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Summer Theatre of New Canaan celebrates 20th Anniversary Gala May 13

Saturday, May, 13, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Gala Honorees feature local philanthropists George and Carol Bauer, Broadway & Movie composer, Songwriter David Friedman, Broadway Lighting Designer Paul Gallo (who has lit over 50 Broadway shows) and local emerging artist Chris Lopes.

“Be Our Guest”, the 20th Anniversary Gala for the Summer Theatre of New Canaan (STONC) will honor David Friedman and Paul Gallo for their exceptional contributions to theatre. Philanthropists George and Carol Bauer, long time patrons of the Summer Theater of New Canaan will be honored for their exemplary support of the arts, health and education in Connecticut.  Also, the evening will honor STONC’s emerging artist Chris Lopes who is a professional young actor with Down Syndrome and has been featured in TV series, Films & Theatre.  

Gala Honoree celebrity introductions will include director actor Tony Goldwyn and TV Production Designer Jane Musky and from singer actress Lucie Arnaz.  The evening is themed around STONC’s upcoming summer family musical production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. There will be performances by David Friedman, who was the music supervisor and vocal arranger for Disney’s original “Beauty and the Beast” movie and Broadway show. Broadway actress Raissa Katona Bennett will perform at the Gala. She played the role of Christine in Broadway’s “Phantom Of The Opera” and will be performing the role of Mrs. Potts in STONC’s upcoming summer production of Disney’s “Beauty And The Beast”.  Also singing will be Stephen Petrovich, who will be performing the role of Lumiere in this summer’s musical.  

“David Friedman is an inspiration to many with his moving songs, wit and writings” says Melody Meitrott Libonati, the founding artistic director for STONC. She has worked often with David, first meeting in the original Broadway company of “Grease”.  

“With 53 Broadway shows to his credit, few artists have had such an influential presence lighting up Broadway as Paul Gallo”, Libonati adds. “I have been fortunate to also have worked with Paul at Ithaca College and on tour with USO Shows across Europe”. 

Libonati created the DramaRamas at STONC where she first met Chris Lopes, this year’s Emerging Artist honoree. The DramaRamas is a performance program for children with special needs. Libonati adds “Chris has shown such passion for acting. He now studies with Emmy Award-winning actress Anna Holbrook who teaches with the STONC education programs”.

The auctioneer for the Gala evening is the award-winning NYC cabaret artist and comedian, the Reverend Shawn Moninger. Funds raised will support the many programs offered by STONC.  Music Director for the evening and the summer season will be Nick Wilders. 

Gala Committee members include Jodie Azzopardi, Angelica Cantlon, Allison Gray, Kimberly Jodka, Melody Libonati, Kathryn McManus, Cathy Mishkin, Oleana Sharavarnyk, Ellen Sisson and Laura Turner.  “Be Our Guest”, the 20th Anniversary Gala will be held on May 13 at the Country Club of New Canaan, 95 Country Club Road, New Canaan. Gala tickets and more information about the theatre events and season are at stonc.org

STONC will be presenting Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” July 15 through July 30. Performances will be held indoors in the New Canaan High School theatre at 11 Farm Road in New Canaan. STONC is upgrading the facility sound and lighting to accommodate professional theater.  Tickets will go on sale end of May.  

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan is a not-for-profit award-winning regional summer theatre based in New Canaan CT under the supervision of founding artistic Director Melody Meitrott Libonati.  Since 2004 it has presented over 80 shows, including Broadway musicals, Shakespeare and Theatre for a Young Audience (TYA). STONC also has commissioned writers and produces new works and workshops (two new works moving off Broadway). The Bennack-Lake School Touring Program brings the theatre’s produced TYA shows to elementary schools and performing arts centers across Connecticut.  Their summer education and theatre training programs have been recognized for excellence and include a High School Pre-College Theatre Lab, The Albert L. Perry III College Internship Program and the DramaRamas acting program for children 8-18 with special needs.  All programs are made possible in part by funds from the State of Connecticut’ Department of Economic and Community Development, The CT Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Canaan Community Foundation. STONC has received recognition from the State of Connecticut for its cultural contributions. 

More info about programs and upcoming summer season at stonc.org.  

Gala and Season Sponsors include: Bankwell, Help For Kids, Karl Chevrolet, Walter Stewart’s, NewCanaanite.com, Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan, New Canaan Community Foundation, Hearst Corporation, CT Humanities, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, TPA Certified Public Accountants & Consultants. 


Saturday, May, 13, 2023
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Country Club of New Canaan
95 Country Club Road
New Canaan, CT 06840 United States
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