Friday, June 02, 2023


Arts and Leisure

Kelli O’Hara Hosts Streaming Event for High Schoolers

Tony Award-winning Broadway star and Westport mom Kelli O’Hara, in partnership with Westport Country Playhouse’s education and community outreach department, will host “Getting to Know You: A Celebration of Young Artists,” on Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m., on the Playhouse YouTube channel and Facebook Live. Image
Kelli O’Hara: supporting high schoolers. Contributed photo

The virtual showcase will feature 10 randomly selected Fairfield County high school students, an announcement said. They will get the opportunity to share their experiences with O’Hara and perform a musical theater selection.

“I am very proud to partner with Westport Country Playhouse as we celebrate the highly anticipated (but sadly unseen) performances of our community’s young performers this year,” said O’Hara.

“We can still gather together as one community, virtually, in the spirit of true live performance, and give these kids a platform. I think it will be an uplifting way to support the magnificent arts programs we have in Fairfield County and ensure that all the passion and hard work doesn’t go to waste.” 

Granger at the Movies (Streaming): ‘Vivarium,’ ‘Resistance,’ ‘The Other Side of the Wind’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Actor Jesse Eisenberg (“Zombieland,” “The Social Network”) had a wonderful spring planned — with two new movies — neither of which ever made it to theaters. Image

In “Vivarium,” watch carefully as the introductory scene with the cuckoo birds shows how they trick other birds into raising their young. It’s a metaphor foreshadowing what’s about to unfold.

Thirty-something landscaper Tom (Eisenberg) and his schoolteacher girlfriend Gemma (Imogen Poots) are thinking about taking the next step in their lives by buying a home in suburbia. So they talk with a creepy real estate agent (Jonathan Aris).

Intrigued by a newly planned community called Yonder — boasting the ominous slogan: “You’re home. Forever.” — they decide to view one of the identical, prefabricated properties, which are arranged in looping, labyrinthine subdivisions, only to discover there’s no way out.

Granger at the Movies (Streaming): ‘Crip Camp,’ ‘The Way Back,’ ‘Clemency’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Starting today on Netflix, there’s an exuberant, uplifting documentary, “Crip Camp,” this year’s Sundance Audience Award-winner. Image

In 1971, when theatrical/film sound designer Jim LeBrecht was 15, he spent an extraordinary summer at an experimental camp for disabled kids. After sharing his memories with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Nicole Newnham, they decided to make a movie.

Of course, they had no idea that final funding would come from Higher Ground, the production company run by Barack and Michelle Obama.

In upstate New York, Camp Jened claims to be the birthplace of the disability-rights movement. When Jim LeBrecht, born with spina bifida, embarked on the three-hour bus trip into the Catskills, he knew that it was a place for children with disabilities — and it was run by hippies.

Playhouse Delays Season Opener to July

The Westport Country Playhouse has announced that its 90th season official opening is now scheduled for July instead of the previously announced April kick-off, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The revised 2020 lineup includes a total of three productions:  two musicals, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Next to Normal,” and a new comedy, “Tiny House,” instead of the originally scheduled five productions.

The three shows were part of the initial 2020 season plan, although two have had date shifts.

“Antigone” and “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” originally scheduled in the 2020 season, have been postponed to future seasons, an announcement said.

With Shutdown, Westport Museum Goes Virtual

In response to the coronavirus, the Westport Museum for History & Culture announced today the launch of its “Virtual Museum” initiative to provide house-bound citizens “interactive and engaging history-based content.”

“These are unprecedented times in our town and our nation,” Ramin Ganeshram, museum executive director said. “Folks are finding creative ways to keep their mental juices flowing and to remain involved with others.

“Our hope is that the Virtual Museum initiative fosters fun learning and a sense of connection at this time when we are all sequestered in our homes,” she added.

According to the announcement, offerings at the Virtual Museum include online exhibits; book, TV, movie and podcast reviews; historic recipes; videos; and, in the near future, sourced and original podcasts including some in the format of classic radio shows.

BONUS Granger at the Movies: Movies About Pandemics

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Since misery loves company, here are movies about pandemics that you can stream at home. Image

It’s ‘social distancing’ that you need survive the plausible global pandemic in the all-too-terrifying bio-thriller “Contagion” (2011) that begins with an international traveler.

Headed home to Minneapolis from Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) stops for a drink at the airport, nibbles snacks at the bar and pays with a credit card. She’s feverish, coughing and jet-lagged when, two days later, her husband (Matt Damon) finds her dead.

Soon, others are displaying the same flu-like symptoms in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Chicago, London and Paris, and it’s obvious that a lethal virus is been unleashed.

Granger at the Movies: ‘The Hunt,’ ‘Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island,’ ‘The Serengeti Rules’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

While local movie theaters have now been closed, earlier they limited capacity and encouraged social distancing. But the new releases really aren’t worth leaving home for. Image

Because of political controversy, the initial 2019 release of “The Hunt” was delayed following mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas; now it’s in theaters during a pandemic. Go figure.

Taking its cue from Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game,” it depicts wealthy, heavily armed elites exercising their Second Amendment right against a dozen drugged/kidnapped/gagged victims, stalking them as sport on a private game reserve in Croatia.

As the opening text notes: “Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.”

CT joins NY and NJ to Close Restaurants, Bars and Gyms

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, Keelan Lyons, and Keith M. Phaneuf

A day after he closed all Connecticut schools, Gov. Ned Lamont today joined the governors of New York and New Jersey and ordered the closure of all restaurants, bars, and gyms in a regional attempt to slow the spread of the potentially fatal coronavirus.

The governors also announced a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.

The three-state mandate was announced during a media conference call with Lamont, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy. The indefinite ban will take effect at 8 p.m. tonight. Restaurants and bars can continue food delivery and takeout, but will not be able to serve food on the premises.

Massachusetts closed all bars and restaurants to on-premise business on Sunday.

Playhouse Announces Cancellations

Saturday, March 21
Broadway Method Academy has canceled their “2019 Gala, Night of a Thousand Stars,“which had been rescheduled to March 21. Please contact Broadway Method Academy at (203) 675-3526 for more information.

Barker added: “As of today, we have not made the decision to cancel or postpone future events after March 21, including our Script in Hand reading of Mrs. Mannerly, scheduled for Monday, March 23.

“As the situation evolves, we will continue to keep you informed. If you have any questions about the Playhouse’s preparations around this or any other public health issue, please feel free to reach out to us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).”

Comings & Goings: Manna Cafe to Open on Church Lane Image
Manna, a casual all-day cafe, will open this summer at 29 Church Lane in Bedford Square, across from the Spotted Horse Tavern, according to owner/chef Molly Healey, who is in partnership with Yvette Waldman and Stacy Bass. Healey, the prior owner of a tri-state catering business, The Grateful Food Company, said the all-day menu features a “toast concept” with delights served on toasted sourdough bread accompanied by selections of salads and other creations. The eatery, which seats 28-30, will also offer coffee, wine and beer. Healey’s husband, Charlie Gilhuly, is well known in Westport’s restaurant circuit as the director of operations at both OKO, 6 Wilton Road, and The Cottage, 256 Post Road East. The space was previously occupied by M.EAT until December 2018. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for