The Foreigner: an award winning comedy presented by the Armonk Players

x-default

The Armonk Players are presenting on stage  the comedy “The Foreigner”  by Larry Shue now through Saturday December 8th 2018.  The play is a hilarious comedy which had the audience roaring with laughter and applause throughout the two act two hour performance.

The play which has had two off Broadway runs as well as regional theater productions is set in a lodge somewhere in Georgia.  Here we meet Charlie, an Englishman who has tagged along with his friend  Sgt. Froggy Le Sueur of the British army who has business nearby at an American army base.  Charlie is a quiet, nervous proofreader of a science fiction magazine, and has lost all confidence in himself due to his wife’s cheating ways.   He rather be alone at this time, so Froggy hatches a scheme where Charlie will act like he cannot speak or understand English and the owners of the Lodge and the other guests will give him peace and quiet.  Quite the opposite happens.  The owner of the Lodge, Betty Meeks is  fascinated by meeting a real “foreigner” and dotes on him.  Heiress Catherine Simms begins to confide her secrets to him thinking he cannot understand her.  And her brother, the somewhat dim witted Ellard, who everyone ignores, takes a shining to the new stranger and he to him and insists on teaching him English!

Charlie ( Keith Young) is hilarious not only with his body language and facial expressions but his use of his imaginary “foreign” language which even includes references to science fiction names and terms. The peaceful Lodge and its occupants reveal their secrets to their foreign guest including the fact that Catherine’s fiancé, Reverend David Lee is secretly a leader of the local Klan and wants to take over the Lodge and turn into their headquarters.  Can the meek and withdrawn Charlie come to the rescue of Betty, Ellard, Catherine and the Lodge?  Only the audience will know as Act Two comes to its hilarious and explosive conclusion.

A comedy like The Foreigner is a success due to a number of vital factors including the quality of the script, the actors themselves and their comedic timing, and of course the directors ability to ensure that the lines of the actors are paced correctly to deliver maximum comedic effect.  All those factors are present in the Armonk Players production.  An excellent ensemble cast of Chris Jamison as Betty Meeks, Richard Lauria as Ellard, Cassie White as Catherine, Jeff Schlotman as Froggy LeSueur, Zachary Curtin as Rev. David Lee, Scott Brannon as Klansman Owen Musser, and Keith Young as Charlie.  Directed by Pia Haas who expertly guided this talented cast in this fast paced, lively two hour comedy.  The audience responded with a standing ovation at the conclusion.

This was our first time seeing the Armonk Players and we were very impressed by the quality of the production, lighting, sound and excellent set design.

The show runs through December 8th.   For more information and tickets:

The Armonk Players

https://www.armonkplayers.org/schedule.html

Like I On The Valley On Facebook

Cocktails, a film screening and director Q&A of the the film “Always at the Carlyle” at the Bedford Playhouse

always at the carlyle

The Bedford Playhouse in Bedford NY will be hosting a very special evening on December 6th.  “Bemelmans in Bedford” will be a unique  evening  that only the Playhouse can bring to our area.  The evening will  include a cocktail party at 6:30 pm, followed by the screening of the documentary, “Always at the Carlyle” at  7:30 and followed by a live Q &  A session with Director Mathew Miele.

The film is a 90 minute documentary about the The Carlyle, the  landmark Upper East Side hotel and the famous Bemelmans Bar.  This hotel has been a favorite for the jet set as well as a personal favorite of many locals.  This famous spot and its bar has been host to many famous faces over the years including Princess Diana,  Michael Jackson, Harrison Ford, George Clooney,  Queen Elizabeth and many more.

The documentary covers the long history of this landmark, the stories of some of its famous guests and some of its secrets.  Numerous celebrities are interviewed as part of the film.

The night will kick off with a cocktail party in the new lounge at the Playhouse, with  live piano music from Svetlana. The film will then be screened followed by a live Q & A session.  The Q &A will be  moderated by Bedford resident Nancy Steiner, who is a director and producer of documentary films and television.

It sounds like a really fun and interesting evening in the heart of Bedford Village.  If you have not been to the newly restored Bedford Playhouse this is a great opportunity.  The theater has been totally transformed into a unique destination and hosts not only feature films but interesting evenings such as this event.

Tickets are $60

For more information and to purchase tickets:

https://bedfordplayhouse.org/special_events/always-at-the-carlyle-bemelmans-in-bedford

Bedford Playhouse

633 Old Post Road Bedford New York

Like I On the Valley on Facebook,  http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram i_on_the_valley

 

 

 

Jekyll and Hyde The Musical now at the Music Theater of Connecticut

jekyll+and+hyde

The Music Theater of  Connecticut  has brought Jekyll and Hyde The Musical to its stage in Norwalk Ct.  MTC is a great theater that is brimming with fantastic talent and productions.  I have been fortunate to experience several of their fine shows in the last few years.

Jekyll and Hyde The Musical is   a musical horror drama loosely based on the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Originally conceived for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, it features music by Wildhorn, a book by Leslie Bricusse and lyrics by Wildhorn, Bricusse and Cuden. After a world premiere run in Houston, Texas, the musical embarked on a national tour of the United States prior to its Broadway debut in 1997.

An evocative tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret. A devoted man of science, Dr. Henry Jekyll is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve some of mankind’s most challenging medical dilemmas. Rebuffed by the powers that be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons along with the man that the world would come to know as Mr. Hyde.The epic struggle between good and evil comes to life on stage in the musical phenomenon, based on the classic story and featuring a thrilling score of pop rock hits.

jekyll and hyde 2

This musical has only a few shows left with performances ending on October 14th 2018.  The Music Theater of Connecticut is a wonderful venue and the perfect place to experience live theater and wonderful talent.

For more info and tickets:  http://www.musictheatreofct.com/jekyll-hyde

Music Theater of Connecticut

509 Westport Avenue Norwalk Ct

 

 

 

Ridgefield Independent Film Festival returnd October 18th-21. A must attend event of indie films, documentaries, panel discussions, parties and more!

riff_logo_bauhaus-with_type_blackWe are so fortunate to have a very special cinema event right here in our back yard.  Coming October 18-21st 2017, the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival returns!  The festival , that celebrates independent films from around the world that enlighten, entertain and inspire moviegoers through compelling visual storytelling.   We are so excited to be covering this fantastic event.

RIFF has  announced  its Special Event Screenings Line-up. Keynote events featuring films followed by filmmaker Q&As taking place at various Ridgefield, CT locations throughout the festival’s run include: SAY HER NAME: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, follows an investigation into what happened to activist Sandra Bland, who died in police custody after a routine traffic stop, directed by Oscar nominated,Connecticut based directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner;

DANSEUR explores the world of bullying and prejudice towards male ballet dancers directed by Scott Gormley;

this-is-home-a-refugee-story-movie-poster

 

THIS IS HOME: A Refugee Story about four Syrian families struggling to find their way to America directed by Peabody Award-winner Alexandra Shiva

 

VERMONT FANCY about an aging rural farmer who’s struggling with the consequences of his choice to live a life alone directed by Kathleen Dougherty Huxley.

The Closing Night film PURPLE DREAMS, directed by Joanne Hock and produced by Robin Grey, documents the transformation of at-risk, inner city youth attending a magnet charter school in Charlotte, NC that provides arts education. The teenage subjects have the potential to break the cycle of poverty, homelessness and gangrelated violence, when they are given an opportunity to stage the musical The Color Purple. After thescreening, Tony Award-winner and activist James Naughton hosts a talk with Robin Grey.

Vermont-Fancy-1

Scene from the documentary “Vermont Fancy”

 Tickets to the festival are on sale now at http://www.riffct.org. The 2018 Ridgefield Independent Film Festival runs  October 18-21, 2018.

In addition to all these films there will be special parties to help celebrate the festival.  Check the website for more details of parties hosted at Gallo’s, Aldrich Museum, The Ridgefield Playhouse and more.  Please stay tuned for more details about this exciting film festival bringing  social awareness and fine independent film you will not see anywhere else.   We will be rolling out more information about the festival as the date draws near.

Ridgefield Independent Film Festival

for more information and full film list please visit : https://www.riffct.org

like I on the Valley on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram  i_on_the_valley

 

Phantom: the magic and music haunt the Westchester Broadway Theater

phantom 3

Every once in awhile a musical comes along that is brilliant for both the drama of its story and the quality of its musical score.  Phantom now at the Westchester Broadway Theater is such a show.  This amazing musical which first ran at WBT in 1992 was a smash hit with over 120,000 theater goers experiencing the magic of this performance.  This revival is just as good as that original production.  This show has been called the greatest Broadway musical  never that was never on Broadway.  I agree.

Phantom written by Tony Award winners,  Arthur Kopit and music/lyrics by Maury Yeston  is based on the 1911 book “Phantom of the Opera”  by Gaston LeRoux.   This musical which was first developed in the 1980s is not to be confused with  Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘s Phantom of the Opera.  This production is written in the classic Broadway musical style (words and songs) as opposed to Webber’s which has no speaking parts. The story is similar and draws inspiration from the novel, but they are not the same.  This production of Phantom has been applauded for being more a true Broadway musical and for the quality of the music and the way the characters have been more developed.

phantom 5

The story opens with a young woman , Christine selling her songs on the street of 19th century Paris.  Her charm and voice capture the attention of Count Phillippe De Chandon  who is a patron of the Paris Opera House.  He sends her there to learn voice lessons in the hope she will join the company.  Her dreams are derailed as new ownership of the opera house instead hires her to work in the costumes department.  The Opera House has long been rumored to be the location of a ghost, The Phantom of the Opera.  Though the new owners scoff at the idea, they are soon convinced when one of their staff is murdered.

phantom 4

Hearing Christine  sing, the Phantom finally reveals himself to her   (with his famous mask on) and offers to give her voice lessons.   She accepts and as her vocal talents grow, so does a relationship between Christine and the Phantom (Erik) deep under the Opera House.  But as Christine’s star rises in the Opera House so does jealousy and the owner Carlotta plots to ruin her budding career.  It will be the Phantom who comes to her side to save her, though we learn that this relationship is not to be.

The story has great characters, and is filled with both light moments and heavy drama.  Casting for the show is brilliant with Kayleen Seidl taking on the role of Christine (a role originated by Glory Crampton). She charms the audience as she moves effortlessly across the stage. When she sings, her amazing vocal performance soars through the theater capturing and lifting the audience.  On opening night we witnessed a future Broadway star on the Westchester stage.

Matthew Billman wonderfully plays the dramatic and tragic role of the Phantom and though we never see his face under the mask, we feel his anguish and pain.  His vocals too were impressive and commanding.  A  fantastic cast with Broadway, off Broadway and regional  credits include James Van Threuren (Gerard Carriere)  who gives a warm and touching performance, Sandy Rosenberg as Carlotta who brings not only her vocal talent but some lightness to this drama.  The rest of the cast is fantastic, but the evening belongs to Kayleen Seidl and Matthew Billman with their touching performances and their soulful renditions of this amazing musical score.

Maury Yeston’s music and lyrics are memorable.   Songs such as “Melodies de Paris” are light, flowing and are so catchy that they will stay with you for many years. That is very effective song crafting.   Christine and Phantom’s duet of “ Home” is the one of my favorites or the evening, and is exquisite in its delivery.  The  most dramatic numbers of the evening belong to “You are My Own“, and finally “You are Music” delivered by Ms. Seidl at the conclusion of the show which ranks as one of the most moving musical numbers and performances I  have heard in recent memory.   It truly is a brilliant score.

Phantom is a fantastic show with a talented cast.  Costume design was elaborate and perfectly captured 19th Century Paris.  The amazing set design is a large part of the spectacle on stage.  Complete with balconies, suspended cat walks, a chandelier that crashes to the stage, and of course the elevated stage that appears and disappears and serves as the underworld lair of the Phantom.  Throw in dramatic lighting, fog machines, an underground lagoon and a boat that moves across stage.  The audience was amazed.

The production of this special show runs through November 25th.  Then it will pause and resume December 27th to January 27th.  A three course dinner is included in your ticket price and you dine prior to the show.

See Yeston and Kopit’s Phantom now!

for tickets and information:

https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford NY

like I On The Valley on facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram i_on_the_valley

 

 

Grand Opening of the Bedford Playhouse with films,cocktails, live music, meet legends Paul Shaffer,Clive Davis and more!

bedford playhouse image

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Then look no further than the newly renovated Bedford Playhouse in Bedford Village.

The Playhouse is thrilled to announce the Grand Opening of its eagerly anticipated film, arts and cultural center, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and a vibrant and welcoming café.

Three days of celebration and exciting programming will kick off a new chapter for the beloved landmark after a $6m+ renovation and community effort to save the Playhouse that began back in 2015.  You must see the amazing transformation of the Playhouse into a theater and arts attraction for the region.

Opening weekend events will include parties, family films, “community choice” flicks, wine tastings, live entertainment and some very special guests. In recognition of the first historic Bedford Playhouse Grand Opening in 1947, entry-level tickets to a majority of the community festivities will be priced at $19.47 and include food, drinks and entertainment.

Friday, September 28th – Opening Night + Red Carpet Fun! The debut of two new theaters, The Clive and The Worby, beer & wine tastings, delicious food, film trivia events and a “community choice” screening of Dirty Dancing (…Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner!)

dirty dancing

Saturday, September 29th – Hors D’oeuvres, Cocktails, Live Music, Dancing & Conversation with Paul Shaffer & Clive Davis

Sunday, September 30th – Family Day! Mimosas, muffins and lots of fun: Screenings of Despicable Me, a Sound of Music Sing-A-Long, Storytelling, Sleight-of-Hand, some not-so-ordinary Puppets, Live Music, Special Guests … and Surprises!   See you there !

For Tickets Visit :  https://bedfordplayhouse.org

Like I on the Valley on facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram  i_on_the_valley

Ridgefield Theater Barn opens its 53rd season with the musical comedy, Urinetown

urinetown

The Ridgefield Theater Barn has opened is 53rd season with Urinetown, The Musical.   Urinetown is a satirical musical comedy .  It satirizes the legal system, capitalism social irresponsibility, populism,  bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics  The show also parodies past musicals, and the Broadway musical itself as an art form.

The play opened on Broadway in 2001 and ran for over 900 performances.  It was  the winner of the 2002 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score.   The music and lyrics were written  by Mark Hollmann,  and the book and lyrics  were penned by Greg Kotis.

This very funny musical now comes to the Ridgefield Theater Barn Stage with performances through September 28th 2018.    This production is directed by Deb Failla with Musical Direction by Lisa Riggs Hobbs. The show features Michael Valinoti, Elyse Jasensky, Chris Balestriere, Monica Harrington, James Hobayan, Bill Warncke, Joe Caputo,  Meaghan Elliot, Shawn Tyler Allen, Rachel Lotstein, Samantha Holomakoff, Rachel Lewis, Duane Lamham, Lesli Allen, Stephen Emerick, and Harry Brendan Garnett.

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a wonderful intimate venue to enjoy live theater.  Seating is cabaret style at tables and theater goers are encouraged to bring their own food and wine to enjoy prior to the performance.

Don’t miss this hysterical show  before it sells out!  For tickets and more information:

http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org

Tickets are $38 and Seniors (62)/Students/Veterans $30

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane  •  Ridgefield, CT

 

 

The Understudy: a behind the scenes stage comedy now at Westport Country Playhouse

understudy

A very funny play set backstage at a Broadway theater has opened  at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.  “The Understudy” written by award winning playwright Theresa Rebeck  is  a clever and very funny comedy that brought laughter and much applause from the opening night audience.  It recently ran off Broadway.

The play opens with a bang as Harry (Eric Bryant) runs down the aisle of the theater and leaps on stage and reminds the audience to silence their cell phones.  We learn quickly he is not a member of the theater but rather an actor and the show has abruptly started even though the stage curtain is still closed.  An effective way of getting the full attention of the audience.

This comedy takes place during practice on a Broadway stage for a serious play based on the works of German novelist Franz Kafka.  As the actors practice their lines, the audience is treated to a play within a play, with the seriousness of the Kafka story contrasting with the comedy of the main play itself.  The Understudy employs three actors, Harry who is the journeyman understudy looking for his big break, Jake (Brett Dalton) who is a movie actor and mid level action film star, and Roxanne (Andrea Sglowski) , a former actress now stage manager whose job during the play is to run this practice.  She has the task of  keeping Jake and Harry from fighting (as Harry dislikes a B  movie actor taking on serious Broadway roles).  Jake has no love for Harry as he sees him unfit to understudy for a “star” like himself.    Jake too is obsessed as to why he is not receiving big dollar contracts for movies and not the $2 million a film he currently  is paid.

We also find that Roxanne and Harry were once engaged and she has no idea he has been cast as the understudy as he has adopted a new name.  That tension and Harry’s constant absurd comments about changing the lines further send the practice into disarray.  Throw into the mix Laura, the stage board operator (unseen during the show) who is stoned and keeps screwing up the sound, lighting and the sets.  This only adds to the calamity on stage.   The play gives the audience a look into the world backstage at a Broadway production and all the issues that arrive that give angst to those in the production, but comedy for the viewer.

Interesting is the playwrights commentary on the current state of American theater.  Instead of staging plays and musicals of integrity, the public and the theater industry itself is obsessed with celebrity and profits , with many plum roles in the theater going to big name movie stars instead of seasoned actors.  This commentary is worthy and timely considering some of the shows making it to the stage today.  A very funny play with great acting, a thoughtful clever script and excellent direction by David Kennedy.

The play runs  one and a half hours and is fast paced and has no intermission.  The play runs through September 1, 2018.

for tickets and information

https://www.westportplayhouse.org

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court   Westport Ct.

follow I on the Valley on facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram i_on_the_valley

Hallelujah! Sister Act now at the Westchester Broadway Theater

Nuns1

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.

Cast1

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

like I on the Valley on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram for great photos and more !   @i_on_the_valley

 

Fences: Tony award winning drama now at Ridgefield Theater Barn

fences

A very interesting and thought provoking play, “Fences” is now on stage at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield Ct.  This  Pulitizer, Drama Desk and Tony Award winning play by August Wilson ran on Broadway back in 1987-1988.  Among its awards was the Tony Award for Best Play, and Best Actor (James Earl Jones).   It will run at the Theater Barn through February 24th.

The drama follows an African American family and is set in the late 1950s.  We meet Troy Maxon (Foster Evans Reese), a hard working man of little education who works as a garbage man.  His life is filled with regret about the fact his talents as a baseball player were never acknowledged due to the racial barrier in major league baseball. He lives a respectable life with his own little home he shares with his wife Rose (Tracey McAllister) and his son Cory (Shelby Davis).   Conflicts arise early in the play as Troy attempts to break the color barrier to become the first African American garbage truck driver for his firm.   Though Troy feels he will be fired for complaining to the union, he instead is promoted.  This promotion however comes at a price as he no longer works with his best friend Bono(Kevin Knight) and we see eventually they will drift apart.

fences2

Other important characters are Gabe (Dan Fedrick) who plays Troy’s brother who suffered a brain injury in the War and is looked after by Troy, even though Gabe elected to move out of the house.  Troy has two sons, Lyons (Steffon Sampson) who Troy is in conflict with as he sees Lyons as a person with no direction who comes around just to borrow money.  His other son Cory (Shelby Davis) is also in struggles with Troy as he wants to elevate himself in life through sport, but Troy attempts to keep him down and steer him into a career of manual labor.

Rose, the loving wife and mother does her best to keep the peace.  Through the play she wants an ideal  yet simple life and for Troy to finish the white picket fence that surrounds the house.  It takes the entire play for the fence to be finished.  The fence for Rose represents keeping together her family and her dreams.  For Troy it represents a barrier, and for Cory  the fence is a way for his father to fence his ambitions to play sports and go on the college.   We see too the themes of death seep into the story and for Troy the fence is a way for keeping the grim reaper away.

The sold out theater was riveted to the actors on stage during the two hour plus play. Though all the actors gave solid  performances (including Dania Fedrick, who appears late in Act Two), the night belongs to Foster Evans Reese who commands the stage with his powerful and moving interpretation of Troy.

Due to adult themes and language, the play is best suited for mature audiences.

The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a real local treasure.  Doors open on hour before the show and you sit cabaret style at tables.  Guests bring their own food and drink to enjoy prior to the show.  The Barn now has a bar  in the lobby with snacks, a featured cocktail, wine and beer.

Tickets are $35 and $28 for Students, veterans and seniors)

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane  Ridgefield Ct             http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/

like I on the Valley on Facebook   http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram @i_on_the_valley