Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Connecticut Arts Connections

The Palace Theater has announced the receipt of an American Savings Foundation grant of $27,000 to support the after-school character developmentprogram “Finding, Defining and Realizing Your Dream.” Based on the TonyAward-winning musical Dreamgirls, the month-long program explores the historical context and social themes presented in the musical to provide high school students with a performing and language arts integrated experience that increases art appreciation while cultivating a youth voice regarding social issues. Students will participate in series workshops during which they will study the Civil Rights movement, create visual art projects, write original short stories and poetry, as well as develop a social awareness project based on the musical’s themes, including discrimination, racial and gender biases, social pressures and classism. Students will also receive complimentary tickets to attend the theater’s May 31, 2013 presentation of the Dreamgirls National Broadway Tour,as well as meet the cast in a question and answer session. Schools and students from the Greater Waterbury area interested in participating in this program, which begins in April 2013, are encouraged to contact Educational Programs Manager Dawn Alger at 203-346-2002.
The Bijou Theater, 275 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport, offers a full slate of movies. Visit http://thebijoutheatre.com for a full schedule. Howard Fishman is on tap Sept. 19.

Hartford Stage will hold Young Company auditions for A Christmas Carol on Thursday, Sept. 6 and Friday, Sept. 7 from 3 to 6 pm. Young Company callbacks will be on Monday, Sept. 10 from 3 to 6 pm. Auditions will be held by Associate Artistic Director Max Williams. Actors should be between the ages of 5 and 13 and may not be a member of the Actors Equity Association. No one turning 13 years of age on or before Dec. 30, 2012,will be eligible for the audition. Rehearsal and performance dates are Nov. 9 through Dec. 30. Young Company Actors should prepare a short monologue, speech or poem, and a short song to sing. (The Pledge of Allegiance, Happy Birthday, a lullaby, etc. are acceptable for younger children.) Actors should also bring a current photo and, if applicable, a resume or CV. Appointments for auditions can be arranged by emailing artistic@hartfordstage.org or calling 860-520-7103 weekdays through Friday, Aug. 31, between 9:30 am. and 5:30 pm. Audition location and requirements will be discussed when actors call to arrange for an appointment. Please visit www.hartfordstage.org for additional information. 

Hartford Stage also has announced six new and two returning members to the Board of Directors.  Joining the Board for an initial two year term are Lois Anderson of Avon, Sonya D. Dockett of Avon, Judith E. Meyers of North Haven, Eric D. Ort of Farmington, Charlie Ortiz of Hartford, Esther A. Pryor of West Hartford, Judith E. Thompson of West Hartford, and John H. P. Wheat of Bloomfield.

Fairfield University announces the appointment of Michael Horyczun as its new Director of Media Relations. Mr. Horyczun will oversee the management of the staff and the Office of Media Relations with special portfolio assignments in the placement of Fairfield University faculty experts, and publicity for student affairs, admissions, advancement, and the arts, including events at the Quick Center for the Arts, and exhibitions and programs at the Bellarmine Museum of Art and the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery. Mr. Horyczun is an accomplished journalist and public relations professional with over 20 years experience in both fields. Most recently, he served as Director of Public Relations for the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, overseeing media campaigns that helped raise the profile of the institution, leading to record attendance. He also worked as the PR Director for Stamford Center for the Arts and was a marketing associate at the Westport Country Playhouse. In addition to his public relations career, Mr. Horyczun has extensive journalism experience: as a feature writer and columnist for The Advocate/Greenwich Time and Westport News, and as a writer for the Norwalk Hour, contributing free-lance music columns. In addition to the print media, he has worked in the radio industry. He currently is an on-staff member at public radio station WPKN-FM in Bridgeport, CT, hosting a bi-monthly music program. He previously hosted a daily drive-time music program on WFUV in New York. A resident of Trumbull, CT, Mr. Horyczun is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he majored in English and Journalism.

People with Parkinson’s disease are invited to explore how music and movement can be empowered into an exhilarating experience in a special day-long program taking place on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The Mark Morris Dance Group and Quick Center for the Arts, in association with the Connecticut Parkinson’s Working Group, the Parkinson’s Young On Set Support Group of Connecticut, and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, are presenting this day-long workshop designed especially for people with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. Students attending Fairfield University’s School of Nursing will also be in attendance. The event features Dance for PD® classes at 11 am and 2 pm and a lecture at 1 pm on the intersection of dance and Parkinson’s disease by Dr. J. Antonelle de Marcaida, of Eastern Connecticut Neurology Specialists. All events are free and take place at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts. The Dance for PD® classes, which are free of charge and feature live musical accompaniment, are the first to be offered in Fairfield County. Registration is available at www.danceforpd.org, or by calling 646-450-3373.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 at The Mark Twain House & Museum
On Wednesday, Sept. 12, the Trouble gets under way with "Anticipatory Self-Awareness: Mark Twain on the Jews" with Dr. Dan Vogel, a retired professor who taught for many years at Yeshiva University. The event is presented in conjunction with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford. Vogel (who is making the trip from Israel for this event) is the author of Mark Twain's Jews (KTAV Publishing), a study of the author's varied relationships with Jews he encountered during his lifetime, how he portrayed Jews in fiction, and particularly his controversial essay, "Concerning the Jews." Vogel finds many connections between the author and Jews prominent and not-so-prominent during his lifetime, plus a notable shift in his attitude toward them. (A booksigning follows the event.)

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, author Philip McFarland speaks on "Mark Twain and the Colonel" -- the relationship between Twain and the first President Roosevelt. Twain called Roosevelt ""by far the worst President we have ever had." Roosevelt once said he would like to see Twain skinned alive. But the two men espoused some of the same populist causes and once dined together in the White House. McFarland is the author of the recently released Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel L. Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Arrival of a New Century (Rowman & Littlefield). McFarland's magnificent opus -- really a dual biography of the two men and their era -- has won praise from noted Twain biographers Justin Kaplan and Jerome Loving.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is free, and is held on four Wednesday nights during the fall. While the lectures begin at 5:30. audiences like to gather for the reception beforehand at 5:00, which includes hors d'oeuvres, wine and coffee. www.marktwainhouse.org.

The exhibit "Hartford Then & Now: Images of the City from Mark Twain's Era and Today," presented by Visions: A Gallery Without Walls, opens with a reception in The Mark Twain House & Museum Visitors' Center on Sunday, September 9, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Five local artists have created images of Hartford drawing inspiration from the Gilded Age, when Mark Twain and his family lived at Nook Farm, as well as more familiar contemporary features and iconic landmarks. The exhibition includes over 40 original pastel and acrylic paintings and fine art photographs and prints that reflect each artist's distinctive style and interpretation of Connecticut's capital city.

The works on view at The Mark Twain House & Museum portray not only detail of the Mark Twain House itself, but also Hartford's skyline, the Connecticut River, the Rose Garden in Elizabeth Park, the Butler-McCook House, Corning Fountain in Bushnell Park, and several nostalgic still-life images and replicas of commercial signs.

The artists featured in the show joined together several years ago to form Visions: A Gallery Without Walls. Rozanne Hauser and Lou Mazzotta of Bloomfield, Jo McGinnis of West Hartford and Flora Parisky and Sandy Parisky of Hartford are members of the Visions group.

All work in the exhibit by Visions artists is available for purchase with a portion going to benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum.

There is no charge for Sept. 9 opening reception. The exhibit may be viewed through Tuesday, Oct. 9, included in the admission price of a tour of the Mark Twain House or with a special $5 museum-only admission.

The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author's Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. 

Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. 

In addition to providing tours of Twain's restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain's literary legacy and provide information about his life and times.

The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m. For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit www.marktwainhouse.org.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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