Summer Theatre of New Canaan Seeks To Run 2019 Season in Pocket Park Downtown

One of New Canaan’s favorite summertime entertainment venues is seeking to move closer to the downtown for its 2019 season. 

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan, a nonprofit organization founded by town residents Ed and Melody Libonati, is seeking a temporary special permit to run its acclaimed shows in New Canaan Library’s pocket park on the corner of Maple Street and South Avenue. Known as “Christine’s Garden,” the park would play host to popular Summer Theatre of New Canaan or ‘STONC’ shows—recent seasons have featured “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “West Side Story”—from the end of June into early August, under an application filed recently with the Planning & Zoning Commission. “For the past 15 years STONC has worked with multiple town departments and commissions to successfully present its theatre programs at Irwin Park and in Waveny Park,” the application said. “However, the Waveny location we have utilized for the past 10 years now presents significant issues that tend to inhibit our ability to deliver a season. This is largely due to recent major sports field construction and increasing programming/scheduling of these new adjacent sports fields.

Summer Theatre of New Canaan Wows with ‘Kiss Me, Kate’

Excited chatter filled the warm summer air Saturday night as more than 200 crowded under Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s large tent at Waveny for the opening night of ‘Kiss Me, Kate’. In its 15th season, the company founded by New Canaan’s Ed and Melody Libonati consistently delivers well-staged, professionally produced show that keeps audiences on their toes, and this year was no exception. A dazzling combination of catchy music, dramatic acting, and jazzy dances, ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ is a delight to see. The classic Cole Porter musical was brought to life by director Allegra Libonati. With a talented cast and singularly strong leads, the audience is truly transported to the Ford Theater and Baltimore ca. 1948 for the night.

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.

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.

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.