Old Ringers: A hilarious comedy now at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

old ringers

One of our favorite theaters, The Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield Ct. is now featuring the Connecticut premiere of the comedy “Old Ringers” .  The play written by Joe Simonelli , follows 4 older  women that are facing the grim reality of an economic downturn.   Diane has had her monthly  social security check  reduced due to error, Cathy Ann has had her hours cut back and their friends Verna and Rose are feeling a similar economic pinch as well.  Other than  Diane the ladies are feeling a bit light in the romance department as well.

The play which takes place in Diane’s home in the Bronx, also features Amanda the born again Christian daughter of Diane who is shocked by her mother’s bawdy ways and her drinking.  The juxtaposition of such opposite characters lends comedy to the setting.  With their finances in ruin, and with few options the women find inspiration when a caller dials the wrong number  thinking they called a phone sex service.  The four women scheme to set up their own phone sex service right in Diane’s house.  They draft Harry, Diane’s accountant and boyfriend to be part of their new enterprise.  What would possibly go wrong?

The women spring into action and the comedy ramps up as the phone calls roll in and somehow Diane and her friends must keep their new venture a secret from the pious Amanda and her new love interest, a local police officer.

The two act play moves along briskly and the cast of seven actors give a humorous and sometimes madcap comedic performance.  Timing is everything, and director  Carol Dorn has skillfully guided the cast to execute their lines for maximum effect.  The audience roared in laughter throughout the evening.   Ms. Dorn has worked in television and film for the last 12 years. Her theater experience is extensive with work both on stage and off stage as a director and a playwright.  Her skill as a director is really evident in this production at the Theater Barn and we hope to see her back soon.

The very talented and funny cast includes Sarah J. Ahearn as Amanda , Laurel Lettieri as Rose, Frances  McGarry as Diane, Stefanie Rosenberg as Cathy Ann, Linda Seay as Verna, Joshua Adelson as the police officer and Mark Rubino as Harry.    The play runs through February 23rd.

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Guests at the Theater Barn enjoying refreshments prior to the performance of “Old Ringers”

The Theater Barn is unique! Arrive one hour before the show and bring your own food and wine. Wine, craft beer and snacks are also available for purchase at the theater.   Seating is cabaret style.  The small intimate space gives everyone in the audience a great view of the performance.  There is nothing like live theater.

Tickets are $35 for adults, and $28 for seniors, students and veterans.  Grab some friends and have a night out at the theater.

Ridgefield Theater Barn

37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct

web>   https://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org

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Ain’t Misbehavin, the Tony Award winning musical swings into the Westchester Broadway Theater

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The 1978 Tony Award winning Best Musical, Ain’t Misbehavin is now playing at  the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford.  The musical was created by Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horowitz and is a musical tribute to Thomas “Fats” Waller the famous African American song writer and musician.  Waller rose to fame during the “Harlem Renaissance” when African American artists created new music that attracted audiences from all walks of life.  His style of composer, musician, and comedian spanned several decades from the 1920s to the 1940s and he wrote over 400 songs.   WBT is staging this musical appropriately enough during Black History month.

The two act show is not your typical Broadway style musical.  The format is music revue where one song follows another.  There is no spoken parts from the cast, so the audience may feel it is more in the audience at the famous Cotton Club and less at a  Broadway musical.  There is no story, and is not a biography of Mr. Waller.  If you are not familiar with Fats Waller,  his songs may be as the 11 song Act One includes such classic hits as “Ain’t Misbehavin” and the rousing “This Joint is Jumping”.  Waller himself wrote the music and left the lyrics to other composers.  Many of the songs are bawdy in nature with plenty of double entendre to keep the audience amused.

Act Two is also comprised of 11 songs and the show really starts to hit its stride.  The “Viper’s Drag/Reefer” song is the first number where the actors start to engage the audience and gently pull them into the action on stage.     “That Ain’t Right” with lyrics by Nat King Cole is a classic blues number that highlights the many styles that Waller brought to the stage.

The brilliance of the evening is evident in the soulful “Black and Blue” with lyrics by Andy Razaf.  The ensemble cast sits motionless on stools on stage and sings the haunting lyrics together:

“I’m white inside, it don’t help my case
‘Cause I can’t hide, what is on my face, oh!  I’m so forlorn, life’s just a thorn. My heart  is torn, why was I born? What did I do to be so black and blue?”

To this member of the audience, this was indeed the most touching and powerful moment of the evening.   While Ain’t Misbehavin may not be typical musical theater, it is important  and relevant as it celebrates the history of this musical awakening, and the great talents of Fats Waller and his lyricists. It also exposes the audience to a rich and vibrant musical genre.   Richard Maltby Jr., the creator and original director of the 1978 production is here at WBT directing once again.

The show runs through February 24th.

For tickets and information:

https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza Elmsford NY

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Maritime with a Twist: a fun adults only event. Tour the aquarium and sample local foods and drinks on Thursday February 7th.

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A sea turtle at the Maritime Aquarium

A fun event for adults is coming  February 7th at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. Your ticket price includes admission to the Aquarium as well sips and samples from some of the area’s top breweries, distillers and restaurants during the “Maritime with a Twist” adults-only evening event at the Aquarium!  21 and older please.

This is always a fun time as you sample foods and beverages from restaurants from the South Norwalk (SoNo) area which is known for its vibrant dining scene. The entire aquarium will be open for you to visit as well.  Make sure to stop by and see the harbor seals at play or the amazing displays of aquatic life. . A  great way to spend a winter’s evening.

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS AND RETAILERS INCLUDE:

Asylum Distillery, Bandido Mexican Restaurant ,Bourbon Raw (new restaurant) Cantiki, (new restaurant),Charter Oak Brewing Company,Enchanted Szechuan, Local Kitchen & Craft Beer Bar Naked Turtle White Rum, No Worries Brewing Company,O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant, Our House SoNo, Owl’s Brew, Saltwater Restaurant & Bar, Tablao Wine Bar & Restaurant, The Blind Rhino, Thimble Island Brewing Company, Total Wine & More

February 7, 2019 @ 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Tickets: $35 for members, $40 for non members.

For more information and tickets:

https://www.maritimeaquarium.org/events/event/1310465

The Maritime Aquarium

10 North Water Street  Norwalk, Ct

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Evarito’s: SoNo’s finest authentic and modern Mexican eatery soon to open its new rooftop space

 

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SoNo (South Norwalk) is already home to a vibrant dining scene, and the addition of Evarito’s Mexican Kitchen and Bar has made the neighborhood a true dining destination. The restaurant which opened last year is the latest offering from the Skal Restaurant Group whose other popular restaurants include Cask Republic (Stamford, New Haven) and the Ginger Man (Greenwich).

Evarito’s menu is Mexican but has been described as “Mexican mash up”.  It has been expertly crafted to blend authentic Mexican dishes with modern culinary trends.  Christian Burns, principal of the Skal Restaurant Group has culled dishes from his travels to Mexico and brought these items to Evarito’s which can be paired with a fine selection of craft cocktails, beer, wine or sangria.

Like other restaurants in the Skal Group the interior is upscale with fine attention to design, lighting and creating an overall pleasant dining environment.  No orange or yellow painted walls or sombreros hanging from the walls at Evarito’s.  The feel is casually elegant.   We are anxious to visit the roof top bar when it opens in the Spring of 2019.

Our menu  on our latest visit included some fantastic apps, craft cocktails and a main dish that will have you returning for more.

Our appetizers included  Oyster Shooters with a fresh shucked oyster topped with hicama and served perched on a  spicy tomato shot.

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Fresh Catch Cerviche was a favorite with fresh seafood, tomato, cilantro, onion, cucumber, avocado.

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Queso Fundido is a fun dish for the cheese lover  and is a combo of melted Oaxacan, Muenster & Chihuahua cheeses, poblanos, salsa, and soft tortillas.  The Chorizo and Cheese empanadas  are a pleaser with deep fried masa pockets, Mexican cheese blend served with a spicy cilantro crema. Tasty and different.

 

Campechana Cocktail was one of our favorites and if you love seafood, you will want to order this delicious dish and features shrimp, octopus, oysters, Mexican cocktail sauce, avocado,  and pico de gallo.

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Every Mexican restaurant has salsa.  Why not take a Salsa Tour, and sample 7 different flavors including chilie de arbol, salsa roja, morita, salsa verde,  avocado, borracha, and mole negra.

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For our main we suggest the Fajitas which are unlike the typical fare is served on a skillet and your choice of steak, shrimp or mushrooms with grilled mixed vegetables, cilantro cream, and salsa roja.  The hand  rolled tortillas are authentic and served in a decorative hand carved wooden box.

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Evarito’s Mexican Kitchen and Bar has elevated Mexican cuisine to a new level, with an authentic healthy cuisine and fresh ingredients.  Absent are the heavy sauces, refried beans and typical fare.  In its place are great authentic dishes presented with a modern dining approach.

With the addition of the new rooftop space, Evarito’s needs to be on your dining destination list.

Evarito’s

16 North Main Street  South Norwalk Ct

web https://www.evaritos.com

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Taste of Fairfield, a fun food event presented by Town Vibe returns Sunday January 27th.

 

taste of fairfield winter

Looking for something to do the last weekend in January?   There will be no football on Sunday and if you are looking for something different then The Taste Of Fairfield-Winter Fest may be the perfect way to take care of the winter blues. The event is on Sunday January 27th from 12 noon to 4p.m.

Taste of Fairfield-Winter Fest  is a great event that brings together in one place restaurants, wineries, distillers, craft brewers and markets.  Samples of their products will be available to taste for all attendees.   I attended the fall Taste of Fairfield event a few months back and had a great time.

The focus of this event will be on comfort food, party food and other great food and beverages you might serve at your own party.   The Fest is indoors at the beautiful Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield Ct.  This is a great party space and in addition to the food there will be live music, silent disco, bowling, stand-up comedy and even roving entertainment.  Sounds like a great afternoon!

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Tickets:  $50 in advance.  $100 for VIP tickets which includes open bar and access to the private lounge. Tickets at the door are $10 in addition to the advance ticket price.  Parking is free!   There is a charity, Operation Hope that will be receiving proceeds from  the Chances to Win drawing

Taste of Fairfield -Winter Fest is a production of Town Vibe, the publisher of great local magazines in Fairfield, Westchester, and Litchfield Counties.

 

For tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/taste-of-fairfield-winterfest-2019-tickets-51433214128

Taste Of Fairfield-Winter Fest

Brooklawn Country Club

500 Algonquin Road Fairfield Ct.

 

 

 

Greenwich International Film Festival will screen “Ben Is Back” starring Julia Roberts and Q&A with writer/director Peter Hedges on 12/17

ben is back

The Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) has announced a very special screening of  “Ben is Back” starring Julia Roberts , Lucas Hedges and veteran actor Courtney B. Vance. The film was nominated for awards at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival.

The film follows troubled addict Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one Christmas Eve. Ben’s mother Holly Burns ( Julia Roberts) welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way. He has decided to skip rehab for the holidays to be with his family. However, during the 24 hours that make up the film, their lives may change forever. It is up to his mother, Holly to do whatever she can in her power to save her son and her family.

The film is written and directed by Peter Hedges (father of Lucas Hedges) and has written several novels, plays and movie scripts such as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, “About a Boy” and others.

The film will be screened by GIFF on Monday December 17th at the Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich.   This special evening will kick off with a cocktail reception at ASHA (409 Greenwich Ave.)  from 6pm to 7:15pm.  ASHA will be donating 10% of all purchases made at the reception to GIFF.  The film will then be screened at the cinema at 7:30 with a Q & A session to follow with director and writer, Peter Hedges.  This promises to be a very special evening, and is just another example of the fine and unique programming that the Greenwich International Film Festival brings to our area.

Not only does GIFF host its annual film festival, but produces great events like this one during the year.  Please consider becoming a GIFF member or give the gift of membership to a loved one this year.  Members are invited to special events and can take advantage of special VIP discounts as well  as have access to fantastic thought provoking cinema.

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For more information on GIFF, memberships, and tickets  please visit:

Greenwich International Film Festival

http://www.greenwichfilm.org

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

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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

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Kashi: New seasonal menu compliments the sushi at this hip, modern Japanese restaurant in Stamford.

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We recently dined at Kashi a Japanese eatery and bar located in Downtown Stamford along Restaurant Row. Upon entering  Kashi Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant my impression was of a special and swanky environment.  Modern decor, soft muted purple lighting and a club like atmosphere blend to create  multi-sensory experience. Introduced to the city’s thriving restaurant scene in January of 2016, Kashi’s has crafted a space and menu that is both innovative and artistic in its approach to sushi and Japanese food.

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The Scorpion Bowl cocktail

The bar is creates a hip and modern environment in which to enjoy pre or post dinner cocktails. The list of special cocktails is quite impressive and innovative.  Old favorites can be found there such as the fun Scorpion Bowl which is always a fun cocktail to enjoy with others.

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Grilled Lobster

While the menu is filled with sushi and sashimi favorites, the new Seasonal Special Menu was the reason for our recent visit.  Interesting dishes abound including Grilled Lobster which is prepared with grilled seaweed and a chili sauce.   Seared Yellowtail Tuna  combines a pleasant presentation in a dark covered bowl  and includes seared yellowtail with yuzu, kosho gel and a yuzu dashi sauce.  Delicious.

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Yellowtail Tuna

The Double Wrap was another new and interesting dish with soy paper wraps filled with spicy lobster salad and topped with a mango salmon chili.  This was paired on the same plate with a fantastic cucumber wrap with spicy tuna inside.  The seasonal menu is sure to be a hit and help insert new flavors into the offerings at Kashi.

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Double Wrap

We also decided to sample some of the classic dishes and enjoyed the Thai Basil Chicken, which is prepared in a wok with mushroom, onion, carrot and a chili paste basil sauce.  Though not Japanese, this was a delicious dish.

For sushi fans, the Sushi and Sashimi for 1, is a great dish (and large enough to share).  A wonderful presentation over crushed ice with a light underneath the ice which includes sushi, sashimi and a spicy tuna roll.

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Sushi and Sashimi for 1

Kashi presents food that is only fresh and tasty, but does so in a visually interesting manner.  Add the upscale modern atmosphere that seemingly transports you from your average restaurant to a new exotic dining locale, and you have a winning combination.

Kashi

133 Summer Street, Stamford, CT

www.kashijapanese.com/kashistamford

 

 

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

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O Mandarin: Authentic Mandarin cuisine in the heart of Westchester

Irene pix 1663We have been planning to visit O Mandarin in Hartsdale for since its 2017 opening  the restaurant has been receiving very positive reviews.  We were very happy to dine here on a recent Saturday evening. Even though our reservation was for 8 pm the restaurant was full with patrons, and more were waiting at the bar.

The interior of the eatery is set in warm tones with both tables and elevated booths.  There is generous use of wood and the chairs are carved wood inspired by Ming Dynasty design.  The effect is soothing, comfortable  and sets the mood for an evening of dining.

O Mandarin does not serve cocktails, but there is a list of beer, wine, and saki available from the bar.   Our party of four decided to order and share different appetizers so that we may sample some of the many dishes from the menu.  O Mandarin’s menu philosophy is to provide diners with fine authentic Mandarin cuisine using the freshest ingredients.  The food includes an infusion of spices that gives each dish a unique flavor.   There is plenty to choose from with beef, pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetarian options available.

We sampled such favorites as the Mandarin Glazed Short Rib which was sweet and tender.  We also enjoyed the Cucumber Honey Shrimp, and unique dish of cooked shrimp laced with organic honey and covered in sesame seeds.  Very delicious.

 

The Home Made Dumplings can be steamed or pan fried and these dough filled delights (shrimp or pork) were served in a ceramic rowboat with soy sauce on the side.    Shrimp and Chicken  Lettuce wraps came next.  Prepared with scallion and onion and served with lettuce wraps, this is a nice light healthy dish that can be an appetizer or a main dish.

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 Dumplings

Our main dishes consisted of the hearty and delicious Beef Short Rib with two ribs served in a red wine reduction with ginger and anise.  The meat was soft and tender and fell off the bone.  The red wine and spiced reduction was the perfect complement to the beef.

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Pineapple Fried Rice

Our other main was the Garlic Pepper Shrimp with bell peppers and leeks, and we also enjoyed the Pineapple Mixed Fried rice which was served in a hollowed out half pineapple.  The fried rice was delicious and light and filled with beef, chicken and veggies.  A really great dish.   We were impressed with the variety of the menu, the presentation of the dishes, and the healthy way we felt at the end of the meal.   The use of fresh spices  instead of salt and soy sauce really sets O Mandarin apart.

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Garlic Pepper Shrimp

We learned the owner is constantly bringing in guest chefs from China to infuse fresh ideas into the menu.  With this kind of innovation, we look forward to returning again to O Mandarin.

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O Mandarin

361 North Central Avenue Hartsdale NY

https://www.omandarin.com

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