Wall Street Theater: this classic Norwalk venue offers great music and more

Live music is back !  After a year of experiencing no live music due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, it is great to see concert venues like the  Wall Street Theater open for business.   The theater is a true architectural landmark that was built in 1914 and opened as “The Regent” theater.  It hosted live acts as well as movies.  Over the many decades the theater has gone through numerous owners and name changes.  Currently this beautiful event space is owned by a 501c3  non profit organization and features live concerts and shows, cinema and more. 

Recently we traveled to the theater to enjoy one of its Summer Concert Series performances.  These concerts are held outside in the parking lot behind the theater.  We enjoyed a concert from Tusk, one of the premier Fleetwood Mac tribute bands in the country.  The band was excellent and the two hour show included many songs from  Fleetwood Mac’s deep catalog of songs.  The band accurately performed many hits from Rumors, as well as reached back into the early days of the band to deliver a blues medley.  The outdoor setting of a warm May evening with the sun setting over Norwalk added to the overall experience. The current calendar of concerts and events is on their website and will feature both outdoor and indoor performances.  Live music is back and it’s time to get out to the Wall Street Theater in Norwalk.

Tusk, the Fleetwood Mac tribute bank performs live at the Wall Street Theater Summer concert series

http://www.wallstreettheater..com

Wall Street Theater

71 Wall Street Norwalk Ct.

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Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Returns!

Hudson Valley Restaurant week, presented by Valley Table Magazine is back again! Starting Monday May 10, 2021 and it runs  through Sunday May 23, 2021. This event involves over 100 participating restaurants in the Hudson Valley which offer diners special three-course price fixe dinner menus for $35.95 (not including beverage, tax and gratuity). Many of these fine restaurants also offer 3-course price fixe lunches for $25.95 (not including beverage, tax and gratuity). 

There will be man fine restaurants participating in Westchester County alone including The Cookery,Gigante, Goosefeathers, Moderne Barn, The Greekish and so many more.


This is an amazing opportunity to try new restaurants, or revisit some old favorites at a reasonable price. There are no tickets to buy and the process is easy ! Go to the Valley Table website and scroll down and view the participating restaurants, then choose a restaurant (or more), call the restaurant to make a reservation and then enjoy!
You really should not miss this special time get out and dine at some of the fantastic restaurants we have here in the Hudson Valley.
Website   http://www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com

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Get in the spirit with “A Christmas Carol” now at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

Great tidings!  The Ridgefield Theater Barn is now open and is staging a fantastic one man adaptation of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” .  It has been 10 months since we have enjoyed live theater because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so we were thrilled to spend a special evening at one of our favorite local venues. This classic 19th Century tale of the greed, bitterness and the harsh reality of life in that period is in stark contrast to the joyous Christmas season.

The show, which was originally presented in 2018 at the Farmington Valley Stage Company in Collinsville, CT, stars Patrick Spadaccino in his one-man adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic tale.  Mr. Spadaccino plays 25 different roles in the 90 minute performance and brings each character to life.  The production is directed by Scott R. Brill.

Dickens tale is well known as it follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly, mean, and lonely business owner in 19th Century Britain.  He has no care for his fellow citizens or workers and downright detests the joy of the Christmas season.  Scrooge finds himself quite alone in his miserable existence, alienated from everyone around him.  A ghostly spirit visits Scrooge on Christmas Eve to show him the error of his ways.  The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Futures guides Scrooge through his life and what will happen to him in the end.  An end that is cold, lonely and devoid of humanity.  But there is hope in the Spirit’s message that Scrooge can change the course of his future.  The Ghost of Christmas present shows Scrooge visiting Bob Cratchit’s family feast and introduces the audience to the iconic character of Tiny Tim who is seriously ill, and only if Scrooge changes his ways will he be healed. 

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his own death, where there are no friends, no mourners and only people selling off his belongings for money.  Horrified by this outcome, Scrooge is set on changing his ways before Christmas Day.  The lessons of the story ring true today as they did when it was first  published in 1843

Patrick Spadaccino was brilliant in this one man acting tour de force.  The set is simple and the costume changes minimal, but by the way he was able to change his voice and his facial expressions were quite mesmerizing.  As he wove in and out of characters on stage, your mind was convinced there was more than one actor on the stage.  It was quite the performance.  Direction by Scott R. Brill was excellent as the play keeps the audience members riveted.

With many holiday events cancelled due to Covid, this is a very special event and a great way to get into the holiday spirit and to support local theater.  The play show will run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 2pm through December 20th.

The theater has in place their own in-house Covid-certified Compliance Officer and has taken many steps in order to satisfy all Covid protocols. 

.  The seating capacity has been reduced , tables are spaced out, and masks are required.  Special air filtration, cleaning as well as increased fresh air circulation has made the venue a safer place for all to enjoy.

For tickets and information: Click the link below

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct

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Casablanca: Escape to an upscale Inn like no other in Cape May

Cape May, New Jersey is on of the most unique beach towns you will ever visit on the east coast. Cape May is the location of the largest concentration of Victorian era seaside architecture in the country. The elaborate details and colors of these homes, many of which have been converted to inns and B & B’s allow the visitor to enjoy a totally unique beach holiday.

The entrance to Casablanca

A recent visit to this wonderful town included a two night stay at the Casablanca B &B. From the moment we stepped on to the inviting front porch, we felt instantly at home. History, hospitality and luxury are all apparent here at Casablanca.

There are a wide variety of beautifully appointed rooms at Casablanca and they will exceed your expectations. There are 10 different unique rooms from which to choose with either king or queen size beds. Rooms differ but do offer private baths, air conditioning, comfortable beds with upscale bedding, luxury toiletries and more. Of course high speed internet and wifi is included.

We stayed in the beautiful Paradise Cottage at Casablanca. This two level suite was the ultimate in upscale and modern luxury beach accommodation. At 600 square feet, the cottage features a bedroom loft with jacuzzi tub, gas fireplace and bathroom. Downstairs your needs for relaxing are met with a comfy living area with sofa, flat screen tv, and wet bar with a fridge and microwave. Included are teas, coffee and beverages. Also on this level is a full bath.

Many B& B’s and inns at Cape May have adopted the traditional Victorian interior decor to match the Victorian history of Cape May. The Paradise Cottage however had its own decor that is sophisticated, modern, upscale, but still beachy.

Sleeping loft with freestanding tub

Also available to guests are beach towels, chairs and the use of bikes. The Casablanca is perfectly situated in Cape May with just a short two block walk to the beach (beach pass required) and steps from dining and great shopping in the Washington Street Mall. Bikes are a great way to get out and explore Cape May and admire not only the architecture but the seaside scenery.

Brightly colored bikes for guest use at Cape May. A great way to explore
A short walk to the beautiful beach at Cape May

Breakfast is included with your stay and was delicious each morning with ample fresh options. Afternoon tea was also included and is a nice touch as you can linger on the porch and enjoy the late afternoon.

A delicious breakfast to start your day

The owners of Casablanca have other inns in Cape May with a wide variety of beautiful rooms from which to choose. They also operate The Harrison, The Pharos at the Harrison and the Ashley Rose. Each are beautiful and unique properties and we encourage you to visit there website for details and photos.

Our visit went too fast, but the memories of Casablanca will linger for a very long time. We plan to return again very soon.

A highlight of any Cape May stay is a visit to Sunset Beach. The end to a perfect holiday.

Casablanca

709 Columbia Avenue
Cape May, New Jersey 08204

web https://casablancacapemay.com/

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Greenwich International Film Festival: enjoy unique and original films with the “Virtual Festival” May 1st-3rd

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One of our very favorite events that we look forward to each year is the Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF).  This amazing festival brings to our area a slate of original and unique narrative films, documentaries and short film.  These are thought provoking films you will not see anywhere else.  As well the festival each year hosts panel discussions with filmmakers and actors, the Changemaker Gala and so much more.  The festival also awards money each year to filmmakers and as well has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to its charity partners.

We all know that the Covid-19 health crises has changed our world, and Governor Lamont of Connecticut  recently issued a  State of Emergency Declaration in response to the crises. GIFF has made the decision to continue with the festival, but in a very different way.  Instead of viewing films at the different venues in Greenwich, GIFF 2020 will now be a virtual festival.   From May 1st to 3rd 2020 attendees will be able to view the festival online.

According to Ginger Stickel, Executive Director of the Festival, “Out of concern for public safety and the well-being of our community of supporters, filmmakers, staff and health care professionals, we have moved the Greenwich International Film Festival to an online experience. We remain committed to providing an effective platform for filmmakers to showcase their films, as well as to supporting them with cash awards. Our team has worked incredibly hard to launch the inaugural virtual festival and we can’t wait to share it with audience members, both near and far.

The virtual festival is sponsored by Betteridge, Maison d’Alexandre, JP Morgan, The Nature Conservancy, Nichols MD, Brightline, ICON, CAIS, Richards, Ashforth, Volvo, and Compass. The rest of the events around the annual festival, including the Changemaker Gala, and in-person screenings and panels, will be postponed until Fall 2020.

This virtual three-day event will include an exciting selection of Narrative & Documentary Features, the Connecticut Shorts Program, exclusive interviews with film talent, acknowledgments, and a chance to Vote for the JP Morgan Chase Audience Award. It will also feature the Best Social Impact Film Award, presented by the Bill & Ann Bresnan Foundation, and the Best Connecticut Shorts Award, presented by the Connecticut Office of Film, Television & Digital Media.  In the past 5 years we always enjoyed the vast array of fine and original programming available at the festival.  The mission of GIFF to make a “social impact” remains unchanged even though the festival has moved online.

For those who always supported the festival by attending the special programming events such as the Changemaker Gala, GIFF has announced that this fall it intends to host a special slate of events including the Gala, a selection of films and panel discussions.

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For information on the list of films and the festival program:

http://www.greenwichfilm.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/official-program-2020-4-16-20.pdf

For information and to purchase tickets for the festival :  go to “Purchase a Pass” and hit the “Virtual Pass” button at:

http://www.greenwichfilm.org/

Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) is a non-profit organization that hosts a world class film festival each year, and supporting events throughout the year. It was founded to bridge the worlds of film, finance, and philanthropy. The Festival’s mission is to provide filmmakers with the opportunity to showcase their work with the goal of finding financing for future projects. Additionally, GIFF harnesses the power of film to serve the greater good by supporting charity partners with festival proceeds.

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Fortina: Meet the new plant based “meatless” dishes

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Plant based “meatless” meatballs

We recently dined at  Fortina in Armonk.  The eatery owned by Christian Petroni, who is also the chef behind the Fortina group of restaurants which feature classic New York Italian dishes and pizza.   Recently Fortina has embraced the plant based trend in dining and has rolled out two new dishes,  meatless Meatballs and meatless Chicken Parm.

The meatless “meat” is the product of Hungry Planet  They provide the plant based meat, which then Chef Petroni transforms into his dishes with his own touch of sauces and spices.   We understand the recipe is almost the same as the traditional meat version that is on the menu.  We were curious to see how it tasted.

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Plant based “Chicken” Parm

The plant based meatballs were soft and delicious and had a texture very similar to ground meat.  The delicious blend of spices and marinara sauce complemented the dish and we were pleasantly surprised.  It was that good.

The plant based Chicken Parm was the star of the show as it looked, sliced and tasted exactly like traditional Chicken Parm.  We had to check with the waitress to see if they brought the incorrect order.  It was fantastic with light breading and served with marinara.  We would order this dish again.

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Wood fired Cauliflower

We understand more meatless dishes are in the works including Italian sausage which we look forward to tasting in a future visit.    For the vegetarian of healthy eater in your party there are plenty of options, including pasta, Broccoli Rabe, Wood Fired Cauliflower, Wood fired Carrots and a Wood Roasted Veggie Platter for two.

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Wood Roasted Veggie platter for 2

Naturally, Fortina has not strayed from its traditional fare which has made the restaurants so popular.  Wood fired pizzas, pastas,  rib eye steak, regular Chicken Parm, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Pork Braciole all remain cornerstones of the menu.

We were excited to try the new plant based dishes coming now on the menu at Fortina and look forward to their new items.

Fortina

Armonk, Yonkers,  Rye Brook, Stamford, Brooklyn,

web>>>> https://fortinapizza.com/

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Bradley Mountain Farm: a very special goat farm with goat yoga, hikes, goat soap and so much more

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We recently enjoyed some time at Bradley Mountain Farm in Southington Ct.   Bradley Mountain Farm is a goat farm with some of the most friendliest animals you will ever meet.  The farm is a 200 year old property that once was a dairy farm. The  farmhouse and barn is tucked away in the beautiful countryside of Connecticut.  This lovely property borders Crescent Lake Park, a 233 acre park featuring hiking trails, a large lake and scenic vistas.

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Some of the friendly goats at Bradley Mountain Farm

 

Arriving at the farm after an easy 1 hour trek from Northern Westchester we were greeted by Annalise Deadras who is the owner. Her herd  of dairy goats provide milk which is then produced into high quality goat milk soap.  The high fat content of the goat milk is perfect for making a smooth creamy soap.  Soaps are available at the farm or on line and come in a number of fragrances .   They feature such names as “Fairy Garden”, “Hippy Hemp”, “Sweet Angel” and  ” Water Lily”.  They look and smell as pretty as they sound.

We learned the farm is not just about the production of goat milk soap, as  several fun and interesting programs are featured at the farm.  There are the Goat Hike and Nature Tour where you can hike with some of the herd along the shore of Crescent Lake which borders the farm.

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Farm store with soaps and more for sale

Goat Cuddle Therapy is also offered .    A “Goat Cuddle Instructor” will lead you through a relaxing session while the goats are eating and playing. The goats may even snuggle up to you, or climb in your lap.  It sounds like a relaxing way to unplug from a stressful world and reconnect to the natural world with these gentle, friendly animals.

Goats with Pajamas is another fun event for families. You can help put the herd to bed, cuddle with your favorite goat.  Guests are able to brush the  goats, feed  them, and put pajamas, tutus, and other costumes on the goats.  The session ends with a cuddle session with the goats.

Goat Yoga is a different and fun take on this popular activity.  As you move through a guided one hour yoga session, the goats move about you creating a peaceful and natural mood.  What a unique and fun way to spend some time as you connect with yourself and nature.

If you are in the area of the farm, do spend some time checking out the area which is quite picturesque.  The village of Southington is a classic quaint New England village just minutes from the farm.  There is a canal trail, restaurants and a brewery with tap room all there to explore.

Please check the farm website for hours and for event times.

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Bradley Mountain Farm

537 Shuttle Meadow Road, Southington, CT    tel. 860.385.GOAT 

https://bradleymountainfarm.com/

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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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Godspell: A theatrical tour de force now on stage at ACT in Ridgefield

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A total modernized and powerful version of the 1970s classic musical Godspell is now on stage at ACT ( A Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut) in Ridgefield Ct.  It was our first time seeing a play  at this theater and we spellbound by this  incredible production.  If you see only one play this year, make it Godspell at ACT.

The original production of Godspell which opened in 1971 off-Broadway and the 1973 film of the same name was a lighter play with the characters dressed in colorful period clothing.   The story features Jesus in a modern setting with his disciples (though given different names), and the story follows parables from the New Testament which teach the lessons of forgiveness, charity, kindness to all,  and that man must worship God and not money.  These lessons can be appreciated by anyone of any faith or background, and seem even more relevant today.

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Artistic Director Daniel C. Levine was given permission by the show’s creator, Stephen Schwartz to revise Godspell and cast it in a new light.  Levine has brought Godspell from 1971 to 2020 and in the process created a powerful and moving production.   The play opens in an abandoned church in Manhattan that where some homeless have taken refuge.   Enter the developers and realtors who reveal that this old magnificent structure will be demolished to build high priced condos for the wealthy.  They care not for the church nor its purpose as they discuss the price of these condos to be built and brag about how the building is 90% sold.  Suddenly from the ruins of the church, Jesus appears to transform the greedy and to open their eyes to his lessons.   The stage design of the abandoned church is magnificent with its Gothic pillars, and stained glass windows  which creates the perfect mood for the play.   Levine was inspired to set the musical in an abandoned church after witnessing the fire at Notre-Dame in Paris.  Reid Thompson who is the scenic designer helped bring a Broadway quality set to our backyard and in doing do brought Levine’s vision to fruition.

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The score from Godspell is memorable and includes such favorites “Day By Day”,  “All the Best”. “Light of the World”, and from the film, “Beautiful City”.   The sound is professional and some of the best and clearest we have heard at any theater.  Credit goes to Sound Designer John Salutz and his talented team.  The vocals are outstanding with great performances from the entire cast.

The story is not all heavy, as lighter comedic moments are part of the show including satirical references to the President  as well to Harvey Weinstein.    The cast also interacts with the audience playfully, and even leaves the stage to move about the theater.  During the intermission the actors appear and begin to mingle with the audience while still in character.  This was effective in really allowing the attendees to feel immersed in the story and not a passive observer.

The cast was brilliant and even included an ensemble of children actors who make brief appearances as they represent the innocent and the future of us all.   The cast of actors have numerous Broadway, off Broadway, National Tour and regional credits.   It was an evening of wonderful performances with Trent Saunders (Jesus), Jaime Cepero (John the Baptist), Shalen Harger, Jacob Hoffman, Katie Ladner, Alex Lugo, Andrew Poston, Monica Ramirez, Phil Sloves, Morgan Billings Smith , Emma Tattenbaum-Fine, and Cameron Nies.

We were totally mesmerized by this stunning new interpretation of  Godspell.  It is a show for us all and so relevant today.  The show runs through March 8, 2020 and it has to be on your must see list.

ACT    A  Contemporary Theatre of Connecticut

36 Old Quarry Road

Ridgefield, CT 06877

Box Office: (475) 215 5433

web  >>>https://www.actofct.org/

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Five Guys Named Moe: a funny music filled show that will have you smiling

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The Westchester Broadway Theatre is currently producing the musical “Five Guys Named Moe” a musical revue inspired by the jazz blues pioneer Louis Jordan.  The show is lively, upbeat and had the audience on their feet on opening night.   The show was produced originally in the UK and later on Broadway where it was nominated for two Tony awards.

The production features 25 songs many of which were written by Louis Jordan.  His blues and jazz style would influence other blues artists and early rock and roll artists such as Chuck Berry.   The story is about a man No Max who is down on his luck, has lost his girlfriend and has turned to hitting the bottle pretty hard.   He is listening to music on his radio when seemingly spring from the airwaves themselves are five performers.  The five men, Eat Moe, No Moe, Four Eyed Moe, Big Moe and Little Moe spring out on stage to sing the first of the evenings songs, “Early in the Morning”.  Though the story is a bit thin, its purpose is to tie together the musical numbers.  Along the way the Five Guys help  No Max out of his situation and make him a better man.

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The fast moving Act One features some excellent numbers such as “I Like ‘Em Fat Like That”,  “Safe, Sane and Single” and the fun calypso inspired song “Push Ka Pi Shi Pie” which encourages the audience to actively participate in the singing.  A lyric sheet is given to each audience member so they can sing along.

Act Two wastes no time getting the audience back into the groove with one great song after the other.  Memorable songs such as “Let the Good Times Roll”,  “Caledonia” and “Don’t Let The Sun Catch you Crying” really moved the audience.  The cast was excellent with Quentin Avery Brown as Eat Moe, Tyler Johnson-Campion as No Moe, Napoleon M. Douglas as No Max, Douglas Lyons as Four Eyed Moe, Tony Perry as Big Moe and Isaiah Reynolds as Little Moe.    The cast is backed by an on stage live band of John Daniels (music director/piano), Steve Bleifuss (trombone), Jim Briggs (clarinet, sax), Dave Dunaway (upright bass), Jay Mack (drums) and Brian Uhl (Trumpet).  Having a live band on stage really brought out the authenticity of this great music and complemented the casts vocals.

Directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford, the show runs through March 1, 2020.

for tickets and information:  https://www.broadwaytheatre.com/

Westchester Broadway Theatre

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford New York

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