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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Greenwich International Film Festival is proud to host the Changemaker Gala on May 25th 2022 honoring Lin-Manuel Miranda who’s used his voice for positive social change. Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known as a play write and actor of such famous works as “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” and so much more. Each year the festival honors a member of the entertainment community for their contributions to society and being an advocate for positive change.
Jenna Bush Hager will serve as Emcee of this black tie dinner at L’Escale Restaurant, overlooking Greenwich Harbor.
Lin-Manuel is an award winning composer, lyricist, writer, producer, actor and philanthropist who is being honored for his work with The Miranda Family Fund at the Hispanic Federation. The event will include special performances from cast members from Hamilton and Encanto. There will be a reception after-party with music by DJ April Larkin.
Upcoming events include several unique film screenings.Join GIFF and Bleecker Street at the Avon Theatre for an advance screening of, MR. MALCOM’S LIST, written by Suzanne Allain and directed by Emma Holly Jones on June 29th.
In July , GIFF and Bleecker Street will present an advance screening of, A LOVE SONG, written & directed by Max Walker-Silverman. Date to be announced.
For more information on the Greenwich International Film Festival, please visit their website
The Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will be returning to Greenwich Ct. on June 3-5th 2022. The concours is one of the premier auto events in the Northeast. Car enthusiasts will enjoy the fantastic display of cars at the beautiful location of Roger Sherman Baldwin Park which overlooks Greenwich Harbor.
Hagerty who now presents the concours , is excited to announce that author, driver, entrepreneur and motorsports innovator Judy Stropus will serve as Grand Marshal for the 2022 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.
Last October saw the concours return after a hiatus due to Covid. The traditional date of June was moved to October and the 2021 Concours marked a clear evolution in the show. Saturday was a fun day which featured the hilarious “Concours d’Lemons, RADwood which was a collection of 1980s and 1990s cars (usually not seen at Concours events) and Porschella which featured a lineup of modified Porsches. The atmosphere on Saturday was relaxed and there were lots of interactive events including ride and drives in classic cars, driving simulators, and slot car races. Fun for everyone.
Sunday was a classic concours show with both international and domestic built brands. The show field was filled with exciting, award worthy cars. There were special classes on display including “Right Coast” hot rods, Ford vs. GM, an impressive lineup of Allard cars, and Lancia. Cars from the brass era to the 1970s were featured on the show field and there was something for every car enthusiast to witness.
The Best in Show trophy was awarded to a 1927 Mercedes-Benz Model K displayed by Michael and Joannie Rich. It had to be difficult for the judges as so many great cars were present.
The 2022 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance features over 140 historic vehicles in 18 classes, including Cadillac Eldorado, Chrysler Letter Cars, Vintage Pick-ups and more. All tickets for Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance include admission to Saturday’s Cars & Community.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information on the Concours. See you in Greenwich!
The New York International Auto Show has returned to the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, now through April 24th 2022. After a two year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, the show is back and welcoming visitors. This year’s show emphasizes EVs (electric vehicles). Numerous companies are showcasing their EVs and some have integrated indoor tracks inside the center. You can experience the ride and acceleration of EVs from Ford and Hyundai as both have set up their own indoor EV test track inside for the very first time.
There is also new product launches and a standout was the return of the iconic Volkswagen bus. The bus has been reborn as an EV and has many of the styling cues that made it such a famous vehicle in the 1960s and the 1970s. A European production model was on display and fans here in the U.S. are eager for its arrival on our shores.
Auto shows are known for their concept cars which show the direction a manufacturer is headed in the near future. Kia had a colorful display to showcase its EV 9 concept car. Chrysler hinted at the future with the Airflow EV which may be available by the 2024 model year and promises an impressive mileage range on a full battery charge. Fiat is returning as well with an EV version of the fun Fiat 500.
There also of plenty of conventional gasoline powered cars of all flavors with attractive offerings from Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan and Toyota.
Visitors can visit the lower level where there are a variety of exhibits including testing out electric bikes. The big hit is a large test track where several companies (VW, Kia, Vinfast, Nissan and more) will drive you around the track impressing you with the acceleration and handling of their EVs. Outside Jeep has set up once again it great outdoor course which allows you to experience the off road prowess of these legendary vehicles.
Always a fun event, don’t miss the 2022 edition of the New York International Auto Show.
Behind the perfect lawn, landscaping and the painted red door of the ideal suburban house lives a normal family. Or does the façade instead mask something else entirely?
This is the question behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical “Next to Normal” which is now on stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Ct. This historic theater which is known for its high quality productions, astounded the audience with their interpretation of this Broadway hit.
This contemporary musical with its rock/pop score takes on the delicate subject of mental health. This is certainly a different topic for musical theater. The six member cast tells the story of what seems to be a “normal”, successful suburban family. But we soon find out the household has deep issues. The family is composed of the father (architect), the wife (suburban housewife), the teenage daughter (who is driven to be perfect and to attract her parents love), and the son who we discover passed away as a baby 16 years ago. The wife, Diana has been struggling for years since the death of her son. Her struggle with bipolar disorder is a terrible strain on the family. Traditional therapies of medicine do not seem to work and the family makes the difficult decision to have Diana try electric therapy. And while the treatment seems to work at first, Diana loses part of her memory. Her husband Dan wants her to put away the memory of their son and move on. The family wants to be normal, and will even accept being “next to normal”. But the son (Gabe) keeps appearing on stage, not as a baby, but as a teenager which complicates Diana’s struggle to heal. The story takes the audience on a journey of discovery of these very real characters and their struggles. In the end there is a glimpse of hope that a person and their loved ones can heal, and lead a better life.
The musical opened on Broadway in April 2009. It was nominated for eleven Tony Awards that year and won three. It also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama becoming the eighth musical in history to receive the honor. The original cast was white and this production has a diverse multi racial cast which makes the show more relevant to a wider audience. The cast is lead by Dar.Lee.See.Ah as Diana. Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Dan, Ashley LaLonde as Natalie, Daniel Maldonado as Gabe, Gian Perez as Henry, and Katie Thompson in the dual roles as Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine.
The two hour plus musical is filled with over 40 songs that tell the story of this family and their struggles. It is part serious drama, part rock show, part musical theater and 100 percent stunning. The set design and lighting design is an essential part of telling the story and Westport Country Playhouse lives up to its usual high standards. While the entire gives outstanding performances, and they harmonize well, the highlight of the evening is the vocal performance of Dar.Lee.See.Ah. Her singing and acting brought the capacity crowd to its feet. She is a vocal tour de force.
The play is directed beautifully by Marcos Santana who also directed and choreographed the brilliant version of “In The Heights” which we attended at the Playhouse in 2019. He has also choreographed two shows on Broadway as well.
While and interesting topic for musical theater, Next to Normal is the kind of show that pauses you to think about the lives that go on behind seemingly normal doors. It also gives hope when life is darkest and lifts you up with a musical score full of energy. A show not to be missed. True Broadway quality right in our own area.
The classic 1970s Broadway hit “Jesus Christ Superstar” is now on stage at ACT of Connecticut in Ridgefield. The famous rock opera penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), was a sensation when it opened in 1971. David C. Levine, artistic director of ACT explained prior to the show that the story of the last days of Jesus are well known and the show has been performed many times with the setting being biblical times. This production has been fast forwarded and instead is set in a dark dystopian future where tyrants oppress the lives of their citizens. The production is moody, thought provoking and downright edgy. Mr. Levine tells the audience this will be like no other production of Jesus Christ Superstar you have seen and he is right.
The stage is set with metal railings and stairs, corrugated metal walls and boxes and debris in various shapes. Everything is painted shades of muted gray which is very effective in setting the mood and the somber tone. In the background the audience can see a cross constructed from building girders. It is quite evident this show is not set in Biblical times.
This production draws heavily from Margaret Atwood’s book A Handmaid’s Tale and its television adaptation. The villains of this production are those who are attempting to control society by oppression and the suppression of free thinking and ideas. Jesus and his disciples are seen as rebels who need to be suppressed. The tale is dark much like A Handmaid’s Tale but it is not without hope and light. The two hour performance had the audience’s eyes riveted to the performers the entire evening.
The music of Jesus Christ Superstar is classic in its own right with a score of 1970’s rock inspired songs which lifts the audience up and carries it along through the performance.
There are wonderful performances from the large cast who breathe energy into the famous score with their fantastic harmonies. Brett Stoelker as Jesus has a fine voice and amazed the audience with his vocals including some of his sustained high notes. Tony nominated Caitlin Kinnunen as Mary gave a warm and wonderful performance that resonated with the audience. The rest of the excellent cast includes, Avionce Hoyles as Judas, Chris Balestriere, Corinne Broadbent, Reggie Bromell, Susie Carroll, Ben Cherington, Randy Donaldson, Courtney Long, Marlena Hilderly Lopez, Kelly MacMillan, Michael McGuirk, Val Moranto, Ariel Neydavoud, Andrew Stevens Purdy, Isaac Ryckeghem, Sonya Venugopal, Cole Wachman, and Caitlin Witty.
This is a unique production which showcases the amazing creative energy of the team at ACT. The transformation of this classic Broadway show into a relevant, provocative and modern tale is a something not to be missed.
Directed by David C. Levine with choreography by Sara Brians, music direction by Jeffrey Campos, music supervision by ACT of CT’s Grammy nominated Bryan Perri, scenic design by Jack Mehler, costume design by Claudia Stefany, and lighting design by Penny Jacobus.
Come see innovative Broadway quality performances right in your backyard.