First Ladies Of Disco (Retro Music Box) will be live on stage at the Wall Street Theater on Saturday February 11th

The Wall Street Theater in Norwalk Ct is a fantastic local venue to experience live music.  This historic theater opened in 1915 hosting live entertainment.   This famous venue is now hosting on Saturday February 11th, “The First Ladies of Disco”.

Three decades of music come together in the First Ladies Of Disco (Retro Music Box) Tour. A rocking, toe-tapping, on your feet, ninety-minute tribute to Billboard’s ’70s 80’s ’90s, Soul, Rock, Pop, and  R&B,

The performance features the  original  platinum, and gold-selling hit makers of its time, Two-time Grammy nominee MARTHA WASH, the voice of The Weather Girls, C&C Music Factory and Black Box.  NORMA JEAN WRIGHT, formerly of American Disco, Funk and R&B Band CHIC; and Soul, R&B legend LINDA CLIFFORD.   This is a power house trio that will have the audience on their feet!

Join these legendary performers as they sing their hits and pay tribute to some of their favorite artists and songs. The show is a breathtaking, non-stop thrill ride. This supergroup has sold millions of records around the world and audiences are on cloud 9 when they get to see and hear these scintillating performers who made our youth so much fun! The First Ladies Of Disco (Retro Music Box) Tour is an electrifying, high-energy concert and a stunning lesson in the evolution of music.

Tickets are on sale now and range from $35-$59.  If you are a fan of this genre of music, this is a must see performance in a legendary venue.  Doors open at 7pm and show starts at 8pm

For more information and tickets:

http://www.wallstreettheater.com/ct-concerts/first-ladies-of-disco/

Wall Street Theater

71 Wall Street Norwalk Ct.

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Super Nifty Holiday Bash, a fun comedy musical at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

We have just the event to kick start your holiday season. Live on stage at The Ridgefield Theater Barn is the holiday musical comedy, “Super Nifty Holiday Bash”.  If the holiday season is overwhelming you, this light and very funny musical review is just the tonic to brighten up the season.

The play takes place in 1953 and Doris and Don Campbell are hosting their holiday party.  The house is decorated,  the food is catered, the bar is stocked and there is even a three piece band is in the house to get the party swinging.  It sounds perfect!  But a sudden and unexpected blizzard turns the perfectly planned festivities on their ear.   Waiting for the guests to arrive Don and Doris entertain us with a pair of funny songs which take a satirical look at the holidays, “12 Days of Christmas” and “ Everybody’s Waiting for the Man with the Bags”. 

The first guest Charles Whitmer (Duane Lanham) arrives with his nephew Steven Stephens (Chris Balestriere) and Charles immediatley heads to the bar for a cocktail and instructs Don on the proper way to mix a drink. He wants to get the party started.

An unexpected guest, the flamboyant Gloria Gooseby (Marilyn Crough Olsen) arrives with her assistant Edna Flatly (Rachel Lewis).  Gloria starts the party rocking with some martinis and revealing her obvious affection for the host, Don Campbell (Michael Valinoti).

 Doris (Heather Abrado) is not to pleased with their amorous party crashing guest, but they manage to get together in the spirit of the holidays and belt out the duet “ A Hand for Mrs. Claus”.  Just one of the 16 songs in the show.  

A bit of romance and drama bloom on this snowy night as we learn more about Edna and her failed romance as she sings the hilarious “Never Fall in Love with and Elf”.  Soon she and Steven find an unexpected connection to each other. 

The comedy turns physical as the caterers (Lauren Gulliver Travers and Monica Harrington) burn the dinner, and the fire department has to come and put out the fire.  The entire cast including the band run from the stage and down the center aisle of the theater toward the exits.  The audience was roaring with laughter.

Super Nifty Holiday Bash is a fun and satirical look at the holiday shows and movies of the post war period that often portrayed the holidays in an unrealistic light.  It brings the familiarity of holiday music (with new lyrics), some original songs, and sprinkles the performance with physical comedy, fine vocal performances and charming choreography.

So kick off your holiday season with something different!  Head to the Ridgefield Theater Barn to see Super Nifty Holiday Bash. 

The play is written by Theater Barn regular Duane Lanham, directed by Deb Failla and musical direction by Lisa Hobbs.  Now through December 18th.   Happy Holidays!

For tickets and information:

http://www.ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct

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Lend Me a Tenor, the side splitting comedy now at the Music Theatre of Connecticut

A hilarious zany  comedy is now on stage at the Music Theater of Connecticut.  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 November 20th. 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.

Hold on to your armrests 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 performance.  Merelli is quite the ladies man and when he arrives we discover that all the women in the play are all trying to seduce him with the exception of his wife who storms out of the hotel after she suspects him of an affair.   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. If the play is cancelled it could spell disaster for the theater.

The stage design is an integral and very important 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 word famous tenor really dead?  Or just in a deep sleep? Is there room for two operatic clowns in this comedy?  Will Max overcome his fears and appear on stage as Pagliacci and save the day?  You will have to see to find out.

Direction of this witty, fast moving comedy is essential for its success. Timing in comedy is everything and director Pamela Hill brings out the comedic best in this ensemble of fine actors. From rapid fire delivery to exaggerated facial expressions, the delivery is right on target.

Lend Me A Tenorstars Frank Mastrone (B’way- Phantom, Jekyll & Hyde, BIG) as Tito Merelli, Jeff Gurner(B’way- The Lion King, MTC- Sunset Boulevard) as The Bellboy, Michael Damian Fasano (Tour of Jersey Boys, Summer Theatre of New Canaan- West Side Story) as Max, Cynthia Hannah (TV- The Guiding Light, All My Children) as Maria, Jim Schilling(Hamlet with Tony Roberts, South Pacific with Jamie Farr) as Henry Saunders, Jo Anne Parady (Players Club- The Life of Shakespeare, Stratford Shakespeare Festival– Othello) as Julia, Emily Solo (Charlottesville Opera- Sound of Music, New Camerata Opera- Infinite Energy) as Diana, andAlexandra Fortin (Red Monkey Group- HeddaGabler, Gallery Players- Steel Magnolias) as Maggie Saunders.

Lend Me A Tenor is stage managed by Abbey Murray. The creative team includes fight and intimacy choreography by Dan O’Driscoll, scenic and prop design by Sean Sanford, lighting design by RJ Romeo, costume design by Diane Vanderkroef, and sound design by Will Atkin.

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

Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC)

509 Westport Ave Norwalk Ct

http://www.musictheatreofct.com

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From The Mississippi Delta: a powerful drama now at the Westport Country Playhouse

The Westport Country Playhouse is now presenting on stage the drama “From the Mississippi Delta”.  This tale is based on the true life story of the author, Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D.  It follows her incredible struggles from a poor black girl living  in segregated  Mississippi in the 1950s to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, to her relocation to Minnesota where she attends college and graduate school.  It is a tale of the human spirit and the ability to finally overcome the seemingly impossible  challenges of poverty and a  cruel racist society.  The play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has been produced in theaters across the country including Off-Broadway.

There are three actors in the play, all who play multiple roles. The main characters are the mother and daughter, with the third actor also taking on the role as narrator.   They weave the true story of the author and her family.  The main character, Phelia  is inspired by her mother Ida (also called Aint Baby), to work hard and strive for a better life.  Her mother has left the long days of the cotton fields behind as has become a midwife in her rural community.  Her talents and dedication earn her the name,  “Second Doctor Lady”.   She owns her own modest home and rents out rooms to support her children.   The play turns dark when her daughter, Phelia at age 11 is raped by a local white man.  Soon Phelia is caught up the seediness of a local carnival and becomes a prostitute at age 12.  She eventually will drop out of school. 

Fate will change the life of young Phelia when she meets with a civil rights group that comes to town, the  Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.   They convince her to join their movement .   Her mother is against her involvement, and in time their house is firebombed.  Her mother, Aint Baby perishes is the fire which is blamed on Klansmen.    Despite this tragedy, Phelia struggles onward and we follow her remarkable journey as she  moves north to Minnesota and attends college.   It is an incredible story of the human spirit that will remind you of the struggles so many have endured on the road to equality.  The play has all the elements of a compelling drama:  struggle, tragedy, hope, inspiration and finally redemption. 

Westport Country Playhouse will stage from October 18 – 30th. So make plans to see this fascinating drama.

The three-member cast includes Claudia Logan as Woman 1. She is from Detroit, a graduate of SUNY Purchase, and now lives in Brooklyn. Credits include Westport Country Playhouse’s “Don Juan” (2019), Dallas Theater Center’s “Penny Candy,” HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness” and “The Deuce,” and Netflix’s “Tales of the City.” Tameishia Peterson portrays Woman 2. Born in Dayton and raised in Memphis, she is a graduate of The Ohio State University, Michael Howard Studios, and Fiasco Conservatory. She now lives in New York. Credits include Starz’s ““Power Book II: Ghost,” Hulu’s “WuTang: An American Saga,” and Netflix’s “The Perfect Find.” Erin Margaret Pettigrew plays Woman 3. She is a first generation Los Angeles native after having roots in Belize and the American South. Her artist-journey has been shaped with many communities and creators such as Manhattan Theatre Club, Page 73 Productions, JAG Productions, and more, while facilitating and learning alongside institutions such as UCSB, NYU, and CUNY.

Playwright Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D. was born in Green­wood, Mississippi. During the 1940s and 1950s, Greenwood was an impoverished Delta community where Black people lived in fear of their lives. It is her life story that is the basis for this play.

Goldie E. Patrick. is the director of this production. The Detroit native is an proud alumna of Howard University where she is currently a professor of hip-hop theater. Based in New York City, for over 20 years she has passionately worked in and built artistic collaborations in Black theater as a playwright, director, and producer.

The creative team includes Jason Ardizzone-West, scenic design; Heidi Hanson, costume design; John Alexander, lighting design; Michael Keck, sound design; Ann James, intimacy coach; Dawn-Elin Fraser, voice and speech coach; Sean Sanford, props supervisor; Melissa Sparks, production stage manager; and Tré Wheeler, assistant stage manager.

The play is recommended for age 15 and up. Running time is approximately 90 minutes with one intermission. For the Playhouse’s 2022 season only, plays are consolidated to a two-week performance schedule instead of the usual three-week run.  Please support great local theater, and come see professional performance at the Westport Country Playhouse.

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court Westport Ct

http://www.westportportpayhouse.org

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The perfect Newport escape awaits at the Hamilton Hoppin House

Newport Rhode Island is a famous and desirable destination.  With its rich history of sailing and tennis, to its Gilded Age Mansions that line Bellevue Avenue, Newport has been a sought after vacation location for generations.   Though the stately mansions of the Gilded Age are now museums, we have found an inn where you can experience the elegance of Newport without having to be a Vanderbilt.

The Hamilton Hoppin House also known as Villa 120 is a beautifully restored Italianate villa style mansion.  Built in 1856, the house which is built in the wooden “stick style” is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Designed by Richard Upjohn, a famous 19th Century architect who helped popularize the Italianate design in the United States.   He was the founder of the American Institute of Architects, and designed many houses of worship and did extensive work in the Northeast including in the Hudson Valley.   Italianate style is known for its square or rectangular design, a flat roof with an overhang supported by corbels, and large oversized first floor windows. All of those details are here, as well as a beautiful large covered front porch supported by arched columns.

As lovely as the grounds and exterior of the house are, when the front door swings open, you know immediately you are in a special place.  The wide front hall runs from the front door to the back of the house.  You have to stop and take in the high ceilings, the complex wood floor, and the beautiful staircase lined with rich millwork.

Beautiful details and stain glass illuminate the stairway

Three large rooms are found on the main floor including a dining room, the breakfast room and the music room.  All are connected to the main hall by tall, grand hardwood double doors.  The 8 bedrooms are located on the second and third floor of the mansion.  As you ascend the stairs you will notice the stain glass window that illuminates the stair and hall.  The second floor hall is wide and nearly as grand as the first floor.

The Music Room

 We stayed in the Aquidneck room, which is named for the island on which Newport is located. The room is large and painted a soft relaxing shade of blue. Though renovated, the room still  retains its historic charm with hardwood floors, and large windows with wooden shutters. The king size bed is lined with crisp white sheets and comfortable pillows that ensured a restful sleep.  Modern touches included a renovated bath with shower, wi-fi, and a large screen tv with cable.  A gas fireplace in the corner is the perfect romantic touch to this room.

Aquidneck Room

Breakfast is included and the guests can gather on the first floor where coffee, tea, juice, muffins, fruit and other items are available.  You can also order eggs and sausage if you so desire.  The owner was present both days and entertained the guests with wonderful stories of the house, Newport and his own experiences.  It made our breakfast very special.

The Breakfast Room

The house is only a short 5 minute drive into downtown Newport.  There you can park and explore the narrow historic streets lined with 200 year (and older) homes.  There are also great shops, bars, music venues, and restaurants along Thames Street and down on the wharves. Of course Newport offers great scenery from a ride along Ocean Drive, to the famous Cliff Walk.  As Newport becomes a destination for collector car enthusiasts with two car museums, and the success of Audrains Concours Motor Week, the demand for upscale lodging will be high.  With ample parking and minutes from downtown, we can see the Hamilton Hoppin house being a future gathering place for auto enthusiasts. 

Though the mansion is grand, it still is able to convey a special warm and intimate atmosphere. These qualities makes it the perfect spot for an event, a small wedding or just a romantic getaway.   For a short time you can experience the history and grandeur of Newport by staying at the Hamilton Hoppin House.

The Hamilton Hoppin House (Villa 120)

20 Miantonomi Ave, Middletown, Newport, Rhode Island

http://www.hamiltonhoppinhouse.com

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Unique “experiences” await at Hemlock Hill Farm in the Hudson Valley

Brunch with Rescued Donkeys

Life should be an accumulation of memorable experiences.  Events which we can enjoy and that we can reflect upon later only to recall with fondness.

This past weekend we discovered such a memorable experience tight here in the Hudson Valley at Hemlock Hill Farm in Montgomery New York (Orange County).  An easy 1 hour drive from Westchester. 

This small farm is tucked up on a hillside surrounded by woods. Upon exiting your car you will immediately notice the quiet and the serenity of this place.   Hemlock Hill Farm offers several “experience” options.  On this particular beautiful October day we decided to try the “Brunch with Rescued Donkeys”.   We were greeted by our host Kaity who introduced us to the three rescue donkeys, who were friendly and adorable.  The donkeys are all in a fenced in field but they did stay close by as we prepared to sit down for brunch.

The brunch table was artistically and tastefully set on a rustic, century old picnic table.  Green boughs and pumpkins lined the center of the table, and china plates, teacups and silverware completed the setting.  On a separate table was a beautifully arranged display of prepared foods and baked goods.  All were made fresh by Kaity. 

Rustic and elegant, the perfect setting for brunch

We were treated to quiche, pumpkin muffins, apple cider donuts, mini apple pies, and more.  There were also veggies, pita and hummus.  Mason jars offered either small salads, or a potpourri of fruit and nuts.  The presentation was attractive and imaginative.  Coffee, tea and apple cider were also served.  It was indeed a memorable brunch. As we enjoyed the fresh made meal, the donkeys wandered about in the enclosed field.

A beautiful assortment of freshly made menu items

After our delightful brunch we entered the barn to meet the rescue horses, and the very friendly rescue goats.  The baby goats were especially happy to greet us.  There were also chickens on the property which provide the farm with fresh eggs.  It was great to interact with these animals.

Another experience offered is “glamping”.  This activity has grown enormously in the past few years.   The term describes traditional outdoor camping blended with a more upscale modern and comfortable aesthetic.    The tent on the farm was the perfect combination of the rustic outdoors and romantic comfort.  This is the perfect place to escape and disconnect.  The cream colored tent includes a large nicely made bed with decorative pillows, comforter and even an electric blanket.   The tent has a mini fireplace which is actually an electric space heater, a chair and some board games.   Outside the tent is surrounded by hand laid stone walls and more seating, a table, a cupboard and cooking stove add to the ambiance. You have your own mini compound.   I can imagine stepping out of the tent at night and looking up at the stars of the Hudson Valley sky as they softly illuminate the farm.

The farm offers other experiences as well and we encourage you to check out their website.  The farm is minutes from area attractions including Angry Orchard Cider, City Winery, orchards and of course all the great hiking in the area.

We remember with fondness our afternoon we spent at the farm and look forward to returning once again.

Hemlock Hill Farm

211  Youngblood Road Montgomery New York    (Orange County)

http://www.hemlockhillfarm.net it is “net” not “.com”

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Audrain’s Concours Motor Week 2022. Recap of a great weekend in Newport

Audrain’s Concours Motor Week  2022 was a great success.  A bit of inclement weather could not dampen the spirits of those who attended this fantastic automotive lifestyle event held in historic Newport Rhode Island.   Audrain’s Motor week was filled with events, parties, vendors, a tour of classic vehicles, seminars, and the Bonham’s auto auction.  The week concluded with the spectacular Concours d’elegance featuring over 150 beautiful cars on the lawn of The Breakers overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The Gathering at Rough Point

We started our visit by heading to The Gathering at Rough Point, the mansion of Doris Duke (now a museum).   The lawn at Rough Point was the perfect venue for attendees to enjoy a fine display of automobiles while enjoying cocktails, wine and craft beer.  Local restaurants provided delicious food from oysters, lobster rolls, clam chowder to pizza.  There were several exceptional cars on the lawn including a Cadillac Cyclone concept car from the 1950s to the beautiful Pontiac Banshee concept car, which many attendees lamented that Pontiac should have put into production. There was an unveiling of a custom Land Rover which the builder had painstakingly converted into a classic “woody” wagon.  The craftsmanship was quite impressive. The panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean were the perfect backdrop for this memorable event. Friday afternoon also featured the Bonhams Auction at the Concours Village.  A fine selection of collector  cars were available for attendees to bid on.

Cadillac Concept Car
Jay Leno being interviewed at unveiling of a custom Woody Land Rover
The tour reaches Bellevue Avenue

Saturday provided more events including the Tour d’Elegance which stopped along the route in front of Audrain’s Museum and the Concours village.  The cars which were all part of Sunday’s Concours, took part in the driving tour around historic and scenic Newport.  Their arrival on Bellevue Avenue thrilled the crowd which enjoyed seeing this gathering of automotive classics. 

We also attended one of the many seminars.  This seminar hosted by Jay Ward (director of the Cars animated movies) and Vin di Bona (television producer) was entitled “Cars of the Silver Screen” and which was entertaining as it was informative.

Sunday was the pinnacle of Motor Week with the Concours d’Elegance on the lawn of The Breakers, the palatial summer home built in 1895 for Cornelius Vanderbilt II.  The 70 room mansion with its sweeping lawns overlooks the Atlantic Ocean which provides the perfect setting for a world class automotive event.

American pre war classics at the Concours

There were numerous classes of cars vying for awards including a special 30 under 30 Class which showcases cars from enthusiasts under the age 30, American Cars 1920-1932, American cars 1933-1940, American Luxury 1945-1980, American Sports,  Aston-Martin, British Sports Cars, Cadillac, Custom cars and Early Brass Era Cars.  It was a remarkable gathering of automotive history once again at Audrain’s. 

 A magnificent 1930 Bentley Speed Six owned by William Medcalf of Vintage Bentley took home the coveted ‘Best of Show’ trophy on  his matching-numbers Speed Six Bentley.  The  Bentley was supplied new to Viscount Mandeville, the 10th Duke of Manchester.

Best of Show

Audrain’s Concours Motor Week was a great success and a car lover’s dream.  Dates for the 2023 event have already been announced for Thursday September 28th to  Sunday October 1st 2023.   Tickets go on sale in the spring of 2023.   Audrain’s is not just a car show, it is a life style event.

Audrains Concours Motor Week

http://www.audrainsconcours.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Felice County Fair at:

Arrowood Farm Brewery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ridgefield Theater Barn

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

photo credits: Pippa Walton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

201 Gipsy Trail Road, Carmel, NY 10512

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

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

Director: Jennifer Sandella

Choreographer: Paul Aguirre

Book: Patricia White, Mo Khoder

Music & Lyrics: Mo Khoder, Patricia White

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