Tag Archives: Terry Eldh

Roundup: Tax-Free Week, Pastaficio, Greenwalds …

The Westport Downtown Association reminds shoppers that Connecticut’s Sales Tax-Free week began yesterday. It runs through this Saturday (August 26).

Retail purchases of most clothing and footwear priced under $100 are exempt from Connecticut sales and use tax. The exemption applies to each eligible item under $100.f

Many retailers add their own discounts.

For more details on Sales Tax-Free Week, including a list of items that are exempt or taxable, click here.

Footwear (and clothing) is exempt from sales taxes this week — for items under $100. (Photo/Alison Lee)


Westport firefighters responded to a structure fire on Compo Road South just before midnight yesterday.

All occupants were safely out of the house. Damage was limited to the exterior.

Mutual aid from Norwalk and Fairfield provided station coverage. Westport Police and Emergency Medical Service assisted.

The last unit cleared at 1:36 a.m. As fire companies were leaving, they were dispatched to I-95 northbound between Exits 17 and 18 for a motor vehicle crash involving a car and tractor-trailer, with injuries.

Less than 10 minutes after that call, additional companies responded to a second motor vehicle crash with injuries in the same vicinity. Westport EMS assisted at both incidents.

Compo Road South fire. (Photo/Westport Fire Department)


Pastificio has been closed for a couple of weeks.

A sign in its window on the Post Road store says: “We inform our kind customers that Il Pastificio will reopen on Sunday 20 [yesterday], temporarily as a pasta shop and not as a restaurant, until a date to be determined.”

We’re not sure if that means they’ll go back at some point to also serving as a restaurant — or if they’ll close at some point permanently.

“06880” will pass along details when we have them. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)


Tommy Greenwald is a man of many talents. The 1979 Staples High School graduate is a noted advertising executive, playwright and young adult author.

He’s also known as the father of Charlie Greenwald — no slouch in the acting/comedy/writing departments either. (And himself a Staples grad, class of 2012.)

Father and son have now collaborated on a new book. They co-wrote “The Rescues: Finding Home,” a children’s book about rescue animals.

(“It’s appropriate for everyone who’s alive,” notes Tommy, in true marketing mode.)

They’ll be appearing at the Westport Library’s StoryFest in October. If you can’t wait that long, check them out at Brooklyn’s Books are Magic (September 9, noon to 1 p.m.), the Rye Book Festival (September 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or the Chappaqua Book Festival (September 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Or click here to pre-order. The publication date is September 5.

Charlie and Tommy Greenwald, and their book.


Frank Mastrone brought his very popular American Songbook show to the Levitt Pavilion last night.

Joining him were 2 other Broadway stars, both of whom performed — as he did — in “Phantom of the Opera.”

And both are Westporters: Staples High School graduate and classically trained opera singer Terry Eldh, and Dodie Pettit, aka one-half of Aztec Two-Step 2.0.

The evening was sponsored by Roger Leifer, as part of his “Sunday Series.” He threw a pre- and post-concert party for his tenants — a rare but welcome gesture by a commercial real estate landlord.

Frank Mastrone (center), with (from left) Dodie Pettit and Terry Eldh. (Photo/Dan Woog)


This has been the “summer of sewers” in Westport.

Work continues in various spots around town — or at least, equipment is ready.

This was the scene yesterday, off Whitney Street:

(Photo/Molly Alger)


A “rainbow” at the Westport Community Gardens frames today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Karen Mather)


And finally … in honor of Tommy and Charlie Greenwald’s new book (story above):

(Welcome to another week of “06880” stories and features — and another gentle request for readers’ support. Please click here. Thank you!)


Terry Eldh Sings Sounds Of Healing

It’s one of those “Westport connections” stories.

Terry Eldh — a conservatory-trained singer — was invited to perform at the wedding of 2 friends from Staples High School: fellow cheerleader Karen Waltrip and football star Dan Bennewitz.

Karen’s father Bill — the president and CEO of Pan American Airlines — introduced Terry to the secretary of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The non-profit provides grants to opera singers on the brink of international careers.

Terry did not get one. But the secretary introduced her to Larry Stayer, James Levine’s right-hand man at the Metropolitan Opera.

He did not hire her. But he offered encouragement.

“Get your technique together,” Stayer told Terry. “You can make this a career.”

His positive feedback changed her life.

She left her job on Wall Street — hey, singers have to pay the bills — and landed a summer workshop role as Susanna in “The Marriage of Figaro.”

Terry was on her way.

Until then, her life had unfolded in typical fashion — typical for a multi-faceted Westporter, anyway.

Terry Eldh

Her parents moved here in the middle of her sophomore year. “Staples was the perfect place for me,” Terry says. She sang with the elite Orphenians, starred in Players’ “Wizard of Oz,” and captained the cheerleading team.

She spent the summer before senior year in Turkey, as an American Field Service exchange student.

Terry then studied music, business and French at the University of Connecticut. She did a junior year abroad, at the University of Rouens. On a whim, she auditioned for the conservatory there. She got in — and won first prize at the year-end competition.

“I was just there for fun!” she marvels.

Terry then spent a year at the Manhattan School of Music. But when they wanted her to commit to 4 more years of vocal classes, she joined the “real world” of temping, then institutional sales for a boutique brokerage firm.

After “Figaro” and 3 apprenticeships, she began landing roles.

In the late 1980s, friends were hired for Broadway shows that required classical techniques: “Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon,” “Phantom of the Opera.”

The actors’ union was stronger than the opera singers’. Health insurance was better. And long-running shows “allow you to have a life,” Terry says.

She went to a Broadway “cattle call” auditions, then 2 callbacks.

Several months passed. In the fall of 1991, director Hal Prince invited her to sing for him.

Soon, she was covering Carlotta.

She stayed with “Phantom” for 8 years.

After Broadway, Terry did many things: corporate seminar facilitation, legal temping, church singing. Her sight reading skills landed her work at Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls. She sang locally at the Levitt Pavilion, too.

Terry Eldh at the Levitt Pavilion, last summer. (Photo/Dan Woog)

She does not know where the next turn of her life  path came from, but she explored healing.

An introductory Reiki course intrigued her. She studied to the master level, and beyond.

More than 2 decades ago, she heard about “sound healing”: using instruments, music, tones and other sonic vibrations to balance and heal the body, mind and spirit. Over the years, she became a sound healer.

When COVID struck, Terry was working at GE Capital. With stress levels high at the beginning of the pandemic, the head of their wellness program invited her to livestream a sound meditation for the entire division.

She took a quick course in how to livestream effectively.

Over 100 employees tuned it. Feedback was excellent.

Terry realized she could fill an important need. She created an LLC for SoulOSoaring, and set up a website.

A year ago, Terry retired from GE. She’s now a full-time sound healer, with a Southport studio.

She offers in-person and online sound meditations (“baths”) for individuals, groups and corporations.

She trains people who want to use alchemy crystal singing bowls. She sells the bowls too, for personal use or gifts.

Terry Eldh, with her alchemy crystal singing bowls.

Sound healing “slows down brain waves,” Terry explains. “You get to a meditative state, closer to your subconscious, so healing can take place.”

Many clients are already wellness practitioners. They want to add sound healing to their modalities, or do it exclusively.

Others are curious. They soon become believers, Terry says.

“This is my path,” she says. “I’m so drawn to it. I’m following the bread crumbs in front of me.”

Hear, hear!

(Click here for Terry Eldh’s website. On May 10, Terry will be part of the 6 p.m. “Self-Checkout” monthly mindfulness series at the Westport Library. Click here for more details.)

(When Staples graduates forge new paths, “06880” is there. Please click here to help us tell their stories. Thank you!)

“Phantom”‘s Final Music Of The Night: Dodie Pettit Will Be There

When “Phantom of the Opera” ends its remarkable Broadway run tonight, Dodie Pettit will be on stage.

The Westporter was an original cast member. She and a dozen or so others will take a well-deserved bow — right after producer Cameron Mackintosh, and just before composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

That caps a memorable weekend for Pettit, who met her husband — Kevin Gray, a 1976 Staples High School grad, and the youngest actor to play the lead — in the show.

On Friday, those “Phantom” alumni gathered for a rehearsal. They met the current cast too.

“Most of the ballerinas were not even born when we opened!”  Dodie marvels.

Dodie Pettit and Emilie Kouatchu. The current “Phantom” Christine was not yet born when Dodie played the role.

“Phantom” has smashed many records. It’s been on Broadway for 35 years. Tonight’s performance is its 13,981st. It is one of the most successful pieces of entertainment of all time, produced in any media.

To Pettit though, “Phantom” is about the cast, the crew, and the memories they made together.

Plus, she adds, “it’s a fantastic show, with a beautiful score, a romantic story, ground-breaking stagecraft and gorgeous costumes.

But Pettit almost turned down the offer.

In 1987, she had been singing and dancing as a swing in “Cats” for 4 years. A casting director asked her to audition for the role of Meg.

She hesitated. “I already had a good job,” Pettit recalls.

Her castmates urged her to go. After several callbacks, she was one of 2 finalists. She sang for Webber.

He chose the other one.

When she was offered another role — a dancer in the chorus — she said no.

But she reconsidered, and the next day said yes. Fortunately, they’d held the role open for her.

Rehearsals began that fall. The curtain rose on January 26, 1988.

“I had a blast,” Dodie says. She understudied Meg, other roles.

She met, performed with — and later married — Kevin.

Dodie Pettit and Kevin Gray.

She also auditioned 3 times for Christine’s understudy. “(Director) Hal Prince finally said yes. I think he was tired of me.”

After 3 years, Dodie and Kevin joined the national tour. They spent another 3 1/2 years on the road. They played the Kennedy Center twice, and met Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton.

“Bill had a great time. He didn’t want to leave the stage,” she recalls.

“It’s hard to articulate” what returning to the Majestic Theater on Friday was like, Dodie says.

“Backstage, the proscenium, the scenery, the costumes — everything was the same. It was like I’d just left.”

Also familiar: picking up with castmates, most of whom she’d last seen at the 30th anniversary 5 years ago. The rehearsal pianist, and first and second conductors, have all been there throughout the show’s 3 1/2-decade run.

Dodie Pettit, at the 30th anniversary gala.

Dodie says, “We all stood around the piano singing, saying ‘This is wild!’ We sounded good! The only difference is, we all look older.”

Seeing the “Phantom” stage again reminded Dodie how great her experience had been.

“It’s an old-fashioned story that brings a tear to your eye,” she says. “The whole thing looks luscious, like grand opera.

“It stamped my life trajectory. I met my husband, and traveled the country. It stabilized our lives. It bought us our house. It gave me a pension.

“I made life-long friends. We shared this great, impossible-to-articulate experience.

“‘Phantom’ gave everyone in it cachet, for anything else they wanted to do.

“And to think I almost turned it all down!”

Dodie Pettit’s ticket, to tonight’s final performance.

ENCORE: Dodie Pettit and Kevin Gray are not the only Westport “Phantom” actors. Former Staples Player and Orphenian Terry Eldh covered the role of Carlotta in the Broadway company, from 1991 through ’99.

The 1975 graduate joined Dodie the other night at an informal gathering — with singing, of course — in New York.

(“06880” is your ticket to Broadway — and all other entertainment news involving Westporters. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Dodie Pettit and Cameron Mackintosh, at Friday’s rehearsal.