Thursday, August 30, 2012
By James Lomuscio
When the Downtown Merchants Association (DMA) dared to inject some southern charm into Westport back in 2008, the combination of blues performers, tasty barbecue and great views from the Levitt Pavilion and the library parking lot was a resounding success, event planners say. About 10,000 showed up for the first event held the last weekend in September.
This year, the DMA expects to top it since the Blues, Views and BBQ Festival for the first time is being held Labor Day weekend on Saturday and Sunday with extended hours.
“We are expecting huge crowds since we’ve sold a lot of tickets online, and we’ve had a tremendous response,” said Lee DeMonico, DMA communications director. “The hours are longer, we have so much more food, and it’s Labor Day weekend.
“Who doesn’t want to party of the last day of summer?” she added.
Westport’s Jane Green, nationally bestselling author, shares a laugh tonight with Michael Ross, managing director of the Westport Country Playhouse. Green was guest at “Books Worth Talking About” in the Lucille Lortel White Barn Center at the Playhouse. The literary salon was followed by a performance of the world premiere comedy, “Harbor,” written by Chad Beguelin and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director. Green discussed love, parenthood, and the new, modern family, themes that are prevalent in her books as well as in “Harbor.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Westport Country Playhouse tonight begins previews of “Harbor,” created by Chad Beguelin and directed by Artistic Director Mark Lamos. The world premiere of the comedy about a dysfunctional, loving family is Saturday and runs through Sept 15. Pictured are Alexis Molnar (l) and Kate Nowlin. For more information and tickets, call the box office at (203) 227-4177 or visit http://www.westportplayhouse.org. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Monday, August 27, 2012
By James Lomuscio
Westport officials expressed delight today over the expected approval Friday of $500,000 in state aid for the Levitt Pavillion for the Performing Arts as it moves ahead to construct a new $6.7 million outdoor facility overlooking the Saugatuck River.
“With the extra $500,000, this virtually assures that all the aspects of the project will be done on time for next year,” said state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, who had spent the past year lobbying in Hartford for the money.
According to Steinberg, the State Bond Commission’s approval is expected as its agenda items, which are put forth by the governor, are always approved.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced his support for the Levitt today, calling a “great summertime draw” and “an important economic driver for local business in downtown Westport.”
The Big Band sounds of the Fairfield Counts orchestra brought some audience members to their feet tonight as the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts ended its 2012 season, its 39th. Ground will be broken soon on a $6.7 million new Levitt which is scheduled to be completed in time for next summer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
The Fairfield Counts 17-piece orchestra entertained with classic big band sounds tonight as Westport’s Levitt Pavilion ended its 39th season. The band performed numbers such as “Take the A Train,” “This Could Be the Start of Something New,” and “Apple Blossom Time” sung by three female vocalists in the style of the Andrews Sisters who recorded the song in the 1940s. According to the band’s founder, Harvey Tuckman, tonight was the band’s 32nd performance at the Levitt since the group was formed in 1976. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Sunday, August 26, 2012
The Old School Back up Band and the Female Vocal Revue played at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion tonight on the final weekend of the season. The format features female vocalists who perform in a unique “discovery- showcase” with the Back Up Band. The show is the inspiration of Westport’s Old School Music founder, Roger Kaufman. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Carleigh Welsh for WestportNow.com
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Guests were dancing in the aisles and up front tonight as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons performed at the annual gala for the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons delighted the Levitt Pavilion crowd tonight at the annual gala. Proceeds help fund the more than 50 nights of free entertainment at the Westport venue. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Fans cheered the classics tonight as performed by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. WestportNow.com video by Helen Klisser During
Tonight’s Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons concert at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts included many classic songs such as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The group and the songs gained new fame in the Broadway hit “Jersey Boys,” now in its third year. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Scenes from tonight’s Levitt Pavilion gala starring Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. There was a pre- and post-show reception for VIP guests. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Friday, August 24, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
By James Lomuscio
Westporter Clay Garner, 18, says answering all of his Twitter followers, about 2,000 a day, can be tiring, but he does his best not to disappoint his fans despite the amount of responses and the obvious time lag since they are on the other side of the world.
“I try to answer all of them,” says Clay, who will be a senior at Greens Farms Academy (GFA) in September.
Such are chores that come with being China’s new teen idol, albeit an American one.
Clay, or Gaoshon as he is as known by millions of fans, has skyrocketed to fame over the past two years thanks to the Internet, Youku (China’s version of YouTube), his penchant for writing songs and playing music, three years of studying Mandarin at GFA, and practicing the language on waitresses at local Chinese restaurants.
The popular Texas-based Brave Combo tonight kicked-off the final week of the 2012 summer season for Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. The band, founded in 1979, energized the attendees with a range of dance music from the hokey-pokey to a waltz. The Levitt season’s final week includes a ticketed gala on Friday featuring Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Monday, August 20, 2012
Westport’s River House restaurant tonight hosted a lobster clambake featuring Weston’s Jose Feliciano, just back from Memphis, Tenn. where he entertained at Graceland as it marked the 35th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Feliciano, who says Presley was a boyhood idol, performed selections from his just released album “The King…by Jose Feliciano.” Produced by Presley’s longtime friend George Klein, the Presley tribute album features not only Feliciano playing 12 handpicked songs but also playing all of the instruments and performing the vocals in the background. Among those looking on are Kevin Burns (pink shirt), co-owner of River House. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Scenes from Friday night’s ArtCafe Happy Hour at the Westport Arts Center. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
The threat of inclement weather did not deter the vast following of the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) rock band which entertained tonight at Westport’s Pavilion for the Performing Arts and continued through the heavy rain. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The mostly doctors Westport-based DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) band performed at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts tonight despite the threat of rain, which eventually came. The program was sponsored by Matsu Sushi Japanese restaurant located on nearby Jesup Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, August 17, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
(Editor’s Note: Carole Schweid of Westport, artistic director of the popular lunchtime play reading series Play With Your Food, appeared in Marvin Hamlisch’s “A Chorus Line” on Broadway. On Tuesday, she attended his New York funeral. He died Aug. 6 at the age of 68.)
By Carole Schweid
Temple Emanu-El on 66th and Fifth was packed to the rafters. But then, Marvin pretty much always played to a full house. The temple was overflowing with the likes of Richard Gere, Robert Klein, Liza, Joe Torre, musicians and dancers, singers and statesmen.
A chorus of 200 Broadway voices, including mine, joined Idina Menzel in singing “The Way We Were,” “At The Ballet” and, of course, “What I Did For Love.”
Bill Clinton was the first to speak. He talked about how rare it was to have a friend who was not only a genius, but who was absolutely hilarious. A friend who was equally brilliant conducting for Barbra in front of thousands or behind closed doors making up parodies of musicals for 20, and how much help he had been to him and to his foundation.
I knew Marvin before “A Chorus Line.” He was the rehearsal pianist on “Minnie’s Boys,” my first Broadway show.
Tonight’s early evening rain did not deter some loyal fans of the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts who showed up with umbrellas for Bari Koral’s Family Rock & Roll Band. However, the outdoor performance on this every-Wednesday kids’ night ended early as rain continued to pour. Huddled under an umbrella were Levitt executive director Freda Welsh and daughter Carleigh, marketing communications director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Despite tonight’s rain, the Bari Koral’s Family Rock & Roll Band went ahead with its performance at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts. However, the rain did not let up and the performance finally was ended early. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
By Phyllis Groner
There may have been a low turnout at the polls today but that definitely was not the case tonight at the Westport Public Library which had a winner in New York Times sports columnist Harvey Araton.
He talked about his book “Driving Mr. Yogi; Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball’s Greatest Gift” in which he tells about the enduring friendship between former Yankees catcher Yogi Berra and pitcher Ron Guidry.
This bond between them, Yankee legends of different generations, Araton explained, began after their playing days were over. It’s the story of a younger player and his idol who became his best friend.
It is written with love and a great deal of warmth. It is obvious in the telling that author Araton admired both men.
An intimate size crowd tonight enjoyed the bluegrass and Irish traditional music of the award winning Brock McGuire Irish Band at the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium. The Levitt Pavilion performance was moved indoors due to the threat of rain. The band’s founding members, accordionist Paul Brock and fiddler Manus McGuire are two of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional musicians and have been at the forefront of Irish music for many years. In introducing the program, Levitt communications director Carleigh Welsh said the band’s appearance in Westport is the first stop on a U.S. tour. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Due to the weather forecast for tonight, the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts has moved the concert by Brock-McGuire, a four-piece traditional Irish music band, indoors to Saugatuck Elementary School’s air-conditioned auditorium, 170 Riverside Ave.
Showtime is 8 p.m. and admission is free.
With the exception of water, food and beverages are not allowed inside the school. For more details, visit http://www.levittpavilion.com.