festival and will feature artists performing on one stage in addition to great local food vendors, craft beer, and other activities.

Unique and Collaborative Sets Featuring Performances by CONOR OBERST · THE FELICE BROTHERS · HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF · EVAN STEPHENS HALL (PINEGROVE) · HALEY HEYNDERICKX · AL OLENDER · and  WILLIAM LAWRENCE. plus additional special guests.

The Felice Brothers are a country/rock band from the Catskills, and have released several albums.  Hurray for the Riff Raff describes its genre of music as “Americana” and they are from New Orleans.  The band is headed by lead singer Alynda Segarra, and has released 10 albums since 2007.

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It sounds like a great day in the country with live bands, food and of course the great craft beer from Arrowood Farm Brewery.

Please check out this link for more information, tickets, what and what not to bring etc.

Link to festival >> http://www.felicecountyfair.com

Arrowood will be hosting other events during the fall, so check their website .

Felice County Fair at:

Arrowood Farm Brewery

236 Lower Whitfield Rd, Accord, NY 12404 http://www.arrowoodfarms.com

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Sunset Blvd., the Tony Award winning musical now on stage in Norwalk at the Music Theatre of Connecticut

Sunset Blvd. the Tony Award winning musical is now live on stage at the Music Theatre of Connecticut  (MTC) in Norwalk .  The music is by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton.  The musical based on the 1949 movie by director Billy Wilder and opened  in London’s West End  in 1993 with Patti Lapone as the lead actress.  In 1994 it opened on Broadway and with Glenn Close as lead actress and the play won Tony’s for Best Original Score, Best Book and Lyrics, Best Actress as well as other accolades.  

MTC is a small theater that consistently produces top quality performances featuring actors with Broadway, off-Broadway, and National Tour experience.  This is all produced in an intimate black-box theater setting where the audience sits on three sides of the stage and is so close, you feel  you are in the performance itself.  It is quite the experience.  Sunset Blvd which runs through October 2nd  is a Broadway quality musical right in our backyard.

The setting is Hollywood in 1949-1950.  Our main character is silent movie star Norma Desmond (Elizabeth Ward Land) who like so many silent movie era stars was cast aside by the Hollywood studios when sound replaced silent movies.  Her desire is to return to the big screen and has even written her own screenplay, but she is shunned by the studios.   By fortune, she crosses paths with Joe Gillis (Trevor Martin), who is down on his luck screen writer who spends more time dodging bill collectors then writing for the studios.   Norma sees an opportunity and hires Joe to edit and improve her screenplay.  But he must move into her house and work exclusively for her.  Seduced by her stardom and wealthy lifestyle, Joe is persuaded to take on the work.  He soon finds himself  longing for the world outside Norma’s estate.  He had promised a young studio assistant, Betty to collaborate on a script together.  But this they must do in secrecy without Norma or her ever present and loyal butler, Max(James Patterson) finding out. 

There is sadness in the story as Norma has grand delusions of returning to the silver screen and the studios that cast her aside at the end of the silent movie era.  As the new year approaches with the optimism of her return and is echoed by the songs, “The Perfect Year” and “This Time Next Year”.

However despite these dreams, the story spirals downward to its dramatic conclusion. 

Sunset Blvd is a first rate production.  Since this is a large 12 member cast and a small stage, set design is limited but clever.  Costumes, especially those worn by Norma evoke the era of Hollywood in its glamour era.   You will walk away from the show impressed by the vocal performances.  Elizabeth Ward Land as Norma amazed the audience with an award winning performance.  Her vocals were powerful, emotional and mesmerizing.   She has performed on Broadway no less than 6 times and she thrilled the theater the evening we attended.   We were also very impressed with the vocals of Max the Butler played by James Patterson.  At first limited to a talking role, Mr. Patterson impressed the audience with his  deep and moving rendition of “The Greatest Star of All”. As always Kevin Connors delivers yet another directing triumph.

MTC’s revival of Sunset Blvd. delivers everything you expect from a Broadway show.  The evening is filled with emotion, power, tragedy, the glamour of bygone Hollywood all wrapped in a beautiful musical performance. With Broadway talent and first rate production, why travel all the way to Manhattan when you can see great theatre so close?

 Sunset Boulevard stars Elizabeth Ward Land (B’way- Amazing Grace, Memphis) as Norma Desmond and Trevor Martin (Wolfbane Prod.- Sweeney Todd, Sharon PH- Beauty & the Beast) and Joe Gillis. The cast also includes James Patterson (B’way- Beauty & The Beast, Gigi) as Max von Mayerling, Sandra Marante (Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Westport Country PH- In The Heights) as Betty Shaefer, Jacob Sundlie (MTC- Ragtime, Shawnee PH- Addams Family) as Artie Green, and in multiple roles is Philip Callen (Legacy Theatre Deathtrap, Urban Stages- Honky), Jeff Gurner (B’way- The Lion King, MTC- Falsettoland), Paul Aguirre (Nat’l Tour- Billy Elliot, Seussial), Matt Grasso (MTC- It’s A Wonderful Life, ACT of CT- Joseph…Dreamcoat), Helen Clare (SToNC- YAGM Charlie Brown, Honky Tonk Angels), Emily Solo (Charlottesville Opera- Sound of Music, New Camerata Opera- Infinite Energy), and Leigh Klinger (Sharon PH- Beauty & the Beast, Mac-Haydn Theatre- Sunset Blvd.)

Sunset Boulevard is directed by Kevin Connors with musical direction by David John Madore and choreography by Corinne C. Broadbent. Abbey Murray stage manages alongside the creative team which includes scenic design by Lindsay Fuori, lighting design by RJ Romeo, costume design by Diane Vanderkroef, prop design by Sean Sanford, and sound design by Will Atkin.

Ticket prices range from $40-$65 plus fees and can be purchased online.

MTC   Music Theatre of Connecticut

phone (203-454-3883). MTC MainStage is located at 509 Westport Ave. in Norwalk, Ct

http://www.musictheatreofct.com

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The Exonerated: a powerful, moving drama now at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

“Powerful”, “Raw” and “Intense”.  These are just a few adjectives that went through my mind as I watched The Exonerated, now on stage at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield Ct.   The play is about 6 inmates on death row and how they were wrongfully accused, and after decades they were exonerated.

The Exonerated is a 2000 play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen that debuted Off-Broadway in 2000 at 45 Bleecker Theater and ran for over 600 performances. It won numerous awards including the Lucille Lortel Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play.   It is indeed a unique theater experience.

The stage design for this production is stark and bleak.  The walls are dark prison gray, there is a bench in the front of the stage and 10 wooden chairs line the three walls where the actors all sit silently until they stand up to tell their story to the audience.  On the back wall is a single window with prison bars.  The front of the stage is lit with a spot light but the rest of the stage where the actors sit is cast in shadows as if they are forgotten.

During the performance we meet each of the prisoners, 5 men and 1 woman.  One of the men is Delbert who is a self described poet and he tells not only his own story, but serves as the narrator.  He focuses the audience on the injustice of each of the prisoner’s arrests and convictions.   Each of the prisoners rise from their chair to tell the audience a brief part of their story before returning in silence to their chair.  We learn about their arrest, the pressure to make a confession, false testimony and other tactics which cast a poor light on the justice system.  Several of the prisoners are African American and all have low incomes which results in shoddy legal representation.  All are convicted and sent to death row.  Also are on the stage are two women who portray the wives of the convicted.  Two other male actors play multiple roles of police officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.

There is no music, and only one actor speaks at a time.  The theater is silent and you can hear the audience members reaction as they gasp in disbelief and anger at the mistreatment of these people at the hands of the justice system.

The stories are real and based on true events.  The actors are all first rate and as each tells their story the audience has their eyes riveted to the stage as they hang on every word.  The performances are compelling and heart wrenching.  But all is not darkness in this story as the convicted are finally exonerated though they are scarred and have lost decades of their lives.   There is an uplifting feeling of hope as the play concludes.   The full house at the Theater Barn gave the cast a well deserved standing ovation.

This is certainly a play you should see, and we were very impressed by the direction and brilliant performances.   Due to mature subject matter, the play is not recommended for audience members under 18.  The play runs just over 90 minutes with no intermission.

The wonderful cast includes Kevin Knight as Delbert, Priscilla Squiers as Sunny, George Croom as Robert, Kendall Driffin as Georgia / Female Ensemble #1, David Fritsch as Gary, Chris Cooney as Kerry, David Tate as David, Paulette Layton as Sue/Sandra/Female Ensemble #2,Timothy Huber as Male Ensemble #1,Matt Pagliaro as Male Ensemble #2.   Directed by Elizabeth Young who has crafted a powerful moving play.

The play runs through September 25th 2022 and is  presented without intermission Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 5pm.

Doors open one hour prior to curtain; Cabaret Seating; Bring Food & Drink; Snacks are available in the lobby.  The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a unique venue and a local treasure.

Ridgefield Theater Barn

for tickets and information http://www.ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org

photo credits: Pippa Walton

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The ultimate car event, Audrain’s Motor Week returns to Newport, R.I. , Sept 29th to October 2nd

Concours Day on the lawn at The Breakers

One of the premier automotive events of the year is returning to historic Newport, Rhode Island.  Audrain’s Motor Week kicks runs September 29th to October 2nd.   This is not just a car show, this is an automotive and a lifestyle event not to be missed.  Newport is the birthplace of auto racing with William K. Vanderbilt and his friends racing at a Newport horse track back in 1900.  This event would later evolve into the Vanderbilt Cup Races.  Newport is rich with history from sailing, tennis, to racing, and  to being the summer playground of the wealthy during the Gilded Age.  This historic town is the perfect venue for Audrain’s Motor Week which concludes with Audrain’s Concours on the lawn at The Breakers, overlooking the ocean.

The organizers have organized so many events for Motor Week you need to plan ahead.  The Concours Village is The Headquarters for this World-class Automotive Event! The International Tennis Hall of Fame acts the Concours Village for the Motor Week. The Village is open through the Motor Week and will feature concessions from local restaurants, vendors with unique booths and experiences as well as an exciting and adventure-filled Family Zone. Patrons will be able to enjoy great food from LaForge Restaurant and other exceptional Rhode Island restaurants, purchase official motor week merch, view some very special autos and motorcycles.  It is also where some fantastic seminars are held.

Any time during motor week visit the Audrain Automobile Museum to check out the latest exhibition. Each temporary exhibition features 15-20 cars allowing for an in-depth look at a collection of remarkable vehicles.  This museum always displays some of the most unique and interesting cars.

Audrain’s Museum always amazes with its changing exhibits of rolling art

On Friday August 30th, Rough Point the beautiful former home of Doris Duke will host “The Gathering”.  We attending this event during the first Audrain’s Motor Week and it is outstanding.  The lawns overlooking the ocean are breathtaking. As you wander the grounds, sip champagne, wine, and Newport Craft specialty cocktails and beer. You’ll be in good company with comedian, Jay Leno and other car enthusiasts alike. Full-day ticket holders have access to the grounds from 11:00 am onward. Half-day ticket holders have access from 2:00 pm onward.  Rough Point is a mansion and a museum with an extensive collection of fine arts and a sprawling historic landscape with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.  This is not an event to be missed.  The Gathering runs 11 am to 5pm.

Friday will also feature a preview of the Bonhams Auto Auction as well as seminars both at the Concours Village. Saturday will feature the Tour D’Elegance.  The Tour d’Elegance is the scenic drive for all cars that are participating in the Audrain Newport Concours d’Elegance and is a spectacle not worth missing. In 2021, the tour began Saturday morning at Scarborough Beach in Narragansett. The tour then drove through downtown Jamestown and over the Newport Bridge. The tour followed through Aquidneck Island where it stopped at cars & coffee at Ft. Adams State Park overlooking the harbor, continuing with a Scenic drive along historic Ocean Drive and the breathtaking Atlantic Ocean. The tour ended on Bellevue Avenue with all cars parking together on the closed street for the public to view and interact with drivers and owners.  In 2019 we enjoyed this amazing spectacle as exquisite cars arrived in the street in front of Audrain’s Museum  where drivers and owners could meet the public.  Historic Bellevue Avenue was closed as cars assembled in the street.  It was quite the experience.

Meeting Jay Leno during Audrain’s Motor Week

Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance is the pinnacle  of Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week. The Concours team has gathered an outstanding  selection of judges from around the globe. The Concours classes covers the decades from early 1900 to 1980 with a focus on cars that exemplify the History, Luxury, and Sport of the automotive world.  Donald Osborne, Nic Waller and the rest of the selection committee search diligently for special cars to engage guests from around the world.

First, second, and third-class trophies and ribbons will be awarded with the first in class winners competing for the Willie K. Vanderbilt Trophy. There will also be one of a kind awards  given by some very special guests and judges.

At the Concours, attendees will find rare and beautiful autos.

The 2022 Audrain Concours d’Elegance will take place on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at the Breakers Mansion in Newport.  The Concours runs from 8:30 am to 3:30pm. 

The Audrain’s website provides more detailed information and ticket information for all these events, and we encourage you to visit the page to plan your visit.

Audrain’s Motor week is an event not to be missed. The history of Newport, the elegance of the Gilded Age and the artful design of the automobile all merge for an unforgettable experience.

See you on the show field!

Audrains Motor Week

For tickets and information and to plan your visit:

https://www.audrainconcours.com

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Hearts of the Hollow, a new musical based on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow now on stage in Carmel

A new musical has opened right here in the Hudson Valley.  Hearts of the Hollow is a musical adaptation of the classic short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” written by Washington Irving.  Irving was one of America’s first well known authors and was a  resident of Tarrytown, New York.

Set in the early 1800’s in the rolling farmlands around Tarrytown, the famous tale involves a Hessian soldier who was killed during  the Revolutionary war, and his head was separated from his corpse.  The Headless Horseman as he is known terrorizes the countryside and its residents searching for his lost head.

The residents of the area live in fear of the mysterious horseman.  But life in the Hollow goes on with crops to harvest, school to teach, and of course romance. 

Hearts of the Hollow is a two act, 20 song musical with music and lyrics by Patricia White, and score by Mo Khoder.  Patricia White also wrote the play and served as producer.  She was inspired by a live reading of the story and thought it would make a fine musical.  She was correct.

All the main characters from the original tale are here as well as some new characters.   The story mixes they mystery and spookiness of the original tale and adds the lightness of romance, and learning to follow your heart. 

The cast includes Yasmin Ranz-Lind as Katrina Van Tassel, Wayne Hu as her father, Justin Witwick  as Ichabod Crane, DaShaun Williams as Brom Bones, as well as 9 other actors.  The crafting of the tale goes from the macabre to the lighthearted, and the songs are crafted to fit the mood. You will be alarmed when the Headless Horseman himself finally enters the theater and surprises the audience. Such fun!

Part of the magic of the show is the use of a projection screen as the background which changes the setting to farmland, to house interiors, to even a fog filled forest.  It was very effective.  The cast also moves down the center aisle of the theater bringing the action into the audience. The songs included “City Life” which the audience was singing and humming outside at intermission. The finale which included the whole ensemble, “Looking up” wowed the audience into a standing ovation.

The venue is inside the Whipple-Feely Chapel in Carmel, a 19th century church and is the perfect stage for this production. This is just the right play to get you in the Halloween spirit!

This special seasonal event takes place in Carmel, NY at the Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park inside the historical Whipple-Feely Chapel.  Shows run every weekend from September 9 to October 31, 2022.  Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.  On Monday, October 31, there will be a special Halloween performance at 8 pm. Arrive in costume on Halloween to be eligible to win a prize!  

Hearts of the Hollow takes place at The Whipple-Feeley Chapel located at The Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park

201 Gipsy Trail Road, Carmel, NY 10512

Dates: Every weekend from September 9 – October 31, 2022

For tickets and information, please visit: https://www.heartsofthehollow.com/

Director: Jennifer Sandella

Choreographer: Paul Aguirre

Book: Patricia White, Mo Khoder

Music & Lyrics: Mo Khoder, Patricia White

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Barley Beach House Sunset Supper on the beach in Rye, Friday Sept 2nd

One of my favorite places in Westchester is Barley Beach House, which is right on the beach in Rye NY. Overlooking the sound it is the best local place for sun, sand, cocktails, and food.

All summer long they have been hosting parties on the lower beach deck which leads straight out onto the sand and overlooks Long Island Sound.

On Friday September 2nd from 7-10pm Barley Beach House will host its last Sunset Supper of the season. Enjoy a buffet dinner, charcuterie board and sink you toes in the sand as the sun goes down. A cash bar is available. This is a great way to kick off the holiday weekend so close to home.

See you on the beach!

For tickets and information

https://www.thebarleybeachhouse.com

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4000 Miles, a dramatic journey of self discovery now at the Westport Country Playhouse

4000 Miles a brilliant drama written by Amy Herzog and first produced at Lincoln Center is now on stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport.

The audience is greeted by a stage that has been designed to look like a well lived in Greenwich Village apartment.  The apartment is occupied by Vera Joseph (played by Mia Dillon) a widow and ex-communist who has lived there for decades.  The intricate design of the set immediately draws the audience into the play.  At 3 am we meet Vera as she stumbles from her bedroom to answer the door.  Her 20 something year old grandson Leo (played by Clay Singer) enters the scene pushing his road bike which is weighed down with heavy bike luggage. The exhausted Leo explains he has just cycled from Seattle to New York.  He wanted to visit his girlfriend Bec but when she turns him away in the middle of the night, he heads to his stay with his octogenarian grandmother.

The next morning a conversation begins between these two unlikely roommates.  The back story of these characters slowly introduces the audience to Vera and Leo.  The revelation of who these characters are is protracted as the playwright wants to draw the audience into the apartment and into the conversation itself. Amy Herzog has crafted characters that are at once likable yet are complex.

Leo and Vera

Leo along with his friend Micah has left his home in St. Paul, Minnesota and ridden clear across the country.  At the start he dips his back tire of his bike into the Pacific with the plan to dip the front tire into the Atlantic at his journey’s end.  He and Micah photograph their odyssey but tragedy strikes when a truck overturns and Micah is buried under the heavy load of its cargo of chickens.

Not only is his friend killed but the camera which captured the memories of their trip is destroyed as well.  Not even attending the funeral of his good friend, Leo pedals on alone trying to escape his past and his present.  The playwright uses metaphors throughout the play and they are quite effective without being obvious.  Finally, weighed down by his bike bags and his grief, he arrives in Greenwich Village though his trip is not complete.  His overnight stay turns into a three week long voyage of self discovery with his grandmother, Vera.

As the other main character, Vera Joseph is a widow living in the same apartment for many decades.  Her late husband Joe still has his name on the buzzer, and his library of books on communism and Marxism still line the shelves. Though he has been gone for 10 years, Vera stills sleeps in the same room with two twin beds where she nursed her husband in his last days.  She has never returned to her own room. Her husband’s clothes still hang in the closet.  She has no friends and her only contact is by phone with the woman across the hall that she never met and does not like. Vera is trapped by her past and very much alone.

The brilliance of the play is in the complex yet revealing dialogue between Leo and Vera.  Sad and dramatic discourse is occasionally broken by a well timed humorous line which effectively breaks the tension. We learn Leo is intelligent though did not attend college.  He is without a compass, a man-child  who is always on the move.  It is Vera who tries to put him back on course.  Vera with the urging of Leo takes back her old persona by changing the name on the door buzzer to her own, and severing her ties with her cranky neighbor.   The transformation of both characters is subtle and carefully revealed.

Bec  (played by Lea Dimarchi) is Leo’s girlfriend and enters the play to inform Leo that she is breaking up with him.  She delayed college for him and now she needs to move on. 

Later in the play in a touching scene, Bec returns with her own bike.  She is heading off to class, but gives Leo several maps for him to follow and to finally reach the end of his journey by dipping the front tire of his bike in the Atlantic. She knows he is lost and wants him to find his way. Yet another of the metaphors woven throughout the clever dialogue.

Leo and Bec

The other character in the play is Amanda (played by Phoebe Holden).  Amanda is a 20 something Asian woman who Leo meets and brings back to the apartment.  She is intrigued by his free spirit, hippie persona and calls him the Mountain Man.  When she confronts him about the wall of books on communism, he makes light of the subject.  She tells him it was communism that forced her family to flee China.  Her comments and her departure help shock him into looking at the world in a more serious manner.

The play moves along to its conclusion as the audience witnesses the slow and subtle transformation of Leo and Vera as they step out of the shadows and to the light of a better persona.   A serious thought provoking drama with well placed comedic lines that keep the audience engaged. It is quite the journey and the audience is along for the ride.

 The play is in one act and runs 100 minutes.  4000 Miles is a story of relationships, self discovery, and the road we all can travel to becoming a better person.   The play is layered with brilliant, thoughtful dialogue, fine acting, and first rate direction that draws the audience into the scene.

If you see only one drama this fall season, you must attend a performance of 4000 Miles at the Westport Country Playhouse.

Playwright Amy Herzog’s other plays include After the Revolution” (Lilly Award), The Great God Pan,”and“Belleville”(Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist; Drama Desk Nomination). Herzog is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Helen Merrill Award, Joan and Joseph Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity, and The New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award. She has taught playwriting at Bryn Mawr and Yale, and has an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

Directing “4000 Miles” is David Kennedy who is in his fourteenth season as Playhouse associate artistic director. He has directed Playhouse productions each season, including “The Invisible Hand,” which received the 2016 Connecticut Critics Circle (CCC) Award for Outstanding Production of a Play, and for which Kennedy won the CCC honor for Outstanding Director of a Play.

All audience members must wear a mask while inside Westport Country Playhouse. For updates on Covid-19 health and safety protocols at the Playhouse, visit https://www.westportplayhouse.org/visit/covid19safety/

For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.westportplayhouse.org, or call the box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit

Westport Country Playhouse,

25 Powers Court, Route 1, Westport Ct

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Reggae Rum Punch Party at Barley Beach House on Tuesday August 16th

Barley Beach House in Rye will be hosting a Reggae Rum Punch Party on Tuesday August 16th from 6pm to 9pm.    Barley Beach House is the situated at Rye Town Beach overlooking beautiful Long Island Sound.  The restaurants location right on the Sound makes it a very special venue in Westchester County.

The party is to celebrate National Rum Day and will be held on the beach deck right on the sand with gorgeous water views with the perfect summer breeze.

The event will feature a special Island Buffet, and unlimited tastings of Barley’s secret island rum punch cocktails.   First 100 tickets sold will receive a Reggae Rum Punch drink tumbler.

Guests will enjoy the island sounds of reggae band Royal Khaoz.   It should be a jammin’ time!  Seating is first come first serve, but since part of  the party is right on the beach, you can bring a beach chair or blanket.

So slip away to the islands on Tuesday August 16th at Barley Beach House in Rye. See you on the beach!

This event is for guests 21 years and older.

For info and tickets:

https://www.thebarleybeachhouse.com/events/reggae-rum-punch-party

for info on the band>>  https://www.facebook.com/royalkhaozband/

Barley Beach House

95 Dearborn Avenue Rye New York

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Steely Dan live at the legendary Capitol Theatre, August 10th 12th and 13th

The premier live music venue in our area, The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester New York will present live on stage Steely Dan in a three night stand beginning Wednesday August 10th.

Steely Dan is an icon of rock music having been formed 50 years ago by guitarist Walter Becker and keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen after they met at Bard College.  After playing as background musicians for others, the duo set out to Los Angeles to write and record their first album “Can’t Buy a Thrill” which produced three hit songs, “Dirty Work”, “Do it Again” and “ Reeling in the Years”.  The album would be the first of many hit albums for the band.

The duo would quit playing live in the mid 1970s and become a studio only band with a revolving cast of top musical talent playing on their recordings.  The music has always been unique with its fusion of rock, jazz, Latin and blues.  The subject of their songs and the creative lyrics blended well with the intricate musicianship.

Though Walter Becker has passed, Donald Fagen continues on with Steely Dan and this is a great opportunity to see a legend of rock music.

The Capitol Theatre is a true local treasure.  Built in 1926 as a movie theater and over the years this architectural gem has been a movie palace, rock concert venue, catering hall, and once again the premier live music venue in our area.  The Capitol is famous in the late 1960s and 1970s for hosting concerts by Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, and the Greatful Dead. It has been renovated with state of the art sound and light and retains much of its 1920s architectural splendor which makes it so special.

For tickets and information:

https://www.thecapitoltheatre.com

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Straight White Men: A funny, complex and thought provoking play now at the Westport Country Playhouse

On stage at the Westport Country Playhouse is the hilarious comic satire, “Straight White Men,” by Young Jean Lee, and is directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director. The show’s 2018 Broadway run at the Helen Hayes theater made the author Young Jean Lee the first Asian American female playwright to have a work produced on Broadway.

The cast includes Richard Kline, who was a series regular on television’s “Three’s Company” in the 1970s as Larry Dallas. The production reunites Kline and Lamos, who were classmates at Northwestern University. Others in the ensemble are Bill Army, Denver Milord, Nick Westrate, Akiko Akita, and Ashton Muñiz.

The play opens with loud rap music by female artists blasting over the theater sound system   The lyrics are quite graphic and jarring to the ears of the average theater attendee.  This is followed by two persons on stage.  One announces they are non-binary person of color. The other an Asian American and also is trans and non binary.  They explain that the music being played is because “they  are well aware that it can be upsetting when people create an environment that doesn’t take your needs into account”. The statement coming from two non-straight men of color caused the audience to stop in its tracks and ponder.

The idea of the play came from the playwright who held a workshop of members of the LGBTQ community and posed the question  “what would do you think of straight white men, and what would they be like?”  From that question the characters and the setting were crafted.

In “Straight White Men,” it’s Christmas Eve, and Ed, played by Kline, has invited his three grown sons back home for the Christmas holiday.   The festivities include Chinese takeout, playing a board game called “Privilege” and lots of physical boyish pranks. The story shows how Lee imagines male bonding rituals as there are long conversations about money, careers, and love  and living up to your potential in life.  Each of the sons are forced to face their own identities and who they have become.

The satire which runs 90 minutes probes not only the concept of white privilege but also raises issue of identity, and mental health. Themes of success and the ability to do nothing with your life at all as a option of privilege are also explored. However playwright Young Jean Lee said, “’Straight White Men’ isn’t about privilege or attempting to reveal anything new about it or solve it. I was more curious about the question, ‘if I woke up tomorrow and I was a straight white man, what would I do’?” 

What Lee has done has crafted an edgy, thought provoking play that also entertains the audience with its changing focus, complex characters, and hilarious comedy.  It is the witty banter and physical comedy that lightens the heavy tone of the identity crises and self examination that faces each of the characters. Mark Lamos direction breathes life into the father and his three adult sons which leaves the audience wanting to know more.  A funny,unique and edgy play that you should see.

This show contains strong language and mature themes; running time is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. For the Playhouse’s 2022 season only, plays will be consolidated to a two-week performance schedule instead of the usual three-week run. 

Performance schedule is Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. (No Wed. or Sat. matinees during preview week). Special series include Taste of Tuesday (May 24), LGBT Night Out (May 26), Post-Play Dialogues (May 26, 31), Opening Night (May 28), Sunday Symposium (May 29), Backstage Pass (June 1), Thursday TalkBack (June 2), and Open Captions (June 5). 

Single tickets for “Straight White Men” beginning May 28 Opening Night, start at $50 and are subject to change based upon availability. Buy early for best prices.  For information on special offers, including discounts for students, senior citizens, educators, military and first responders, Indigenous peoples, professional playwrights, and groups, as well as options for pay-what-you-will and Westport Library pass, visit www.westportplayhouse.org/visit/box-office/.

All audience members are required to show proof of vaccination and to wear masks while inside the Playhouse to ensure the actors stay safe and healthy to avoid performance cancellations. Based on current CDC guidance, N95 and KN95 masks are strongly encouraged. For updates on Covid-19 health and safety protocols at the Playhouse, visit the Playhouse website.

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court Westport Ct

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