It’s easy to get audiences to see “Mamma Mia!,” “The Music Man” or “Guys and Dolls.”
It’s a lot harder for Shakespeare. Especially a play by The Bard that’s not “Romeo and Juliet” or “Macbeth.”
But Staples Players directors David Roth and Kerry Long rolled the dice.
“Twelfth Night” came up huge.
The show — the high school troupe’s spring production — is not what you would have seen at the Globe Theater.
In fact, this production comes from the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the (Central) Park.
It’s a rocking, rollicking modern-ish musical, with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub.
The singing, dancing, pit and set are — as audiences have come to expect from Staples Players — near-Broadway quality.
There’s just the right amount of Shakespeare. There’s even a cheat-sheet synopsis in the program, telling you exactly what happens.
“Twelfth Night” was a gamble. Players relies on ticket sales to fund future productions.
Fortunately, the audience was near capacity last weekend.
Judging by their reactions — laughing, clapping, and a well-deserved standing ovation — there won’t be any empty seats this Friday (March 24, 7:30 p.m.) or Saturday (March 25, 3 and 7:30 p.m.).
So act fast. Click here to get yours.
Just like the swallows of Capistrano, an osprey of Westport have returned.
Carolyn Doan reports that one of our town’s favorite raptors has returned from the south, to its perch near the Fresh Market parking lot.
“It most likely wintered in South America or Florida,” she notes. “This is probably the male, who usually returns first. The pair winter separately but meet back here every March.
“He’s a few days early this year, and is already sprucing up the nest. The female should join him soon.”
Speaking of nature: “06880” has reported on the still-up-in-the-air fate of 2 cherry blossoms in front of Sakura.
What’s clear is that many other trees will definitely be removed — including those in the grassy Post Road median — between New Country Toyota and Volvo of Westport.
It’s part of a Route 1 improvement plan, in the works by the state Department of Transportation for nearly a decade.
The Post Road/Bulkley Avenue intersection is also in for some much-needed realignment.
Which means that some sycamore trees will come down there, too.
They’ve already been tagged for removal.
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but Matt Murray saw at least one worker inside 233 Hillspoint Road — aka the former Positano/the current eyesore — yesterday.
He lives nearby. It’s the first time he’s seen anyone doing anything there since a stop-work order was issued in December 2019, due to building permit violations.
A new home — minus the blue swaddling — is on the market for $7.9 million.
High school students can do advanced trigonometry. But they’ve never been taught to balance a checkbook.
Tom Henske will change that.
This Sunday (March 26, 2 p.m.), the Westport resident and financial industry leader brings his Total Cents program to the Westport Library for a talk, and panel discussion with fellow experts. It’s called “Raising Financially Savvy Kids.”
The goal: to help parents, grandparents and guardians get comfortable teaching their kids about money.
“Everyone sees the clear value and importance of developing good financial habits in our children,” Henske says. “It’s time for parents to take ownership of this part of their child’s development.”
He hopes that Westport becomes “the epicenter for teaching parents how to talk to their kids about money.”
Joining Henske are Caroline Barney, author, inspirational speaker, and parent of two Staples High School students; John Lanza, author of “The Art of Allowance” and an expert of youth financial literacy, and Kathy Soderholm, former Wilton High School personal finance teacher and founder of The Good Bookkeeper, specializing in nonprofit organizations.
Henske’s efforts with Total Cents include a book, “It Makes Total Cents: 12 Conversations to Change Your Child’s Financial Future,” and a podcast he developed in collaboration with the Library.
The Westport Library, Part II:
They host many non-book events: concerts, art exhibits, even the Fashionably Westport runway show.
This one though is right down the literary alley.
Westport Writers’ Workshop’s 2nd annual Pitch & Publish Conference is set for May 20 (in-person and virtual).
It’s a chance for anyone seeking an agent, looking to learn about the industry, or hoping to meet and be inspired by authors and editors. The event includes panels, and one-on-one pitches.
Keynote speaker Courtney Maum has written 5 books, among them “Year of the Horses,” the groundbreaking publishing guide “Before and After the Book Deal,” and “Touch.”
The conference also features a welcome party May 19 at the Westport Writers’ Workshop on Sylvan Road South, a light breakfast, and a wrap party.
Individual tickets for the conference only are $350 each. Tickets for the conference, plus 2 one-on-one pitches with literary agents, are $600 (early bird discount before April 1), $675 each thereafter. Click here to register, and for more information.
Over 80 students attended yesterday’s “Town Hall” meeting with Congressman Jim Himes at Staples High School.
He fielded questions about a range of topics, including the economy, inflation and banking; China and foreign policy threats; climate change; his experience inside the Capitol on January 6, and his optimism for bipartisan legislation and compromise in the 118th Congress.
Pianist Ted Rosenthal headlines this Thursday’s Jazz at the Post (March 23; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399).
He has performed worldwide as soloist, with his trio, and with greats like Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods and James Moody.
Rosenthal has released 15 CDs. His latest reached #1 on iTunes and Amazon. He has has soloed with major orchestras, and is on the faculties of the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music.
He’ll be joined Thursday by bassist Martin Wind, drummer Tim Horner and saxophonist Greg Wall.
Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.
Longtime Westport teacher Jane Fraser died peacefully in her home March 1, with her family by her side. She had just celebrated her 95th birthday.
The Illinois native began her 25-year education career In Westport in 1967. She taught at Burr Farms Elementary School until it closed, and then transferred to Greens Farms Elementary.
In the early 1980s she became the district’s K-6 literacy staff developer. During that time Jane was connected with the Writing Project, Teachers College, Columbia University. She presented workshops for teachers throughout the Northeast, and at national professional conferences.
She returned to the classroom to teach 2nd grade at Coleytown Elementary School for 5 years, before retiring in 1992.
In 1994 Jane co-authored “On Their Way… Celebrating Second Graders as They Read and Write.”
Her family says, “She enjoyed her family, chocolate, and being at the beach (in that order). She had an adventurous spirit, both intellectually and physically. She was not afraid to travel a unique path. She was always good company, with interests that stretched from classical music to books to teaching to hiking and gardening.”
Jane’s husband Julius died in 2010. She is survived by her daughters Carol and Ann, stepson Tom, brother Peter and their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Contributions in Jane’s memory may be made to Planned Parenthood or the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Yesterday was the first day of spring.
The weather was still late-winter-ish. But soon the wind will die down. The weather will warm up. And all will be right with the world.
In the meantime, enjoy today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo. It’s from Becky Keeler, taken from her deck across from the Saugatuck Rowing Club.
And finally … in honor of Tom Henske’s upcoming “It Makes Total Cents” financial literacy program for children and teenagers, at the Westport Library (story above):
(We couldn’t have said it better ourselves: Money does change everything. Including how well “06880” can operate. Please click here to help support our work. Thank you!)