Tag Archives: Joanna Gleason

Playhouse Presents New Twists On Old Classics

This time of year, we’re bombarded by “Nutcracker” news. Every ballet school in the county state country world universe multiverse produces the Christmas classic. It takes a lot to cut through the clutter.

Lila Doromal does.

The 5th grader attends Pierrepont School in Westport. On December 22 and 23, she’ll take the Westport Country Playhouse stage to dance the role of Clara (also called Marie).

Most people know Clara as Caucasian. In fact, the whole world of ballet is largely white.

But recently the New York City Ballet made headlines by casting their first African American Clara/Marie.

Now the Playhouse is breaking barriers too.

Lila is Indian and Filipino. She studies at the Greenwich Conservatory of Classical Ballet (and with the Bolshoi Ballet Summer Intensive). At Pierrepont she takes modern and West African dance.

Her fellow Greenwich Conservatory dancers — and guest artists from, among others, New York Dance Theater and the European School of Ballet– are presenting the WCP show.

Lila Doromal (Photo/Daniel Hernandez @TalemeStudio)

It’s set for Sunday, December 22 (4 p.m.) and Monday, December 23 (12:30 and 3:30 p.m.). Click here for tickets to this groundbreaking — and not-like-all-the-others — “Nutcracker.”

Meanwhile, the Westport Country Playhouse is gearing up for another holiday treat — with another hometown twist.

This Saturday (December 14, 7 p.m.), their Holiday Benefit Concert features Clay Singer.

The 2013 Staples High School grad, who starred in many Players shows, is well known to Playhouse fans. He appeared last year in “Man of La Mancha”; the year before, he went on with 2 hours’ notice in “Romeo and Juliet.”

Clay Singer

Clay earned a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and is now an Equity professional.

He loves appearing on his “local” stage, before audiences filled with family and friends. They provide him with special energy, he says.

Everyone who performs at the Playhouse knows its history — but having grown up in Westport, realizing he is following in the literal footsteps of giants like James Earl Jones, Gene Wilder, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, adds special meaning.

The show is hosted by Tony Award winner (and Fairfield resident) Joanna Gleason, and includes other Playhouse favorites. They’ll perform a variety of old and new holiday favorites.

For tickets and more information, click here. Click here for a bonus Broadway World interview with Joanna Gleason, about the show.

Home Is Where Her “Hart” Is

Melissa Joan Hart — known to young fans across America for her roles in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “Melissa & Joey” — is a Westport resident.

So she won’t have far to go on Monday (July 29, 7 p.m.) for a play reading event.

“Any Wednesday” is at — and a benefit for — the Westport Country Playhouse.

Melissa Joan Hart

Melissa Joan Hart

For over 80 years, the Playhouse has hosted some of the biggest names in theater: Paul Robeson, Helen Hayes, Alan Alda, Cicely Tyson — you get the idea.

But Monday’s reading has a decidedly local feel.

There’s fellow Westporter Brian J. Carter. Joanna Gleason and Chris Sarandon will also read — they’re in Fairfield, and no strangers to Playhouse productions.

There are other intriguing tie-ins too.

Sandy Dennis — a longtime North Sylvan Road resident — originated the “Any Wednesday” role on Broadway. She also starred in many Playhouse shows.

Jason Robards — who was in the “Any Wednesday” film — lived in Southport. The Playhouse’s theater is named in his honor, and his son Jake has appeared on the Playhouse stage.

Jane Fonda — who played Melissa’s role in the film — appeared on the Playhouse stage in 1960. Her father — Henry Fonda — preceded her here in 1937.

It’s starting to sound less like “Any Wednesday.” And more like “Six Degrees of Separation.”

(Tickets are $100, $50 and $25, and include a “Meet the Cast” party following the July 29 reading. For information and reservations, call 203-227-4177, or click here.)