‘Exciting and unpredictable’ New Canaan summer theater season
The Summer Theatre of New Canaan had a storybook season.
On Saturday the multi-talented performers brought four different shows brought to life, including three children’s classics —“Charlotte’s Web,” “Cinderella” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Bringing not just professional shows to Waveny Park, but an actual outdoor theater inside an enormous tent, the nonprofit group brought its season to a close Sunday with the conclusion of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.”
“I loved it so much, personally,” Grace Dower, 12, of New Canaan, said after seeing “Charlotte’s Web,” the E.B. White story of the spider that saves the life of a pig named Wilbur. “I thought it was a great production.”
The productions incorporate a dozen technical interns and backstage professionals to make the magic come to life.
“This venue is kind of unique because it’s basically a full-time theater on an outdoor stage,” said venue manager Chris Hanretty. “Everything you see here we built ground up, and it disappears when we’re done. In a week this will just be a dirt field.”
The venue could be a metaphor for the creative energy of live theater itself.
“Having an outdoor venue is really unique,” said Meredith Bihl, co-manager.
“With live theater you experience the story directly and physically in a way that you don’t with radio or a book,” she said. “It adds a layer of human connection that makes it really special.”
“I thought it was wonderful,” said Margie Schulman of Trumbull, who brought her granddaughter Sienna Schulman for her seventh birthday. “I had to wipe my tears away.”
“I loved it,” said Sienna. “I just like seeing plays.”
“It’s so exciting and unpredictable,” Andreanna Buccheri, who played Cinderella, said of live theater. “And I think it’s great that you can approach your character from a different point of view every day, where in film you only do it once.”
Between the quick movement of large pieces of scenery and readjusting props and set pieces, tech intern Nola Werlinich took a moment to note the demands associated with an outdoor venue, including some uninvited bird droppings and an aggressive squirrel building a nest high in the tent truss, where the lights are attached.
“You need a completely new set of skills,” she said. “… It has certainly taught me about stamina and getting it done.”
“We have become a really efficient crew together,” Werlinich said.
For more information about the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, visit www.stonc.org.