From the creator of House of Cards: “Farragut North” at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

Playwright Beau Willimon, the creator of “House of Cards” (Netflix hit series), delivers a powerful and timely play about the inner workings of presidential campaign.  The work was influenced by his own personal experience of working on both US Senate and Presidential campaigns.

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Farragut North premiered in 2008 at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York and would become the basis for the screenplay for the motion picture “Ides of March“.  That screenplay was written by Willimon, George Clooney and Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men).  The play has now come to the Ridgefield Theater Barn and will be performed through October 1, 2016

The play is set during a presidential campaign in the days leading up to the Iowa Caucuses.  The audience meets many of the main characters in Scene One including Stephen (Jack Tynan) they young and blindly ambitious press secretary, his boss Paul (Fred Rueck) the seasoned campaign manager, Ida (Julie Zelman) the crafty and ambitious New York Times reporter who will do whatever it takes for a story, and Ben (Ryan Wenke) the young reserved staff assistant who is kept at a distance by his seasoned superiors.  We learn in this scene both the intrigue and the behind the scenes tactics of a national campaign and how the campaign can manipulate the press and craft the candidates message to serve its needs.

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Scene Two of Farragut North is a critical scene where Stephen meets secretly with Tom (Steven A Miller) who is the Campaign Manager of his rival.  In the meeting in a quiet restaurant outside Des Moines, we learn the dirty secrets of misinformation and poll manipulation by the other candidate.  The crafty Tom leads Stephen to believe that his candidates campaign is all but over and he should jump ship and join his team.  Stephen who is both young and ruthlessly ambitious has had his life turned upside down by these revelations and he begins to question his own future.

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The political intrigue and games continue for the rest of the play with the appearance of Molly (Margaret Fegan) who is a young amorous intern who is learning more than just national campaigns.  It is her interactions with Stephen that brings to light issues of loyalty, fidelity, betrayal and honesty both on a personal level and in the campaign.

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There are excellent performances all around and direction by Cathy Fitzgerald Linder is first rate.

NOTE:  The play contains adult language and subject matter and is not suitable for minors.

Tickets:       $24  ( a real bargain!!)    $20 for seniors, students and veterans

Seating in the 70 seat theater is Cabaret style at tables and doors open 1 hour before showtime.  You can bring your own food, wine and snacks to enjoy prior to the show.

For tickets and information:

Ridgefield Theater Barn 

37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct

http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/

 

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Arezzo Ristorante: fine waterfront Italian dining in Westport

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If you want a Tuscany inspired dining experience then you must try Arezzo Ristorante in Westport Connecticut.  The restaurant is set alongside the Saugatuck River  with gorgeous waterfront views.  Diners can choose to eat inside in the covered sun deck, or on the open air patio complete with umbrellas and an outdoor bar.

There is a newly renovated interior with stone archways, stucco walls and charming dark wood beams.  The bar inside is also inviting with dark leather accents and rich wood details.

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Fun and innovative cocktails

 

The menu has quite a selection with dishes finished in the high heat of the wood burning oven.  There are delicious homemade pastas, unique pizza selections and fresh fish, chicken and meat dishes from which to choose.  For the salad lover there are many choices from seasonal produce and fun creations such as roasted beets, pistachios and shaved artichokes.

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Pasta Tasting:  Orecchettie with sausage, Gnocchi, and Seafood Risotto

 

 

Entree selections include dishes for all tastes such as Filet Mignon, Melanzane al forno (Eggplant), various chicken and veal dishes, as well as seafood delights such as Branzino, Fisherman’s Stew (scallops, shrimp, and calamari in a tomato broth with fennel) and more.

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Halibut aqua pazza with clams, mussels in a cherry tomato broth

There is also an delightful selection of desserts including fruit tarts, brulees , tiramisu and gelato.

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Tiramisu

The view from the outdoor patio is fantastic and the overall ambiance is perfect for dining al fresco on a warm summer evening.   For a real Italian restaurant experience,  check out Arezzo Ristorante in downtown Westport.  Delicioso!

Arezzo Ristorante/Bar

5 Riverside Ave  Westport Ct      203-557-9375

http://www.arezzowestport.com

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Frank Pepe: delicous award winning pizza

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In the mood for pizza, but not your local pizza place?  Then pizza lovers should head to Frank Pepe Pizzeria for their delicious coal fired pizza specialties.  The pizza is famous for its thin, crisp, lightly charred crust made from a special family recipe.   The original Frank Pepe Pizza opened in New Haven in 1926 and now has 8 locations all run by family members.  The locations in our area are Yonkers, New York , New Haven, and Danbury Ct.   The Danbury restaurant is run by Frank Pepe’s  Grandson, Gary Bimonte.  His passion for his product and home style traditional cooking will make you feel like you are part of the family.

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Frank Pepe has had the honor of being voted the best pizza in the State of Connecticut and was recognized as one of the top 10 pizza restaurants in the nation by the Huffington Post.

There are many pizzas to from which to choose.  The day we visited we sampled the Clam Pizza made from locally sourced calms which tasted light and fresh.     The spinach gorgonzola  cheese pie was unique and was a nice blend of ingredients with just the right blend of fresh toppings.  I am not usually a fan of gorgonzola cheese, but it was delicious on this pizza.

The original tomato pie is a real delight.  With crushed imported Italian tomatoes, olive oil and grated  cheese, this pizza is one of their most popular pies and is a house specialty.  The light crispy crust which comes about by its baking in the large coal fired oven give this a unique taste.  We also sampled the sausage pizza which was topped with fresh sausage made only for Frank Pepe.

 

 

From July  to September there is fresh tomato pie with tomatoes from local farms, fresh mozzarella, garlic and basil.  It sounds terrific and I can’t wait to try it.    If you looking for a family night out, join the Pepe family for some great traditional pizza recipes.

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Owner Gary Bimonte grandson of Frank Pepe

 

Frank Pepe

59 Federal Rd Danbury Ct

http://www.pepespizzeria.com

 

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Greenwich International Film Festival June9-12 announces special events to its schedule

 

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The Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) announced today additional special events for its second edition, as well as its jury members for competition films. GIFF will be hosting special events such as “LOL: The Big Business of Comedy” and “Children’s Acting Workshop.” The festival will also be honoring John Turturro at a conversation series entitled “Spotlight On.”

Comprised of directors, producers, writers, and actors, “LOL: The Big Business of Comedy” is a conversation  guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Panelists include Richard Brener (President of Production of New Line Cinema), Chris Bender (Producer of We’re The Millers, Vacation, Horrible Bosses), Peter Principato (Head of Principato-Young – Talent Manager; Producer of Wet Hot American Summer), Stuart Cornfeld (Partners with Ben Stiller; Producer of Dodgeball, Zoolander, Tropic Thunder), & comedian Will Arnett (Arrested Development). Moderated by Deadline Hollywood’s New York Editor Mike Fleming, this event will take place on Saturday, June 11th at 8:00PM and will be followed by an after party.

“Children’s Acting Workshop” reveals secrets from the pros on how to make it in the entertainment industry.  Acting Coach, Matt Newton, Casting Director, Adrienne Stern, and Moderator and Acting Coach, David Gideon, along with some of Hollywood’s bright young stars including The Jungle Book’s Neel Sethi and actress Peyton List (of Disney Channel’s Bunk’d) will be participating in this engaging workshop on Saturday, June 11th at 1:00PM. The festival previously announced it will screen The Jungle Book on Friday, June 10th at 4:00PM.

The Greenwich International Film Festival will take place June 9th ‐ 12th, 2016. Tickets are now on sale and available for purchase at http://www.greenwichfilm.org/2016-box-office/  or at the festival’s box office.

 About The Greenwich International Film Festival

Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that hosts a world-class film festival in Greenwich, CT. The goal of the festival is to bridge the worlds of film, finance and philanthropy. The second annual festival will take place June 9th to 12th, 2016, and will support important human rights initiatives, as part of its social impact focus.  The four-day event will feature a star-studded Opening Night Party, film premieres, educational panels, a Children’s Acting Workshop, an honoree gala, and more.  For additional information, and a full list of films at the Festival, please visit:

www.greenwichfilm.org.

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Ridgefield Holiday Stroll

 

Do you want an event to kick sirene iphone 245tart the holiday excitement?  Then don’t miss the Ridgefield Holiday Stroll in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The fun begins Friday 12/5 at 6 pm . The town turns into a magical wonderland with ice sculptures, carolers,  shops open with food and beverages (some even have wine or spirits), horse drawn carriage rides and even a holiday show for the kids. On Saturday 12/6  during the day the fun continues with carriage rides and fun in the shops.

I have been going for years and always enjoy this festive event. Main Street does get busy on Friday night so be prepared for crowds.  Dress warm as you will be walking outside. A great way to put you in the holiday mood .