Looking for something to do this weekend?
A couple of great ideas just
crossed my desk popped up in my inbox.
The first is a world premiere. Westport-based Connecticut Theater Dance kicks off its 2018-19 season with the original ballet “Drosselmeyer: The Toymaker’s Story” at Fairfield University’s Quick Center on Saturday (7 p.m.).
Artistic director Michelle Sperry wrote the fictional story of how the legendary toymaker created the magical nutcracker. Renowned choreographer Rodney Rivera — with 13 professional dancers, and supporting roles from CTD students (including young Westporters) — brings the ballet to life.
Writing and producing a totally new ballet is never easy. It’s especially tough when you’re a true non-profit, with a 100% volunteer board.
Sperry did it in just 2 months. But it could not have happened without plenty of help from Westporters.
Local businesses contributed funds. The company raised money by organizing a Halloween costumefest, renting a movie theater for a private showing, creating and selling calendars, and (of course) running a bake sale. Sperry even secured a private bank loan to make up the shortfall.
The young dancers augmenting the professionals in “Drosselmeyer” include Westporters.
The CTD’s mission of promoting diversity produced housing challenges. Sperry opened her home to a dancer from El Salvador for 5 weeks. Resident choreographer Alejandro Ulloa hosted a Nicaraguan dancer. Choreographer Rodney Rivera –from Puerto Rico — was welcomed in by another CTD family.
Most sets were made in Sperry’s garage — including a train big enough for cast members to ride on. Local residents offered rocking horses, dolls and beer steins.
CTD families donated food, helped sew (staying up until 3 a.m.!), and done much, much more. They’re honored to support dancers who commute up to 2 hours each way.
This is a labor of love for everyone. It should be an inspiring evening. And hey — how often do you get to see a world premiere?
Click here for tickets, or call 203-254-4010.
Meanwhile, Joan Nevin raves about the Westport Country Playhouse’s production of “Thousand Pines.”
The longtime Westporter — who has no connection with the theater, other than as a patron — calls the current play “groundbreaking and heartbreaking.”
It was developed in the Playhouse’s New Works Circle last year — the first to come out of the program with a full production.
Playwright Matthew Greene explores how families and communities try to cope after a school shooting, in “an incredibly moving, intelligent way.”
Five characters — playing roles in different families affected by the tragedy — are “brilliantly nuanced.” Nevin won’t give away the ending, but calls it “brilliant. The play comes full circle with a powerful, heart-wrenching understanding among members of the community.”
She says it connects to devastating current events “without political implications or easy answers, but with emotional depth and power.”
“Thousand Pines” runs through this Saturday (November 17). For more information and tickets, click here.