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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Staples Musicians in Concert Wednesday to Aid Japan

Members of Westport’s Staples High School Music Department will be performing a special concert on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium to aid in Save the Children’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief effort.  WestportNow.com Image
Daniel, Rachel, and Ellie Shapiro are among Westport students taking part in the concert. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The concert is being spearheaded by Tri-M, the National Music Honor Society at Staples.

Staples specialty groups taking part in the concert include the Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Adele Cutrali-Valovich. It will perform “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Seasons” with Sam Weiser, the group’s concertmaster as featured soloist, as well as a contemporary selection, “Winter Dances” by David Holsinger. 

The Orphenians, under the baton of Justin Miller, will perform several selections, including “Miserere Mei” by Lotti, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen and the traditional spiritual, “Ride the Chariot.”

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Journalist Prize-Winner: A Westporter Comes Home

By Larry Untermeyer

Award-winning New York Times journalist John Darnton came home today to Westport, a town he calls “the crucible of our childhood,” to talk about his quest to learn about his war correspondent father he never knew.WestportNow.com Image
Journalist John Darnton, who grew up in Westport, addresses a Westport Public Library audience today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

Addressing a Westport Public Library audience that included childhood friends and a former teacher, the Pulitzer Prize and twice George Polk Award winner was at times emotional as he read excerpts from his new book, “Almost a Family: A Memoir.”

His book details his search to learn about his father, a “mythic” figure who died on the shores of New Guinea on a small boat with McArthur’s forces while covering World War II for the Times. Darnton was 11 months old. 

With humor, wit and sensitivity, Darnton described his seemingly idyllic early childhood and then the harsh reality when he had to come to terms with his mother’s alcoholism.

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Memories of Growing Up in Westport


John Darnton, a 40-year New York Times journalist and Pulitzer Prize and twice George Polk Award winner, told a Westport Public Library audience today about growing up in Westport in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He was here to promote his memoir, “Almost a Family,” in which he describes his quest to learn about the war correspondent father he never knew. He called Westport “the crucible of our childhood” and read a passage from his book describing the town he knew as a child. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com video

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Playwrights With Homelessness Theme

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A reading of two original plays about homelessness—one created by Westporter Elizabeth Woodson (r), 18, a Greens Farms Academy senior, and the other by Tecora P. Briscoe (l) 56, a resident in a New Haven homeless shelter—was presented today to an audience of more than 60 at a private Westport residence. The amateur playwrights donated admission receipts to Westport-based Homes with Hope. Six Green Farms Academy students read the roles in the Woodson play, “Did Someone Say Cake?” and a combination of GFA students, residents of the New Haven shelter, and two professional actors were the readers for Briscoe’s play, “Now I See the Light.” Woodson, who volunteers weekly at the New Haven shelter and encouraged Briscoe to write her play, was stage director for both works. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Staged Reading

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Westporter Elizabeth Woodson (r, standing) 18, a Greens Farms Academy senior, leads a reading by fellow students today of her play about homelessness at a private Westport residence. Proceeds from the event went to Westport’s Homes With Hope. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

04/10/11 09:55 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Staples Presents One Act Play Festival

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Students in David Roth’s directing class at Westport’s Staples High School tonight made their directing debut with their plays in the Staples Players 11th Annual One Act Play Festival. All directors were mentored in their productions by Staples graduate, Gina Rattan.  Pictured are Matt Van Gesslel, Kathyrn Durkin, Sara Andros, Rachel Samuels, Greg Langstine, Sami Schwaeber, Will Haskell and Daniel Greenberg. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

‘We’ll Miss You Max’

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A memorial service with laughter, music, and many stories at the Pequot Library in Southport today paid tribute to Westporter Max Wilk, author, playwright and film and TV writer who died Feb. 19 at the age of 90. Ivy Austin sang one of Wilk’s favorites, “How Are Things in Glocca Morra,” Susan Terry, who collaborated with Wilk on many Westport Arts Center musical presentations at the Pequot Library, sang “Moon River,” and together they led the audience in another Wilk favorite, “Minnie the Mermaid.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

04/09/11 10:15 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

‘Mixed Couples’ Curtain Call

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The cast of Westport Community Theatre’s Connecticut premiere of “Mixed Couples” takes a bow Friday night at Westport Town Hall. Noel Coward-esque in banter, set in “Boardwalk Empire’s” 1920s Prohibition era, the comedy explores what happens when two couples meet unexpectedly in an airplane hanger, having each been married to the other’s spouse. Pictured (l-r) are Janet Rathert of New Canaan, Peter Wood of Stratford and Rosanne Nelson and David Victor of Fairfield. The show runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Thursday April 14 at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 24. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ruth Anne Baumgartner for WestportNow.com

04/09/11 05:15 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Library Hosts School Art Collection Exhibit

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A reception in the Great Hall of the Westport Public library tonight marked the opening of a new exhibit, “Made You Look!,” a selection of recent art acquisitions from the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection. This unique community resource was established in 1964 by the late Bert Chernow, an artist and art teacher at Green’s Farms Elementary School, and is currently supported by each school’s PTA. Artist Howard Munce greeted the crowd. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Signing In

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Guests sign in at tonight’s opening reception at the Westport Public Library of an exhibit featuring recent gifts to thr Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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“Mademoiselle with Rose”

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A collage by Burt Chernow entitled “Mademoiselle with Rose” is among works on display at the Westport Public Library where a reception was held tonight to mark the opening of an exhibit featuring recent gifts to the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Faces Behind the Exhibit

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Curators for the new exhibit of recent gifts to the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection posed for a group picture at tonight’s opening reception at the Westport Public Library. During its over 45 years of growth, the collection has diversified and now includes a cartoon and comic strip collection and photography collection. Today the collection is curated by a committee of dedicated volunteers from each school, as well as from the community at large. Headed by Chairwoman Kathie Bennewitz with co-chair Carole Erger-Fass, the committee works as a team to collect, study, catalog and display the artwork throughout Westport’s public buildings and schools. Also an active contributor to its success is the Westport Historical Society’s Mollie Donovan. Curators for the exhibit were Kathie Bennewitz, Amy Chapel, Katie Chase, Sara Dworken, Mollie Donovan, Carole Erger-Fass, Mary Ellen Hendricks, Sherri McMahon, Joan Miller, Nancy McNerney, Monica Shuken Linda Gramatky Smith, Victoria Sybelnik, Diana Tsimoyianis and Helenanne Wilmott. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

04/09/11 01:35 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, April 08, 2011

Westport’s Jennifer Foster Stars in ‘Die Fledermaus’

Jennifer Foster of Westport will sing the lead soprano role of Rosalinda this weekend when Troupers Light Opera performs Johann Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus” at the Westport Country Playhouse.WestportNow.com Image
Jennifer Foster: In opera company’s Playhouse debut. Contributed photo

 
The performances at which Foster will be singing are at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Troupers will be performing the opera twice more – tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. with Linnea Conley of Stamford performing as Rosalinda.  This will be Troupers’ first performance in the Westport County Playhouse.

Foster has sung opera, oratorio, recitals and chamber music with world class artists and conductors throughout the United States and Europe. She made her operatic debut as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, and later toured nationally with San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater as Adele in “Die Fledermaus.”

She has appeared with major international festivals including Tanglewood, Santa Fe, Aspen, Cabrillo, Aldeburgh (England), and Verbier (Switzerland), where she performed alongside Bobby McFerrin. 

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Some Enchanted End to Play With Your Food Season

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The ninth season of the lunchtime Play With Your Food play reading series came to an end today at Westport’s Toquet Hall with performances of two one-act plays and excerpts from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” including “Some Enchanted Evening.” Producers Nancy Diamond and Carole Schweid led the performers in a discussion afterwards with the audience. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

04/07/11 11:49 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Coleytown Middle’s ‘Fiddler’ Opens Tonight

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Westport’s Coleytown Middle School tonight presents its Coleytown Company Production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”  The 7 p.m. performance will be followed with same time performances on Friday and Saturday at well as a 1 p.m. Saturday performance. Set in 1905 on the eve of the Russian Revolution, “Fiddler on the Roof” tells the story of Tevye the milkman and his struggle to balance tradition and his new and ever changing world. Pictured are Tevye’s daughters in the production directed by Ben Frimmer. Tickets are available at the door. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Live Action

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Fifteen artists took part in a sketch class Tuesday at the Westport Historical Society where an exhibit “The Sketch Class: A Westport Tradition” is under way. Featured as the live model was Julie Hicks, mother of Tyler Hicks, the photojournalist recently captured and released after several days in Libya. The sketch class replicates the bi-weekly sketch class experiences held at Elizabeth Gaynor’s studio. The gathering of artists come together to paint, sketch or draw a live model and share the camaraderie of fellow artists. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

04/06/11 04:15 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Words from Mom and Dad

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Westporters David and Andrea Reister were at the Westport Public library tonight to discuss their new book, “Letters from Home: A Wake-up Call for Success and Wealth.” Written in the form of letters to their four young sons, the book depicts the qualities that made America great and describes the ways in which young people can be shown the true basis of success, prosperity and fulfillment. The Reisters have pledged to donate all proceeds from the sale of their book to various charities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

04/06/11 02:36 AM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Adding Music to Play With Your Food

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Actors Garrett Long (l) and Christopher Carl, both of whom performed in the 2008 Broadway revival of “South Pacific,” enchanted a full house today at Play With Your Food at Westport’s Toquet Hall performing “Some Enchanted Evening” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. It was the first musical offering by the lunchtime series. “South Pacific” opened on Broadway in 1949 and ran for more than five years. Performances continue at noon on Wednesday and Thursday at Toquet Hall and on April 12 at the Fairfield Theatre Company. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Author Jane Green Addresses Woman’s Club Luncheon

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Westport best-selling author Jane Green addressed today’s Westport Woman’s Club luncheon. She shared some anecdotes about her life as a writer and provided some insight into the inspiration for her latest novel, “Promises to Keep.”  It is built from her real life experience with a friend who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and the journey of friendship and personal growth she took with her during her illness. “Loving requires acts of love,” Green said.  “Love is about showing and doing.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

04/04/11 09:28 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Bottle Cap Art

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Inspired by California-based eco-artist Kathleen Egan, third graders at Westport’s Kings Highway Elementary School created an earth-friendly mural for their Art Smart Project. Made up of bottle caps the students collected over a period of weeks, the project was designed to prompt students to think twice about bottles, caps, bags, and other garbage that winds up polluting waterways and harming wildlife. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Playhouse Hosts “The Vagina Monologues” Benefit

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Two performances today of Eve Ensler’s award winning play “The Vagina Monologues” at the Westport Country Playhouse raised funds for Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC) serving Westport and neighboring communities as well as V-Day’s City of Joy, Women of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Women from all walks of life, some actors, others activists, some first time performers took part. Pictured preparing for the performances are (front row, l-r):  Nancy Moon (Fairfield), Jill Jaysen (Westport), Kelly Crisp (Southport), Elizabeth Flavin (Fairfield) (back row) Lisa Bowman (Westport), Lori Fagin Weisinger (Westport), Margaret Wagner (Fairfield), Tammy Nelson (New Haven), Ruth Davenport (Fairfield), Jessica Rae Patton (Fairfield), Shelley Forrester (Weston) and Marianne Goodell (Westport). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

04/03/11 08:19 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Dancing the Night Away

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Attendees danced the tango and disco Saturday night at the Westport Arts Center’s “Viva! Feel the Passion – A Taste of Tango and Temptations” fund-raiser at the Westport Country Playhouse. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Tango Theme at Arts Center Gala

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Argentinean-born, Latin Grammy Award-winning pianist Pablo Ziegler (c) was a featured artist tonight at the Westport Arts Center’s “Viva! Feel the Passion – A Taste of Tango and Temptations” fund-raiser at the Westport Country Playhouse. He showed he can tango as well with other dancers at the end of the performance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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Foundation Donates $1.2 Million to Arts Center

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The Westport Arts Center tonight announced it has received a gift of $1.2 million from the Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation to promote the musical arts in Westport. Joyce Thompson (r), a member of the boards of both the Arts Center and the Foundation, announced the bequest at the conclusion of the Center’s annual gala at the Westport Country Playhouse where she was an honoree. With her is Lance Lundberg, president of the Center’s board. Hermanns, who died in 1995 at the age of 89, was a more than 40-year Westport resident who had been a world-class concert pianist who fled Nazi Germany with her husband Artur Holde. Upon arrival in the United States, Holde acted as her agent and Hermanns had a successful concert career. In 1971, she founded a competition for piano, woodwinds, voice and strings which has been held in Westport since then. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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‘The View is Just Magnificent’


Cindy and John Vaccaro thank attendees at tonight’s Westport Arts Center gala at the Westport Country Playhouse for honoring them for their work for the arts in Westport. WestportNow.com video

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Gala Gallery


Hundreds attended the Westport Arts Center 2011 gala tonight at the Westport Country Playhouse. The audience auction conducted during the evening by Guy Bennett added more than $38,000 to the event’s receipts, organizers announced. Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Smash Opening for Bedford’s ‘Chocolate Factory’

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Colin McKechnie appears as Charlie Bucket in Bedford Middle School’s Bedford Acting Group opening night performance Friday night of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The director reports that it was the biggest audience in Bedford theatrical history. Showtimes today are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m,  and Sunday at 2 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) David Pogue for WestportNow.com

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Arts Center Gala Tonight Honors Arts Champions

The Westport Arts Center’s “Viva! Feel the Passion – A Taste of Tango and Temptations” fund-raiser at the Westport Country Playhouse tonight honors Joyce Thompson and Cindy and John Vaccaro for their commitment to the arts and the Center. WestportNow.com Image
Joyce Thompson: honoree. Contributed photo
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John & Cindy Vaccaro: dual honorees. Contributed photo

The tribute to Thompson recognizes her almost 40 years of championing the arts in Westport. During her tenure as its president, Thompson broadened the scope of the Center by adding many new programs and today remains a member of its board, executive committee, music and visual arts committees.

On its biggest night, the Westport Arts Center will also honor Cindy and John Vaccaro for their generous gifts of time, talent and resources that have enriched the organization and the Westport arts world over the years.

Cindy Vaccaro has a background as a singer and actress while John started his theatrical career as an actor and went on to become a successful theatrical producer before entering the financial world and founding Westport Resources Management and Investment Services, now in its 25th year.

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Pow, Whaam

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Westport artist Leonard Fisher mounts a Roy Lichtenstein 1963 lithograph, one of the highlights of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection, in the Westport Public Library’s Great Hall on Friday. An exhibition of works from the collection, titled “Made You Look!,” opens with a reception 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 8. The late Burt Chernow, a former art teacher at Green’s Farms Elementary School, started the collection with donations from artists and collectors, believing that works of art should be a vital part of students’ cultural education. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com

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Curtain Call

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The cast of “My Way - A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” takes a bow in front of a sold out audience on opening night tonight at the MainStage Theatre, located in Westport’s Colonial Green, 246 Post Road East. Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m, and Sundays at 3 p.m. through April 17. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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