Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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Levitt Cancels Season

Westportt’s Levit Pavilion for the Performing Arts announced today it has canceled its 47th summer season because of the novel coronavirus.

“Please know that this decision is first and foremost based on our commitment to your safety, and the safety of our artists and audiences, staff and stakeholders, and the community at large,” it said in an email to subscribers.

“2020 would have marked our 47th Summer Season under the Stars. This will be the first time in our history that we will not produce a season and sharing this news is difficult—but we know it is the only responsible thing to do.”

The announcement said fundraising will continue so the Levitt can continue to “light up Westport once more, when it is safe to do so.”

Westporter Debuts Film on YouTube

It’s been five years, but Westport writer and filmmaker Jarret Liotta is ready to debut his Westport-based murder mystery film.

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Jarret Liotta: film was five years in making. Contributed photo

“Home Movie” will premier on YouTube at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Click HERE.

The feature-length dark comedy was shot entirely in Westport with the help of many different individuals, businesses and organizations.

“It’s the story of a young woman who comes home for her father’s funeral only to grow suspicious that her mother may have killed him,” says Liotta, who also contributes to WestportNow and other local publications.

Granger at the Movies (Streaming): ‘Elephant,’ ‘Sea of Shadows,’ ‘Aquarela’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Continuing the Earth Day celebrations, here are three “nature” documentaries to stream this week:

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After months of painstaking work by photographers and editors, “Elephant” is the most accessible and appealing nature film ever made about the annual 1,000-mile trek of elephant herds across Southern Africa. And having an engaging narration by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is an added bonus.

The elephants’ migration begins in Botswana’s lush Okavango Delta when, according to ancient tradition, the wise but weary, 50 year-old matriarch Gaia decides it’s time to leave that once-verdant paradise and steadfastly plod across the arid Kalahari Desert to the Zambezi River and its islands atop Victoria Falls.

In this survival story, as the ‘ellies’, particularly Gaia’s younger sister, Shani, and her calf, Jomo, face death from thirst as they travel from one watering hole to the next, they try to elude predators like lurking crocodiles and a prowling pride of lions.

Broadway Star Showcases High School Performers

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Broadway star and Westport mom Kelli O’Hara tonight hosted a one-hour, 45-minute Westport Country Playhouse streaming event showcasing 10 area high school students performing musical selections. Among them was Camille Foisie, 16, of Staples High School. O’Hara said she enjoyed it so much she hoped to do it again and ventured that perhaps a prom could be held with the singers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Screen grab from YouTube.com

Playhouse Cancels 2020 Season Due to COVID-19

The Westport Country Playhouse announced today it is canceling its 2020 season because of the coronavirus.

“After careful consideration of public health guidelines and with the health and wellbeing of our audience members, patrons, artists, and staff in mind, we have made the painful decision to postpone our 2020 season,” said an email to subscribers.

“The curtain will not go up again until 2021, when we hope to present the originally scheduled 2020 programming — five mainstage plays featuring the reimagining of Ain’t Misbehavin’, five Script in Hand playreadings, and Family Festivities presentations for young audiences.”

The email from Mark Lamos, artistic director, and Michael Barker, managing director, said this is “a frightening and unnerving time for us all, especially for the Playhouse.”

Granger at the Movies (Streaming): ‘Les Miserables,’ ‘Color Out of Space,’ ‘Sea Fever’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

These three movies were scheduled for theatrical release this month, then shifted to streaming.

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“Les Miserables,” winner of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize and France’s official submission for Oscar’s Best International Feature, is basically Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miz’ in the ‘Hood.

Co-written and directed by Ladj Ly, who was born and raised in Montfermeil, where Hugo set part of his story, it’s surprisingly relevant in contemporary culture, focusing on a real incident of police brutality.

The story opens on July 15, 2018, as a troublemaking, street-wise youngster named Issa (Issa Perica) wears a French tricolor as if it were a cape. France is playing Croatia in the World Cup final, and thousands have gathered to watch.

Student Artists Sought for Westport Calendar

Students stuck at home now have the opportunity to tap their artistic talents for the 2020-21 Westport School Arts Calendar, the Westport Public Art Collections (WestPAC) and Friends of WestPAC announced.

Digital submissions are open to kindergartners through twelfth graders.

“Looking for an art activity to do while safe at home?” the WestPAC announcement says. “How about creating some art or share something you’ve already painted, drawn, photographed or digitally created for the 2020-21 Westport School Art Calendar?”

The calendar, produced by Friends of WestPAC and sanctioned by the school system, is sold to parents and residents around town, the proceeds going to WestPAC’s displays and care for original artworks in school and town buildings.

Winners Announced in Kelli O’Hara-Hosted High School Streaming Event

The Westport Country Playhouse today announced the randomly selected Fairfield County high school students who will participate in Friday’s streaming event with Kelli O’Hara, Tony award-winning Broadway star and Westport mom.

The “Getting to Know You: A Celebration of Young Artists” goes live at 7 p.m., on the Playhouse YouTube channel and Facebook Live.

During the virtual showcase, the students will have the opportunity to share their experiences with O’Hara and perform a musical theater selection.

High school students from across Fairfield County prepared, filmed, and submitted videos of songs, many of which they had hoped to perform in school musicals this spring. Ten participants and ten understudies were selected at random.

Granger at the Movies (Streaming): ‘Honeyland,’ ‘Honey Boy,’ ‘‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Nominated for two Academy Awards — as Best Documentary and Best International Feature — “Honeyland” revolves around a beekeeper who lives with her elderly, ailing mother in the village of Bekirlija in mountains of Macedonia.

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It begins with Hatidze Mutatova walking along a narrow cliff ledge that’s high above a valley. Removing a stone slab in the rock, she carefully gathers honey from a teeming nest of wild bees.

Hatidze has always dutifully observed her culture’s ancient beekeeping rituals, taking only half the honeycombs and leaving the rest for the bees. She then sells her precious harvest at the marketplace in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, about 12 miles away.

But when a large, boisterous, itinerant family parks their trailer on a plot of ground near Hatidze’s hut, tensions mount. The patriarch Hussein insists on defying tradition, practicing selfish beekeeping, upsetting the delicate balance between nature and humanity.