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Westport Country Playhouse, The Pianists of Willesden Lane, April 5-9, 2017
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Arts and Leisure

Arts and Leisure

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘Beauty and the Beast, ‘The Belko Experiment’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

“Beauty and the Beast” is Bill Condon’s hybrid live action/digital remake of the “tale as old as time” — with sumptuous special effects and enhanced character back stories. Image

Set in rural France in 1740, it introduces brainy Belle (Emma Watson) whose academic father, Maurice (Kevin Kline), has been imprisoned in the Beast’s labyrinthine castle.

Because he was once a spoiled young Prince, spurning pleas for assistance from an old lady/witch, the ghastly, horned Beast (Dan Stevens) has been cursed until he can find true love.

Eager to escape the confines of her provincial village and unwelcome romantic advances by boorish, boastful Gaston (Luke Evans), Belle offers to exchange places with her beloved father.

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03/21/17 06:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

‘Newtown’ Documentary Set for April 1 Screening

The Dec. 14, 2012 Sandy Hook shootings that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators is the subject of the documentary “Newtown” to be shown on Saturday, April 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Westport Woman’s Club.

The trailer for the “Newtown” documentary to be shown in Westport April 1.

The screening of the one hour, 25-minute film, hosted by the Westport Library in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Westport, will be followed by a discussion with former Sandy Hook teacher Abbey Clements.

It will be moderated by CNN anchor and Westport resident Alisyn Camerota, according to library officials.

Directed by Kim Snyder and produced by Maria Cuomo Cole, the film chronicles what followed the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting “and never-before-heard testimonies to tell a story of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of school children in American history,” the announcement said.

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03/21/17 04:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Library Event Features Indonesian Gamelan Sounds Image
The Westport Library today hosted the Anne Eyes Science Lecture featuring composer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Evan Ziporyn, who spoke about ethnomusicology and the intersection between science and art. A concert by MIT’s Gamelan Galak Tika was featured followed by a hands-on demonstration of this unique Balinese percussion instrument. The bright, percussive sounds of Indonesian gamelan orchestras reverberate throughout Southeast Asia, especially on the islands of Java and Bali. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/18/17 03:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, March 17, 2017

Gallery: DonutCrazy Officially Opens

Gallery: DonutCrazy officially opened today in the eastbound station house at the Metro-North Westport station in Saugatuck. Taking part in a ribbon cutting were (l-r) Deputy Police Chief Sam Arciola; Jason Wojnarowski, owner; First Selectman Jim Marpe, and Mathew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The store replaces Steam, which opened in January 2014 and closed one year ago. DonutCrazy currently operates in Shelton, Stratford, Bridgeport, and New Haven. It offers coffee, tea, espresso, cappuccino and latte, juice and an assortment of takeout foods in addition to its wide range of donuts. It is open 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays plus Saturdays and Sundays. photos


03/17/17 10:06 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Preview for Staples Players’ ‘Urinetown’ Image
The Staples Players cast of” Urinetown, The Musical” takes its curtain call at tonight’s preview. The show opens Friday and runs this weekend and next. Tickets are available at or 30 minutes prior to curtain, subject to availability. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/16/17 10:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Cinema Initiative Screens ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ on March 25

The Westport Cinema Initiative will host a screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” on Saturday, March 25.

The trailer for “2001,” released in 1968

The film starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood and William Sylvester, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, will be shown at 4 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium. Tickets are $10.

It will be followed by a discussion of the film by Keir Dullea and WestportNow film critic Susan Granger.

The film was written by Kubrick with Arthur C. Clarke and was inspired by Clarke’s story “The Sentinel.” 

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03/16/17 07:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Playhouse Program

Holocaust survivor Ivan Becker will appear in a forum at the Westport Country Playhouse on Wednesday, March 29. Image
Ivan Becker: Holocaust survivor. Contributed photo

The 7 p.m. event is presented by the Playhouse, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and TEAM Westport.

Called “From Hate to Hope: A Conversation with Holocaust Kindertransport Survivor Ivan Backer,” it will take place in the Playhouse’s White Barn Center, adjacent to the theater. 

Free by reservation and open to the public, the event is presented in conjunction with the Playhouse’s April production of the musical memoir, “The Pianist of Willesden Lane.”

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03/16/17 07:03 PM Comments () • Permalink

Arts Center Sets Family Art Day for Sunday, March 26

The Westport Arts Center’s Family Art Day on Sunday, March 26 will feature a Create Your Family’s Modern Crest event. The session runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Image
Families work at the Art Center’s Family Day last November. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)  Photo by Xenia Gross

Always a popular event, the Center’s bi-annual Family Art Day provides an opportunity for families to work together on hands-on creative projects. 

For the March 26 event, families will enjoy a visit from Caroline Wurtzel, an illustrator and graphic designer for, a website dedicated to providing the latest news on politics, technology, fashion, and more, an announcement said.

Wurtzel will speak about the art of design and will help families create their own family crest using a variety of materials and design techniques.

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03/16/17 01:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Granger at the Movies: ‘Kong: Scull Island,’ ‘Get Out’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Ever since 1933, the huge gorilla-like creature named Kong has been a cinema icon. Its newest incarnation, “Kong: Skull Island,” is an action-packed sci-fi adventure that evokes legendary monster movies of bygone years with a fresh perspective. Image

In 1973, just after the United States withdrew from the Vietnam War, Earth-mapping satellite photos revealed a long-hidden landmass in the South Pacific, known as Skull Island, surrounded by a perpetual storm system.

That prompts investigator Bill Randa (John Goodman) to initiate an exploratory expedition, muttering, “There will never be a more screwed-up time in Washington” — a line which immediately elicits audience laughter.

To guide his team of scientists (China’s Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins), Randa hires black-ops survivalist James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston). They’re joined by Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), a plucky “anti-war” photo-journalist, and given a military escort, headed by embittered Lt. Col. Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) with his intrepid squadron.

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03/15/17 02:49 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A First: Spencer Platt’s Russia Image
Westport’s award-winning photographer Spencer Platt just completed a 10-day assignment in Russia, his first visit to that country. The 1989 Staples High School graduate told that his unplanned assignment was “Show me life on the street.” “I didn’t know if I was going to be treated with derision, suspicion, and I was a little apprehensive about what I would get,” he said. He was able to be discreet when photographing the locals. “They were surprisingly indifferent to me kind of being in their face with a camera,” Platt said. The result is a fascinating look at Russia and Russians today. Click HERE for the portfolio. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Spencer Platt/Getty Images


03/14/17 09:09 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, March 13, 2017

Playhouse Celebration After ‘Lobby Hero’ Play Reading Image
The Westport Country Playhouse cast of tonight’s Script in Hand reading of “Lobby Hero” by Kenneth Lonergan celebrates in the green room with the play’s director, Anne Keefe (r). Actors (l-r) are Robert Eli, John Clarence Stewart, Elise Kibler and Charles Socarides. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/13/17 10:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Getting Ready for Tonight’s Play Reading Image
Actors paused today during a rehearsal for tonight’s Westport Country Playhouse Script In Hand reading of “Lobby Hero,”  a romantic comedy/drama by Kenneth Lonergan, 2017 Academy Award recipient for Best Original Screenplay for “Manchester By The Sea.” The reading will be directed by Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist and curator of the play reading series. Pictured: (seated, l-r) John Clarence Stewart, Charles Socarides, Elise Kibler and Robert Eli; (standing) Martha Stout, stage directions, Ann Sheffer, Script in Hand sponsor, and Anne Keefe, director. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Maatlow for


03/13/17 02:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gallery: Building Westport One LEGO at a Time

A Westport Historical Society event, “Come Build Westport –- One LEGO at a Time,” was held today at Branson Hall at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Participants -– 45 children helped by 37 parents and friends—were invited to use 75,000 LEGO blocks to construct 22 Westport buildings, which were then laid out on a large Westport map. The program was designed by award-winning architect Stephen W. Schwartz and sponsored by Karen Berkemeyer Home, a kitchen and bath design firm located at 175 Post Road West, Westport. Said Schwartz: “The goal is to make the public aware of the town’s rich architectural heritage, so that when they are out and about they might notice the design features that make some of Westport’s buildings notable.” Larry Untermeyer for


03/12/17 07:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sell Out for Voices Café Image
Goodnight Moonshine performed tonight at Voices Café at the Unitarian Church in Westport to a sold-out crowd. Molly Venter, guitar and vocals, Eben Pariser, electric guitar and vocals, and Adam Chilenski on upright bass performed songs of joy and grief full of emotional potency and lush harmonies. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jane Sherman for


03/11/17 11:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, March 10, 2017

Comings & Goings: Bistro Du Soleil to Riverside Avenue Image
Bistro Du Soleil will open at 615 Riverside Ave. in the next few weeks. The Mediterranean-influenced cuisine restaurant is near the old Saugatuck post office, now occupied by Westport Auction. Proprietor is Maria Munoz Del Castillo, co-owner of Norwalk-based Rincon Taqueria and a gourmet caterer who has been a participant in the Westport Farmers Market. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/10/17 05:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Opening Reception Tonight for Typewriter Art Exhibit Image
Westport artist Nina Bentley shows off her latest creations in “Rewritten!,” typewriter art based on a series of redesigned keys of antiquated typing instruments. There is an opening reception today from 6 pm. to 7 p.m. for the display in the Westport Library’s Riverwalk Gallery. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/09/17 12:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Gallery: Playhouse Hosts International Women’s Day Event

The Westport Country Playhouse tonight hosted “Letters to Our Daughters,” a special community event honoring International Women’s Day. The event featured a diverse group of performers and writers. Pictured taking their bows are Sharone Sayegh; Farah Bala; Patricia Russo; Ann Harada; Patricia Kalember; Pamela A. Lewis; Kelli O’Hara; Elise Kibler; Danielle Davenport; Wilhelmine Hartong; Aleta Mitchell; Jane Green, and Khadija Gurnah. The program was curated by Samantha Goober and Anne Keefe, Playhouse artist. Phyllis Groner for


03/08/17 10:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Students Perform in Town-Wide Music Festival Image
More than 325 musicians performed tonight in the town-wide Westport Music Festival at Staples High School. Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer tweeted this picture, noting that more than 1,200 students in the school system play a string instrument.  @WestportSuper/


03/08/17 10:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Window Design Debut Image
Lexi Schwartz, 15, of Westport today looks over a window display she is designing at Splash Of Pink, 275 Post Road East. The Staples High School sophomore has been interested in fashion design for more than five years, taking some design and fashion courses outside of school. This is her first window display, which she says is a great way to express her interest in both fashion and interior design. As for a career, she says she is interested in either fashion design or being a child psychologist. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


03/08/17 06:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Staples Players Present ‘Urinetown, The Musical’ Image
Staples Players will present “Urinetown, The Musical,” on Friday, March 17, Saturday, March 18, Friday, March 24, Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m., and a Sunday, March 19 at a 3 p.m. matinee. The play is winner of three 2002 Tony Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical. Staples Players say they hope to use its production to raise awareness about the current global water crisis. Pictured are Remy Laifer (Staples ’17) and Zoe Samuels (Staples ’17)  as Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell. Tickets available online at www.  See a video sneak peek HERE. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Kerry Long


03/08/17 05:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Play With Your Food Performance Image
Today’s Play With Your Food lunchtime play reading series at Toquet Hall included actors Don Striano Kate Katcher, Jeremy Funke, Katie Sparer, and John O’Hern performing ”Over the River and Through the Woods” by Joe DiPietro (1996). Additional performances are Wednesday and Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


03/07/17 03:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Remembering Robert Osborne

Editor’s note: WestportNow film critic Susan Granger offered these thoughts on the death of actor Robert Osborne, the genial host of Turner Classic Movies, who died Monday at 84.

By Susan Granger

We mourn the loss of one of our most enthusiastic and informed colleagues. Image
Jane Powell and Robert Osborne often appeared together to discuss Hollywood history. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) File photo

With his encyclopedic knowledge, Robert Osborne was not only a brilliant film historian but also a veritable fountain of anecdotes and Hollywood lore, establishing a warm, personal connection with his television audience. His generosity of spirit was apparent to all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

I met Robert through my lifelong friend Jane Powell with whom he spent Christmas. For many years, Jane, her husband — the late Dick Moore — and Robert spent Christmas Eve with our family in Westport.

His greatest pleasure in life was sharing his love of classic films and — because of his TCM legacy — he will be with us always.


03/07/17 02:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, March 06, 2017

Robert Osborne, Actor, TCM Host, 84 Image
Robert Osborne (l), a onetime actor who turned his lifelong love of old films into a starring role as the marquee host of Turner Classic Movies, died today at his home in Manhattan. He was 84. He is pictured at the Westport Country Playhouse in 2013 with actor Keir Dullea. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/06/17 06:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Half-Price Day at Library Book Sale Image
Today was half-price day at the Westport Library book sale. On Tueday, books are free with a suggested donation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/06/17 11:59 AM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, March 05, 2017

‘Jazz Rabbi’ and Band Entertain at Arts Center Image
A large Westport Arts Center crowd today enjoyed the music of Greg Wall (2nd r), also known as “the Jazz Rabbi.” Wall and his band, “Portal,” which includes bassist Rich Zurkowski, Matt Moadel on drums, and David Morgan on keyboard, played a tribute to Wall’s jazz heroes. The set included original music combining elements of Jazz, Jewish, and African American roots music as well as classics from the original golden era of Jewish New York. Wall has been the spiritual leader of Beit Chaverim Synagogue in Westport since 2013. The band plays Thursday nights at Westport’s 323 Restaurant. This was the final concert in the Arts Center’s 2016-17 Jazz Music series. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


03/05/17 06:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Showing Off His Find Image
Westporter Larry Aasen today purchased a book of political quotations at the Westport Library book sale. “I’m a political junkie,” he said. Aasen’s wife, Martha, has been a longtime member of the library’s Board of Trustees. The sale continues until noon Tuesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/05/17 02:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Word Sharpener Visits Knife Sharpener Image
Weston resident and playwright David Wiltse was among shoppers today at the Westport Winter Farmers Market at Gilbertie’s Herb & Gardens, 7 Sylvan Lane.  Hamden-based Daniel Casbarro studies the knives that Wiltse brought along for sharpening.“I heard about this excellent knife sharpener from my wife,” said Wiltse, who is married to Anne Keefe, Westport Country Playhouse curator of the popular Script in Hand reading series. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/04/17 12:13 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday Crowd Image
The Westport Library’s McManus Room seemed the place to be today as the library s annual March book sale got underway. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/04/17 10:15 AM Comments () • Permalink

Early Bird Shoppers Image
Early bird shoppers swarmed over the selections today at the Westport Library’s March book sale. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matow for


03/04/17 10:02 AM Comments () • Permalink

Waiting for Library Book Sale Image
Despite temperatures in the low 20s, an estimated 90 persons today waited at the library entrance for the 9 a.m. opening of the 25th annual book sale, according to volunteer coordinator Mimi Greenlee. The sale continues through Tuesday. CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for


03/04/17 09:56 AM Comments () • Permalink

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