It’s hard to determine who had a better 2014 Gathering of the Vibes — the audience, or the performers who poured on their talents across three stages during the four-day jam band festival at Bridgeport’s Seaside Park. All but for a brief overnight spate of showers Friday, August 1, the weather was very cooperative, likely contributing to the absence of problems that might have otherwise been caused by attendees who both over-consumed and overheated. This year’s Vibes provided a host of Connecticut performers opportunities to showcase their talents to thousands of concertgoers. Among them were Hartford-based Bronze Radio Return, who lit up the Green Vibes Stage; Bridgeport’s own Jen Durkin and Deep Banana Blackout; 14-year-old guitar phenom Bobby Paltauf; East Haven’s Kung Fu; the Funky Dawgz Jazz Band; and New Canaan’s rising folk star Nick Depuy.
Southwestern Connecticut will be transported back to the steamy world of flappers and speakeasies as Two Planks Theater Company premiers its production of "Chicago." Three Newtown actors will be front and center as the curtain goes up for the three-night production in neighboring Monroe. Performances are outdoors, under the stars, in Wolfe Park, 285 Cutlers Farm Road, as part of the town’s Theater in the Park series. Curtain is 8 pm Thursday through Saturday, August 7-9.
The 12.14 Foundation will present “Connecticut’s Got Talent!,” a talent competition that will feature performers ranging in age from 6 to 56, “and bring a variety of incredible talent to the stage,” said Allison Koziol, chair of the committee organizing the show. Hosted by and a benefit for The 12.14 Foundation, the show will include solo singers, groups, bands, dancers, even a percussionist and a juggler, Ms Koziol told The Newtown Bee on August 1. The competition takes place Tuesday, August 5, at 7 pm. It will be in the auditorium of Newtown High School. General admission tickets will be available at the door for $15.
On Friday, August 15, at 7 pm, the SilverTones will perform at Newtown Congregational Church.Members represent several area towns and have performed at many civic events as well as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The SilverTones have also played at The Strand Theater in Seymour. The band promises that their show in Newtown will be a great time, “with a lot of foot stamping, clapping and joining in” with the musicians. The musicians have so much energy and drive, that one cannot help but become happy and involved with the show. Among the music they perform are songs by The Mamas and The Papas, Tony Orlando & Dawn, The Eagles and the Beatles.
The Sound Center will host the “Wellness for Your Spirit Summer Festival and Fair” on Saturday, August 9, from 3 to 7 pm. The event will feature local vendors, music, and healing arts programs. Workshops will be offered to highlight the upcoming fall program line-up. Classes and demonstrations will be held in hypnosis, belly dance, various types of yoga, mindful meditation for adults and teens (MSBR), nutrition, Reiki, Kirtan, and psychic/intuitive readings. A fireside drum circle will end the festival at sunset.
The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission (NCAC) announced July 29 that the deadline for submissions for its 2014 grant has been extended to September 1. The collage exhibit, “Celebration of Your Life,” currently on view at Newtown Municipal Center and featuring works by Virginia Zimmerman, Sheila Mullen, Meegan Foley and Stefanie Lagana, will conclude Friday, August 8, with an informal talk by the artists. The following afternoon, Ms Zimmerman will lead a workshop on a simple form of printing using found objects, which are arranged into a collage form.
Alastair Moock, a 2014 Grammy nominee, will be performing at Dickinson Park on Tuesday, July 29, headlining the penultimate performance of this year’s Summer Jam Concert Series. Summer Jam concerts are held Tuesdays at 12:30 pm in the bandshell at Dickinson Park, 50 Elm Drive. Picnic lunches and blankets are encouraged. Mr Moock hails from Boston, but will be visiting Newtown in a roundabout way: He was scheduled to perform on Monday at Maine Children’s Hospital.
The 12.14 Foundation is well into rehearsals for two productions that will be presented at Newtown High School next month. The world premiere of "A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream," a new musical version of Shakespeare’s story adapted by Michael Unger and Eric Svejcar, with a score by Mr Svejcar, will be performed August 1-10. The regional premiere of "101 Dalmatians: the Musical" will be performed almost simultaneously, August 6-10.
Town Players of Newtown will continue its summer of laughs with a special four-show production of "Fully Committed" by Becky Mode, who has created a show for those who love the hilarity of fast-paced farces. "Fully Committed" follows a day in the life of Sam Peliczowski, an “in between gigs” actor who takes reservations at Manhattan’s hottest restaurant. Coercion, threats, bribes, histrionics — a cast of desperate callers will stop at nothing in their quest to land a prime reservation (or the right table). Todd Santa Maria of Cheshire is playing the wildly diverse characters in the one-man tour de farce.
The second annual “Helping Is Healing” disaster relief mission trip is on its way to Fort Collins, Colo., next week to help families recover from the horrendous flooding that destroyed homes, neighborhoods, and communities last fall. In a trip that is fully funded by Ben’s Lighthouse, 20 Newtown teen volunteers will spend the week framing, installing drywall, rebuilding decks, clearing debris, landscaping, and whatever else is needed to help some families whose homes were ravaged by the floods.