Beatles Night returns to Milford

MILFORD — The Connecticut Beatles fan club Liverpool Productions, based in Orange, presents its third “Beatles Night” on Friday evening, Feb. 5, starring “The Beatles Forever Band.”

The “Twist and Shout Dinner Dance Party” takes place at Aldario’s Restaurant on 240 Naugatuck Avenue in Milford to celebrate the anniversary of the release of the Beatles arrival in America (Feb. 7, 1964).

One highlight of this celebration for Beatles fans is a live concert by “The Beatles Forever Band,” an amazing Beatles sound-alike tribute group making their first-ever area appearance.

“The Beatles Forever Band” captures the authentic sound of The Beatles, specifically the vocals of Lennon & McCartney. They will be playing the best of The Beatles’ early music in their first set, and latter-era Beatles songs in the second set, specifically geared towards dancing. Before and after the band, there will be dancing to music provided by Boppers DJ Charles F. Rosenay of Liverpool Productions, playing a mix of sixties and British Invasion music.

The price of admission, $40 in advance, includes Aldario’s Restaurant’s complete buffet dinner and also a full open bar. The event is open to all ages, but must be over 21 to drink. Doors open at 7 p.m.

For reservations to the “Beatles Night,” call Aldario’s Restaurant at 203-874-6096. For more information, call Liverpool Productions at 203-795-4737 or visit www.LiverpoolTours.com.

“White Toast” at OACC Meeting

ORANGE — The Orange Arts and Culture Council will show the film “White Toast” at the general membership meeting to be held Wednesday, Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m., at the Case Memorial Library. Everyone is invited to attend. There will be a short business meeting, after which refreshments will be served and the film will be shown.

“White Toast” is an award-winning film produced last Spring by two Amity seniors, Greg Passik and Robert Gagne. Both young men are now pursuing film studies at the university level. The film has earned many awards, including:

“Best Overall Film” Amity Film Festival 2008; 2009 Gold Key Winner of the Connecticut Art and Education Association Scholastic Art Awards; and American Visions Medal and recogniton from the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists. One of the film’s producers, Greg Passik, will be in attendance to answer questions and to give some insight into the film making process.

Scholastic Inc. describes “White Toast” as “a film noire about a notorious toast burglar and the private investigator working to bring him - or her - to justice.”

Part of the mission of the OACC is to nurture the arts and to support young artists. Join in this effort by attending the meeting and saluting these young artists.

After Supper Show

WOODBRIDGE — Woodbridge Town Library, 10 Newton Road, will show “Public Enemies” (Rated R, 140 minutes), Thursday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m., as part of its hosts After Supper Show film series.

From award-winning director Michael Mann comes the film inspired by one of the country’s most captivating and infamous outlaws - John Dillinger. Johnny Depp stars as the charismatic and elusive bank robber marked by the FBI as America’s first “Public Enemy Number One.” Also starring Marion Cotillard and Christian Bale. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine called this film “a landmark crime saga.”

Davis Gallery presents work by Elaine Thompson

ORANGE — The Davis Gallery, 200 Boston Post Road, hosts Elaine Thompson with her whimsical paintings for the child in all of us. The exhibit, titled ”What Do You See,” will be on view from Jan. 30 to Feb. 20, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday by appointment. There will also be an opening reception Saturday, Jan. 30, from 1 to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 203-795-4705.

“Hansel & Gretel”

BRIDGEPORT — Downtown Cabaret Theatre Of Bridgeport Children’s Company presents “Hansel & Gretel” Jan. 16 to Feb. 21, Saturdays and Sundays at noon and 2:30 p.m. This upbeat musical spoof of the Grimm Brothers’ classic is filled with fun and lots of unexpected surprises. Follow Hansel and Gretel along the bread crumb trail and find a candy house filled with the sounds of the 80s! At Cabaret, you can bring your own meals, snacks and drinks and enjoy them during the show! Single Tickets are $15.50. For more information call the Box Office at 203-576-1636 Tuesdat to Sunday, 10 a.m. t0 4 p.m., or visit www.downtowncabaret.org.

Fandance … the Legend of Sally Rand

BRIDGEPORT — The Downtown Cabaret Theater, 263 Golden Hill St., hosts the East Coast premiere of “Fandance … the Legend of Sally Rand,” an exotic dance musical direct from California that sparkles with a large and talented cast. Presented by New York Theatrical Productions and The Downtown Cabaret Theater, “Fandance” will be performed March 26 to April 25, Fridays to Sundays. For ticket information call the Box Office at 209-576-1636.

“Fandance” is the captivating true story of the famed burlesque queen who started out on a Quaker farm and ran way with the circus to grow up in the days of Vaudeville and be discovered by Cecil B. DeMille, only to lose her film career when “sound” came in, due to a lisp.

Down and out on the streets of Chicago during the Great Depression, Sally saw an ad for exotic acts at the Paramount Club and bartered for two big ostrich fans at the pawn shop, and the most infamous of fan dances was born.

Arrested four times in one day for indecent exposure at the Chicago World’s Fair, she was released for “want of equity,” meaning you couldn’t see anything no matter how much you tried.

A young girl named Rosie, denied the right to buy a ticket because of her age, snuck into the World’s Fair to see the famous dancer and never forgot the grace and beauty she saw. The two women’s paths would cross once more at the end of their lives. The story takes place all the years in-between.

One an infamous fan dancer who would open a nude dude ranch and be known as “America’s Treasure;” the other an ordinary woman who would iron clothes in exchange for dance lessons for her daughter and go to garage sales to find bargains.

Fate takes a twist and Rosie finds an old woman at a garage sale selling Sally Rand’s mementos. Memories are shared. The old woman asks for the name of Rosie’s daughter, takes a playbill and signs it, “To Misty from Sally Rand.”

Written and directed by Misty Rowe, the show takes the audience through 81 years of dance history with a musical story that will tear at your heartstrings. Misty is remembered for the box office hit, Always, Patsy Cline, along with her 19 years on Hee Haw that won her TV Land’s Entertainer’s Award. A professional director for S.D.C., Ms. Rowe spent 8 years in Fairfield County, Connecticut, writing Fandance with the guidance of local historians. She also portrays the older Sally with her favorite co-stars.

Broadway actress Joy Franz, whose exceptional voice has put her in more hits on Broadway than most performers could ever dream about. From the original production of Pippin and Stephen Sondheim’s Company, Ms. Franz also went on to be the Wicked Stepmother for years in Into the Woods, including the national tour and its production on PBS. Her comedic talents shined in Guys & Dolls and her unforgettable voice and elegance graced the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass at the Kennedy Center. A personal friend of the author of Fandance for 20 years and having just worked with Steve Rossi, she decided not to miss out on all the fun and joined the cast.

Funny and talented Steve Rossi was the tall, handsome half of the famous Allen & Rossi comedy team. Starting his career at age six in the Bing Crosby film Going My Way, Steve would later record the hit song More and sing it at the Academy Awards in 1974. His legendary career includes over 800 TV shows. His favorite? Appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show with the Beatles in 1965. Never one to talk about age, Mr. Rossi, however, does admit to opening for Mae West.

Fandance introduces Miss Amber Carpenter as the young Sally Rand. Petite and blonde, Amber not only looks like the real Sally, but is classically trained in voice and dance and has performed onstage since she was three.

Joining her are talented actors Robin Field and Steve Cassling with a bevy of beauties who sing, dance and act and are known as “The Uli Uli Girls.”

The days of Vaudeville and Burlesque are brought to life through the music of Broadway conductor, Michael Sansonia, and the multi-media design of Emmy-honored Paul Mitton.

REMEMBERING STANLEY BOXER: A RETROSPECTIVE 1946 - 2000

BRIDGEPORT - The works American artist Stanley Boxer, known for the exuberant qualities of his thickly brushed abstract paintings and energetic works on paper and sculptures, will be on display Feb. 11 to March 28 at the Housatonic Museum of Art.

The exhibit, Rememberingstanleyboxer: A Retrospective 1946 - 2000, features more than sixty works from this period that explore his manipulation of surfaces, textures, and colors in various media. The exhibit includes include both figurative and abstract compositions.

The opening reception will be will be held Thursday, Feb. 11, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Burt Chernow Galleries in Lafayette Hall on the campus of Housatonic Community College. This event is free and open to the public.

Born in New York City, Boxer began formal art training at the Art Students League after leaving the Navy at the end of World War II. Boxer had his first one-person exhibition of paintings in New York in 1953, and his work has been shown regularly for over five decades in galleries and museums nationwide.

Boxer’s work is in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; and the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums. He was a recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship and an NEA Award, and he was a member of the National Academy of Design.

Highlights of the exhibition include paintings, sculpture, and works on paper. In the paintings, mostly mixed media on canvas, Boxer combined diverse materials such as strings and pebbles with thickly applied paint to create complex abstract compositions of pattern, texture, and color. The 1985 painting Lacedplumeinabam shows his use of thick impasto of oil paint to create dramatic overall texture. He gave his paintings titles, which were long, run-on sentences, inspired by the German language.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums in collaboration with the Housatonic Museum of Art and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the exhibition was curated by Elizabeth Stevens, an independent scholar, and coordinated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums. An illustrated catalogue, made possible through the generosity of Salvatore and Alice Federico and published by University of Richmond Museums, is available.

Housatonic Community College is located at 900 Lafayette Blvd in Bridgeport, less than 150 yards off I-95 (Exit 27) and Rte 8 (Exit 1), a block from the Arena at Harbor Yard.

Jazz singer/pianist Chris Coogan

MILFORD — The Milford Fine Arts Council Performance Coffeehouse, at the Center for the Arts, 40 Railroad Ave., is proud to present jazz singer/pianist Chris Coogan Friday, Jan. 29. Coogan is a jazz and gospel musician who has played with such artists as Ben E. King, Bette Midler, Donna Summer, Kristen Chenoweth, Dave Liebman and Darlene Love.

Coogan is a multi-talented entertainer who, as a composer, performer, teacher, choir director and producer, is rooted in the jazz and gospel traditions. Coogan performs original and traditional music as a pianist and singer, as the leader of a jazz group, and as director of the Good News Gospel Choir. In addition, he teaches jazz piano and leads gospel workshops throughout the country to help reinvigorate church and community choirs.

As a composer, he won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition for jazz and has produced 7 albums featuring his original jazz and gospel songs. He has performed at The Silvermine Tavern in Fairfield County, Blue Note in Manhattan and the Montreaux Jazz Festival.

“I see myself as a catalyst who uses the medium of music to bring people together” Coogan said. “It’s my passion to help people find joy in making music and singing from their souls”.

Tickets are $10. The show starts at 8 p.m., doors will open at 7:30. Relax and see a great live show in a friendly, intimate environment - all for less than the cost of a movie! Enjoy a glass of wine or a beer and light refreshments for a nominal charge. Coffee is always free. For tickets, call 203-878-6647 or visit www.milfordarts.org. Reservations are highly recommended, as Coffeehouse events sell out quickly.

“Friday Night Movies” Series continues in Stratford

STRATFORD — The Stratford Library will continue its monthly film series in 2010 with “Friday Night Movies” beginning Friday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. The series will offer free showings of recent, popular films. Movies are shown uncut on widescreen in the Stratford Library Lovell Room. Complimentary snacks will be served at the series which continues through June 2010. For more information call the library at 203.385.4162 or visit: www.stratfordlibrary.org. Scheduled for Jan. 15 is “The Hangover” (Rated R, 96 minutes, 2009). When three friends finally come to after a raucous night of bachelor-party revelry, they find a baby in the closet and a tiger in the bathroom. But they can’t seem to locate their best friend who’s supposed to be tying the knot.

Art exhibit

ORANGE — Case Memorial Library is showcasing the art of husband and wife artists Ron and Erin Garney, of North Haven, during the month of January. There will be an opening reception Jan. 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. The show will be up for a month. Erin Garney is the art teacher at Race Brook School in Orange and has a degree in Illustration from the Hartford Art School and a Masters in Art Education from SCSU. Ron is an artist for Marvel Comics. He has been drawing comics for over 20 years. He is currently working on “Wolverine.” He is also a graduate from SCSU. Erin works primarily in oils and watercolors while Ron works mostly in pencil and ink with some colored on the computer. Library hours are: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

Eastbound Theatre

MILFORD — Eastbound Theatre presents “Love, Sex And The Irs” by William Van Zandt and Jane Millmore, Feb. 5 to 21.

Jon’s plans may be doomed from the start. In a misguided attempt to save money, he has been filing his tax return with his male roommate, Leslie, listed as his wife. But now Mr. Spinner of the IRS has literally knocked on his door, and Jon is facing a prison sentence. Since everyone in his life can be named as an accomplice, each of them are roped into one last-ditch scheme to get the IRS off their backs.

“Love, Sex and the IRS” was the first comedy written by the team of Millmore and Van Zandt, who originated two of the roles. The duo would later go on to pen such laugh riots as “Do Not Disturb,” “Confessions of a Dirty Blonde” and their latest, “You’ve Got Hate Mail.”

“Love, Sex and the IRS” will be performed Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. For more information call 203-882-0969 or visit www.milfordarts.org.

Exhibit by Orange artist

NEW HAVEN — Chestnut Fine Foods, 1012 State St., will be exhibiting recent paintings in watercolor and gouache by Rosemary Benivegna from Jan. 8 to March 4. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Benivegna, an Orange resident, is drawn to assemblages of overlapping structures, landscapes with rich and sometimes unexpected colors and candid glimpses of people in urban settings.

Paintings may be viewed during the restaurant’s business hours - Mon to Fri from 9 to 7 PM, Sat from 9 to 5 PM; closed Sundays.

Square One Theatre’s 20th Anniversary Season

STRATFORD — Celebrating the milestone of its 20th Anniversary, Square One Theatre’s 2009-2010 Season will feature A.R. Gurney’s funny and touching “Love Letters”; and Helen Edmundson’s stirring and riveting Irish drama, “The Clearing.”

The season continues Friday, Feb. 5, through Saturday, Feb. 20, with the funny and touching theatrical gem “Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney, Square One’s favorite playwright. This is a special Valentine to Square One theatergoers featuring favorite award-winning actors Peggy Nelson and Pat Leo. Love Letters covers a lifetime of correspondence between two people who grew up together, went their separate ways, but continued to share confidences.

The season concludes with “The Clearing” by Helen Edmundson, scheduled Friday, May 15, to Saturday, May 29. This stirring Irish drama is set in 17th century with romance, passion and treachery enhancing this riveting work right up to its breathless final curtain. It is the story of Madeleine, an insufferably valiant Irishwoman married to Robert, a weak-willed Englishman. The time is just after the English Civil War, when followers of Oliver Cromwell, flush from their victory over the crown, exacted revenge on those who remained loyal to the throne.

For ticket reservations and/or information call 203-375-8778 or visit www.squareonetheatre.com.

Square One Theatre, 2422 Main St., is wheelchair accessible and offers its patrons hearing-assisted listening devices.