Next to Normal: Westport Country Playhouse stages a remarkable version of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning musical

Behind the perfect lawn, landscaping and the painted red door of the ideal suburban house lives a normal family.  Or does the façade instead mask something else entirely?

This is the question behind the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical “Next to Normal” which is now on stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Ct.  This historic theater which is known for its high quality productions, astounded the audience with their interpretation of this Broadway hit. 

This contemporary musical with its rock/pop score takes on the delicate subject of mental health.  This is certainly a different topic for musical theater.  The six member cast tells the story of what seems to be a “normal”, successful suburban family.  But we soon find out the household has deep issues.  The family is composed of the father (architect), the wife (suburban housewife), the teenage daughter (who is driven to be perfect and to attract her parents love), and the son who we discover passed away as a baby 16 years ago.   The wife, Diana has been struggling for years since the death of her son.  Her struggle with bipolar disorder is a terrible strain on the family.  Traditional therapies of medicine do not seem to work and the family makes the difficult decision to have Diana try electric therapy.  And while the treatment seems to work at first, Diana loses part of her memory.  Her husband Dan wants her to put away the memory of their son and move on.  The family wants to be normal, and will even accept being “next to normal”.  But the son (Gabe) keeps appearing on stage, not as a baby, but as a teenager which complicates Diana’s struggle to heal.    The story takes the audience on a journey of discovery of these very real characters and their struggles.  In the end there is a glimpse of hope that a person and their loved ones can heal, and lead a better life.  

The musical opened on Broadway in April 2009. It was nominated for eleven Tony Awards that year and won three. It also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama becoming the eighth musical in history to receive the honor. The original cast was white and this production has a diverse multi racial cast which makes the show more relevant to a wider audience.  The cast is lead by Dar.Lee.See.Ah as Diana. Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Dan, Ashley LaLonde as Natalie, Daniel Maldonado as Gabe,  Gian Perez as Henry, and Katie Thompson in the dual roles as Dr. Madden and Dr. Fine.

The two hour plus musical is filled with over 40 songs that tell the story of this family and their struggles.  It is part serious drama, part rock show, part musical theater and 100 percent stunning.  The set design and lighting design is an essential part of telling the story and Westport Country Playhouse lives up to its usual high standards. While the entire gives outstanding performances, and they harmonize well, the highlight of the evening is the vocal performance of Dar.Lee.See.Ah.  Her singing and acting brought the capacity crowd to its feet.  She is a vocal tour de force.

The play is directed beautifully by Marcos Santana who also directed and choreographed the brilliant version of  “In The Heights” which we attended at the Playhouse in  2019.  He has also choreographed two shows on Broadway as well.   

While and interesting topic for musical theater, Next to Normal is the kind of show that pauses you to think about the lives that go on behind seemingly normal doors.  It also gives hope when life is darkest and lifts you up with a musical score full of  energy.  A show not to be missed.  True Broadway quality right in our own area.

Next to Normal is onstage through April 24th.

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Teresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium comes to the Palace Theater in Stamford on April 7th

Theresa Caputo, star of the hit TLC show “Long Island Medium” is coming to the Palace Theater in Stamford on Thursday April 7, at 7:30 pm.   As part of the evening,Teresa will share personal stories about her own life and explain how her gift works. She will deliver healing messages to audience members and give people comfort knowing that their loved ones who passed are still with them, just in a different way. Theresa has been a practicing medium for over 20 years.

Although Theresa will be giving readings to various audience members throughout her show, the purchase of a ticket does not guarantee a reading.

Teresa states that she has been seeing, feeling, and sensing “Spirit” since she was four years old, but it wasn’t until she was in her 20s that she learned to communicate withe the departed. Teresa wanted to use her gift to deliver healing messages that would help people . Not only is she a practicing medium, but tours the country with her live show and is the author of four books.

A limited number of PRE-SHOW VIP photo opportunities will be available as an add-on. Patrons are to arrive at 3:30pm for a 4:30pm photo taken by a professional photographer (no personal cameras or smart phones will be allowed). Your photo will be ready to download within three business days of the event. Instructions on how to get your photo will be handed to you during the VIP pre-show event. Please note that neither autographs nor readings will be available. When arriving at the venue, please head to the box office for further instructions.

It should be a very interesting and thought provoking evening for all attendees. For tickets and information:

The Palace Theater

61 Atlantic Street Stamford, Ct

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Man of La Mancha: the classic Broadway musical now at Westport Country Playhouse


Philip Hernandez as Don Quixote

The dramatic and stirring Broadway classic Man of La Mancha has returned to the stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.   This beautifully staged production at the Playhouse is true Broadway quality in every way.  This is a brilliant show that cannot be missed.

Man of La Mancha is a musical inspired by the story of Miguel de Cervantes imprisonment during the Spanish Inquisition and is also inspired by his book Don Quixote written in 1615.  The musical adaptation places Cervantes in a dungeon prison awaiting his hearing for charges brought against him by the inquisition.   Cervantes is a self described poet and play write, as well as a tax collector.  His latter position and his act of taxing  a church has placed him in prison.  His fellow prisoners upon meeting Cervantes and his loyal sidekick decide to have their own “mock trial” and seize his manuscript.  The show is staged in the prison “commons” as the prisoners await trial.  The curtains open to steel bars separating the actors from the sold out audience.  The set is dramatic in both design and lighting and sets the mood for the evening.


Cervantes demands the opportunity to defend himself before his fellow prisoners and using his skills as an actor and a trunk full of costumes and props, he launches into a virtual “play within the play”.  Along with his sidekick Sancho, the other prisoners become part of this story woven by Cervantes.  Cervantes spins the tale of a noble knight  on a noble quest, and he becomes Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha.   Despite living in an era of fear and despair, Quixote is a dreamer.  He dreams of a world where knights still roam spreading virtue and morals, performing noble quests and coming to the aid of their Lady.  He exclaims he has seen and experienced the misery and tragedy in life, but he rather instead find the beauty and the goodness in life.


Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea

Quixote is a idealist and a dreamer and the audience (as it has been since its Broadway debut in the 1960s) becomes a fan of Quixote. His idealism for a simpler  and kinder world is in stark contrast to the reality of 16th Century Spain.  Indeed his spirit and  ideals are what attract so many current audience members .

His idealism is manifested brilliantly in the song “The Impossible Dream” which is the hallmark of the evening.  The song is instantly familiar to many, and yet it is so fresh and relevant today.

Philip Hernandez  is masterful in the role Cervantes/Don Quixote (only actor in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in “Les Misérables”; original Broadway casts of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and Paul Simon’s “The Capeman”)  He has a wonderful  deep voice that filled the playhouse on opening night.  A brilliant and memorable performance.

Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea (Broadway’s “Beautiful,” First National Tour of “Sister Act,” regional theater’s “Lights Out:  Nat King Cole” – 2018 Barrymore Award nomination) is wonderful  in her dual role.    Tony Manna play Sancho Panza  the side kick and faithful companion to Don Quixote(Off-Broadway’s “These Paper Bullets,” “Timon of Athens,” “The Hasty Heart”; Netflix’ “Maniac”).   He brings to the role a sort of humor and warmth to which the audience enjoyed.

This production of Man of La Mancha  is directed by Mark Lamos who has directed  many plays at Westport Country Playhouse since 2008.  His extensive New York credits include “Our Country’s Good,” for which he received a Tony Award nomination. A former artistic director at Hartford Stage, he earned the 1989 Tony Award for the theater’s body of work.   His direction of this production is mostly faithful to the original, but injects  a modern vibe with the costumes of some of the cast as well as a reference in the dialogue to our current political climate that was recognized by the audience.

This is one of  the great Broadway musicals of all time.  Its story is timeless and quite relevant in the world we now live.  Make sure you see this wonderful show.

For tickets and information:

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Ct Westport Ct.

Box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529,




Greenwich Concours d’Elegance car show returns June 3-5th



Greenwich Concours d’ Elegance celebrates its 20th anniversary at Roger Sherman Park on June 3rd, 4th and 5th.   The event described as “A Festival of Speed and Style”  includes two days of collector car,motorcycle and boat displays and as well Bonhams auction house will be holding its collector car auction on  Sunday June 5th at the Concours.

The festival  events are as follows:

Friday June 3rd– Concours entered vehicles will participate in a grand tour parade down Greenwich Avenue at 4pm.

Saturday June 4th–  The Greenwich Concours Americana– will feature American cars and motorcycles with a special display honoring Ford performance cars including the Ford GT 40 which celebrates its famous win over Ferrari at the 24 hours of Le Mans race back in 1966.    There is also a preview of the cars to be sold at the Bonhams auction. Saturday’s show will also highlight Brass Era cars, prewar classics, rare muscle cars, incredible Corvettes, fabulous 1950s cars and early Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Sunday – The Greenwich Concours International – will feature a field of foreign makes from 1900 to the present.  There will be a special circle of historic BMW s including a 1937 BMW 328 MM Bügelfalte, as the brand celebrates its 100th anniversary.   Ferraris starring on Sunday include a 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet, 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning 1961 Ferrari 250 TRi/61 Spider, 1958 Ferrari 180 Testa Rossa Pontoon-Fender Children’s Car, 1949 Ferrari 166S Coupe and 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Coupe fresh from receiving a platinum award at this year’s Cavallino Classic.


Bonhams will host its Greenwich Concours Auction on Sunday, June 5th, 12:00pm. Viewings are on Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 9am-12:00pm. A Concours ticket and purchase of a Bonhams sale catalog are required for admission to the Sunday auction.

This year’s Grand Marshal of the will be Connecticut’s own Wayne Carini, car restorer, collector and host of Velocity Channel’s “Chasing Classic Cars”.

Admission:  $40 for one day, $60 for both days.  Hours 10 am to 5 pm

Where:  Roger Sherman Baldwin Park  100 Arch Street Greenwich, Ct

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



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  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:

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An evening for Chocolate, dessert and Wine lovers!

chocolate evening

A nice way to celebrate Valentine’s day is to celebrate it early by attending the 8th Annual Chocolate, Dessert and Wine Lover’s Evening. The event takes place on Thursday February 4th from 6 pm to 9pm at the Stamford Marriot Hotel in Stamford Ct. This annual event is the largest chocolate tasting event in Fairfield County.
This event allows guest to sample chocolate and desserts and sample wines from 70 different vendors. There will be entertainment provided, music, door prizes and shopping. .Representatives from restaurants, bakeries, chocolatiers, and food markets will be there. So ticket holders can sample and then purchase their favorites from the many vendors. With Valentine’s Day less than 2 weeks away, it is a great way to pick up a unique or special gift, and have fun as you do!
The emcee of the event will be Chef Plum, from Plum Luv Foods and a Food Network regular.
Tickets to this event are $45 or $80 a pair. and can be ordered online at
All proceeds for this event will benefit Pacific House a men’s shelter. The shelter provides meals, shelter, and social services , and housing placement to both men and women in Connecticut.
Some come out and celebrate early and know that you are helping a great local cause. Age 21 and over for this event

Chocolate, Dessert and Wine Lover’s Evening
Stamford Marriot Hotel
243 Tresser Blvd Stamford Ct.
shelter info:

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Maritime Aquarium:Come inside to explore the aquatic world and more


Harbor Seal

Winter can be a challenge to find fun things to do indoors. A recent trip to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk proved you can have a great time (and great family time) despite the cold weather. The aquarium is a real treasure and is both entertaining and educational, with an emphasis on the aquatic life of the Long Island Sound.
As you wander through the aquarium you will notice there are many exhibits to explore and learn, not just one or two large tanks. There is the shark and ray touch pool, the jellies (jelly fish) tank, and my favorite is the harbor seal area where seals swim in a pool that is both inside and outside the aquarium building. There are also exhibits on frogs, fish of Long Island Sound, river otters, and much more. The aquarium is open 10am to 5pm.


Jellies !

There is also an IMAX theatre at one end of the building (additional charge) which shows a rotating schedule of movies. We caught a screening of the Humpback Whale which was beautifully filmed and educational.  A cafe and fully stocked gift shop are also on site.
There are numerous events throughout the year and the next one coming up is the Chocolate Expo on January 31st from 10 am to 7pm. There will be 40 chocolate and other specialty vendors on site as well as demonstrations from celebrity chefs.

For more info and ticket prices:
Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
10 North Water Street, Norwalk Ct

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Wreck the Halls, A Hilarious Holiday Musical at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

wreck the halls 2

Wreck The Halls is the latest production at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield CT. The production is a satirical musical look at the holiday season that is one part a critique of the holidays, one part brash and mostly hysterical.
The production is not a typical musical but rather a musical revue with one separate musical number after the other and no spoken parts. Act One (approximately one hour) contains 14 songs that poke fun at the madness that can be the holiday season. From “Starting to look like Christmas” which ridicules the starting of the retail push of Christmas (its only Labor Day!), to “Grandmas House”, a send up of the dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner with relatives, and ” Black Friday” which pokes fun at the madness of the sales that seem to overshadow the holiday season. The all original score is accented with sharp wit and clever lyrics which had the audience laughing the entire time
Act Two (about 35 minutes) keeps the humor rolling with a spoof on political correctness, “Happy Kwanzaramahanumas”, the silly but funny “The Nutcrackers Lament”, the sexy “That Yule Log” with its thinly veiled sexual references, and the “Boys in Brown” a salute to the late working package delivery men which was reminiscent of a scene from the musical, Legally Blonde. Act Two is composed of 11 songs in addition to the reprise of the opening number “Wreck the Halls”.
Wreck the Halls is the creation of Bradford Blake who is the composer, lyricist and director of this very funny musical. He is also a member of the cast as well. The lyrics are witty and creative and the score is memorable. The cast is hilarious and works well together with standout performances from Mr. Blake and Carey Van Hollen who has the best vocal performances of the evening. The balance of the talented cast includes Priscilla Squires, Diana Matson, Duane Lanham and Alexis Vournazos.

wreck the halls

Please note there is some adult language and adult subject matter in the performance so I would not recommend this performance for children. Doors open at 7 and you can bring your own food and dine before the show which starts at 8pm. Seating is at tables, cabaret style. There is a short intermission.
Need a break from the holidays? A trip to “Wreck the Halls” may be just the ticket you need for some holiday laughs. Performances run through January 2, 2016.

For tickets and more information:
Ridgefield Theater Barn
37 Halpin Ln, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Ridgefield Theater Barn

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Two events to get you in the holiday spirit

greenwich holiday stroll


That time of year is here again, and if you are looking for something to get you into the Holiday spirit, then two events are coming up this weekend in nearby Connecticut.
Starting Friday evening December 4th from 6pm to 10pm is the 16th annual Ridgefield Holiday Stroll which takes place on Main Street in downtown Ridgefield Ct. The downtown is transformed with live ice sculptures, singing and strolling Toy soldiers, strolling carolers, music, a magic show (at town hall) and free horse drawn carriage rides. The stores will all be open for shopping and many will serving refreshments. A fun night and really sets the tone for the holiday season. The fun continues on Saturday December 5th from 10-4 pm with many of the same events and breakfast and photos with Santa at the Ridgefield Boys and Girls club from 8am to noon. Of course this gives you the opportunity to check out the many merchants in town.

Greenwich Connecticut will be hosting its 7th Annual Holiday Stroll on Saturday December 5th from 10-6pm and Sunday December from 12-5 pm on Greenwich Avenue in downtown Greenwich. There will be 100 merchants participating in the event as well as live music, letter writing to Santa, live Nativity scene, free horse drawn carriage rides,  ice sculptures, photo with Santa and live reindeer!
These are nice events to get you out of the mall and outside in the fresh air and enjoy some Holiday fun.
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