Tag Archives: Michelle Pauker

Roundup: Superman, Madame Web, Richard Scarry …

It’s taken a while.

But last night, the Board of Finance unanimously approved funds for a traffic study of Cross Highway, North Avenue and Bayberry Lane.

The project will look at intersection safety, as well as adding a sidewalk on Cross Highway and a crosswalk near The Porch @ Christie’s.

Next stop: an appropriation request to the RTM.

The North Avenue/Cross Highway intersection may be the most dangerous one in Westport without a traffic light. Another contender: Cross Highway and Bayberry Lane.

=======================================================

Superman came to the Westport Library last night.

The Man of Steel arrived on the Trefz Forum big screen. Westporter Arlen Schumer presented an in-depth lecture on Curt Swan — the longtime local illustrator who for 29 years was DC Comics’ primary Superman artist.

it’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Arlen Schumer and Curt Swan at the Westport Library! (Photo/Dave Matlow)

Swan’s 3 children were all in the audience. Chris lives in Westport;  Karen Brooks is in Wilton, and Ceal Swift is in Westbrook.. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Chris Swan and his sisters Ceal and Karen, in the Westport Library audience. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

========================================================

Camp A Cappella CT — the innovative program teaching vocal technique, beatboxing, ensemble skills and choreography to area youngsters —  returns this summer with an in-person program.

And another star on its faculty.

Michelle Pauker — the 2013 Staples High School graduate/Broadway performer who wowed a recent SRO MoCA crowd with an evening of song — will work her considerable magic.

Michelle earned a BA in music from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, concentrating in musical theater. Many Westporters already know her through her private lessons.

Michelle joins music educator Amanda Violone, in the upbeat, fun camp program.

Camp A Cappella CT was created by Danielle Merlis, following the success of her Cello Camp. The award-winning musician was initially inspired at Long Lots Elementary School, earned first chair honors in the Staples High orchestra, and went on to perform with Chris Brubeck and the Eagles, at venues like Lincoln Center.

Camp A Cappella CT welcomes singers in grades 1 to 12. It runs August 22 to 27  at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, alongside The Cello Camp, now in its 7th year.

For information and registration for Camp A Cappella CT. click here.

PS: You don’t have to attend (or have a kid who does) to enjoy the camps’ final concerts (August 27, 5 p.m. cellists, 7 p.m. singers, Christ & Holy Trinity Church). Everyone is welcome.

One day at Cello Camp …

=======================================================

Next up on the big screen: Westporter Kathy-Ann Hart.

She’s the latest addition to the cast of “Madame Web.” The Marvel comics-based film’s cast includes Dakota Johnson, Mike Epps, Adam Scott and Sydney Sweeney.

Though she began performing as a child in her native Trinidad, Hart is a newcomer to film. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2003, she worked for many years as a corporate attorney and non-profit executive. She moved to Westport in 2017.

Kathy-Ann Hart

=======================================================

Gas prices have dropped for over 50 straight days. They’re now nearly $1 less than this spring’s (very high) highs.

Today — and today only — you can get $1 off each gallon, at the Shell station across from Westport Country Playhouse.

They’ve renovated their interior, so it’s a brighter and better-stocked (if not particularly healthy) convenience story mart than before. They’re celebrating today, with the special $1 off offer. (Hat tip: Ifeseyi Gayle)

The Shell station opposite Westport Country Playhouse. (Photo/Ifeseyi Gayle)

======================================================

Like many places of worship, the Unitarian Church in Westport welcomes guest speakers.

But this Sunday (August 7, 10 a.m.) is special. Darcy Hicks will also make art with the congregation.

As “06880” reported last week, Darcy is part of Wings4Peace. The grassroots gun safety coalition, formed in the wake of the Uvalde shooting, creates “wings” artwork all across the nation.

The UU church invites artists, non-artists, students, builders, artisans and activists to join them, and Darcy, on Sunday.

Darcy Hicks, with her “Wings4Prace.”

=======================================================

The Weston Flea is Saturday, September 10 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Weston High School). This month, organizers invite anyone looking to sell home goods, tag sale items, crafts, art, new business ideas and more, to reserve space.

Popular items include toys, garage and garden items, tools, rugs, candles, soap and jewelry. The cost is $25 for 2 parking spaces ($20 for seniors).

To reserve a spot, call 203-222-2608 or email wpetty@westonct.gov.

=======================================================

This fall, Fairfield Museum presents an immersive exhibit on the life and work of Richard Scarry.

The children’s book author and illustrator — known for the book “Busytown,” and characters like Huckle the Cat, Lowly Worm, Miss Honey and Mr. Frumble — lived in Westport. He began illustrating in 1948, but his work remains popular today. The Fairfield Museum show will introduce him to the next generation.

It will include original artwork, unpublished drawings, rare books, large-scale reproductions of his illustrations, a reading nook, and a museum-wide scavenger hunt.

Click here for more information. Click here and click here for 2 “06880” stories on Richard Scarry’s connections to Westport.

 

======================================================

Yale New Haven Health cut the ribbon on its new Digestive Health Center yesterday.

The facility, at 325 Riverside Avenue, provides care for medical and surgical patients, including bariatric, colorectal and hernia surgery and gastroenterology.

Yale New Haven Health, at 325 Riverside Avenue.

======================================================

Lauri Weiser writes: “I have no idea why this iris wanted to bloom again now, in my back yard. Maybe it just wanted to be a “Westport … Naturally” photo!”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

=======================================================

And finally … getting ready for next month’s Weston Flea (see story above):

 (“06880” relies on contributions from readers like you. Please click here to support this blog.)

Roundup: Michelle Pauker, Bulkley Pond …

MoCA Westport roams far beyond our town’s borders.

The museum-and-more features artists — visual and musical — from around the world.

But one of the biggest draws ever was last night: Westport’s own Michelle Pauker.

The 2013 Staples High School graduate — and actress/singer/songwriter — wowed the overflow crowd with her “Broadway Through the Ages” repertoire. She was both graceful and great, leading the audience through a history of musical theater, from “Showboat” to Sondheim.

One of her songs was an original by Jake Landau, who served as her pianist and music director. A Staples classmate — and Juilliard and Oxford graduate — he’s now a quickly rising composer and conductor.

Michelle’s small band included fellow Stapleite Lucas de Valdivia, on cello.

It was a magical Westport evening, in the worldly MoCA space.

Michelle Pauker at MoCA. (Photo/Dan Woog)

=======================================================

Aspetuck Land Trust is removing the Bulkley Pond dam. It’s off the Post Road by Shake Shack, right on the Westport/Southport border.

The dam was a barrier to upstream fish passage for alewife and blueback herring, and the freshwater habitat these migratory fish require for spawning.

The project is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.

Bulkley Pond dam removal …

… and after. (PhotosDave Lowrie)

=====================================================

The Fresh Market ospreys get most of Westport’s love. At least, they’re the most visible.

But let”s give it up for the Longshore birds. Molly Alger provides today’s “Westport … Naturally” raptor family:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

======================================================

And finally … the Bulkley Pond story (above) reminded me of this great song, which never got the recognition it deserved.

Over 50 years later, the message still resonates.

 

 

 

Roundup: The Porch, Hooked, Playhouse Gala …

“06880”‘s Unsung Hero feature runs every Wednesday.

But this story — reported first on Facebook’s “Westport Front Porch” page — deserves to be told today. J. Van Burke wrote:

“Huge shout-out to The Porch @ Christie’s.

“My friend and her family were visiting from Kansas. As parents of a child with Down syndrome they wanted to support a business that gives employment opportunities to all, so we went for breakfast at The Porch.

“My friend left her purse there, and only realized it when they were on to their next stop in Rhode Island.

“The lovely folks at The Porch had it overnighted to her — and even included some treats for her kids to enjoy in the parcel. Such thoughtfulness and kindness should be applauded.”

Absolutely! Among Westport’s treasures, The Porch @ Christie’s stands @ the top of any list.

The Porch @ Christie’s co-owner Bill Pecoriello, on the porch.

=======================================================

Westport was hopping yesterday evening.

The Levitt Pavilion was packed, for a Santana tribute band. Restaurants were jammed too, with outdoor diners. A huge crowd thronged Compo’s South Beach, for the 9th annual “06880” blog party.

Meanwhile, elsewhere at Compo, on one of the most beautiful nights of the year, Hook’d — the concessionaire — closed early.

At least they gave a few folks warning, via text. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

Despite the posted hours, Hook’d closed early last night. (Photo/Matt Murray)

=======================================================

Sure, it’s hot. But the show must go on.

So it will: indoors.

Tomorrow’s (Saturday, July 23, 7 p.m.) “Broadway through the Ages” concert at MoCA will be inside the gallery, rather than out on the lawn. It stars 2013 Staples High School graduate Michelle Pauker, with music direction by Juilliard & Oxford Academy composer Jake Landau — a 2013 classmate of Michelle’s.

Entry to the museum’s “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” exhibit is included in the admission. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Michelle Pauker

===================================================

Renée Elise Goldsberry — Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton” — headlines the return of the Westport Country Playhouse’s gala benefit. She’ll perform Broadway, pop and soul songs on Saturday, September 17.

The evening begins with a 5:30 p.m. cocktail party, including a live auction and raffle. Her 8 p.m. performance is followed by an after-party, with a DJ and dancing. The host is Robin de Jesús, from “In the Heights.”

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Renee Elise Goldsberry

=======================================================

Congratulations to Mo Deegan: a recent inductee into the Little East Conference Hall of Fame.

The Staples High School graduate is one of the most accomplished multi-sport athletes in Eastern Connecticut State University history. She earned All-America, All-Region and All-League honors in field hockey and lacrosse. Several of her records still stand.

This is her second Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was inducted into ECSU’s Athletics Alumni HOF.

Mo Deegan

==================================================

Julie Blume enjoyed this beautiful visitor to her Bonnie Brook Road home yesterday.

There’s always something new — and wondrous — in our “Westport … Naturally” world.

(Photo/Julie Blume)

======================================================

And finally … you might not know his name, but if you grew up in the 1970s you knew his voice.

William Hart, lead singer and songwriter of the Grammy-winning group the Delfonics, died last week in Philadelphia, from complications during surgery. He was 77. Click here for a full obituary.

(“06880” relies on reader donations. Please click here to contribute.)

Roundup: Beach Tables, Primary Day, Baron’s South …

I took a beach walk late yesterday afternoon.

It was a gorgeous start to the weekend. The sky was cloudless; the temperature and breeze, perfect.

But something was missing: maybe half the South Beach picnic tables.

How could that be? They’re very, very heavy. Where would they go, and why?

I tried to think of any event that would take precedence.

Nope. So I gave up, and figured it was just my imagination.

South Beach yesterday, 6 p.m. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Before I finished my walk though, 3 groups of people stopped me. All wondered: What happened to the South Beach tables?

I have no idea. The Parks & Rec office is closed for the weekend, so they can’t help.

We’ll just have to crowdsource this. If you know what happened to all those picnic tables, click “Comments” below.

And if you took them: Bring them back. No questions asked.

=======================================================

Election Day is near!

Republican Primary and Democratic Primary scheduled for Tuesday, August 9.

Polls are open between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Click here to find your polling place.

Absentee ballot applications are available through the Town Clerk’s office. The drop box at the rear of Town Hall is ready to receive applications and absentee ballots. Click here for information on absentee ballots.

Connecticut has a closed primary system. Only enrolled Democrats may vote in the Democratic primary, and only enrolled Republicans may vote in the Republican primary. The deadline for changing parties has already passed.

However, an unaffiliated voter may select a party up to noon the day before the primary, changing to one of the major parties. Click here to verify your party status.

If you are not yet a registered voter, applications must be postmarked by August 4. In-person registration is available until noon on August 8.

======================================================

Looking for a cool movie next week?

The Remarkable Theater schedule includes these shows, at the Imperial Avenue drive-in:

“Dirty Dancing” (Monday, July 18; gate opens 7:15 p.m., movie at 8:15 p.m.): Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle. Rated PG-13.

“Scream” (Wednesday, July 20; gate opens at 7:30 p.m.; movie at 8:30 p.m.): A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game. Rated R.

Click here for tickets and more information.

A night at the drive-in. (Photo courtesy of 4th Row Films)

=======================================================

Not far from the Remarkable Theater, just steps from downtown, Baron’s South is a 22-acre jewel.

But, Molly Alger says, the park needs some maintenance. Walking paths are overgrown with weeds. She took this photo on her way from the Senior Center to Compo Road South:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

=======================================================

Next Saturday, there’s a double treat for fans of Staples Players alumni.

2013 graduate Michelle Pauker returns to Westport for a star turn in “Broadway Through the Ages.” The MoCA show (July 23, 7 p.m., 19 Newtown Turnpike) is  an evening of memorable tunes, from Golden Age to contemporary.

Music direction is by acclaimed Juilliard & Oxford Academy composer Jake Landau — a 2013 classmate of Michelle’s.

Entry to the museum’s “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” exhibit is included in the admission. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Michelle Pauker

====================================================

Speaking of former Staples Players: Congratulations to Britt Hennemuth!

The 2008 Staples High School and 2012 Pepperdine University graduate is now the West Coast editor for Vanity Fair.

He’s just published his first cover story: “Dakota Johnson on Family, Sexual Agency—And the ‘Psychotic’ Making of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Click here to read — including one of the best opening lines in any magazine story, anywhere. (Hat tip: Jeff Wieser)

Britt Hennemuth

=======================================================

CORRECTION: An incorrect date was given yesterday for the Westport Astronomical Society’s “Cal & Friends Meteorite Show & Tell Party.” The correct date is this coming Tuesday (July 19, 8 p.m.), at the observatory on Bayberry Lane.

======================================================

Staples High School Class of 2006 graduate Joanne Smith died last Sunday.

The Chicago native moved to Brazil for 8 months after graduation, before beginning work in the hospitality industry. She had a passion for fitness, nutrition and exercise, and enjoyed being outdoors.

She was an animal lover, an avid reader (particularly Harry Potter), and a movie buff. She particularly enjoyed the beach and dog, Romie.

She is survived by her mother, Katherine Gordon Smith of Stratford; father Gregory and stepmother Donna of Fairfield; brother Matthew of Norwalk; sister Jennifer (Rodolfo Antorocha) of Washington, DC, and maternal grandmother Sally Grabot.

Her family says, “Joey was a fun, kind, loving, intelligent light in the family and to all who knew her. She took on the annual role of Christmas Elf to hand out presents.Joey was well loved by family, friends and co-workers.”

The family will greet relatives and friends on Monday (July 18, 11 a.m. to noon, Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Road, Trumbull), followed by a Mass of Christian Burial (12:30 p.m., Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 545 Stratfield Road, Fairfield).

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the ASPCA. To leave online condolences, click here.

Joanna Smith

=====================================================

Does the rule about dogs on the beach apply to the jetty that forms Compo’s border?

Who cares. This is a classic “Westport … Naturally” photo. Enjoy!

(Photo/Richard Abramowitz)

=======================================================

And finally … you may or may not have seen “Dirty Dancing” (the next Remarkable Theater film — story above).

But in 1987, there was no escaping this song:

(“06880” runs on contributions from readers like you. Please click here to add your support.)

 

“The Last 5 Years”

Michelle Pauker and Clay Singer had major roles — Mary Magdalene and Judas — in this summer’s Staples Players production of Jesus Christ Superstar.  It was a huge time commitment — and very successful

Michelle Pauker (Photo/August Laska)

So when the show closed July 31, Michelle and Clay could have been expected to spend the final weeks before school begins chilling at the beach, hanging out with friends or just acting like rising Staples juniors.

Instead they put on another show.

They chose “The Last 5 Years,” a clever 2-person song-cycle musical that chronicles a relationship, from meeting to breakup (or backwards — you had to see it).

Michelle and Clay secured the rights and the stage; hired a 5-person pit orchestra; corralled their friends (and parents) into assisting as stage managers, lighting and tech crew, publicists, set and costume designers — and handled thousands of other details, like miking and a website.

Clay Singer (Photo/August Laska)

The show had a very successful run last weekend at Toquet Hall.  Michelle and Clay have beautiful voices.  They nailed every aspect of a complex, long relationship.  It was one of those unexpected treasures of summer.

But that was not the most impressive part of what these teenagers did.

Virtually every aspect of the the production was donated.  It was a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Here’s what Michelle wrote in the program:

Five years ago, at 11 years ago, my life was drastically changed when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  For “the last 5 years” of my life I’ve dealt with testing my blood sugar levels and giving myself insulin every time I eat something; excusing myself from classes and activities when my blood sugar gets too low, and experiencing the pain of needles every time I change my insulin pump site.

The day I was diagnosed, I thought my life as I knew it was over.  However, because of support from the JDRF, new technologies and treatments allow me to live an almost normal life.

However, I know that many people with type 1 diabetes are not as fortunate as I am, and have a more difficult time dealing with the disease.  I want to give back to JDRF for all it has given me, and by doing this project I hope to take another step toward finding a cure.

Michelle went on to thank her doctors and nurses at Yale; her parents; Clay, and everyone else who made “The Last 5 Years” possible.

She concluded:

Finally, most importantly, thank you to each and every one of you in the audience.  Each ticket purchased is a donation to JDFR, and each donation goes toward helping children with diabetes.

Thank you for joining me in the fight against this disease, and the journey to a cure!

And how did you spend your summer vacation?!

(Click here for more information on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation — or to make a donation.)