This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Melody Libonati, artistic director of the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, about the 2021 season which kicks off July 16 with a benefit barbecue and features a new venue in Waveny Park that many of our listeners likely have already spotted, with the big tent on the soccer fields. Summer Theatre’s big show this year is The Honky Tonk Angels, and we hear from Melody about that, as well as You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and StoopKids Stories Live.
For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from Melody Libonati, director of the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan.
Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: Tell me about how the Performing Arts Conservatory is operating now. Melody Libonati: The Performing Arts Conservatory has not had classes at 70 Pine Street in New Canaan since March 12. The ten teachers at the Conservatory started teaching on FaceTime and Zoom on March 16. I was so proud of how quickly all of the teachers learned to teach the performing arts online. Private classes in voice, piano and guitar and group classes in music theatre, acting and dance are all being taught.
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.
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.
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.