Tag Archives: Alisan Porter

COVID-19 Roundup: “A Chorus Line”; Virtual Bingo; More

Everyone loves “A Chorus Line.” Especially anyone who’s ever been in it.

That includes Alisan Porter.

The former Staples High School actor/singer (and “Curly Sue” movie star, and “The Voice” winner) played Bebe in the Broadway revival of that epic show.

It closed in 2008. But 44 cast members leaped — literally — at the chance to dance in a video: “A Chorus Line in Quarantine.” From around the world — in living rooms, kitchens, on decks and apartment rooftops and in their yards and streets — they sent clips of themselves reprising the opening number.

The montage is amazing. And there — at the 1:46 mark — is our own Alisan. Enjoy! (Hat tip: Susan Thomsen)

One of the bright spots of the pandemic is the number of young people who are doing great things to help.

Staples High School student Natalie Bandura launched “Masks That Matter.” She and other teenagers sew washable, reusable homemade cotton masks, then distribute them to Westporters and others in need.

Whether you need a mask or want to help make them, click here. The website is clean and easy to navigate.

Natalie hopes to supply everyone in Westport who needs one with with a mask. Together, she says, “we can help flatten the curve here in town.”

Nearly a month ago, in the early days of the pandemic, a group of Westporters started a virtual bingo night. They play every Thursday, from across the country (all have Westport ties). The winner chooses a non-profit to get the buy-in pot.

So far, they’ve given away nearly $500. Last week’s winner picked the Gillespie Center. For more information, email Stan@witkow.com.

A scene from the Virtual Bingo game.

Meanwhile, Molly Alger notes that the Fine Wine Company in Compo Shopping Center offers this good-looking (and tasty) new mask:

Speaking of signs, Darcy Hicks felt compelled to post this in the house she’s self-isolating in with a lot of guys. Okay, they’re her husband and sons, but still…

And finally … we started today’s Roundup with a former Staples Players star. Here’s a song from another.

P!nk offers an inspiring version of “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman.” Which of course was written by 2003 graduate Justin Paul, and his partner Benj Pasek.



All-Star Cast Raises Voices For ADL

Fairfield County is a microcosm of our country. People of every race, ethnicity and religion — and with every imaginable political view — live within minutes of each other.

But we all live in strictly defined towns and cities. We hardly ever mix — let alone listen to each other.

For over 100 years, the Anti-Defamation League has used its strong voice to build mutual respect among communities.

On Sunday, September 10 — thanks to the leadership of ADL’s Connecticut director Steve Ginsburg, a Westport resident — the organization will use many voices to bring area residents together in a celebration of similarities and differences.

“Voices: A Concert for Unity” will inspire its Levitt Pavilion audience through music, dance, video and spoken word. The list of performers is very impressive.

Emcee Paul Shaffer — of David Letterman fame – will introduce the red-hot Plain White T’s, and national artists Suzanne Vega, Garland Jeffreys and Napoleon da Legend.

Plain White T’s

They’ll be joined by Westporters who have earned national notice: Alisan Porter (winner of “The Voice”), “Newsies” star Adam Kaplan, Michael Bolton’s drummer Drew McKeon, and Justin Honigstein (lead singer of Honeystone). The Staples High School 2016-17 Orphenians will sing too.

Also onstage: Bridgeport’s ABCD, Neighborhood Studios and Pivot Ministries Choir; Weston’s Chris Coogan and the Good News Choir, and Fairfield’s Double Up Dance Studio and FRANK (School of Rock).

Westport’s own Alisan Porter. with “The Voice” trophy.

Artistic director Sarah Green is one of the Founders of Kool to be Kind, and the director of the wildly successful Slam Jam held earlier this year at the Westport Country Playhouse.That broad array of talent is matched by a variety of partners. ADL is working with more than 40 non-profits across the area.

They’re reaching out too to religious groups, universities, local and state law enforcement agencies, and government officials across the political spectrum — though this is a non-political event.

The outpouring of support from national and local celebrities, businesses, volunteers and the host town of Westport is greater than for any previous local ADL event, organizers say.

Sponsors are still being sought, to enable community partners to attend free of charge — and help fund ADL’s programs to fight bias, bigotry and bullying of all kinds.

ADL has been a powerful voice in an important fight. They’ve assembled other powerful voices for September 10. Now you can add yours, too.

(For tickets to “Voices: A Concert for Unity,” click here. To learn more about sponsorships click here, or contact Terry Sidera by email [tsidera@adl.org] or phone [203-780-0209]).

Alisan Porter Honors America

The 36th annual “Capit0l Fourth” celebration — a star-studded outdoor concert at the US Capitol, attended by tens of thousands and broadcast nationally by PBS — kicked off tonight with a stirring version of the national anthem.

The star who sang it? Westport’s own Alisan Porter — better known now as the most recent champion on “The Voice.”

Alisan Porter - Capitol 4th

She was followed by Smokey Robinson. Then Alisan returned, for a rousing rendition of “America the Beautiful.” She was accompanied by the Ministers of Music, and a gorgeous video tribute to America’s national parks — this year celebrating their 100th anniversary.

Alisan Porter - Capitol 4th - 2

Alisan sounded great. Maybe next year she’ll do it again — this time at our Compo Beach fireworks?

Alisan Porter’s In “The Voice” Finals!

So far, so good!

Alisan Porter — the former Staples Players star who went on to fame in “Footloose” and “A Chorus Line,” and now has a devoted national following as founder of the very cool Lil’ Mamas website — has reached the finals of “The Voice.”

She joins 3 other contestants — none of whom could possibly be as good — in the 2-part finale. It airs today and tomorrow (May 23 and 24, 8 p.m. EDT) on NBC.

We’re all rooting for our hometown girl. We’ll be tuning in.

But just to make sure she gets her well-deserved win, here’s how you can help:

Alisan Porter

Alisan Porter’s Exclusive “Voice”

Last month, “06880” broke the story about former Staples student Alisan Porter’s upcoming appearance on “The Voice.” Her haunting rendition of “Blue Bayou” earned raves from the notoriously hard-to-please judges.

But it took the enterprising journalists at our local high school to snag an exclusive interview with her.

Students working with instructor Jim Honeycutt on the superb “Good Morning Staples” TV show conducted a bi-coastal interview with the woman who — less than 2 decades ago — was a high school student herself. (Okay, one who had already played “Curly Sue” in the movie of the same name.)

Click below for the segment with interviewer Gavin Berger, broadcast earlier today:

Alisan Porter: What A Voice!

Alisan Porter as Curly Sue.

Alisan Porter as Curly Sue.

Westporters knew her as the star of Staples Players’ “Cinderella.” Moviegoers remember Curly Sue in the movie of the same name. Broadway fans recall her performances in “Footloose” and “A Chorus Line.” Mothers across the country revere her as a founder of Lil’ Mamas, a no-holds barred, edgy and very insightful look at motherhood today.

Starting Monday — when season 10 of “The Voice” begins on NBC — Westport’s own Alisan Porter will wow a whole new audience of TV viewers.

And, USA Today reported earlier this morning, she “can really sing.”


In fact, the story notes:

Porter’s blind audition performance of the Linda Ronstadt hit “Blue Bayou” inspired all four “Voice” coaches — Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton — to turn their red seats in her direction, and then get out of those seats for a standing ovation.

Levine called it “the most beautiful, flawless, passionate, pitch-perfect thing I have ever heard in my entire life. I’m astonished by you….You’re going to win ‘The Voice,’ and I believe you can do it on my team.”

Sounds as if they should just cancel the competition, and give Alisan Porter her own title, show and Grammy right now.

Of course, to everyone who knew her growing up in Westport 2 decades ago, all this is old hat.

You go, girl!

(Hat tip: Richard Stein)



Alisan Porter Knows “Who We Are”

It’s been quite a year for Alisan Porter.

The 1999 Staples graduate — who also played Curly Sue in the movie of the same name, and performed on Broadway in “Footloose” and “A Chorus Line” — gave birth to her 2nd child, talked openly about her sobriety, and has just released her 1st solo album in 6 years.

After many years recording and performing with her band The Canyons, she felt the need to explore musically on her own. She spent time in Nashville writing, and — with friend and fellow Staples grad Drew McKeon — went into the studio. He co-wrote, co-produced and played on the album, called “Who We Are.”

Ali Porter

“We basically sat in her kitchen in California with a guitar and a laptop and started writing a song,” he says, recalling the project’s genesis. “Twenty minutes later we had a demo for a tune.”

They went out and got all-star musicians, veterans of bands for Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Eric Clapton.

In a People magazine story written by yet another Staples grad — Jennifer Garcia — Porter describes her work as a recording artist, mother of 2 (ages 2 1/2 and 6 months), and blogger (“The Lil’ Mamas” is a no-holds-barred, tell-all, not-your- grandmother’s look at motherhood).

“Motherhood always comes first,” she says. “But I knew I wasn’t going to be a good mother if I didn’t continue to do what I love! Music is a part of me and I had to express myself, especially now that I’m a mom. That inspired a lot of the album. My own growing up and watching my children do the same.”

That’s happening in California now. But you can’t take the Westport out of Curly Sue Alison Porter.



Ali’s Merry Lil’ Mamas

Ali Porter had plenty of success — in plenty of ways — on both coasts.

Alisan Porter as Curly Sue.

Alisan Porter as Curly Sue.

A child actress, she played Curly Sue in the film of the same name. She left Staples in 1998 — after her junior year — to act, work on music and hang with her boyfriend in Malibu.

A year later she was on Broadway, playing Urleen in “Footloose.”

Then it was back to Los Angeles for music and dance; New York, as Bebe in the 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line”; then California again, where she led a band called the Canyons; and marriage.

Last July, her son Mason was born.

Suddenly, Ali was a lot less footloose.

But motherhood didn’t quell her energy, sense of humor or zest for life. Since February, Ali has been the go-to girl behind The Lil’ Mamas, a no-holds-barred, tell-all, 7-mother blog that is not your grandmother’s look at motherhood.

Not even yo momma’s.

Lil Mamas logo

With fresh stories every Monday from all 7 contributors — on topics like pregnancy meltdowns, dipshit husbands and that surefire winner, lactation — it’s a must-read for new mothers.

But only those with senses of humor.

Lil’ Mamas began last year, as a private Facebook group for Ali and a few friends who were due around the same time. They compared notes, asked each other questions — “no topic was too personal or crazy,” Ali says — and eventually moved from closed Facebook group to open website.

“When you’re a brand new mom,” she notes, “there’s nothing like having another mom tell you what to do.”

Ali Porter, and Mason.

Ali Porter, and Mason.

“Everyone thinks breast feeding is awesome, but it comes with a gaggle of issues,” Ali says.

“There are plenty of experts out there, but when you have engorgement in the middle of the night, and don’t know whether to pump, this is the place to ask.”

And, she adds, “Google scares you. You always find the worst things — ‘one Diet Coke during pregnancy leads to brain damage!’ We’ve got real talk, with real women. They’ll say, ‘Relax. You can have one Diet Coke!'”

One section of Lil’ Mamas is called “We Like This Stuff.” The moms cut through the clutter of a zillion baby carriers, bath toys, bottles, pacifiers and other gear, to suggest what’s best.

Always, there’s humor. “Being a new mom can be so daunting,” Ali says. “You think you’re the only mother whose baby poops during a business meeting. We’re here to tell you it happens to everyone.”

Lauren Manning Price

Lauren Manning Price

“We” includes a healthy Westport contingent. Ali’s best friend Lauren Manning Price is one of the 7 bloggers. So is Celia Behar, who was Ali’s babysitter — as in, she babysat Ali — back in the day.

Ro — married to Westporter Alex Freedman — blogs too. And Westport’s Kate Littman Greenberg is the Lil’ Mamas “product guru.”

The local influence was on display a couple of weekends ago. A bunch of “Lil’ Mamas” from this area planned to travel to Hartford, to run in a 5K benefiting Sandy Hook families.

When Lauren heard that at least 45,000 people were expected, and the forecast was for cold and wind, she helped organize a closer benefit run starting and ending at Compo Beach, later in the day.

The Lil' Mamas (and a Big Papa), with their babies at the Compo 5K. From left: Megan Clawson Nathanson, Jaime Patel-Tangredi, Lauren Manning Price, James Fisher, Ann Curry Fisher, Rose Freedman. Rose is married to a Staples grad; all the other women went to Staples together.

Lil’ Mamas (and a Big Papa), with their babies at the Compo 5K. From left: Megan Clawson Nathanson, Jaime Patel-Tangredi, Lauren Manning Price, James Fisher, Ann Curry Fisher, Rose Freedman. Rose is married to a Staples grad; all the other women went to Staples together.

“Like most things in motherhood, everyone had to adapt,” Ali says. “It was still cold and windy at Compo, and there were all these crying babies in ‘Lil’ Mamas’ t-shirts.”

But, she notes, “Everyone still laughed. And everyone had a good time.”

Sounds like every day with Ali Porter and her band of fun, funny Lil’ Mamas.

Bonus feature below: Alisan Potter, singing with her band The Canyons. (Click here if your browser does not link directly to YouTube.)