Arts and Leisure
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Mezzo Soprano Takes ‘Flight’
Mezzo Soprano Allison Waggener performs “Flight: Songs to Uplift,” a concert today at the Unitarian Church in Westport. Ed Thompson accompanied Waggener on piano The program featured an eclectic mix of 20th and 21st century American composers, including Stephen Sondheim, Craig Carnelia, Marisa Michelson, and Duke Ellington. The final set of songs featured selections from Duke Ellington’s “Second Sacred Concert,” with Ruth Ahlers on saxophone. Contributed photo
Cinema Initiative and Project Return Partner on Screening
Westport Cinema Initiative and Project Return today presented a screening at Westport Town Hall of “A League of Their Own,” a 1992 film about a women’s baseball team as it tours the United States during World War II. The screening was sponsored by Lee Rawiszer (2nd r) of Paradigm Financial Partners of Westport and included a brief talk back that included Meghan Skelton (l) from the Weston Public Schools. With them is Krstin LaFleur, development associate, Project Return, a Westport nonprofit established in 1986 to meet the specialized needs of adolescent girls in crisis. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Back to the Big Band Era With Fairfield Counts
Vocalist Michele Grace and Musical Director Gary Riggiero were back at the Westport Center for Senior Activities today with the popular Fairfield Counts Band. Recreating the Big Band sound of the 1940s, the band played a medley of songs that had some attendees dancing in the aisles. It was the first in the Sunday Indoor Music Series presented by the Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, programmed by the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, and made possible by a grant from the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Playhouse Kicks Off Family Festivities Series
The Westport Country Playhouse kicked off its 2014-15 Family Festivities Series today with “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” produced by Omaha Theater Company. Youngsters engaged in pre-performance activities (above). Family Festivities shows are presented on selected Sundays from November through March. Next up is “Frosty,” on Sunday, Dec. 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Fairfield Counts Band Back at Senior Center Today
The Fairfield Counts Band returns to the Westport Center for Senior Activities today. The concert is the first in the Sunday Indoor Music Series presented by the Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, programmed by the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, and made possible by a grant from the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation. The series runs monthly from November through March. Doors open at 1 p.m., complimentary refreshments will be served at 1:30, and show time is 2 p.m. Reservations are suggested for this free performance; call (203) 341-5099. Picture is of the band’s 2013 performance at the Center. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Gala Celebrates Play With Your Food
Performers receive applause tonight at a Play With Your Food gala at Branson Hall, Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Proceeds went to benefit programming of the lunch time play readings. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Saturday Night Special
Scenes from tonight’s Play With Your Food gala in Westport. Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Westport Author to Talk About Nigeria
Catherine Onyemelukwe: 24 years in Nigeria. Contributed photo
Westport author Catherine Onyemelukwe will be guest Wednesday at the Friends of The Weston Public Library Lunch and Learn program to talk about events in Nigeria and her recent book “Nigeria Revisited: My Life and Loves Abroad.”
She went to Nigeria as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1962 and stayed for 24 years. She married a Nigerian and went on to raise a family, teach, launch a business and ultimately, adopt the country as her own.
Onyemelukwe will address the current political situation in Nigeria as well as its history, legacy of colonialism and culture, an announcement said. Additionally, she will provide perspective on the tragic kidnapping of the Chibok school girls and their captors.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Staples Players’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Opens to Sell-Out Crowd
Westport’s Staples Players opened its production of “Hello, Dolly!” tonight to a sell-out crowd and a standing ovation. The production, months in the making, dazzled the audience with singing, dancing, costumes and sets to rival any Broadway production. Staples Players parents hosted a pre-show gala fundraiser in the lobby. Performances are Nov. 15, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 16 and 22 at 3 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit www.staplesplayers.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com
Susan Granger At the Movies: ‘Birdman,’ ‘Force Majure,’ ‘Big Hero 6’
By Susan Granger
In an astonishing technical achievement, Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu films “Birdman,” a satirical backstage comedic drama, in what looks like one long, continuous take, transcending time and space, soaring into hallucinatory flights of fancy, while remaining grounded in the present.
Michael Keaton is Riggan Thomson, a fading, egocentric movie star, renown as the comic book hero Birdman. He’s determined to prove himself on Broadway in his own adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story - with the voice of Birdman firmly lodged in his brain
During previews, delusionary Riggan must cope with his just-out-of-rehab daughter (Emma Stone), embittered ex-wife (Amy Ryan), lawyer/manager (Zach Galifianakis), venomous theater critic (Lindsay Duncan), insecure leading lady (Naomi Watts), and her supercilious actor/boyfriend (Edward Norton).
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Birdman” is an intense, immersive 10, assuring an Oscar nomination for Michael Keaton.
The Staples Players ensemble takes a curtain call Thursday night after the final dress rehearsal of “Hello, Dolly!” The production opens tonight and continues next weekend. For more information and tickets, go to www.staplesplayers.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Guest Bartending at Dunville’s
Steve Schneider, a bartender at the West Village cocktail haunt For Employees Only, does a guest bartending stint tonight at Westport’s Dunville’s, 41 Saugatuck Ave. Schneider and Dunville’s co-owner, Steve Carpentieri, were featured in Westport director Doug Tirola’s award-winning documentary “Hey Bartender.” Schneider agreed to the Dunville’s gig to celebrate its reopening after renovations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Uncovered After All These Years
With removal of trees and ivy in front of the former Westport Weston Family Y building on Post Road East, two gargoyles above the main entranceway of the 1923-built building are finally seeing the light of day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Bridgeport Students See NYC Art Highlights Thanks to WAC
Tenth grade students from Bridgeport’s Bridge Academy charter school today visited New York’s Chelsea art district as part of the Connections program of the Westport Arts Center (WAC). Helen Klisser During, WAC artistic director, and WAC staffers Jill Sarver, Rebecca Brown, and Marni Katz, as well as Laura Spada, a member or the WAC Education Committee, pose with the students in front of artist Takashi Murakami’s work on display at the Gagosian Gallery. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo