Once Around the City: Welcome to the Sixties – ‘Hairspray’ opens at Norwalk High; Mayor’s Night Out is Tuesday

NORWALK, Conn. – The musical “Hairspray” opens tonight – Friday, April 25 – at 8 p.m. for a two-week run at Norwalk High School.

Based on the 1988 film written and directed by John Waters, “Hairspray” tells the story of an overweight, bubbly Baltimore girl, Tracy Turnblad, growing up in the tumultuous 1960’s. She’s never been part of the “in” crowd until winning a coveted spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show,” where overnight she becomes a teen celebrity. She then campaigns to integrate the show as she realizes the social injustices of American Society in the 1960’s. Can she also vanquish the show’s snobby reigning princess and win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin?

“Change — change for the good — is what our play is all about,” said director Susan Pettibone in a press release. “It is very much a show about dreaming for a better world and believing that the good in people will prevail. While the show brings to light the problem of segregation, the plot is full of light-hearted entertainment for the entire family.”

The show won eight Tony Awards in 2002, including Best Musical. The Norwalk High School musical is directed by Pettibone and Lois Benfield and features a cast of 57 students who have spent hours rehearsing and learning the choreography. This year is the first time two Norwalk High School students – senior Toni-ann Mattera and junior Shay LaRusso – have taken on the responsibility for choreographing this dance intensive show.

“I am so proud of this cast and our choreographers,” Benfield said. “It has been a delight to see the students come together and work incredibly hard to produce this wonderful, lively and spectacularly fun show.”

“Hairspray” runs April 25, 26, 27 and May 2, 3 and 4. Curtain time is 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Matinees on April 27 and May 4 begin at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $13 online or by phone at (203) 838-4481, Ext. 13377, and $15 at the door. Reservations can be made online.

Mayor’s Night Out returns to South Norwalk

A few weeks ago, a schedule conflict forced Mayor Harry Rilling to cut his monthly Mayor’s Night Out gathering short despite a strong turnout and a crowd with lots of questions. At the time, he promised to return next time out. That next time will be April 29.

The mayor will host his next Mayor’s Night Out from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, at the Norwalk Police Station Community Room, 1 Monroe St. The parking lot is on South Main Street and the entrance to the building is on the Monroe Street side.

Department heads and elected officials will be in attendance and invite Norwalk residents for their comments and input on city services.

Meanwhile, across town, the focus will be going green

“Saving Green by Going Green: Home Energy Savings for Norwalk” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Community Room at City Hall. This free event will be the first of a series of educational forums aimed at highlighting economic opportunities that exist for green job creation, reducing utility costs, and increasing the owners’ value of energy efficient buildings.

“I created the Mayor’s Energy and Environmental Task Force (MEETF) earlier this year to prepare for that future,” Rilling said in a press release, “and the task force includes many professional energy and environmental leaders as well as Board of Education members who are charged with providing advice to city agencies and committees as well as develop educational programs to let Norwalkers and businesses learn how to save money and increase their quality of life.”

MEETF Chairman and Common Council member John Kydes (D-District C) said, “The task force is currently benchmarking all city buildings in a long-term effort to save utility costs for taxpayers and create a more comfortable learning environment for schools.”

One major highlight of Tuesday night’s event will be an explanation to show residents how to obtain a free thermal image of their home’s energy efficiency profile. Sagewell Inc. conducted a pilot program with CEFIA — the state’s energy financing group — to inspire homeowners to take more thorough measures to insulate and prepare the home by seeing where energy is literally leaking out of the walls, attic, windows and doors.

Experts from CL&P, Next Step Living, New England Smart Energy, Sagewell, Inc. and CEFIA will be on hand to show how real dollars can be saved. There will be light refreshments, door prizes and plenty of handouts.

NHA Photography Club’s “Photo Expressions” has May 1 opening

Help celebrate the artistic achievements of the Norwalk Housing Authority Photography Club at the opening of its exhibition, “Photo Expressions,” planned for May 1 at the Valencia Luncheria Restaurant.

The event will run from 5 to 6 p.m. at the restaurant, located at 164 Main St., and will include appetizers and refreshments.

The photo club is part of the NHA’s Learning Center.

Participating students include Ifran Kahn, Jessika Hunter, Louis Gabriel, Madelyn Gabriel, China Tinnen, Fedjanaika Estime, Malaury Bien-Aime, Samantha Samuel, Samantha Velez, Samira Velez, Nazire Taylor and Sam Bosquet.

The club requests those interested in attending to RSVP by calling (203) 852-1144, Ext. 100. Anyone needing to request transportation should call by the end of the day Friday, April 25.




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