Rock star Dennis DeYoung has performed before millions of fans as a musician and actor; has been honored with a number one hit and People’s Choice Award for his touching ballad, “Babe” as a member of the rock band Styx; and has contributed his creative talents to full-scale musical productions. But he told The Newtown Bee this week that one of the most touching and memorable experiences of his career occurred July 12 when he visited Newtown to sit in on a rehearsal of The 12.14 Foundation’s read-through of a brand new version of The 101 Dalmatians Musical, for which he wrote the score. Performances of "Dalmatians," as well as "A ROCKIN' Midsummer Night's Dream," are in rehearsals, with more than 100 Newtown children working alongside Broadway professionals for shows that will be performed over the first two weekends of August.
Marilyn Hart and Adam Stordy are the famous gunslinging outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who are in turns loving and playful and angry and quarrelsome in Adam Peck's play about the pair, currently in production at TheatreWorks New Milford. As the titular characters come to terms with the inevitability of a losing confrontation with the law, they spend time holed up in a barn as fugitives. Taking poignant and awkward steps towards intimacy as they try repeatedly to connect, the play offers a glimpse of the vulnerability and naiveté of two of America’s most infamous criminals.
After several challenging years straddling two separate agricultural industries, Jim and Sue Shortt of Sandy Hook have gone with their gut — settling on the line of products they hope will please everyone else’s gut, that is. The popular Riverside Road farm and garden center has formally phased out its garden supply component, and has stocked the coolers, shelves and bins of their new farm stand with fresh Newtown and Connecticut-grown veggies and fruits. To supplement their stock, the Shortt family has developed relationships with numerous state specialty food makers who are supplying the Newtown store with a cornucopia of products from trail mix to jams, milk, sauces and, of course, Ferris Acres Creamery ice cream.
Luise and Shawn Gleason plan on running away. This summer, the Gleasons will build their own tiny traveling house, and take it with them wherever they go. During a recent interview, the couple flipped through glossy pages of blueprints and design features for mini homes — living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms or lofts, all downsized to (in the Gleasons’ case) roughly 170 square feet. Mr Gleason pointed to tape marks on the floor, where he had mapped out the footprint of their soon-to-be tiny house, named The Runaway Shanty. Its length was about ten casual paces, and its width slightly wider than Mr Gleason’s outstretched arms. Their design concept is based on the Cypress design through the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Already prepped and insulated is the trailer that will carry their tiny house. Walking between the tape marks, Ms Gleason started at one end of the space, and described what she envisioned.
Parents can never be sure how their children will react to their first day of kindergarten. Some children hop on the bus without hesitation, and maybe slow down long enough to give a wave to their anxious parents before starting a new adventure with future friends. Others will cling, or cry, or worse, making the first day difficult for everyone involved. A five-day, ten-hour program being offered this month by Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS) hopes to make that big transition much smoother for parents and children alike. Safety Town will be offered at NYFS during the weeks of July 21–25 and July 28–August 1. It will meet Monday through Friday, 9 to 11 am each day. Safety Town was developed in 1964 as a national program to teach young children important lessons on traffic, fire, water, bus, and bicycle safety, awareness of medicine and poison, and awareness of strangers. But it has an added benefit.
Siblings Nikhil, 16, Jenny, 13, and Maya Wadhwa, 13, of Newtown were granted a Presidential Volunteer Award for their community service over the past year during a ceremony at the Mayor’s Office at Danbury Town Hall last month. The girls received letters from President Barack Obama, certificates, and gold pins for their accomplishment. Danbury Mayor Mark D. Boughton and United Way of Western Connecticut CEO Kim Morgan were present for the event.
Ken Fay, an elder at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, found himself in an unexpected and thrilling situation on June 7: being applauded by former Star Trek star and well-known actor Leonard Nimoy. Both men were at the New England Emmy Awards presentation at the Copley Plaza in Boston, recipients of what was a first for both of them, an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Mr Nimoy received an Emmy for his lifetime achievement in the acting community. Mr Fay, a senior video producer in Seymour for Comcast, is the writer, director and producer of a ten-minute mini-documentary called Wags ‘n’ Tales, a behind the scenes look at the Lutheran Christian Charities (LLC) Comfort Dog Program.
Is musical theater the vehicle for portraying society’s deeper, darker issues and transforming a message from taboo to topical? The Brookfield Theatre of the Arts (TBTA) production of "Next to Normal," a musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, proves that it is exactly the venue for such a conveyance. Exposing the experience of mental illness, this production takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster allowing them to experience the “mountains” that are lost in a fog of pharmaceuticals administered to those in anguish. Once again, under the bold direction of Michael Burnett, TBTA has produced a musical that informs, enlightens, and moves the audience by way of dramatic, powerful performances, lovely voices, and a stirring live rock band. Performances continue weekends through July 26.
What’s not to love about a warm breezy summer evening, a picnic in the park, and songs so familiar and divine you could sing along? There is everything to love about the Musicals at Richter’s production of "Anything Goes," with music and lyrics by the sublime Cole Porter, and book by Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse. This musical has stood the test of time and continues to entertain and delight. Performances wrapped this past weekend, with the final show offered Saturday, July 12.