Dreaming of a White Christmas at the Palace Theatre in Waterbury

A flurry of fun is in the forecast for Waterbury when the Palace Theater presents five performances of IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS, the acclaimed stage adaptation of the beloved classic film, Nov. 6-8, 2015. The Palace Theater will serve as the first stop on the production’s National Tour, which will be traveling Knoxville, Newport, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Providence, Rochester and Schenectady during the 2015 holiday season.

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Tickets for the Webster Bank Broadway series presentation are $69, $62, and $53 and can be purchased online at www.palacetheaterct.org, by phone at 203-346-2000, or in person at the Box Office, 100 East Main St.

IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS tells the story of two showbiz buddies putting on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn and finding their perfect mates in the bargain. Full of dancing, romance, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, including “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies,” and the unforgettable title song, IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS promises to be a merry and bright experience for the entire family.

Before the Friday, Nov. 6, performance, the Palace will host a 6p.m. pre-fixe, four-course dinner in the Poli Club, located on the mezzanine level of the theater. Dinner is $62.50 per person, which includes tax, service fees, coffee, and tea. A cash bar is also available. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made when purchasing tickets through the Box Office.

The show’s Nation Tour will star Sean Montgomery as “Bob Wallace,” Jeremy Benton as “Phil Davis,” Kerry Conte as “Betty Haynes,” and Kelly Sheehan as “Judy Haynes.” Also featured are Pamela Myers as “Martha Watson,” Conrad John Schuck as “General Waverly”, David Perlman as “Ralph Sheldrake,” Ravi Roth as “Mike Nulty,” Cliff Bemis as “Ezekiel Foster,” and Elizabeth Crawford and Samantha Penny as “Susan Waverly.” Rounding out the cast are Maria Rose Briggs, Darien Crago, Elish Conlon, Laurie DiFilippo, Joe Grandy, Drew Humphrey, Bryan Hunt, Megan Kelley, Connor McRory, Bryan Charles Moore, Kristyn Pope, Jake Primmerman, Sean Quinn, Rachel Rhodes-Devey, and Kelly Skidmore.

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The creative team for the National Tour includes direction and choreography by Randy Skinner (Tony Award® Nomination, Best Choreography); book by David Ives (Finnian’s Rainbow, On the Town) and Paul Blake (Producer, Beautiful-The Carole King Musical); set design by Anna Louizos (Avenue Q, In The Heights); set adaptation by Kenneth Foy; costumes by Carrie Robbins (A Class Act); lighting design by Ken Billington (The Drowsy Chaperone, Annie); sound design by Keith Caggiano; orchestrations by Larry Blank (Tony Award® nomination, Best Orchestrations); vocal and additional arrangements by Bruce Pomahac; music direction by Michael Horsley; casting by Binder Casting/Jason Styres, CSA. Original Broadway production directed by Walter Bobbie.

For more area event information www.litchfieldhills.com

photo credit Kevin White

Wreathmaking at Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton

Wreaths are considered to be iconic symbols of the season by many people. At the Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton a series of “Ladies Nights” for wreath making are being offered this year on Tuesday – Friday, Dec. 2nd – 5th and Dec. 9th – 12th with two sessions each night at 6:30-8:15 pm OR 8:30-10:15 pm.

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All you have to do is to gather a group of friends for 1.5 hours of decorating, preceded or followed by socializing in the Center’s warm and cozy pavilion. Relax in front of the fireplace! Bring your finest delectables and libations!
Using a wonderful array of natural dried flowers, grasses, nuts, fruits, berries and cones, you will leave with an incredible balsam fir holiday wreath. All materials are included in this Ladies-Night-Out event, the proceeds from which benefit the Woodcock Nature Center.

Program Fees – $55 to start for a beautiful balsam wreath. Our wreaths are the same generous size as in year’s past. Upgrades will be available the night you come but please pre-order any wreath larger than 18″. All decorating materials are included in the price of your wreath. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED and is not refundable for this fundraising event. Registration is only available online at http://woodcocknaturecenter.org.

The Woodcock Nature Center is also offering two family days of wreath making on December 6 and 13 from Noon-4pm. Family Days are open house, so come anytime (plan to arrive no later than 3 pm). The cost is $40 per wreath with an additional $10 discount on the first wreath for any mom who is also coming to Ladies’ Night. No reservations are required (however, if you are planning to come with a large group, please let them know ahead of time so they can plan space and materials accordingly).There will be hot cocoa served!

The Woodcock Nature Center is located on 56 Deer Run Road in Wilton. For more information 203-762-7280. For more holiday information on Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County www.visitwesternct.com

Westport’s Holiday House Tour and Twilight Soiree

The Westport Historical Society’s Holiday House Tour’s theme for this year is “Rooms with a View”. The tour will be held on Saturday, December 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and it will be followed from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. by the Twilight Soiree hosted by Lillian August’s flagship Norwalk store.

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This year’s five-house lineup in Westport and Weston will showcase homes owned or designed by well-known local interior designers and architects. The homes are diverse and include a Nantucket-style cottage at Compo Beach with a roof-top deck overlooking the water, as well as a hilltop Francophile’s chateau offering sweeping vistas.

Three of the houses are owned by interior designers, so this will be a good opportunity to see how the professionals decorate for the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons. A pianist will play at one of the homes, and several will be serving hot cider, hot chocolate, and holiday sweets.

Houses to be featured are:

Interior designer Olga Adler’s Saugatuck Shores residence: Rebuilt in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, this property went from a “tired rambler with multiple-personality disorder,” as Adler put it, to “a clean-lined, modern beach house with touches of global chic and a twist of Bohemia.”

Artist Kerri Rosenthal’s colorful mod colonial: Constructed in the late 1990s by award-winning builder Scott Buddenhagen, this home serves as a gallery for Rosenthal’s art. She works with D2 Interieurs as a color consultant, and their work has been featured in New England Home and At Home magazines this year.
1920s house designed by Frazier Forman Peters: One of Westport’s best-known and most original builders, Peters used native field stone and other textured materials to complement the landscape around his houses. This one is notable for the green Welsh quarry tiles on the fireplace and window sills, as well as for the pecky cypress ceilings in several of the rooms.

Designer Donna Gordon’s chateau in bucolic Weston ridge-top setting: A collaboration by award-winning architect, Judith Larson, with interior design by Gordon. Details, furnishings, and antiques reflect the owners many travels to France.

A Compo Beach house designed by Peter Cadoux Architects, built by Tiefenthaler Construction, and decor by Lillian August: This cherished family retreat built in 2011 on property that has been in the same family for three generations, was featured on the cover of East Coast Design Magazine in Spring 2012.

Tour-goers can visit the houses in any order they wish. Maps will be provided with tickets, and docents will be on hand to discuss furnishings and design elements.

The Twilight Soiree will feature savory hors d’oeuvres prepared by Garelick & Herbs, wine, holiday music, and an opportunity to take part in a silent auction. Up for grabs will be an America’s Cup Cruise, getaways to a Cape Cod vacation home and a mountain ski house, antique French pottery, and a painting by Weston artist Kerri Rosenthal, whose home and studio are part of the tour. Guests will also enjoy 10% off on purchases of Lillian August furnishings, with an additional 10% benefiting the Westport Historical Society.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.westporthistory.org, call (203) 222-1424, or stop in at Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, across from Town Hall.

HOLIDAY SPIRIT GETS AN EARLY START IN THE LITCHFIELD HILLS

To get into the proper holiday spirit early, the place to be the first weekend in December is the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut. Festivals galore start the season right in this region that is always as pretty as a Christmas card, and there are numerous opportunities to check off your holiday shopping list in scenic settings. The only dilemma is where to go first.

Bethlehem New England’s Christmas Town

One good place to start is Connecticut’s own little town of Bethlehem, a quaint, village that is transformed each December, when it becomes New England’s favorite Christmas Town. Thousands of visitors arrive to mail their Christmas cards with a Bethlehem postmark and to enjoy the 31st annual gala Christmas Town Festival, set this year for Friday night December 7 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a tree lighting at 6 p.m. and Saturday, December 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The town green is transformed for the occasion with some 70 vendors offering crafts and good food. Bring the family for musical entertainment, hayrides and the chance for a photo with Santa. Find the complete schedule at www.christmastownfestival.com

Bethlehem’s historic Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden will be festively decorated for the weekend, with themed decorations in each of the first floor rooms. Children will enjoy games, prizes and surprises and refreshments in the Visitor’s Center. This house will be open during festival hours, December 7 and 8 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For details, phone (203) 266-7596. For details, phone (203) 266-7596 or visit www.ctlandmarks.org

Bethlehem also offers the chance to visit a rare museum-quality 18th century Neapolitan Crèche housed in a barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. Check the hours at www.abbeyofreginalaudis.com

The Bethlehem Post Office is also offering extended hours. Bring your holiday cards and stamp them with a special cache. There are 76 stamp designs to choose from as one new design is added each year. The post office will be open with extended hours for the festival. The post office is open on Fri. Dec. 7 from 8 am to 8 pm; on Sat, December 8, 15, & 22 from 8 am to 3 pm and Mon.- Fri. 8 am to 5 pm the month of December

For area information on where to stay, shop and dine, please visit www.litchfieldhills.com.

Family Fun

Kids will love the Grinch Festival a the Imagine Nation Children’s Museum in Bristol on December 7 from 5 pm to 8 pm, where the Dr. Seuss world of Whoville, complete with crafts, sing-alongs and special visitors–including the Grinch. www.imaginenation.org

December 1-16 marks the opening of the Winter Indian Arts & Craft Market at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, and from noon to 4 p.m. parents can shop in the holiday tent that offers items for up to 70% off. The market continues the whole month of December. www.iaismuseum.org.

Holiday ornament-making for kids will take place at the Sharon Tree Lighting on the green and Sharon Historical Society Open House starting at 4:30 on December 1. Everyone is invited to enjoy hot chocolate and homemade cookies furnished by Sharon residents at the society’s headquarters, the historic Gay-Hoyt House, which is beautifully decorated for the occasion. www.sharonhist.org

The Merwinsville Hotel and Museum is transformed into a winter wonderland every year for Christmas in Gaylordsville, a world of snow villages, model trains around the Christmas tree, caroler’s displays of snow globes, nutcrackers and music boxes. The event takes place Nov. 30, 6:30- 930 and Dec. 1-2 from 10 to 5 pm. Art, crafts, jewelry, weavings, birdhouses, and photography by local artists are among the tempting items for sale. A special Story Time for children will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 11AM. www.merwinsvillehotel.org.

Festive Shopping

This will be the 23rd year for St. John’s Bazaar in Washington November 30 and Dec. 1 and 2. A live auction will take place at Friday night’s preview party, with offerings such as a week in Tuscany or a Nantucket getaway. The Bazaar continues on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with festive gift shopping and delicious treats from the famous St. John’s Larder. www.stjohnwashington.org

Another favorite historic celebration is the annual Holiday Festival at the Glebe House in Woodbury, also Friday, December 1 and Saturday, and December 2. Free tours will be offered of the museum house, beautifully decorated for the holidays with wreaths, holiday lighting, and garlands, all for sale. A bazaar offers many original gift ideas. www.theglebehouse.org

The Holiday Tea at the historic Rider House is a happy tradition presented by the Danbury Museum and Historical Society from noon to 1:30 p.m. on November 29-30 and December 1. A variety of teas and an assortment of sandwiches, savories and sweets will be served and the Danbury Museum’s Holiday Bazaar will be open with a host of gift ideas. Reservations are required–space is limited. Call (203) 723-5200 for further information.

There’s still wonderful shopping to be had the following weekend at the Newtown Holiday Craft Festival at the Edmond Town Hall gymnasium in Newtown, on December 9th where over 36-juried vendors will be offering their handcrafted wares. Information is available at (203) 261-2414.

Or plan to have Breakfast with Santa on December 15 and 16 at Wood Acres Farm in Terryville. Eggs, pancakes and sausages are on the menu, there will be horse-drawn hay or sleigh for all and young visitors will enjoy a visit with Santa and story time with Mrs. Claus. For advance tickets, phone: (860) 583-8670.

For more information about these and other December events in the Litchfield Hills and to receive a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and other attractions, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, www.visitwesternct.com.