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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“An American in Paris” dances into the Westchester Broadway Theater

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An outstanding score, intricate dance routines, authentic costumes and great acting all add up to a sensational  show right here in Westchester.  The musical,  An American in Paris has danced its way onto the Westchester Broadway Theatre stage. The Broadway musical adapted from the 1951 film of the same name and starred Gene Kelly, was the winner of numerous awards including 4  Tony Awards.  With numerous dance numbers, fine direction, and music score by the legendary  Gershwin brothers, An American in Paris is a hit.

The story takes place immediately after World War II and Jerry Mulligan (Brandon Haagenson), an American G.I. who meets a beautiful French girl on the streets of Paris.  From this chance encounter he decides he will stay in Paris after the war to pursue his dreams of being an artist.  He makes his way to a cafe where he meets Adam Hochberg, another American  veteran and pianist, whose becomes the narrator of the story.. Trying to assist a fellow countryman, Adam helps Jerry find a place to live and helps him get started in Paris. Henri Baurel, the son of wealthy French industrialists, enters to rehearse the nightclub act he is putting together with Adam.  Henri is practicing in secret because his dreams of being an entertainer would be frowned upon by his successful parents.

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Adam takes Jerry to the ballet where he decides to sketch the dancers in auditions.  Here he meets Milo Davenport, a rich American who is smitten by Jerry and wants to help his budding artistic career.  At the audition, Adam meets the mystery girl Lise Dassin (Deanna Doyle) and so taken by her that he wants to compose ballet music for her.   It is the money and persuasion of Milo Davenport that leads to Adam being hired to compose the score to a ballet, Lise to be its principal dancer and for Jerry to be art director.

But as the group works together we find there is a love triangle occurring between Jerry, Lise and Henri. Indeed Lise herself is hiding a deep secret about her past from both Adam and Jerry that will not be revealed until Act Two.  It is a play about love, passion, self discovery  and following your heart whether it be romance or your art.

An American In Paris has all the components of a great musical.  A fine story with a compelling plot and interesting characters, memorable music from two icons of American music, and great dance numbers. If you love dance, then this play is for you.  While the set is very basic  for such a big production, yet  it allows the performers and choreographed dance sequences to command the stage.  The evening is filled with dance numbers including tap, jazz, ball room and even ballet.  The cast for this production is huge with 25 actors on stage.  A brilliant job by Director and Choreographer Richard Stafford.  With only a short rehearsal time prior to opening night, the stage was filled with swirling dancers who dazzled the audience with carefully crafted and synchronized steps.  The score is memorable and familiar with both classical music pieces as well as such famous tunes as “I’ve got Rhythym”, and “An American in Paris”.

There were great performances all around from this talented cast, many who have Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional and National Tours.   Bandon Haagenson takes on the role made famous by the great dancer, Gene Kelly and his performance is fantastic including but not certainly not limited to his amazing tap dancing.   Deanna Doyle gives a wonderful perfomance as Lise, the French girl and ballet dancer and she is quite charming.  Her versatility on stage in her numerous dance routines was very impressive.  Rounding out the excellent cast is Erika Amato playing Madame Baurel,  Tommaso Antico as Adam , and Jonathan Young as Henri.  Lauren Sprague last seen at WBT in A Chorus Line, was superb as Milo.   Credit goes to the wonderful ensemble cast of singers and dancers who lit up the WBT stage with their lively performance.

Keith Nielsen, the Costume Designer for the production, truly captured  the unique and stylish look of 1940s fashion.

If you can’t visit Paris this fall, let the City of Light come to you with this finely crafted production of “An American in Paris”.  Now through November 24th 2019.

For Tickets and information https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford NY

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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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Last of The Red Hot Lovers: Neil Simon’s classic comedy now at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

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The classic Neil Simon play “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” is now playing at the Ridgefield Theater Barn through September 28th.   This comedy which was first staged on Broadway in 1969 was the recipient of four Tony Award nominations.

 

The play is in three acts with each act  featuring Barney Cashman, (Duane Lanham) a  married forty something  year-old owner of a seafood restaurant.  Barney is afraid he is missing out on the sexual revolution of the 1960’s . In the space of several months, he invites three different women to his mother’s Manhattan apartment in an attempt to have an afternoon of extramarital fun.  Each scene involves a different woman, and the Barney learns quickly that the sexual revolution may not be his cup of tea.

His first encounter is with Elaine Navazio (Paulette Layton) who he meets in his restaurant.  Elaine we find is in an open marriage and is quite comfortable with having extramarital affairs.  Elaine is put off by Barney’s sexual  ineptness and his inexperience with affairs as well as his  desire for a meaningful encounter.  The exchange between the two is  quite comical as his inexperience is represented by not having cigarettes or the right alcohol on hand.    Barney decides this lifestyle is not for him.

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Paulette Layton and Duane Lanham

In Act Two, we are back in the apartment months later and Barney has now met a young actress Bobbi Michele (Kate Patton) in the park.  He soon finds his young friend is really not what he expected.  Even though he is now prepared with booze and packs of cigarettes, young Bobbi just wants to talk about herself, her career and smoke pot, which she encourages Barney to try.   She is quite the contrast to the amorous Elaine from Act One.

In Act Three the tone of the play turns a bit darker and deeper as it probes into morality.  Here we meet Jeanette Fisher (Linda Seay) who is the wife of a good friend.  Barney has learned that Jeanette’s husband has been carrying on an affair for some time and convinces her that her own affair will even the score.  But from the moment she walks into the apartment it is clear that Barney’s plan of an afternoon of sex is not what he imagined.  Jeanette does not know why she really is there, does not want cigarettes or alcohol and her exaggerated body language and running away from Barney is not only comedic but lets the audience and Barney know that this is not what she wants.  She does want to find people that are kind and who are “decent”.   It is in this dialogue which is so different from the previous Acts that Barney comes to an awakening that everything he really needs is waiting at home.

Duane Lanham was wonderful as Barney and we love his physical style of comedy and his hysterical facial expressions.  He is one of our favorite actors at the Barn, having seen him in Wreck the Halls, Rumors, and the hysterical  Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  We loved  Paulette Layton, Kate Patton, and Linda Seay, and they are  all very funny actors playing very different roles.  Well done ladies.   The opening night crowd agreed with rousing applause for the cast and crew.

The play was directed by Michael Ferrara  who as a young boy acted in Neil Simon’s  The Gingerbread Lady.  Though the play is now 50 years old, it subject of morality and truth is still relevant today.

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a small intimate space.  Theater goers are encouraged to bring food and drink to the theater to enjoy prior to the performance.

for tickets and information:

https://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/tickets/

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield CT 06877

tel. 203.431.9850

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Cabaret: the Tony award winner is a must see at the Music Theatre of Connecticut

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Cabaret the multi award winning musical is now on stage at MTC, the Music Theatre of Connecticut in Norwalk.  MTC has produced another fine show that premiered this past weekend  and runs through Sunday April 14.  Like all the shows we have enjoyed at this local theater, this production is first rate and should not be missed.

Cabaret is a 1966 musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, and  was adapted from the short novel Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood.  The setting is Berlin in 1931.  The city of Berlin in the period between World War 1 and the rise of the Nazis was the center of the arts and culture of Weimar Germany.   The play is set at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and at a rooming house.  We are introduced to Cliff Bradshaw (Nicholas Dromard) an American writer who is traveling to Berlin in hopes the artistic atmosphere will kick start his novel.  He meets on the train to Germany a mysterious man, Ernst Ludwig (Andrew Foote) who befriends him and finds him cheap lodging at a Berlin boarding house.  Here we are introduced to woman who owns the building, Fraulein Schneider ( Anne Kanengeiser) and fellow boarder, a Jewish fruit merchant named  Herr Shultz (Jim Schilling).   Ernst takes Andrew out on the town to the Kit Kat Club.  Here we meet the iconic character The Emcee (Eric Scott Kincaid) and the entertainers including Fraulein Kost (Hillary Ekwall) and  Sally Bowles (Desiree Davar).  Sally is much like Cliff as she has come to Berlin to revel in its artistic and sexual freedoms.

Soon an unlikely romance develops between Cliff and Sally.  As a subplot we also see a romance blossom between the spinster Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, even at their advanced age.  It seems that the feeling is anything is possible in post World War I Berlin.  But the idealism of the age is interrupted by a underlying current which upends the worlds of our characters.  Ernst is exposed as a Nazi and we see the rise to power of the Nazi party which threatens the very nature of German society.  Fraulein Schneider realizes that to survive in a Nazi ruled Berlin she cannot marry a Jewish man and must break off her engagement.  The gay men at the Kit Kat Klub are even the targets of the hate and intolerance of the new order.  Cliff decides the reasons for coming to Berlin are quickly vanishing and he decides to return to America with Sally.  But Sally does not flee with him stays behind. She keeps on singing at the cabaret in denial of the drastic change  on the horizon.  Even Herr Schultz feels that even though a new order is coming to Germany, not much will change.  He too is in a state of tragic denial. A poignant tale that is relevant in today’s environment of how a nation of freedom loving people can have their country slowly turned into a  dark and intolerant culture.

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Desiree Davar as Sally Bowles

The songs of Cabaret lighten the heavy and important message of the play as they tie together all the scenes of this musical.   Many of the memorable numbers are present and wonderfully executed including “Wilkommen”, “So What”, “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” and of course “Cabaret” .

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The MTC theater is a small black box style theater with the audience sitting on three sides (only 4 rows each side) which creates an intimate an up close theater experience.  The stage is small and the designers must use their artistic skills to carve out the separate scene spaces. They do so very effectively.  Due to the size the cast is smaller than might be in a larger theater but Director Kevin Connors skillfully uses the talented cast to fill the theater with drama and song.  He masterfully reminds the audience of the joys of the cabaret where we can forget our troubles, but we must be vigilant as freedom of artistic expression can be fleeting in the face of oppressive forces.  The full house on opening night approved of the great performance. The cast  is wonderful and Ms Davar as Sally Bowles wowed the audience with her fine vocal talents.

A fantastic production of a relevant and timely play that should be seen.

Tickets and information: https://www.musictheatreofct.com/cabaret

Music Theatre Of Connecticut

509 Westport Ave  Route 1

Norwalk Ct

web >>>>>https://www.musictheatreofct.com/cabaret

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Clive Davis: a special screening event of “Soundtrack of Our Lives” at the Bedford Playhouse


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Clive Davis and Janis Joplin

 

On March 21, 2019, the Bedford Playhouse was host to a very special evening.  The theater screened the documentary, “Clive Davis, The Soundtrack of our Lives” about the legendary music executive and Bedford resident, Clive Davis.

Attendees to the event were in for a unique event as the cafe of the Playhouse hosted a pre-screening party for the guests.  In attendance was none other than Clive Davis himself and well as singer/songwriter Rob Thomas. Mr. Thomas is well known as an accomplished musician and the front man of the band Matchbox Twenty.  He also wrote the hit song “Smooth” which he recorded with Carlos Santana.

 

 

Prior to the screening guests mingled in main floor cafe space enjoying cocktails from the Playhouse bar, tasting appetizers and listening to sounds of a pianist playing on the baby grand piano.  Attendees also had great photo opportunities and a chance to meet Clive Davis and Rob Thomas.

Mr. Davis has enjoyed a decades long career as one of the most famous executives in the music industry.  Starting in the 1960s at Columbia Records and later at Arista Records.  He has signed such famous recording acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin, Santana, Chicago, Billy Joel, Blood Sweat and Tears, Earth Wind and Fire and Aerosmith.  Later he would bring to his label such acts as Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. This is just a partial list.

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The two hour documentary directed by Chris Perkle spans his five decade long career in the recording industry and his tremendous influence on modern popular music.  As well Davis is a multi Grammy award winner and was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall in Fame in 2000 in the non-performers category.  The film is a fascinating look at the rich career of a icon in the music business.  Bedford resident and musician, Rob Thomas joined Davis on stage following the screening for a Q & A session. The audience was treated to interesting stories and insights into this fascinating man.

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John Farr (Playhouse Founder), Rob Thomas, Irene Young Wallace (I On the Valley), Clive Davis, Nicole Gardner (Executive Director)

This was certainly an exciting evening for those who attended.  The Bedford Playhouse is more than just a movie theater, it is a mecca for film, music, the arts and important and unique cultural events such as this.  Make sure you follow us and the Playhouse for  upcoming movies, events and music.  See you at the Bedford Playhouse!.

Bedford Playhouse

633 Old Post Road Bedford, New York

tel. 914.234.6704      web for info and tickets >>  https://bedfordplayhouse.org

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Greenwich Wine and Food Festival returns to Greenwich September 21-22nd

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The fantastic Greenwich Wine and Food Festival presented by PepsiCo returns to Roger Sherman Baldwin Park on the harbor in Greenwich Ct., September 21-22, 2018.  The festival is amazing with food, wine, beer, and spirits tastings, celebrity chefs and demonstrations, a casino gaming tent, and capped off by a fantastic outdoor concert.  All this is the beautiful setting of Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.

Friday night will feature a  special dinner with The Opening Night Master Chef Wine Dinner, held at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park on Friday, September 21, will honor Alex Guarnaschelli for her innovation and substantial contributions to the culinary world.

Saturday September 22nd is a fun filled day starting at 12:30 pm with the Grand Tasting Tent with 150 different food and beverage vendors!  It is quite the treat.  It is a great way to sample wine, spirits, beverages and check out the culinary delights from great local restaurants.

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Celebrity chefs abound at the festival with The Celebrity Green Room, presented by Ethan Allen, will host celebrities and culinary experts in a luxury lounge while being interviewed by Serendipity contributing editors Chef Matt Storch and Chef Robin Selden.

12:30-12:50pm – Adam Richman  1:00-1:20pm – Scott Conant 1:30-1:50pm – Alex Guarnaschelli  2:00-2:20pm – Samantha Benjamin (The Dessertist), Kevin Des Chenes (restauranteur and author) and Lindsay Perkins (Lindsay Culinary, LLC)    2:30-2:50pm – Christian Petroni (Fortina, Winner of Next Food Network Star), Bill Taibe (Jesup Hall, Kawa Ni, The Whelk) and Serena Wolf (author and Domesticate-Me.com)  and more!

From 1pm to 6pm there will be two kitchen demonstration stages with celebrity chefs presenting great cooking demos.

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From 4:30 pm to 8:30pm there will be more great activities leading up to concert time!  There will be “The South of The Border” presented by Don Julio featuring the flavors of Mexico.   Bud and Burgers will have burger samples from competing restaurants as well as plenty of Budweiser on tap.   There is also a great “Tailgate Party” during this time with great samples from   featuring samples from Blue Point Brewing Company, Cafe’ Bon, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Filippo Berio, Half Full Brewery, Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Izzi B’s Bakery, Jameson, Kettle One, KOW Steaks, Mike’s Organic Delivery, Pepsi Zero, The Blind Rhino, The Dough Girls, True Color Sparkling Wine, Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors, Walter’s Hot Dogs and Woodford Reserve.  There is something for everyone!

The festival will end with an outdoor concert.  At 6:30 pm vocalist and multi instrumentalist Caroline Jones will kick off the concert. She has released her first album this year “Bare Feet” and has spent much of 2018 touring with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band.  I have seen her in concert and she is not to be missed!

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At 8:30 pm Tim McGraw will be the main act on stage.  McGraw’s career spans over 20 years and  is considered a top  country music artist. He has numerous Grammy, CMA and AMA awards to his credit.  His crossover into a blend of country and pop music has made him a fan favorite all over the country.

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This event is not to be missed and comes along once a year !  For more information click the link below.

https://serendipitysocial.com/greenwich-wine-food

Greenwich Wine and Food Festival presented by PepsiCo

 

Hallelujah! Sister Act now at the Westchester Broadway Theater

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Sister Act the musical has arrived at the Westchester Broadway Theater stage. The musical which is based on the 1992 film of the same name and starred Whoopi Goldberg, has been staged as a musical in London’s West End and on Broadway in 2011.  The musical score was written by Tony and Oscar winning composer Alan Menken. This production features direction and choreography by Donna Drake who has been involved in numerous Broadway shows including A Chorus Line, Woman of the Year and  many others.

The story opens in the late 1970s in Philadelphia where we meat Deloris Van Cartier (Zuri Washington) who is an aspiring disco singer who is looking for an opportunity to be discovered.  Unfortunately she is the witness to a murder by a local gangster and is forced into hiding for her own protection.  The police want to keep her nearby as they prepare their case, so they hide her in a local Catholic convent run by Monsignor O’Hara (Ken Jennings) and Mother Superior (Mary Jo McConnell).  Mother Superior has no tolerance for the flamboyant Deloris and Deloris finds the restrictive life in the convent too hard to bear.

Deloris however begins to bond with some of the sisters, and soon joins their chorus which she discovers is in dire need of  her musical talent.  With an injection of funk, fun and lots of soul, the nuns find the declining attendance at church has been turned around by their choir.   The pews begin to fill to listen to their music, and with their celebrity brings media attention.  It is this attention is how the gangster finds where Deloris is hiding. I won’t give up the rest, but leave it you to enjoy at the theater.

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Sister Act is a fun filled and fast moving evening of music and dance.   There are wonderful performances from the large cast and I would be remiss if I did not mention the charming performance of Lani Corson as Sister Mary Robert, the youngest of the nuns.  Despite her petite size she takes over the stage and lifts the audience with her tremendous vocal range.

Sister Act is a night of musical delight as it blends the uplifting revival of a church choir with the funky, soul sounds of the 1970s.  The mainstage production runs through July 1, 2018.  Dinner is included in your ticket price and is served prior to the show.

For more information and tickets

Westchester Broadway Theater

1 Broadway Plaza  Elmsford New York

tel. 914.592.2222 

web   http://www.broadwaytheater.com

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You should be dancing! First Ladies of Disco rock the Ridgefield Playhouse, February 14th

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A fun event for music lovers, especially lovers of classic disco.  On February 14th The Ridgefield Playhouse is presenting a fun evening. The First Ladies of Disco Valentine’s Day Gala, which begins at 6:30pm,  includes performances by Martha Wash (The Weather Girls), Linda Clifford (“If My Friends Could See Me Now”) and Norma Jean Wright (formerly of Chic), who will perform all of their hits with some special surprises! “It’s Raining Men,” “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” “Everybody, Everybody” and “Strike It Up,” Linda Clifford’s  recordings have spent a total of 60 weeks at #1 on Billboard Magazine’s dance charts with hits “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” “Red Light,” “Don’t Give It Up,” and more.  Singer Norma Jean Wright first came to fame as a vocalist with Chic (“Le Freak,” “Everybody Dance.” “I Want Your Love,” )

 Part of the Pepsi Rock Series, powered by Xfinity, this fundraiser with a beat is sponsored by Lori & John Berisford, Shari Goodstein, Carolyn & Rommin Adl, Adam Broderick Salon & Spa, BMW of Ridgefield & Lera Jewels.

There will be free champagne & chocolate desserts  for all ticket holders and a chance to win a piece of jewelry donated by Lera Jewels; a spa package donated by Adam Broderick Salon & Spa and a date night package (which includes a car and driver!) donated by BMW of Ridgefield, this night is a fun way to celebrate with your significant other or just to cut loose with a group of friends.

Also contributing to the event will be All Season Party & Tent Rentals, The Cake Box, Campari America, Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe, Elizabella’s Bake Shoppe, Hollandia Nurseries, Pera Wines, and All proceeds from funds raised will go towards the Arts for Everyone outreach program at The Ridgefield Playhouse, which allows families and children from low income areas to attend shows for free!  The party starts at 6:30pm, when all ticket holders will enjoy a Valentine’s Day staple, champagne & prosecco, (courtesy of Pera Wines), chocolate (courtesy of Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe)  desserts (courtesy of The Cake Box, Elizabella’s Bake Shoppe and Whistle Stop Bakery)

The fundraising portion of the evening will include a raffle with prizes and a silent auction.  The charity is the Arts for Everyone outreach program at The Ridgefield Playhouse, which allows families and children from low income areas to attend shows for free and experience the great events that the Playhouse has to offer.

So get on your dancing shoes, grab your friends and dance the night away for a good cause.

 For tickets ($75) call or visit the box office, 203-438-5795

or go online at >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

Ridgefield Playhouse

80 Ridge Road  Ridgefield Ct.

 

Sex with Strangers: a romantic drama in the digital era at Westport Country Playhouse

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Laura Eason writer/producer on the television series House Of Cards (Netflix) is the author of this interesting and thoughtful play now on stage at the Westport Country Playhouse.  Sex with Strangers is part drama, part comedy that focuses on the modern digital age of dating, relationships, and how we learn about the people we meet.

The play has only two characters, Ethan (Chris Ghaffari) and  Olivia (Jessica Love).   Olivia is a professor and talented but unsuccessful author in her late 30s.  She is staying in a woodsy bed and breakfast in the Michigan woods.  She is all alone and is there to clear her mind, disconnect from the world and perhaps finish a long overdue novel.

Her tranquility is soon broken by the unexpected arrival of  Ethan, another guest  during a snowstorm.  Ethan is a late 20s blogger and author who interrupts the quiet of the cabin with his demands for food, and general disgust when he discovers there is no wi-fi at the remote cabin.  The audience discovers that Ethan is also a writer and internet sensation and has produced two books based on his weekly sexual exploits with strangers he picks up in bars.  The titles of the books is where the name of the play is derived.   Olivia is not only a English professor but had published a book years earlier that was the subject of mixed and some harsh reviews.  The experience of rejection of her novel despite her talent has had such a lasting effect on her that she is unable to finish her second novel despite her talent and ambition.  The two are true opposites.

sex with strangers

The conversation in the first act between Ethan and Olivia is in short, rapid exchanges that reminded me more of text messages than true conversation.  However as  the characters learn more of each other, the conversation evolves and becomes more warm and complex .   We find that Ethan is not here by accident and knew about Olivia, her first book and that she would be at the cabin.  Indeed he has used the internet to read up about her and seek to out photos of her.  It as if he was reviewing an online dating profile and shows the stark differences between the two characters.  Olivia is absorbed by the written word, great authors, and dreams of joining her literary idols on the shelves.  Ethan is a scrappy internet blogger,  who we find dreams of leaving the shallow persona that has made him a success and become a real author.  The strangers do become romantically entangled despite their obvious differences.  However, Olivia uses the internet to find out more about Ethan and his books and finds she is repelled by his sexual exploits as well as the counter-blogging by women that he slighted.

Act Two shifts gears and is set in Olivia’s apartment.  The lives of the two very different strangers become entangled not only in their strange sexual attraction, but their shared ambition to be published.  In Act two we see a change in the characters and their relationship as they use each other to achieve their personal goals.    The play is a commentary on our digital world, the personas we create online, and how we interact with each other online and in person.   The play is sprinkled with humor which helps break the tension between the two characters.

Jessica Love who has Broadway and off Broadway credits in resume does a fine job as Olivia.  Chris Ghaffari who was on the Westport stage last year in the hilarious “What the Butler Saw” did an excellent job as Ethan.

The scenic design by Edward Morris were really well done and constructed and drew the audience into the play.  The woodsy bed and breakfast cabin was very realistic and effective.

An interesting and thoughtful play with direction by Katherine M. Carter.

The play runs through October 14th 2017

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court Westport Ct

tel. 203.227.4177

web for info and tickets     

http://www.westportplayhouse.org/sex-with-strangers

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