Friday, December 01, 2023


Arts and Leisure

Granger at the Movies: ‘Ad Astra,’ ‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,’ ‘Abominable’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Anyone ready for philosophical science-fiction? Image

Let’s start with the title “Ad Astra.” In Latin, it means “to the stars,” but the entire phrase is “Ad Astra Per Aspera,” meaning “to the stars through hardships.”

Set in an unspecified future when interplanetary travel is common, the constant search for intelligent life in the outer reaches of the solar system continues.

Under top-secret orders from Spacecom, cool, collected Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), whose pulse never exceeds 80 beats per minute, is dispatched to Neptune to find his astronaut father, H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), an American hero thought to have died many years ago, but now suspected to be behind power surges that endanger Earth.

Taking a Bow Image
The cast of “Mlima’s Tale” takes a bow tonight following the opening night performance. Created by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lyn Nottage and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, the play is about a magnificent and beloved Kenyan elephant named Mlima, hunted for his coveted ivory tusks. The Westport production, the first since the play’s world premiere at The Public Theater in 2018, runs through Oct. 19. Pictured (l-r):  Carl Hendrick Louis, Adit Dileep, Jennean Farmer and Jermaine Rowe who plays the role of the elephant Mlima. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

MoCA Kicks Off Concert Season Saturday

MoCA Westport, formerly known as the Westport Arts Center, kicks off its concert season Saturday with the Pacifica String Quartet in its new home at 19 Newtown Turnpike. Image
Pacifica String Quartet: opens five-concert season. Contributed photo

Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often daring repertory choices, the Pacifica String Quartet has achieved international recognition as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today, an announcement said.

The season continues on Jan. 11 with the arrival of Kenny Barron, who the Los Angeles Times calls “one of the top jazz pianists in the world.”

On Feb. 29, MoCA Westport welcomes Matt Haimowitz, who is described by The New York Times as a ‘“ferociously talented cellist who brings his megawatt sound and uncommon expressive gifts to a vast variety of styles.”

‘Mlima’s Tale’ Previews at Playhouse Image
“Mlima’s Tale,” written by celebrated playwright Lyn Nottage and directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director, previews at Westport Country Playhouse beginning tonight with the opening on Saturday and runs through Oct. 19. The play is about about a magnificent and beloved Kenyan elephant named Mlima hunted for his coveted ivory tusks. As traffickers maneuver the illicit ivory market, from Kenya to Vietnam to China, the animal’s invincible spirit follows their path of desire, greed, crime, and corruption. Jermaine Rowe (above) plays the title role. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Westport READS Books Announced

The Westport Library today announced the launch of its annual WestportREADS program for 2019-2020.

The theme of this year’s yearlong program is “Our Vote. Our Future” and will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment and the history of women’s suffrage and its future, an announcement said.

Two books — one nonfiction and one fiction — have been chosen as the community reads. The nonfiction choice is “The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight for the Vote” by Elaine Weiss, and the fiction choice is “A Short History of Women” by Kate Walbert.

On Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the library, journalist Elaine Weiss, author of “The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight for the Vote,” will officially open the READS program with a talk on her book and the history and contemporary struggle for women’s rights. The event is free, however registration is strongly suggested, the announcement said.

Granger at the Movies: ‘Judy,’ ‘Official Secrets,’ ‘Rambo: Last Blood’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Renee Zellweger is dazzling in “Judy.” With Oscar-caliber dexterity, she captures the tragic strength and vulnerability of legendary Judy Garland — her wit and warmth, along with the charismatic emotionality of her voice. Image

Based on Peter Quilter’s play “End of the Rainbow” and adapted by screenwriter Tom Edge, Robert Goold’s sad film focuses on fragile Judy’s final London concerts before her death by overdose in 1969 at age 47.

By that time, she has already yielded to perpetual substance abuse, so it’s not a pretty picture.

Financially forced to leave her two young children (Lorna, Joey) with their father, Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell), notoriously unpredictable Judy accepts a series of dates at the Talk of the Town nightclub in London, where, out of loneliness, she marries her fifth husband, young pianist, Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock).

Celebrated Playwright in Playhouse Conversation Image
A crowd of almost 300 people today attended “A Conversation with Lynn Nottage,” two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, at the Westport Country Playhouse. The interview event, was facilitated by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director and director of Nottage’s play, “Mlima’s Tale,” which runs Oct. 1 – 19. Nottage and Lamos discussed “Mlima’s Tale,” the playwright’s career, and her body of work in the hour-long program. The Westport production is the first since the play’s world premiere at The Public Theater in 2018. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Brown Graduates Reunite Image
Westporters Harold and Bernestine Bailey reunited today with playwright Lyn Nottage at a reception following the “A Conversation with Lyn Nottage” interview event conducted by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director and director of Nottage’s play, “Mlima’s Tale,” which runs Oct. 1 – 19. According to Harold Bailey, he and his wifE first met Nottage in September 2018 at the 50th anniversary of the 1968 black student walkout at Brown University in protest of enrollment practices at the school.  All three are Brown University graduates, Harold Bailey, Class of 1970, Bernestine Bailey in 1968 and Lyn Nottage in 1986. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Historical Society Gala Marks Name Change Image
The Westport Historical Society (WHS) annual gala fundraiser tonight attracted over 160 attendees, according to organizers, at an event held in a tent on Veterans Green, adjacent to the WHS. The event was marked by the milestone renaming of the organization to Westport Museum for History and Culture. CNN “New Day” co-anchor Alisyn Camerota, a Westport resident, was the keynote speaker. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for