In 1946 — just 15 years after its founding — the Westport Country Playhouse established an internship program. Among its graduates: a kid named Stephen Sondheim.
Now nationally recognized as a formative experience for aspiring arts professionals, it’s named for another Westport icon: Joanne Woodward.
This summer — after a 2-year COVID hiatus — the Joanne Woodward Internship Program returns live. Internships in stage management, props/scenic painting, wardrobe, marketing, company management, education, and development will run from May 28 to August 21.
In addition to working directly with senior staff, interns participate in weekly seminars. They hear a variety of guest speakers, including Playhouse staff members, visiting designers and artists, commercial producers and more. The pay is $560 a week.
The application deadline is March 11. Click here for the form.
Stephen Sondheim (crouching, top of photo), during his 1950 internship. The photo was taken at the Jolly Fisherman restaurant. Also in the photo: future film director Frank Perry (front row, left) and Richard Rodgers’ daughter Mary (2nd row, 4th from left).
“Given the rapid drop in COVID cases among our middle and high school students, and the small number of students in quarantine, we will return to regular classroom instruction, and discontinue the use of live-streaming cameras.
“The last day of livestreaming cameras in our secondary classrooms will be tomorrow (Friday, January 28). Pending additional cases or quarantine, there will be zero Staples High and Coleytown Middle students in isolation or quarantine after today, and only 5 students in isolation and 2 in quarantine at Bedford Middle School.
“We will continue to peel back mitigating measures prudently, based on our local experience and input from public health advisors.”
No Coleytown Middle School students in isolation or quarantine!
ADL’s Connecticut chapter is a national leader in the fight against antisemitism and bigotry.
And — like its previous director — its new leader is a Westporter.
Stacey Sobel succeeds Steve Ginsburg. Most recently, she spent nearly a decade as executive director of Child Advocates of Connecticut, serving abused and neglected children.
As a volunteer, Sobel was president of Temple Israel, and president of Westport’s Hadassah chapter.
Sobel also was in private law practice, and served in the general counsel’s office of Continental Can Company. The Long Island native l is a graduate of Lafayette College, and Boston University School of Law.
The TriBeca Film Festival is back. This year, it’s very New York-centric.
Among the films: “Bernstein’s Wall.”
The Tribeca website describes the world premiere of the film directed by Westporter Douglas Tirola (4thRow Films; co-founder, Westport’s Remarkable Theater):
In this enlightening look at one of the greatest classical music figures of the 20th century, director Douglas Tirola mines a rich trove of interviews, television appearances, home movie footage, photos, letters to craft a comprehensive look at Leonard Bernstein, whose passion and drive took him well beyond the marvelous music he wrote and conducted.
Spanning the breadth of a life interwoven with key historic moments outside the concert hall, Bernstein’s Wall follows the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant who arrives in New York from his Boston hometown to eventually become conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and becomes a household name thanks to his numerous TV appearances, educating the public on all things symphonic, West Side Story, being seen with celebrities and politicians, and his crossing-the-line activism, from protesting the Vietnam War to (controversially) supporting the Black Panthers.
Tirola incorporates Bernstein’s personal life — his fraught relationship with his father, his marriage, his family life, his struggles to be at peace with his sexuality — to paint a complex portrait of a complex, driven individual who produced some of the most memorable music of his time as a product of those times.
(“Bernstein’s Wall” is available for streaming from June 15-23. Click here for details. Hat tip: Kerry Long)
Just in time for the end of the spring sports season: Westport Rotary Club and the Westport Soccer Association are collecting used soccer uniforms, clothing, shoes, shin guards, balls and other equipment.
They’ll ship it all to Nicaragua. Rotary already works there with NicaPhoteo, a non-profit that helps communities.
The soccer equipment is much needed. Soft backpack bags, old balls, socks, jerseys and shirts — it will all go to good use.
The drop-off location is 5 Sugar Maple Lane, Westport (off Whitney Street). There’s a box on the front porch. Please wash clothing items first!
Dr. Donald Cohen’s nationally televised show — in which, well, kids talked (about everything in their lives) is being relaunched. Fittingly for a new century, it’s a livestream, on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.
The first episode of the relaunch is tonight (Thursday, June 10), at 7 p.m. The topic is body image and eating disorders. Teenage guests come from Westport — and around the country.
“Kids Are Talking” started in 1990 at Fairfield University. It became a national radio call-in show on WICC, simulcast on Cablevision. In the late ’90s it found a home on WWPT-FM, broadcast from Toquet Hall.
“Kids Are Talking” and its host, Cohen, have been featured on “The CBS Morning Show” and ABC-TV, as well as in the New York Times.
TAP Strength Lab is the latest business to join the “Summer of Pride” promotion.
The downtown personalized fitness coaching, therapy, nutrition and preventative health center will donate 10% of the first month of membership (for new members who sign up now through August) to Westport Pride. Mention the code “Summer of Love.”
Oh, yeah: They’ve got a special Pride logo for this month too.
Patricia Rogers Suda, died peacefully at home on May 24, surrounded by her loving family after a courageous fight against cancer. She was 69.
Born in New Haven, her family moved to Westport in 1959. She graduated in 1970 from Staples High, where she met and married the love of her life, Mark R. Suda.
Patti and Mark moved to Norwalk. They were married for nearly 50 years, before he passed in 2020.
Survivors include sons, Mark Suda Jr. (Michelle) and Joseph Suda (Amy); grandchildren Skyler, Madyson, Samantha and Joseph Jr.; brothers Bill, Paul and John Rogers; sister Janet Aitoro, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Patti loved watching her sons in their sports. From Cranbury League baseball and Pop Warner football, to high school baseball and football, she was there. She also enjoyed watching her grandkids in softball, baseball, gymnastics, soccer and hockey.
Patti retired in December 2017 as a bookkeeper after 32 years, to spend time with her family.
Her words to all family and friends are, “Live life to the fullest, with love and respect to others, because you never know what tomorrow brings.”
Last Wednesday, Westport thanked doctors, nurses and all frontline workers during the pandemic with our first “Ringing of the Bells.”
So many people had such a great noisy, community time that we’re doing it again. All Westporters are invited to join in today, from 5 p.m. to 5:02.
Church bells, musical instruments, pots, pans — whatever you’ve got to make noise is joyfully welcome.
Anne Lawton put together this video, featuring Greens Farms Church and many local participants. The former news anchor (Fox 5 New York, News 8 New Haven) appears at the end urging everyone to join in.
Besides bells, Americans are howling.
Staples High School 1979 graduate David Stalling reports from Missoula, Montana, where every night at 8 p.m. he hears large packs of people — and dogs — howling loudly. They (the humans) are doing it for the same reason others ring bells: to honor healthcare and other frontline workers.
“It’s strangely fun and therapeutic,” he says. “Get out and howl!” Here’s a video from Missoula:
Speaking of animals, “06880” readers have noted an increased number out and about. They’ve commented on how many birds are singing too.
Wendy Cusick reminds Westporters to keep all dogs on leashes. There are coyotes and skunks galore!
This may be Easter without filled churches. But kids can still have a bunny and a basket.
Aarti Khosla — the generous owner of Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates — is creating 200 Easter baskets. Thanks to the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, the Easter bunny will stand on Church Lane at the turn-in by the Christ & Holy Trinity courtyard. Families can drive by, wave, and do a contactless basket pickup.
It’s 12 to 2 p.m. Sunday — first come, first served!
Of all the things I miss about life BC — before coronavirus — my daily swim at the Westport Y is near the top of the list.
I’ve substituted daily walks. In addition to far fewer endorphins, I’m limping around with a severely pulled calf muscle. (I’m not the only one. Several people told me of similar issues. Go figure.)
Normally I’d suck it up (and ice it). But without my daily exercise, I’d go batshit.
So I called EJ Zebro. The owner of TAP Strength Lab, he helps everyone from high school athletes to 80-somethings “move better through life.” I wanted to feel better (fast!), and reduce the likelihood of another idiotic overuse injury.
A guy like EJ is very hands-on. Of course, that’s the last thing he can do now. But he’s pivoted well. We FaceTimed. I showed him my calf; he showed me stretches and exercises, and patiently answered my questions. (Yes, I can bike.)
EJ is one small example of how our world has changed. TAP is one small but important business that’s figuring out how to continue to help, in new ways. It’s not easy — but I am very grateful that EJ is still around.
Sydney Newman turned 17 yesterday. The Staples High School student celebrated the new 2020 way: with a few friends, all properly distanced. Happy birthday, Sydney!
Everyone has something they miss about their old lives. Here’s Stephanie Bass’ contribution:
And finally, for all those celebrating Passover — and even those who are not:
(From Wikipedia: ‘”Dayenu’ is a song that is part of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The word ‘dayenu’ means approximately ‘it would have been enough,’ ‘it would have been sufficient’ or ‘it would have sufficed.’ This traditional upbeat Passover song is over 1,000 years old. The song is about being grateful to God for all of the gifts he gave the Jewish people, such as taking them out of slavery, giving them the Torah and Shabbat, and had God only given one of the gifts, it would have still been enough. This is to show much greater appreciation for all of them as a whole.”)
A year ago, EJ Zebro was the new kid at the NFL Combine.
As the owner of TAP Strength Lab downtown, the certified movement and performance coach was eager to show that the Optimal Human Motion machines — and methods — he uses can minimize, or even eliminate, pain athletes may feel from injuries. The key feature is limiting joint compression forces.
This week, at the annual event in Indianapolis, Zebro was greeted like an old friend.
The OHM equipment was used this year by the Giants, Jets and Dolphins. Other teams have placed orders. So has an NBA club, NASCAR, and Quinnipiac University (for its nationally ranked men’s ice hockey team).
EJ Zebro (left) and Optimal Human Motion founder Dave Schmidt, with the OHM machine.
TAP Strength Lab has more of this equipment than any place else in the world, Zebro says — including NFL strength and conditioning rooms. He’s also got devices that are not yet on the market.
Zebro is proud of his work with pro football teams. But he’s equally excited about his local clients. They include up-and-coming athletes — and 80-somethings, who he works with on balance issues.
Of course, Zebro uses the OHM machines too. Otherwise, he says, he’d be unable to run around with his Over-40 soccer team.
That’s his World Cup — and Super Bowl — rolled into one.
Westport did not have any future stars at this week’s NFL Combine.
But we did have EJ Zebro. And his work may have more of an impact on the game than any one of the 300-plus football hopefuls who put their running, jumping and lifting talents on display in Indianapolis.
Zebro owns TAP StrengthLab. At his downtown Westport center, the certified movement and performance coach shows people of all ages that intelligent, functional movement — coupled with awareness of their own bodies — can minimize, or even eliminate, pain they may feel from injuries.
It’s a message tailored for the NFL meat market.
Zebro was invited by Bill Parisi, Phil Simms’ personal trainer. He’s written a book about fascia training — exercises that improve the functioning of tendons, ligaments, joint capsules and muscular envelopes. One of Parisi’s chapters profiles Zebro.
The Westporter focused his talk on utilizing fascia training to help high-level athletes.
He also demonstrated an Optimal Human Motion machine. Developed by David Schmidt of Darien, and a key feature of Zebro’s TAP StrengthLab, it limits joint compression forces.
EJ Zebro (left) and Dave Schmidt, with the Optimal Human Motion machine.
Once users become more “balanced,” they can focus on becoming more powerful. That appeals to the folks who swarmed the exhibit hall in Indianapolis.
One of Zebro’s first conversations was with Dan Dalrymple. He’s the New Orleans Saints strength and conditioning coach — and an NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year.
He told Zebro about his own orthopedic issues — including difficulty moving his neck, and a bad knee. The Westport trainer worked on his fascia. Dalrymple hobbled over to the OHM machine. Ten minutes later, he finished his workout — pain-free.
Dalrymple raved about his experience. That sent other coaches flocking to Zebro.
EJ Zebro works on Dan Dalrymple.
Since returning home, Zebro has followed up with many of them. They may incorporate some of what he does into their own NFL routines.
Which means that in years to come, the stars you watch — or whom you pray stay healthy, for your fantasy teams — may owe a debt of gratitude to perhaps the only Westporter who attended the 2019 NFL Combine.
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