Twenty Newtown teenagers and five chaperones traveled to Loveland, Colo., the final week of July, repairing homes damaged during flooding there last fall. “The week was filled with struggles and triumphs, learning and mentoring, a little time for play, and lots of hard work,” said Rick Haylon, chairman of Ben's Lighthouse. Upon arrival the Newtown contingent was divided into two work groups, working at two different homes. One home required drywall replacement on the entire first level, “plus a heavy dose of landscaping tasks,” according to Mr Haylon. A mile down the road, the second work group assisted with replacement of decking, flooring, roofing, and other jobs.
Every single person involved with this summer’s 12.14 Foundation musicals, from the executive production team led by Newtowner Dr Michael Baroody and Director Michael Unger, to the crew, cast, adult volunteers, and even those who turned out for one or all the performances of 101 Dalmatians: The Musical and A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream owe themselves a standing ovation. The accomplishments achieved in the rehearsal spaces and on the stage of Newtown High School would have been classified as a smashing success if all involved had six months to prepare, but as the curtain opened on the final performance of the Foundation’s world premier Shakespeare musical, Dr Baroody said it best. “It’s awe inspiring,” Dr. Baroody told the closing night audience August 10. “They did in weeks what takes months or years... with kids ... and Shakespeare."
English actor Robert Donat played the title role in the 1939 feature Goodbye, Mr Chips, alongside Irish actress Greer Garson in her first MGM film. Based on the novel by James Hilton, Goodbye, Mr Chips tells the story of a man’s life transformed by pupils and colleagues during his lifelong teaching career, and especially by an idyllic romance. On Sunday, August 31, the Edmond Town Hall Theater will screen Goodbye, Mr Chips, as the next offering in the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission’s celebration of films released in 1939. Continuing through the end of the year, the 2014 Sunday Cinema Series celebrates what many film enthusiasts consider the greatest year in film history.
The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown (SCAN) will host Gigi Liverant, a well known Connecticut artist, demonstrating “Exploration of Color in Pastel” on Wednesday August 13, at 7:30 pm. The program will be in the lower level of Newtown Meeting House, and is free of charge.
Stray Kats Theatre Company (SKTC) is teaming up with Third Eye Productions, a New York production company that has recently relocated to Newtown, to present Doubt in September. Performances of the John Patrick Shanley will be a featured event of the 2014 Newtown Arts Festival. Set in 1964, Doubt explores the tensions between a Catholic School Principal and their Parish Priest when she questions his ambiguous relationship with a troubled student.
Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) announces the first of what it hopes will be an annual “Choose Love” Outdoor Summer Concert Series, to be performed in downtown Sandy Hook Village. Performances will begin Saturday, August 16, and continue weekly until September 13. Performances will be from 1 to 3 pm at Sandy Hook Village Green. Each event will include a free, outdoor seated musical performance and tents with free arts, crafts and creative movement opportunities for the kids.
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.