Melody Libonati

Recent Articles

Enchanting and Hilarious: Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

Nothing quite compares to the magic one witnesses as three generations of town residents take their seats beneath a white canvas tent and a welcoming party of fireflies to enjoy a classic musical. This year, that enchanting energy is amplified tenfold with New Canaan Summer Theatre’s production of Singin’ in the Rain, a refreshingly traditional take on the iconic 1952 film. Under direction from Melody Libonati, the show is bursting with joy, and boasts a colorful, beautifully constructed set and committed performances from a  game cast. For the unfamiliar, Singin’ in the Rain follows silent film star Don Lockwood, whose wildly successful career is threatened by the introduction of the “talking picture.” Set in the undeniably romantic world of Old Hollywood, Lockwood must manage such a career transition while also dealing with a difficult leading lady and his growing feelings for a talented ingénue. Continue Reading →

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A Perfect Form of Entertainment: Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s ‘West Side Story’

As my mom and I arrived at Waveny Park for the Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s production of West Side Story, the rain clouds had just cleared, giving volunteers enough time to re-hang the banner and dry seats for the show. It was the first of three Thursday night “Ladies Nights Out”—featuring door prizes and restaurant specials—and the tent was soon packed to the brim. Arriving just before 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show, we sat on the grass above the tent, picnicked with a dinner from Walter Stewart’s and watched the actors rehearse a few numbers, including the Mambo scene and the Jet song. Despite the 90 degree heat, the young professionals’ energy levels were high—and remained this high for the rest of the show. It was clear from the interactions between the cast and just a few minutes of rehearsal that they would give this performance their all and that they were having a tremendous amount of fun acting together. Continue Reading →

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New Canaan-Founded Middle School Girls’ Summer Camp To Launch New Performing Arts Piece for 2016 Session

Ahhsha Crooks, an eighth-grader at Scofield Middle School in Stamford, last year participated in the first session of a brand-new New Canaan summer camp that brings together local middle school girls with girls from cities such as Stamford and Bridgeport, to empower them and gain new confidence through exploring their interests and passions. While she enjoyed the sports activities of Camp LiveGirl, Crooks said more offerings might have made the experience even better. “I am really excited for the musical theater program,” Crooks said on a recent afternoon. “Last year it was only sports and it’s nice to try new things.”

Thanks to a new partnership with Summer Theatre of New Canaan, the LiveGirl campers this summer will explore the performing arts, with the guidance from the nonprofit organization’s professional staff. Camp LiveGirl launched last summer, and founder and director Sheri West of New Canaan is taking applications now for the upcoming July 25 to 29 session. Continue Reading →

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Spotlight: The Story Behind Summer Theatre of New Canaan

The sound of jump ropes cracking in succession echoes across the meadow where New Canaan High School meets Waveny. But this is no school fitness program—it’s group of seasoned actors from Connecticut and New York, practicing the choreography for the musical number “Whipped Into Shape” from the upcoming Summer Theatre of New Canaan performance of “Legally Blonde—the Musical.”

“It’s all really coming together,” Ed Libonati, executive director of STONC, said with a smile as he stands near the makeshift tent and stage that for 12 summers has transformed this bit of wilderness into a highly touted entertainment venue. Established by Ed and Melody Libonati, a New Canaan husband and wife who moved from New York 27 years ago and sought to bring a thriving performing arts scene to both the town and county, STONC is a nonprofit organization with a highly personal history for the family, and it’s become as integral a part of the summer scene as the water towers that loom over this landscape. Libonati, who holds many TV and theater directing credits, does not just work in theater but lives it—something his home life reflects. Melody herself has a number of Broadway credits to her name, including playing Sandra in the original company production of “Grease.” Their daughter, Allegra, is resident director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., and son Christian, runs a theater company in Chicago. Continue Reading →

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