Sylvia: a very funny and thought provoking play at the Music Theatre of Norwalk

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A very funny and poignant play is now on stage at Music Theatre of Connecticut in Norwalk. Sylvia by A. R. Gurney was first produced off Broadway in 1995 and starred Sarah Jessica Parker and Blythe Danner. That production received Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Actress in a Play (Parker), and Outstanding Costume Design.   In 2015 the it opened on Broadway and featured Matthew Broderick, Annaleigh Ashford and Julie White as cast members.

The plot of the play involves an older couple Greg (Dennis Holland) and Kate                  ( Carole Dell’Aquila) who after raising their children in the suburbs have decided to move back to New York City.  Liberated from child rearing, school schedules, yard work and other suburban chores, the couple look forward to this new phase of their life.  Kate has returned to work as a teacher and is energized by her new role, new friends and new life.  Greg however feels quite the opposite.  He begins to lose interest in his job as well as his new life.  Leaving work early he wanders through the park only to discover a dog who like himself seems lost and alone in the big city.  The only clue to identity of the dog is her collar with her name, Sylvia.   Sylvia the dog is played by a human, Bethany Fitzgerald, whom he takes home.

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Kate, Greg and Sylvia the dog

Kate is not pleased with Greg bringing the dog home, but relents and allows the dog to stay a few days until they can find it a new home.   Kate sees Sylvia as a hindrance to her new found freedom in the city.   Over the next few days Greg and Sylvia bond and it seems to Kate that Greg is having a mid life crises and Sylvia is quickly replacing her in their marriage.   There are some very funny scenes as Sylvia bounds around the stage, gnaws on Kate’s shoe, climbs on furniture and cuddles with Greg.

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Sylvia and Kate at odds

Greg discusses his plight with his new found friend and fellow dog lover (Jim Schilling)  and Kate seeks out a therapist (also played by Jim Schilling) for help in saving her marriage and dealing with Greg and Sylvia.  But saving their marriage and new found life will come with compromises.

Though the play is a comedy and the physical comedy of Bethany Fitzgerald as Sylvia bring many laughs to the audience, the play too is filled with many thought provoking moments.  The subjects of love, mid life crises, and alienation in the modern world are all touched and leave a lasting impression on the audience.  Sylvia is just one of the many fine productions we have seen at this gem of a local theater.   The play is wonderfully directed by Kevin Connors who always brings out the best in his actors.

Sylvia will be at MTC through February 23, 2020

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

Music Theatre of Connecticut

509 Westport Ave, Norwalk, CT, 06851

 

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Lend Me A Tenor: the Tony award winning comedy will have you laughing all night

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A hilarious mad cap comedy is now on stage at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. Lend Me A Tenor is a departure from the main stage musicals that have made the WBT famous.   Lend me a Tenor was first produced on the  West End (London) in 1986  and on Broadway  in 1989.  The play was nominated for nine Tony awards, and won two.    It also was nominated for six Drama Desk awards and won four.  Now this comedy is on stage until January 24th.  It is truly in the style of modern British comedy with exaggerated acting, physical comedy, over the top characters and a clever set that is a vital part of the story.

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Buckle your seat belts as you may just fall out of your seat from laughing too hard!   The play is set in a hotel suite in Cleveland Ohio in 1934.  An internationally famous opera tenor, Tito Merelli is coming to Cleveland to perform the famous role of Pagliacci the clown.   His anticipated arrival is a huge event for the local theater which is betting their season on this perfomance.  Merelli is quite the ladies man and when he arrives we discover that the women in the play are all trying to seduce him.   Act One soon gets turned on his head as Merelli mixes too many sleeping pills and wine.  The theater manager  fearing that his star is dead asks his assistant Max to don the make up and costume of Pagliacci and assume his role that very evening on stage.

The stage is an integral part of the comedy.  The stage is one large hotel suite with a partial wall that divides the bedroom from the sitting area.  The audience can see all the action in both rooms but the characters cannot.   There are also 5 doors that exit the room, two to closets, one to the bathroom and two to the corridor.  These doors are part of this very over the top physical comedy as the actors race in and out of the doors.   Act Two turns the whole story on its head.  Is Merelli the tenor really dead?  Or just in a deep sleep.  Is there room for two operatic  clowns in this comedy?  You will have to see to find out.

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Starring: Joey Sorge as Tito, J.D. Daw as Max, Molly McCaskill as Maggie, Hannah Jane McMurray as Diana, Sam Seferian as the Bellhop, Tregoney Shepherd as Julia and Kathy Voytko as Maria

Excellent direction by Harry Bouvy, Set Design by Steve Loftus, Lighting by Andrew Gmoser, Sound by Mark Zuckerman, Costumes by Keith Nielsen, Wigs by Gerard Kelly, Victor Lukas is the PSM, Duane McDevitt is the ASM/male standby. Lisa Tiso is the Producer.

The play runs through January 26th 2020 and is a must see.    WBT is running a special for this production that you can access by calling the theater.  Buy a ticket and WBT  will  treat you to their delicious 3-course served dinner with a selection of entrees for FREE!

Enjoy the show, with dinner, for the regular show-only price of $57
Valid for performances on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings and Sunday Matinees.

Call the Box Office at 914-592-2222  and ask for the DINNER DEAL!

WESTCHESTER BROADWAY THEATER

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford NY

https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

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The Marvelous Wonderettes: the off Broadway hit now at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

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The fun musical comedy “The Marvelous  Wonderettes” is now on stage at the Ridgefield Theater Barn.  The musical which was written and created by Roger Bean first opened off Broadway in 2008 and was revived in 2016 and has been produced in cities all over the U.S. and in Canada.   The  show uses  well known pop songs from the 1950s and 1960s as a way to tell its story.  The songs are recognizable pop hits from that era to which the audience can easily relate.

Act One takes place in 1958 where we meet our cast, Cindy Lou, Missy,Betty Jean and Suzy.  At the last moment they are called upon to perform at their senior prom as a replacement. The girls save the day and entertain their classmates in four-part harmony.  The songs are fun, light and instantly recognizable as the girls deliver their own versions of “Mr. Sandman”, “Lollipop”, “Sugartime”, “Dream Lover” “Stupid Cupid” and many more.   The play becomes interactive as the audience themselves is asked to pick the prom queen and ballots are collected from audience members.  Costume design by Brenda D. Renfroe really capture clothing style of the period.

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Act Two is 10 years later in 1968 and the world of the Marvelous Wonderettes has changed.  They are back at their high school for their reunion.  Though the girls are back on stage we find their relationship to each other has changed over the years.  Again the cast entertains the reunion with a list of 1960s classic hits including “Heatwave”, “It’s In His Kiss”, “Son of a Preacher Man”, “Leader of the Pack” and more.  The songs are woven into the story and help tell the tale.

The show is fun and light hearted and entertained the audience without a slow moment. The talented cast includes  Rena Gavigan (Missy), Sarah Giggar (Cindy Lou), Lauren Nicole Sherwood (Suzy), and Tarah Margaret Vega (Betty Jean).  Music is live and provided by a band on stage including Benjamin McCormack (musical director), Nathan Huvard, Sabrina Mason, Jordan Tulley, and Kyle Camerato.    The production is directed by Foster Evans Reese who starred in “Fences” at the Barn back in 2018.

The production runs through January 4, 2020.  The Barn is an intimate small setting and the audience sits at tables.  Doors open at  6 and attendees can bring their own food and drink to enjoy prior to showtime.  A small bar is also open in the theater lobby.

for tickets and information:

https://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane
Ridgefield CT 06877

For information, call 203.431.9850

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Don Juan: a modern and relevant telling of this classic play now at the Westport Country Playhouse

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The classic story of Don Juan is now on stage at the famous Westport Country Playhouse.  Most of us have heard about the legendary lover and seducer, Don Juan, but his tale written by the  Playwright Molière (1622-1673) is very different.  This translation by Brendan Pelsue, and adaptation and direction by David Kennedy will forever change the way you think about the character Don Juan

This is a thoroughly modern and avant garde production of this classic tale.  In a world where more value is put on the cult of personality and moral integrity is cast aside, this staging of Don Juan is both relevant and compelling.

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You have never seen Don Juan like this before in this modern-dress production of the satirical, classic comic tale. As he moves through the play  the notorious seducer leaves behind a trail of broken hearts,unpaid bills, and scandals.  He cares little for the destruction he brings on his debtors, or the women he leaves behind.  He allows Sganarelle, his loyal servant  to clean up his messes.  During the play Don Juan seduces one woman after another.  He cares not for them or their feeling as long as he can satisfy his own ego and personal cravings.  He wears a light suit of gold indicating though he is a “noble” it is all gilded and beneath the veneer he is a shallow narcissist.  He even wears a shirt of black and gold that spells out “Narcissist” but only backward so only he can be read in a mirror.

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His man servant Sganarelle acts not only as his fixer and his buffer from all that is unpleasant, but serves as his moral conscience.  It is Sganarelle that implores him to see the damage he does by his behavior and to repent.  Don Juan ignores his pleas and reminds him he has years to live before he will even consider changing his immoral ways.

“When I originally proposed that we produce ‘Don Juan,’ I thought 2019 was the perfect time to revive this acerbically comic tale of an undisciplined, thin-skinned narcissist who blazes a path of destruction through the world, upending institutions and social norms, destabilizing everything, offending all decency and morality, and leaving a trail of wreckage in his wake. I can’t ever imagine why,” said  David Kennedy, the director.

In Act Two Don Juan has an encounter with the ghost from his wicked past in the form of a statue of a man he once killed.  It is here we find Don Juan, dressed not as a playboy but more like a modern politician that he must finally confront his own lack of morality.  You must wait to the dramatic conclusion to see his fate.

Don Juan is  played by Nick Westrate (2012 Drama Desk award winner, numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway roles),  Sganarelle, Don Juan’s sidekick, played by Bhavesh Patel (Broadway’s “The Nap,” “Present Laughter” opposite Kevin Klein; Lincoln Center Theater’s “War Horse”). Philip Goodwin portrays Don Juan’s father Don Louis (Broadway’s “Tartuffe,” “The School for Scandal,” “The Diary of Anne Frank”).

Other cast members are Jordan Bellow as Don Carlos (New York theater’s “Interior”; regional theater’s “A Raisin in the Sun”; television’s “Gotham”); Paul DeBoy as Mr. Gusman/Statue  (Broadway’s “Mamma Mia!”; television’s ““Leviathan”); Carson Elrod as Pierrot/Dimanche (Westport Country Playhouse’s “Bedroom Farce,” “How the Other Half Loves,” and others; Broadway’s “Peter and the Starcatcher”); Suzy Jane Hunt as Dona Elvira (Broadways’ “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Dead Accounts”; television’s “The Americans”); Bobby Roman as Don Alonzo (film credits “The Challenger,” “Tapestry,” “One Night in Brooklyn”); Ariana Venturi as Charlotte (five seasons at Berkshire Theatre Festival; Alya Feinburg in season two of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”); and Claudia Logan as Mathurine/The Ghost (HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness,” “The Deuce”; Netflix’s “Tales of the City”).

The creative team includes Marsha Ginsberg, scenic design, and Sam Vawter, associate scenic design; Katherine Roth, costume design; Matthew Richards, lighting design; Fitz Patton, original music and sound design; Michael Rossmy, fight director and intimacy coach ; Karin White, props supervisor; Dana Tanner-Kennedy,  Tara Rubin Casting, Laura Schutzel  and Claire Burke, CSA; and Shane Schnetzler, production stage manager.

This is a thought provoking and finely crafted production that will have you discussing the performance long after the curtain has come down.  See Don Juan now through November 23rd.

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

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court  Westport Ct

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Steel Magnolias: a funny and touching play now on stage at Music Theatre of Connecticut

 

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The play Steel Magnolias is now on stage at the Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC).  This touching comedy/drama is based on the real life experience of Robert Harling whose sister Susan died from complications of Type 1 diabetes.  Hoping to cope with his loss he wrote a short story about the event which later he transformed into a play in 1987.  The play was adapted into a successful film in 1989 with an all star cast.    MTC has now brought this warm play to its stage in Norwalk, Ct.

Steel Magnolias is set in a small town in Louisiana in the  late 1980s.  The play takes place entirely in the beauty salon owned by Truvy (Raissa Katona Bennett).   As in many small towns the salon is the center of life and gossip in town.  It is also where a small group of good friends gather each week to talk and to support each other.   Here we find this group of strong women on the eve of Shelby’s( Andrea Lynn Green ) wedding.  We are introduced to Annelle (Rachel Rival) the newcomer to town with a unknown past who is hired to work in the salon.  We see her morph from quiet stranger, to born again Christian.  M’Lynn (Kaia Monroe) is Shelby’s mother who is preparing for the wedding, Cynthia Hannah is Clariee who is the widow of the former town mayor, and she trades good natured barbs with Ouiser  (Kristi Carnahan).

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As Act One leads up to the wedding, we learn about these strong characters and their relationship with each other.  The dialogue is fast and funny as the women exchange sarcastic one liners with each other and keep the pace of the play moving along briskly.

These six women are the “steel magnolias”.   Southern women  who seemingly pretty and petty on the outside but strong enough inside to survive the challenges they face.  Although a comedy for most of the play, the sadness of Shelby’s illness as a result of her diabetes and pregnancy brings these strong characters even closer despite their differences.  Act Two deals more with Shelby’s illness and her decline and how these women deal with the situation.   Humor still prevails in Act Two despite the sadness.

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Raissa Katona Bennett and Andrea Lynn Green

It is the powerful bonds of friendship and family that the audience takes away from this play.  It is funny and entertaining, but touching and heart warming as well.   Director Pamela Hill has done a wonderful job in bringing these characters to  life.  She has done  great work with the actors in this ensemble.

Steel Magnolias runs November 8th -24th 2019.  Show times are Friday evenings at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm , Sundays at 2pm.  Tickets are $35-65 .

As with all the productions at MTC, the acting and directing is first rate, and this is yet another performance you should not miss.

Music Theater of Connecticut

509 Westport Avenue   Norwalk Ct     

https://www.musictheatreofct.com/steelmagnolias

 

 

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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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Mambo Italiano: The feel good musical for everyone

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A fun and light hearted  new musical, Mambo Italiano has arrived at the Westchester Broadway Theater.  This Pre-Broadway run of this musical is based on a Canadian film of the same name, and has been adapted as a musical by Jean Cheever and Tom Pollum.

The setting of the musical is in South Jersey where the Barbieri family led by the loveable but controlling grandmother Maria and her husband Gino, struggle to operate their long established Italian restaurant, “Famiglia Italiana”.   For twenty years they have labored at the restaurant and have raised their two grandchildren,   Anna and Angelo.   The grandparents labor to keep open the restaurant, but also keep alive the traditions of Italy, the memory of their daughter and preserve the family. This means everything to them.

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The cast of Mambo Italiano

The grandchildren, now grown have their own ideas of moving out defying the Italian tradition of staying home until married.  Angelo does not want to stay in the family business, but instead wants to follow in his mother’s dream of being a dancer.  The changing world , new moral attitudes and traditions are dealt with humor in this very funny and family friendly performance.

Though the themes of traditions, family struggle and self identity are dramatic, the musical lightens up and the audience is treated to fun, catchy songs, great vocal performances and most of all a celebration of love and family.  A feel good musical to which everyone can relate.  There are lots of laughs, memorable songs and stand out vocal performances.

The musical stars  Joy Hermalyn as the grandmother, Maria Barbieri, Bill Nolte as Gino Barbieri. The grandkids are played by Alex Drost (Angelo Barbieri), and Alexandra Amadeo Frost (Anna Barbieri), Diana DiMarzio (as Lina Paventi), Natalie Gallo (as Donna Lunetti), Zach Schanne (as Nino Paventi). With:  Alexandra Adinah, Aaron Patrick Craven, A.J. Hunsucker, Stuart Marland, Corey Masklee, Laura Stracko, Mackenqie Rogers, Halle Mastroberardino.

 The casting of the play was particularly well done as the cast were convincing and  in their roles and presented to the audience relatable characters.

Mambo Italiana is the musical where you will leave the theater happy and humming the theme song.  And you wont leave hungry either, as the WBT serves dinner right before the performance.  Mangia!

Mambo Italiano – August 8th – September 29th 2019

for tickets and information

Westchester Broadway Theater

One  Broadway Plaza  Elmsford, NY

web https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/

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The Rhythm is going to get you at “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan” now at the Westchester Broadway Theater

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When you have a musical that is fun, high energy, and filled with a great and familiar score, you have an instant hit.   All those elements and so much more are present in Westchester Broadway Theater’s current production of “On Your Feet, The Story of Emilo and Gloria Estefan.    As the title states, you will be  On Your Feet because this dazzling musical will lift you up from your chair and have you dancing and swaying your hips as you leave the theater.

Those of you who remember the 1980s  will remember Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (whose leader Emilio Estefan she married in 1978).  Their style of music merged Cuban based sounds with pop to create an infectious blend that thrilled the crowd at the WBT.   And if you are not familiar with their music  once the band and talented cast start rocking, you will be hooked.

The story uses a series of flashbacks we see Gloria as a girl (Isabella Preston) in Cuba, singing and dancing because that was in her spirit and heart. Her family fled to Miami after the overthrow of the Batista  government.  Due to their flight from Cuba, Gloria’s mother (Karmine Alers) abandoned her own dream of performing.  As Gloria (Maria  Bilbao) grows up she wants to follow her dreams of singing, but her mother does not support her dream.  We find that Gloria encounters Emilio Estefan (Jose Luaces) who invites her to join his band the “Miami Latin Boys”.  As Gloria emerges as the face of the band and its lead singer, the band changes its name to the Miami Sound Machine.  This also signals a change in creative direction.

Though the band  has a large following on the Spanish speaking music charts, they yearn to cross over and expand their appeal.  They break out of their niche in the 1980s with such hits as “Conga” “1-2-3”, “Get on Your Feet” and more.   Many of their hits are present in the two hour performance and are woven throughout the story.

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Maria Bilbao as Gloria Estefan

The musical also covers the near tragic tour bus accident that almost ended her career.  Gloria over comes this obstacle and returns to the stage.  The show wraps up with a rousing medley of high energy hits including ” Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” ,“Oye”,  “Turn the Beat Around” , “Get On Your Feet!”

The performances of the cast are first rate and what we have come to expect from the WBT.  Maria Bilbao really has you convinced during the performance that you are seeing Gloria Estefan live.  Brilliant.  Dance and choreography is essential to the show and the ensemble cast delivers a lively performance that transports the audience to a Miami club.

So get on your feet and get to the Westchester Broadway Theater.  The show runs through August 4th 2019

tickets: https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York

 

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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.

clive davis event-John-Farr-Rob-Thomas-Irene-Wallace-Clive-Davis-Nicole-Gardner

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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