Summer Theatre of New Canaan

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An attorney representing a New Canaan homeowner last week filed an appeal in state Superior Court of the town’s decision in March to uphold a property valuation from October. The property, 1248 Oenoke Ridge Road, was valued at $7,961,300 and assessed at $5,572,910, according to the appeal, filed May 11 by attorney Amy Zabetakis of Darien-based Rucci Law Group. The New Canaan Board of Assessment Appeals on March 20 notified the plaintiffs, Helene and George Pyne, that it would not change that valuation, which “did not reflect the true fair market value of the property, but rather it was grossly excessive, disproportionate and unlawful,” according to the complaint. ***

Sandra Dennies, New Canaan’s finance director, received a standing ovation from the Town Council on Wednesday night when First Selectman Kevin Moynihan closed the meeting by announcing that she has been made permanent in the job. The former Wilton CFO had been working in New Canaan on an interim basis since last May. Continue Reading →

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Summer Theatre of New Canaan Mulling Alternate Sites for Future Seasons

As the 15th season of the Summer Theater of New Canaan approaches, Executive Producer Ed Libonati told the Parks and Recreation Commission at its regular meeting last week that moving to another location within or outside of Waveny Park for future seasons is a possibility. The discussion came up as Libonati provided details about the company’s upcoming season, which includes an expanded five-week run of “Kiss Me Kate” starting June 28 and performances of “Peter Pan,” “Balloonacy,” and “James and the Giant Peach” by the Theatre for Young Audience starting on June 23. Libonati said that while the company saw 99 to 100 percent capacity for the main stage performances and 75 to 80 percent capacity for the children’s performances last season, the location of the tent and the activities surrounding it has created a few challenges. “During the summer, we bring a tent and we set it up in a field across from one of the softball fields and, this year, the fields are being repaired, which is creating some issues with getting tent up properly, so we’re working that out now with [Public Works Director] Tiger [Mann] and [Parks Superintendent] John [Howe] to make sure everything works out well,” he said during the March 14 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center. “We’re fit into a very tight spot there between the woods, the gas pipeline, and three football fields. Continue Reading →

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Summer Theatre of New Canaan To Feature Cole Porter’s ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ in Expanded 2018 Season

Following up on hugely popular runs of “West Side Story” and “Singin’ in the Rain” in each of the last two seasons, Summer Theatre of New Canaan for its big musical this year is turning once again to a classic Broadway show. The company that sets up its outdoor theater at Waveny each summer is putting on Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me, Kate” in 2018 for an expanded five-week run starting June 28, according to STONC Executive Producer Ed Libonati. “It’s a great show with great songs,” he told NewCanaanite.com. “It’s terrific.”

A “play within a play” that revolves around a musical production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Kiss Me, Kate” follows the intertwining and conflicting love interests of those behind and starring in The Bard’s famous work. “You have Shakespeare and all the antics that go on backstage with the actors and life as it goes on in the theater,” Libonati said. Continue Reading →

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‘We Would Like To Exhaust the Opportunities in New Canaan’: Popular Summer Theatre Program Eyes More Traditional Venue

When Ed and Melody Libonati launched Summer Theatre of New Canaan in 2004, they needed about 50 people, including local actors, to put on their live shows—Shakespeare in the restored walled garden at Waveny, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” at Saxe Middle School. For the season featuring “Singin’ in the Rain” that closed last week, the longtime town residents required nearly 125 staff members and another 40-plus volunteers to put their performances at the tent in Waveny near the New Canaan High School parking lot. In order to continue its program and move toward a sustainable model, the nonprofit organization now must get to a point where it’s revenue from programming exceeds that which comes in through fundraising, according to Ed Libonati, STONC’s executive producer. “To get on a more sustainable trajectory for our organization, we need a large venue,” he told NewCanaanite.com recently when asked about the future of STONC in town. “We also need to amortize the cost of the people that we hire and we can do that by spreading out over a longer season, as well.”

The demand for STONC’s award-winning shows is there for that longer season, according to Libonati, and a more permanent, traditional facility would allow the organization to meet it. Continue Reading →

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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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