September 15, 2019

Archives for July 2019

Needleman, Libby Endorsed for Reelection by Essex DTC; Full Slate of Candidates Announced for November Election

Essex DTC has nominated incumbents First Selectman Norman Needleman and Selectwoman Stacia Libby for reelection in November.  (Photo by Jerome Wilson)

ESSEX — The Essex Democratic Town Committee met on Wednesday, July 17, to nominate candidates for the November 2019 municipal election. Norm Needleman was unanimously nominated as the candidate for First Selectman. Needleman is currently serving his fourth term as Essex First Selectman. The Democratic Town Committee also unanimously nominated Stacia Libby as their candidate for Selectman. Libby is currently serving her fourth term on the Board Of Selectman.

In accepting the nomination, Needleman said: “I am deeply grateful to the Democratic Town Committee for giving me the opportunity to continue to help make our beautiful town an even better place to live. We are fortunate that all three members of our Board of Selectmen share a commitment to a key objective: find ways to improve services while bringing professional management skills to town finances. Our track record speaks for itself. Essex is a financially stable town, services have improved, and we’ve lowered the mil rate in two consecutive years. But there’s more work to do, and I’m looking forward to discussing our ideas in the course of the coming campaign.”

Brian Cournoyer, Chairman of The Essex Democratic Town Committee, said: “The reasons we unanimously nominated Norm and Stacia are clear. During their time in office, Essex finances and service delivery have become models among towns in our state. Our mil rate remains among the lowest in the state, and other towns acknowledge our leadership in delivering vital services. Re-electing Norm and Stacia will keep our town moving forward.”

Cournoyer continued: ”As importantly, we are fortunate to be able to nominate experienced candidates for every elected office on the ballot in November. Our nominees have all played key roles in managing and delivering town services. Each of them has the skills, experience, and commitment to continue building on the success we have achieved in Essex town government.”

Democratic Nominees for Municipal Offices in Essex are:

First Selectman: Norm Needleman
Selectwoman: Stacia Libby
Essex Board of Education: Cassandra Sweet
Region 4 Board of Education: D. G. Fitton
Board of Finance: Campbell Hudson and Mary Louise Polo
Board of Assessment Appeals: George Wendell

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I-Park Hosts Open Studios ‘Where Art Meets Nature’, Tomorrow

July’s Artists-in-Residence at I-Park for July are First Column: Matthew Celmer. Second Column, top to bottom: Beth Krebs, Judy Robertson, Zach Frank. Third Column, top to bottom: Kristin Street, Nathan Nokes, Jenn Grossman

AREAWIDE — The public is invited to come to I-Park for Open Studios Sunday, July 28, at 2 p.m. and experience a multi-disciplinary group of artists from around the country.  I-Park has been supporting artists from around the country and the globe since its first residency in 2001 and continues to offer fully-funded residencies to writers, composers, visual artists, film-makers, architects, etc.  Visitors will be able to meet these seven talented artists at I-Park, 428 Hopyard Road in East Haddam.

Once a month, at the conclusion of each residency, I-Park holds Open Studios when visitors are invited to meet the artists in their studios, attend a presentation featuring some of their work, enjoy complimentary refreshments, and stroll the trails winding through I-Park’s scenic, art-filled campus.  Generally closed to visitors, I-Park gives resident artists undisturbed time to work on their creative endeavors.

Studios will only be open from 2 to 3:30 p.m., guests are encouraged to arrive early so they have enough time to visit all the studios before the 3:30 p.m. presentation. A reception with refreshments will follow.

Resident artists are:

Matthew Celmer is an architect based in Syracuse and Brooklyn. His recent creative exploration has focused on the relationship of narrative to the architecture design process.       

Zack Frank is a recent graduate of the MFA for Poets & Writers at UMass Amherst. He is working on a novel while at I-Park. His first published story will appear in The Massachusetts Review this fall.  

Jenn Grossman is a sound/experiential media artist based in New York. Wavering between the worlds of art, experimental music, and academic inquiry, her work has taken the form of sound sculpture, audiovisual installation/performance, public interventions, sound design, and spatial audio compositions.

Beth Krebs is an Oakland-based visual artist whose work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco and abroad.She recently completed a four-month fellowship at Recology (aka the dump) in San Francisco.

Nathan Nokes is Austin-based composer, musician, and sound artists whose works contrast heavily calculated precompositional processes with intuitive, freeform lyricism.

Judy Robertson is a Miami-based artist whose mixed media work and short videos have been shown nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, and numerous years during Art Basel / Miami Beach.

Kristin Street is a visual artist based in Foster, RI. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries locally, nationally and internationally. She is working on a series of drawings and sculptures.   

Although admission to Open Studios is free, advance reservations are requested. To reserve your space, visit i-park.org. For additional information, write events@i-park.org or call 860-873-2468.

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CIRMA issues Members’ Equity Distribution Check to Town of Essex, Essex Board of Education

Norman Needleman, Essex First Selectman receives a check for $11,731 payable to the Town of Essex and Essex Board of Education from State Senator Myles Rey, who is an Underwriter at CIRMA.

ESSEX The Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) presented Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman with a check for $11,731, their prorated share of CIRMA’s $5 million Members’ Equity Distribution for 2019. The Town of Essex and Essex Board of Education has received $73,025 in distributed Members’ Equity since the program began in 2011.

This is CIRMA’s eighth distribution of Members’ Equity made in the past nine years, for a grand total of nearly $30 million across its entire membership.

“The partnership and risk management efforts of our members are a sustaining force behind CIRMA’s outstanding financial strength, growth in service programs, and our ability to deliver a Members’ Equity Distribution Program. Working together, we are making our communities better and safer places to live, learn, and work in,” said David Demchak, CIRMA President and Chief Executive Officer.

With 371 members, CIRMA is the leading provider of Workers’ Compensation and Liability and Property coverage to local public entities in Connecticut.

CIRMA’s Chairman of the Board, Jayme Stevenson, First Selectman of Darien, said “CIRMA continues to achieve its mission by providing Connecticut municipalities with rate stability, outstanding risk management programs and tremendous value to our members.”

As a member-owned and governed organization, CIRMA stands as one of the most successful state-wide collaborative efforts between Connecticut municipalities, school districts, and local public agencies. During a time of continued fiscal stress for many municipalities, CIRMA’s Members’ Equity Distribution program is one of the most visible and impactful outcomes of its mission-based focus.

Editor’s Note: CIRMA, owned and governed by its members, operates two risk-sharing pools: the Workers’ Compensation Pool and the Liability-Automobile-Property Pool. It also provides risk management services to self-insured municipalities and local public agencies. For more information about CIRMA’s Members’ Equity Distribution Program, visit www.CIRMA.org and click on “About CIRMA”.

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Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival Takes Place Saturday; Free Concert Friday Kicks Off Perennially Popular Event

The Old Lyme Midsummer Festival takes place, Saturday, June 27. There will be a free concert the preceding evening at the Florence Griswold Museum.


OLD LYME
— It might be a dog’s winning costume, the perfect art find, or the chance to dance to live R&B music, there is sure to be something for everyone at the 33
rd annual Old Lyme Midsummer Festival. The annual “Celebration of Art, Food, Music, and Family Fun” takes place this year on Friday evening, July 26, and all day Saturday, July 27. The Festival is produced by the Old Lyme Arts District, a partnership of businesses and nonprofits on Lyme Street, Old Lyme. All events and activities are free unless otherwise noted. A printable pdf with full descriptions of all the event’s activities can be found at this link.

Friday Night Free Concert

Nekita Waller 17th Connecticut State Troubadour

AREAWIDE — The Midsummer Festival kicks off Friday evening, July 26, on the lawn of the Florence Griswold Museum at 7pm when Nekita Waller performs. Connecticut’s State Troubadour Nekita Waller brings fan favorite music from several decades including pop, Motown, Classic Rock, R&B, and originals. Young and old will once again fill the lawn of the FloGris for this annual free concert sponsored by All Pro Automotive and Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC.  Before the concert on Friday, the Museum holds an open house with free admission to its exhibitions from 5-7pm, while the Museum’s Shop begins its Midsummer Super Sale.

New for this year’s Friday night concert, shuttle bus service will be available for those parking at the Old Lyme Marketplace. Shuttle bus pickup and drop off will be by the Bowerbird gift store on the east end of the Marketplace parking lot.

Saturday Morning 5K

Ready to run! Photo by Missy Colburn Garvin.

Saturday’s festivities begin with a morning 5K Run/Walk and Kids K supporting the programming of the Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau (LYSB). The 5K Run & Walk begins at 8am at 59 Lyme Street and features a fast and flat road bringing participants through the historic Old Lyme village. The Kids K takes place on the high school track at 9am. Registration fees for the 5K (run and walk) are $30 for adults, $15 for youth (18 and under). Registration for the “Kids K” fun run is $10. Chip timing will be provided by Timing Plus New England for 5K runners only. Commemorative T-Shirts will be available for the first 200 registered participants. Registration is online at lysb.org or onsite beginning at 6:45am behind LYSB.

Classic Car Show

The Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club will host their Classic Car Show on the lawn of the Bee & Thistle Inn from 9am to 2pm on Saturday.

Saturday at 9am, the annual Classic Car Show begins on the lawn of the Bee & Thistle Inn. Produced by the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club, the show supports scholarships and the good works of the Lions. Car Show attendees pay $5 at the gate and submit their ballots for show favorites among the antique, classic and exotic vehicles. To register a participating automobile for $15, go to lymeoldlymelions.org.

Dog Show

Everyone — regardless of how many legs you have — loves a parade?

The annual Parading Paws Dog Show will be held at the Florence Griswold Museum and will judge participating canines on a number of qualities including best costume, best trick and best smile. Presented by Vista Life Innovations, dog registration will be held from 10am-10:30am, and judging will begin at 10:45am.

Art Sales

Art is for sale at four locations during the festival. The annual Fence Show Artist Sale on the front lawn of the Old Lyme Inn features paintings, photography, and more by local artists and will be hung Parisian style on a winding fence for customers to peruse and talk to artists on site. Students, alumni, and faculty of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts will present their works for sale on the front lawn of the Academy. Paintings of all sizes and price points can also be found at the Lyme Art Association, and Studio 80 is hosting several photographers and other artists selling their works. All four art sales run from 9am to 4pm. For a list of participating artists, go to OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.

Artisanal Merchants

A Bohemian Street Fair will be held on the front lawn of the Florence Griswold Museum Saturday from 9am-3pm. Over 50 vendors will be on hand with a selection of artisanal home goods, specialty food items, jewelry, and more. The street fair is named for the bohemian spirit of the artists who once stayed in Miss Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse at the turn of the 20th century. A list of vendors can be found at OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.

Other outdoor shopping includes a variety of merchant tents on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association, and the annual “Midsummer Book Sale” at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library where “gently loved” books will be available from 9am-3pm. This year, a special bag sale will take place in the Library’s Community Room: Buy a library bag for $5 and fill it with books on display. The Library is located at 2 Library Lane with parking available, or arrive by shuttle bus.

Patricia Spratt for the Home opens its workshop at 60 Lyme Street for its annual Midsummer Warehouse Sale Thursday, July 25 through Saturday, July 27 from 9am-4pm. The annual three-day sale offers up to 80% off of Spratt’s high-end table linens, pillows, and more.

Musical Performances

Sophia Griswold and friends will be performing at Lymestock 2019.

In addition to the Friday night concert there are ample chances to listen to live music throughout Saturday afternoon. Beginning at noon, MusicNow Foundation presents Lymestock 2019, featuring emerging Connecticut artists (under 25 years old) performing singer/ songwriter, jazz, blues, folk, classical guitar and indie rock. This year features a bohemian vibe with musicians performing in a relaxed setting where listeners can sit on the shady lawn to enjoy. A full lineup of performers can be found at OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.

Other musical performances include the funk music of festival favorite Mass-Conn-Fusion, beginning at 11am under the food tent at the Old Lyme Inn. At Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, festival attendees will enjoy a dynamic modern dance performance by GUSTO Dance at 1pm, followed by the engaging vocals of local acoustic duo Jekyll & Hyde from 4-5pm.

Family Fun and Learning

The Hands-On_Minds-On Station at the FloGris has something for everyone regardless of age or ability!

The Hands-On/Minds-On Station will once again be at the Florence Griswold Museum’s Hartman Education Center. With over a dozen participating nonprofit organizations, including Arts District partners Lyme’s Youth Services Bureau and the Old Lyme Historical Society, children are sure to find a creative or thought-provoking activity to enjoy.

In addition, young and old will enjoy stopping by the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center and Horizon Wings tents at the Lyme Art Association. A community sculpture will be on display at the entrance of Studio 80, and participants can use available markers to draw on the sculpture.

Last year’s costumed model at Lyme Academy drew many budding artists to try their hand at painting her.

The Lyme Academy of Fine Arts will have a costumed model on its front lawn with easels set up for anyone who would like to try their hand at sketching the posed model.

Exhibitions

The historic Lyme Art Association currently hosts American Waters: A Marine Show and the Hudson Valley Art Association, both of which will be on view during the Festival.

As a celebration of Old Lyme’s artistic heritage, attendees are encouraged to visit art exhibitions during the Festival. Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds presents its Summer Sculpture Showcase 2019 on its outdoor sculpture grounds. The Lyme Art Association features American Waters: A Marine Show and the Hudson Valley Art Association. The Florence Griswold Museum features Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Contemporary Art and the historic home of the Lyme Art Colony (Special Museum Admission $5).

Outdoor Dining

The Old Lyme Inn will be serving both inside in their restaurant and on the patio during the Festival.

In addition to food trucks serving both sweet and savory refreshments at the Florence Griswold Museum, three restaurants will be open for lunch during the Saturday Festival. Café Flo, at the rear of the Museum, offers seated lunch on the veranda overlooking the Lieutenant River. The Old Lyme Inn will serve on the patio and indoors 11am-9pm. The Lyme Art Association will have Del’s Frozen Lemonade on site. Dinner options include the Bee & Thistle Inn will a summer menu in its Chestnut Grille and dining rooms.

Directions, Parking and Shuttle Buses

The Festival takes place on historic Lyme Street, Exit 70 on I-95 South, or left off of Exit 70 on I-95 North, right onto Halls Road to Lyme Street. Although the festival length is considered a walkable distance, a shuttle bus will be available to all locations. Parking is available at the Florence Griswold Museum, Middle School complex, Old Lyme Marketplace (at Bowerbird location), and at the Lyme Academy field. Most activities take place between 80 Lyme Street and 100 Lyme Street.

The 33rd annual Festival is a production of the Old Lyme Arts District, a partnership of more than a dozen arts and cultural organizations and businesses on Lyme Street. For a complete list of participants, sponsors, as well as a printable guide to the Festival, go to OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.

Platinum Sponsors of the Arts District include Pasta Vita, Essex Financial Services/Essex Savings Bank, and LymeLine.com.

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‘Arrowhead’ to Play Next ‘Concert in the Garden,’ Saturday

Arrowhead will play at the Spring Street Gallery & Studio in the next ‘Concert in the Garden.’

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery presents Arrowhead at the next Concert in the Garden on Saturday, July 27, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Arrowhead will play a set of original compositions and then open the stage to make music with friends. Matt will play on Guitar, Patricia on Bass Fiddle and Leif on Banjo — and they all sing!

A $20 donation at the door is requested. Feel free to BYOB and picnic and enjoy the outdoor bistro style seating in the amphitheater (inside the gallery if inclement weather).Gates open a half hour before the show. First come, first seated, but no pets allowed.
The studio is at 1 Spring St., in the heart of Chester Center.
For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com.
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Summer Sing Faure’s ”Requiem,” in Old Saybrook, Aug. 5; All Singers Welcome

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash.

AREAWIDE — Summer Sing Faure’s ”Requiem,”on Monday, Aug. 5, with 7 p.m. registration, and at 7:30 p.m. the Sing begins at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 56 Great Hammock Rd., Old Saybrook. This session will be conducted by Wendy Moy of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus.

All singers are welcome to perform in this read-through of a great choral work. Professional soloists often participate.

The event is co-sponsored by Cappella Cantorum and Con Brio.

A $10 fee covers the costs of the event. Scores will be available, and the church is air-conditioned.

The next Summer Sing on Monday, Aug. 12, Rutter’s “Magnificat,” will be conducted by Russ Hamond of The Shoreline Chorale.

For more information, call (860) 767-9409 or (203)530-0002 or visit www.cappellacantorum.org or www.conbrio.org

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Famed Deep River Ancient Muster Takes Place Today

The Moodus Fife and Drum Corps proudly marched in the Muster in a prior year. (File photo)

DEEP RIVER — The largest gathering of Fife and Drum Corps is almost upon us.

The annual Deep River Ancient Muster (DRAM) is the third weekend of July at Devitt’s field in Deep River Center. This year the DRAM has been designated as the United States National Muster! The event consists of a “tattoo” on Friday evening at 7 p.m., which showcases selected corps. The tattoo will feature the Deep River Juniors Fife and Drum Corps, The Company of Fifers and Drummers Junior Camp –featuring the Music of Roy Watrous. Other notable corps will also be showcased that evening.

Beginning on Saturday morning at 11 a.m., the 50+ corps will parade through downtown Deep River. The parade will start at Kurtland Street and proceed down Main Street commencing at Devitt’s Field. At the conclusion of the parade each corps will march onto the muster field and perform a selection of their choice. The corps performances will take the remainder of the day.

All are welcome to come down to the muster field, check out the vendors, listen to music, enjoy some great food. The event is open to the public.

Find more information at: deepriverancientmuster.com

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Leif Nilsson Presents a ‘Concert in Garden’ Tonight with ‘Empire of Light’

CHESTER — Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery presents Empire of Light at the next Concert in the Garden on Saturday, July 20, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Drawing inspiration from the first wave of alternative country (early Wilco, Alejandro Escovedo, The Waco Brothers and Whiskeytown), as well as traditional country and rock (Neil Young, The Band, The Faces & The Stones), Brooklyn-based Empire of Light brings together members of seminal Upstate roots-rockers Subduing Mara – frontman Peter Hutchison and guitarist Brian Wilkens – with rhythm section and veteran sidemen Keith Robinson (Marcia Ball, Charlie Robison, Charlie Sexton) and Dan Green (Mike Viola, Sam Bisbee, The Honey Brothers, The Silos).

Produced by Andris Balins and band member Keith Robinson, “Let There Be Light” evokes equal parts rural Upstate New York and urban old-school Brooklyn – between which the recording was split. The end result is a distillation of timeless, original New Traditionalist Americana Rock.

Over the past two decades, Hutchison has released a string of critically-acclaimed albums.

A constant presence on college radio and the CMJ charts in the 90’s, Subduing Mara built a name for themselves through their electrifying live shows – earning them critical praise as “The best band you never heard of”, and “enough to justify belief in Rock’n’Roll”. Music critics have credited the band as an influential voice in the Alt Country/Roots Rock revival – echoing the work of contemporaries Uncle Tupelo and Ryan Adam’s Whiskeytown.

A $20 donation at the door is requested. Feel free to BYOB and picnic and enjoy the outdoor bistro style seating in the amphitheater (inside the gallery if inclement weather).Gates open a half hour before the show. First come, first seated, but no pets allowed.
For more information, call (860) 526-2077 or visit http://www.nilssonstudio.com. The studio is at 1 Spring St., in the heart of Chester Center.

“Let There Be Light”

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State Rep. Devin Carney Stars in Saybrook Stage’s ‘Romantic Comedy’ Through Sunday at the Kate

Jason Carmichael (Devin Carney) contemplates the situation while Phoebe (Shannon Keagan) sleeps on his lap in this scene from ‘Romantic Comedy’ which runs at the Kate from July 18-21.

AREAWIDE — What better way to spend a summer night than watching a funny, heartwarming romantic comedy?

Step back into the world of the 60s and 70s and laugh at the way things used to be. Witty writing and clever comedic timing makes a production of Romantic Comedy the perfect summer night out. This fast-paced, hilarious play by Bernard Slade (author of Same Time, Next Year) will be brought to life by the Saybrook Stage Company at the Kate from July 18 through July 21, and is sure to provide a night of laughter and love.

This light-hearted, period piece first opened on Broadway in 1979 and tells the story of arrogant, self-centered and sharp-tongued Jason Carmichael, successful co-author of Broadway romantic comedies. But real-life romance doesn’t come easy for Jason and comedy ensues when he finds himself confronted with two momentous events — he is about to marry a society belle and his longtime collaborator is retiring.

Enter Phoebe Craddock, naïve Vermont schoolteacher and budding playwright – and Jason’s world is turned upside down. The two embark on a fresh, new journey of collaboration and take the theater world by storm. Fame and success are theirs for over a decade and then real-life suddenly changes for both of them – but for better or worse?

Can two writers of romantic comedies make real-life just as exciting? Can everyday life measure up to the perfection of on-stage romances and fairy-tale happy endings?

This is a special summer as the Kate celebrates its 10-year-anniversary and Saybrook Stage is delighted to celebrate along with the entire community.

This production will feature our own State Representative and the Kate Board Member Devin Carney. Carney will bring the leading role of Jason Carmichael to life — he is excited to be portraying such a dynamic, funny character while supporting both local theatre and the Kate. He has been in other Saybrook Stage productions over the years including The Farnsworth Invention and Twelve Angry Men.

The Saybrook Stage Company is delighted to be returning to the Kate for their 18th production, having performed Other Desert Cities this past January.

Visit www.thekate.org or call 860.510.0453 and reserve your tickets now. Also, visit www.SaybrookStage.org for more information about the Saybrook Stage Company.

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Mamma Mia! Opens at Ivoryton Playhouse, Runs Through July 28

Mamma Mia! cast members (from left to right) Cooper Grodin, Dane Agostinis, Stephanie Gomerez and Billy Clark Taylor rehearse a scene from the show now playing at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

IVORYTON – The Ivoryton Playhouse has been transformed from an historic New England theatre to a Mediterranean island, filled with the music universally loved for over 40 years!

Over 60 million people worldwide have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make Mamma Mia! the ultimate feel-good show.  Set on a Greek island paradise, the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, creating an unforgettable show.

On the eve of her wedding, Sophie reads her mom’s diary, only to discover that the father she has never met, could be one of three men. The wedding invitation brings Sophie’s three dads to the Greek Isles in search of the life that could have been with Sophie’s mother, Donna.

The show is filled with laughter, heart and 22 hit songs including “Super Trouper”, “Lay All Your Love on Me”, “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Take a Chance on Me”, “Thank You for the Music”, “Money, Money, Money”, “The Winner Takes It All”, “Voulez-Vous”, “SOS” and the title track.

The three leading ladies of Mamma Mia!, from left to right, Carly Callahan, Laiona Michelle and Jessie Alagna sing a number in the show now playing at the Ivoryton Playhouse.

As of 2018, the show has productions in London’s West End, where it is the seventh longest-running show in West End history, as well as various international productions. Its Broadway incarnation closed in September 2015 after a 14-year run, making it the ninth longest-running show in Broadway history.

Get swept away by the infectious music, uplifting story, and dazzling dance numbers that have made Mamma Mia! a worldwide phenomenon.

The production stars Laiona Michelle* as Donna. Laiona was seen on Broadway as Nanna in Amazing Grace and in The First National Tour of The Book of Mormon.  Most recently she starred as the legendary jazz icon in the world premiere of Little Girl Blue – The Nina Simone Musical.  Joining her as her best buddies and the other two members of the band are Jessie Alagna* as Rosie and Carly Callahan as Tanya.

Callahan was last seen here in The Fantasticks and The Ivoryton Playhouse ChristmasHour. This is Alagna’s debut in Ivoryton.

Cooper Grodin*, Dane Agostinis* and Billy Clark Taylor* take on the roles of the dads and Stephanie Gomerez and Jack Kay play the young lovers, Sophie and Sky.

Evan Benjamin, Kelley Davies, Nico DiPrimio, Mark Gilchrist, Nicholas Gonzalez, Nigel Hall, Aliah James, Amanda Lupacchino, Melissa McLean, Ana Yi Puig, Carolina Santos Read*, Nathan Russo, Cameron Khalil Stokes, and Audrey Wilson complete this talented and energetic cast.

The production is directed and choreographed by J.R. Bruno and musical directed by David Madore with set design by Glenn Bassett, lighting design by Marcus Abbott and costume design by Elizabeth Saylor.

Mamma Mia runs through July 28. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Additional matinee performances are on Saturday, July 6, and July 20, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $55 for adults; $50 for seniors; $25 for students and $20 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org 

 (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*denotes member of Actors Equity

Photographer: Jonathan Steele

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Ply the Waters of the Connecticut River Aboard the ‘Onrust’ Through October

‘Onrust’ under sail on the Connecticut River.  Photo Credit: CRM

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum (CRM) is currently hosting the Onrust, a re-creation of the vessel Adriaen Block built in 1614, through October. Now in its third year at the CRM dock, Onrust is available for public cruises as well as private charters.

The Onrust, which is Dutch for “unrest” or “restless”, was a Dutch ship built by captain and explorer Adriaen Block and his crew to replace the Tyger, which was destroyed by fire during the winter of 1613 in New York Bay. Onrust‘s construction took place near Manhattan during the winter of 1614. The ship was America’s first yacht.

Block’s voyage was used as the basis for the Dutch claim to the territory of New Netherland, an area that included parts of what are now the states of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and to pursue developing trade partnerships with Native Americans.

In 1614, Block became the first known European to travel up the Connecticut River to just north of Hartford (a distance of approximately 60 miles from Long Island Sound). Block was immortalized as namesake of the small island in Long Island Sound that is perennially popular with modern visitors to these waters.

The re-created Onrust was launched in 2009 by The Onrust Project, an all-volunteer non-profit out of New York, which built the vessel after painstakingly researching traditional Dutch shipbuilding techniques.  The Museum and the Project have again partnered to host this vessel in Connecticut.

The Onrust is a floating exhibit at the Museum through early October.  She is open for dockside tours, school and Scout programs, along with public cruises and charters. For more information on the Connecticut River Museum and the Onrust, visit the Museum’s website.

The Connecticut River Museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main St. in Essex and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum, located in the historic Steamboat Dock building, offers exhibits and programs about the history and environment of the Connecticut River.

For a full listing of Museum programs or to buy tickets for the Onrust or any of the numerous other events hosted by the Museum, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269.

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Sam Magaziner Wins GWU’s New Venture Competition, Awarded MD-PhD Program by NYU Medical School

Sam Magaziner of Essex won first place in GWU’s New Venture contest.

ESSEX — Samuel James Magaziner of Essex, and a 2012 graduate of Xavier High School, has won first place in the 2019 George Washington University New Venture Competition (GWU-NVC) for the product Plast-Ways which curates a spray that contains plastic-eating microbes designed to help plastic decompose quicker, expanding the lifespan of landfills.

Magaziner serves as the co-founder, principal investigator, and chief scientific officer of his company, Envirobe Inc., from which Plast-ways was born.

Magaziner holds a B.A. in Biochemistry from Columbia University where he graduated in 2016 magna cum laude, receiving Chemistry Departmental Honors and induction into the New York Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. During undergraduate studies, he helped found the university’s first International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team; iGEM is aimed at safely apply biological technology in public and industrial domains, with an emphasis on entrepreneurial projects.

From these experiences he gained an interest in leveraging biological and engineering principles to confer actual change and provide solutions to global problems, chief among them, environmental pollution.

In 2018 he received an MPhil in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge where he studied the role of bacteriophage (bacterial viruses) mediated gene transfer in the evolution of human gut pathogens.  There he became a member of the UK Society of Applied Microbiology, the Microbiology Society of Europe, and the University of Cambridge Philosophical Society. 

At present, Magaziner resides in Washington, D.C., where he is a researcher for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md. There, Magaziner works as an Intramural Research Fellow in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where he studies viral immunology in the context of Vaccinia, Zika, and HIV/SIV. Magaziner has been published as first author in several peer reviewed journals and various other publications.

This fall, Magaziner will continue his studies at the New York University School of Medicine where he has been awarded acceptance to NYU Langone’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), a combined M.D.- Ph.D. degree program aimed at educating future physician-scientists. The program, supported by the United States Public Health Service, offers a fellowship, full funding, and dual-degree program in which rigorous research training is combined with a medical curriculum and clinical training.

He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James R. Magaziner of Essex and Rumson, NJ.

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Sen. Needleman Joins Gov. Lamont for Signing of Invasive Species Bill

State Senator Norm Needleman (standing, fifth from right) joins a coalition of political and regional leaders as Governor Ned Lamont signs legislation into effect better protecting Connecticut waterways from invasive species.

AREAWIDE – Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined Governor Ned Lamont for the signing of legislation designed to fight invasive species and preserve Connecticut’s lakes, ponds and rivers. This step is intended to protect Connecticut’s natural wildlife and environment while also benefitting the beautiful bodies of water that draw so many from the state and beyond.

“Too many bodies of water around Connecticut experience significant environmental damage by invasive species. A simple weed or piece of algae stuck to a boat’s hull can, in time, create a massive threat to a lake or river’s ecosystem, rapidly multiplying. That can harm fishing and recreation, even making the body of water unusable,” said Sen. Needleman. “There’s a reason this legislation received overwhelming support from both environmental groups and lake and boating associations – it will help protect our state against these dangerous threats, keeping our waterways clear. It’s great to see this issue receive the attention it deserves.”

The legislation in question will create a boat stamp, with proceeds helping to fund removal of invasive species from state waterways. Connecticut residents will be charged $5, while out-of-state residents will be charged $25. The collected funds will be deposited into the Connecticut Lakes, Rivers and Ponds Preservation Fund to support programming on eradicating invasive species, education and public outreach programs to better educate the public, and grants to study better management of bodies of water.

The bill passed the House and Senate on bipartisan votes of 131-10 and 34-2, and in March, dozens of residents supported it at a public hearing. Towns in the 33rd District including East Hampton, Lyme and Old Lyme have experienced growth of invasive weeds and algae in their waterways and bodies of water. The new law takes effect January 1, 2020.

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Talking Transportation: Summer Vacation … Fly or Drive?

Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

Going on vacation this summer?  If so, the question is … how to travel: drive, take the train or fly? (I’m eliminating the bus option because, well, life is too short to endure that kind of misery.  I have no problems with commuting by bus, but a 10-hour ride is not going to happen!)

In most cases, the choice depends on how far you’re traveling and what your budget allows. For trips of 300 miles or less, the train is my first choice … assuming it goes where I want.  In the Northeast, Amtrak service is frequent, convenient and affordable.  But to other destinations, not so much.

But it also depends on how many are in your ‘party’ (and traveling with your family is always a party, right?) because traveling as a family of four can add up, especially when each member needs a ticket.  Even going into New York City can be cheaper by car (including tolls and parking) than on Metro-North when you have three or more people.

Flying is faster, but maybe not if you include all of the door-to-door time: driving to the airport, arriving two or three hours before departure, checking your bags, going through security, then after arrival at your destination grabbing your bags, finding your rental car, driving to your destination.  In most cases by train, you go from city-center to city-center.  And by car, well, you get to determine where you’re going.

By train you get to see the country.  But so too with driving.  Train travel is pretty stress-free.  Not so with driving, and certainly not in flying.

In about eight hours you can drive 400+ miles, even with pit-stops.  If two drivers can share the behind-the-wheel duties, a full 12-hour day’s worth of driving can easily get you 700 miles.  That’s almost the distance to Chicago or maybe Atlanta.  But staying alert can really take its strain, so be sure to take frequent breaks and caffeinate.

Of course, having kids on board can complicate things … more stops, more whining.  “No, we’re not there yet!  Play with your Gameboy.”

If you’re confused about the fly-drive value calculations, there’s a great website that can help:  the Be Frugal Fly or Drive Calculator.  Plug in the information … origin, destination, make and model of car, driving hours … and voila!  The app will figure the cost for both alternatives, even including highway tolls and your car’s mpg.  Mind you, gas prices are heading up this summer, so factor that in too.

The final issue is safety.  You do want to arrive alive, right?

It used to be on airlines that after you landed the flight attendant would say something like “The safest part of your journey has just ended, so drive safely”.  Statistically, that’s true.

Federal safety stats say that one person dies for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.  (Interestingly, Connecticut’s statistics are lower than the national average). Still, there are a lot more highway crashes than air disasters. In 2018 there were no fatalities on US commercial flights and worldwide, only one fatal accident for every 300 million flights.

The National Safety Council says you have one chance in 114 of dying in an automobile crash, but only one chance in 9,821 of dying on a flight.  You’re eight times likelier to die by drowning on vacation.

Thanks to the stronger US economy, a lot more people will be taking a vacation this summer.  A little planning and you should be able to save time and money.  So, bon voyage!

Posted with permission of Hearst CT Media.

Jim Cameron

About the author: Jim Cameron is founder of The Commuter Action Group, and a member of the Darien RTM.  The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. 

You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com  For a full collection of  “Talking Transportation” columns, visit www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com

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It’s First Friday in Chester Tonight!

Chester’s Main Street will be bustling tonight during First Friday.

Courtesy of Dina Varano Sterling silver and 14kt gold necklace designed and handmade by Dina Varano with aquamarine and London blue topaz gemstones. Courtesy of Dina Varano Gallery.

CHESTER – The bustling Chester downtown is in full Summer swing, from the Sunday Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays to First Friday, when all the shops are open until 8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month.

On Friday, July 5, resident artist Dina Varano will present a new collection of her jewelry and other hand-selected designer accessories titled “Bright Blue Skies, Clear Blue Waters.” The Dina Varano Gallery will feature jewelry with aquamarine, London blue topaz, and lapis lazuli gemstones, alongside indigo-dyed textiles, cashmere and silk scarves, and blue-and-white woven summer totes.

Eric Serritella, “En Vogue” Teapot, ceramic. Courtesy of The Chester Gallery:

The “Pop & Beyond” exhibition continues through July 21 at Chester Gallery, featuring the serigraphs, lithographs, etchings and gouaches of Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Jim Dine, Sam Francis, Adolph Gottlieb, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Robert Motherwell, and Robert Rauschenberg who hang alongside Sol LeWitt, in the town where he spent the latter years of his life. 

Featured throughout the grounds will be metal sculptures by Gilbert Boro, bronzes by Michael MacLaughlin, and new to the gallery are trompe l’oeil ceramic works by Eric Serritella, who specializes in hyper-realistic hand-carved ceramic sculptures transformed into birch, charred and weathered logs.

Elsewhere around town:

  • The Perfect Pear is offering 20 percent off all the Made-in-the-USA Rolf beverage ware, with whimsical fish, crab and lobster designs in addition to classic Art Deco etched designs;
  • The E-List Shop is rolling out its first major sale of the season with 50 percent off selected summer wear;
  • Shops at the Mill House is celebrating its one-year anniversary; and
  • The band Arrowhead will play from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. outside Leif Nilsson’s eponymous gallery on Spring Street.

In addition to on-street parking in Chester, there is free parking available in the town’s public lots on Main Street by the cemetery, on Water Street and on Maple Street.

More information about First Friday is available on Facebook.com/VisitChesterCT or by calling (860) 322-4047.

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Celebrate Independence Day at Ivoryton Village Alliance’s Annual Fourth of July Parade

IVORYTON —  The 14th annual Ivoryton Village 4th of July parade is a quintessential small-town event that brings the local community together. Sponsored by the Ivoryton Village Alliance and a committee of volunteers, it has become an Independence Day tradition.

This year the Alliance is pleased to announce and proud to honor Gary Riggio as the 2019 Grand Marshal. Riggio has dedicated many years of volunteer service and imagination to our annual Holiday Illuminations, as well as helping Santa Claus himself — without him all lights would be at eye level.

On Thursday, July 4, all are welcome to join in the fun as viewers or marchers. Tractors, farm animals and vintage motorized vehicles are encouraged.

Don’t have any of those? Just bring your marching shoes, your bike, your trombone even your T-Rex suit … all are welcome.

After the parade, everyone is invited to gather at the Village Green Gazebo to honor our 2019 Grand Marshal and enjoy a short celebration featuring The New Horizons Band, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and perhaps a few surprises. It’s a great way to start your 4th!

The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. with line-up at 9:30 a.m. For more information check out the Facebook page at Ivoryton Village Alliance.

For more information, visit www.ivorytonalliance.org

The Ivoryton 4th of July Parade is sponsored by The Ivoryton Village Alliance and Town of Essex.

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Gainor Davis Starts as New Head of CT River Museum in Essex

Gainor B. Davis, New Executive Director at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Conn.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum, on the waterfront in Essex, Conn., has announced the selection of Gainor Davis as the new Executive Director. Chosen after a nationwide search, Ms. Davis will assume the duties of Executive Director on July 10, 2019.

Davis currently serves as the Executive Director of the Historical Society of Carroll County in Westminster, Md., a museum which she has led since January 2015. She is an experienced museum executive, having previously led several important institutions, including serving as the President/CEO of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio, for six years; as President/CEO of the York (Pa.) County Heritage Trust; as Director of the Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier and Barre, Vt.; and as Executive Director of Longue Vue House & Gardens in New Orleans, La.

Davis has established a reputation of achieving financial stability for her institutions, along with overseeing up-to-date, audience-oriented, relevant programming that has attracted new audiences. Her accomplishments include overseeing the creation of three new hands-on spaces at three different museums – experience that uniquely qualifies her to create and open the Connecticut River Museum’s planned new River Discovery Center on its campus.

Davis brings a strong background in fundraising and marketing, and she has led two successful multi-million-dollar capital campaigns. Prior to her museum-director positions, her fundraising career included posts at Temple University in Philadelphia as Director of Development & Alumni Affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences; at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as Associate Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations; at the Strong Museum in Rochester, N.Y., as Deputy Director for Public Affairs, and at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as Director of Development and then as Associate Director of Administration.

Davis holds a Ph.D. in American History from Temple University in Philadelphia, an M.A. in American History and Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, Newark, Del., and an A.B. in History from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. She has also published and lectured widely.

She stated, “I am very excited about the role that the museum can play in serving both the Essex-area community and the larger Connecticut River region north of the museum, extending into Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. I look forward to partnering with local and regional organizations to serve new communities. I am delighted to move back to New England and to the Essex region, where I have many ties, and to become part of the community” Davis added, “It is an honor to be invited to join the capable staff at the CRM and to work with such a committed Board.”

Peter Coombs, who chaired the Search Committee as well as chairing the museum’s board, said, “Gainor Davis was selected after a rigorous national search, with a unanimous decision of the Search Committee and the unanimous approval of the Board. We were impressed with Gainor’s accomplishments over a distinguished career as a history-museum director and advancement professional.”

Davis will take the reins from Interim Director Tom Wilcox, who is leading the museum through the transition period. Previous director Christopher Dobbs announced last August that he had accepted an offer to lead the larger Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., triggering the nationwide search.

The Search Committee was chaired by Board Chair Peter Coombs and co-chaired by Alison Brinkman. It included board and community members Tom Klin, Joanne Masin, Brenda Milkofsky and Tom Wilcox. For the national search, the Connecticut River Museum retained Marilyn Hoffman and Scott Stevens of Museum Search & Reference, an executive-search firm located in Manchester, NH and Boston that specializes in placing museum leaders.

Founded in 1974, the Connecticut River Museum has developed as a place where anyone interested in topics about the River can come and be inspired through exhibitions and collections, a library, educational opportunities and public programs. The mission is to lead in the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its valley.

Since 1986, it has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a mark of distinction in the field. The Connecticut River Museum’s campus includes the preserved 1878 Essex Steamboat Dock and Warehouse, which was saved from demolition, the Hayden Chandlery, which now serves as the Thomas A. Stevens Library, and the historic 1732 Samuel Lay House.

Education is central to the museum’s mission, and public programs include workshops for school-age children, adult lectures, and on-water excursions aboard the recreation of Adriaen Block’s Onrust and RiverQuest as part of its popular eagle watches. Annually, the museum serves more than 20,000 general visitors, delivers programing to 4,000 school children, and provides scholarship support to a further 1,000 underserved school children and summer campers.

The museum is located on the Essex waterfront at 67 Main Street and is a membership-supported educational organization. Membership is open to all.

For more information regarding the Museum, call 860-767-8269 or see www.ctrivermuseum.org.

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