Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Jacob Klein’s Legacy

Celebrating 75 years of entertaining



The Klein Memorial Auditorium turns 75 this year, and plans to celebrate in style. The 1,400-seat venue was built in 1940 thanks to a $500,000 charitable donation from Bridgeport native Jacob Klein, who designated the gift for a performing arts center. Designed by local architect Leonard Asheim, the structure is a beautiful example of the art-deco style popular at the time. Huge, bronze doors open into the marble lobby, which features mirror image staircases leading to the mezzanine and balcony levels. Inside, the proscenium-style stage (one of only seven in the state), has welcomed a wide variety of performances including theatre, dance, music, and comedy. From the very first performance on November 11, 1940, featuring Spanish dancer Manuela del Rio, to December’s celebratory kick-off event, the internationally acclaimed Vienna Boys Choir, The Klein continues to represent what Jacob Klein wanted for the building, says executive director Laurence Caso.

Over the years, The Klein has opened its doors for a wide variety of events. It is home to both the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Bridgeport Youth Symphony Orchestra. It welcomes the New England Ballet each year, including three performances of The Nutcracker every December. The space also hosts local high school graduations and large civil ceremonies, including the swearing in for the Police Academy and naturalization ceremonies for those being granted U.S. citizenship. Throughout the year, area school groups attend cultural and arts events including the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Paper Bag Players. 

In 2012, a strategic plan was outlined where the Fairfield Theatre Company was assigned management responsibility, and became the biggest renter of the space. “We love working with them,” says Caso. “Everybody wins.” Together, they present up to a dozen shows annually. Performers including B.B. King, Peter Frampton, George Carlin, and the B-52s are just a few of the big-name acts that pack the house. 

What most people don’t realize is that in addition to serving as a premier performance space, The Klein is making a difference in the greater Bridgeport community. Through its After School at the Klein (ASK) program, which began in 2013, Bridgeport students in grades seven to 12 spend three afternoons a week receiving professional instruction in music, dance, and drama, tuition-free. “Our mission is not to identify the next Rihanna or Justin Timberlake,” explains Caso. “It’s to provide Bridgeport youngsters with an opportunity to find something inside themselves, and to encourage kids to learn how to share this with others.” Together with a Saturday program that provides free one-on-one musical instrument lessons to kids as young as second grade (instruments are also provided at no charge), The Klein welcomed nearly 100 students representing all nine Bridgeport school districts this past year, with plans to grow even more in the future. “It really teaches them a sense of self worth,” says Caso.

The entire year of 2015 will be a celebration. February’s “Footsteps of Mandala” concert is a musical special event to promote world peace from producer Joel Martin. Emceed by MTV’s Jeremy Hassell, it features performers from around the globe. Additional anniversary events scheduled include the Marvonna Dance Competition February 20 to 22, and the family-friendly Celebration Talent event March 7 to 8, as well as performances by the Bridgeport symphony and (possibly) Bill Cosby. The celebratory year will culminate in a gala concert in November. The Klein has come a long way since that first performance in 1940, when tickets ranged from $1.10 to $8.85, and Miss del Rio and her ensemble graced the stage with their Spanish dancing. 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Fairfield Pets Rock!

Pet Photo Contest––Deadline Sept. 20

World Fashion

Buying for good: local store sells beautiful items by fair trade artisans

Party on the Go

A purse that dispenses wine!

Fairfield Out & About - Sept/Oct

2017

20 Years of Local Art

Pequot Library’s Annual Art Show––Oct 14-22

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2017

“Over Here: Norwalk in the First World War” is a bus tour that will visit the homes, monuments, and memorials that tell the story of Norwalk during the Great War and its participation...

Cost: $60-70

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Preservation Trust
Telephone: (203) 853-7495
Contact Name: Georgette Blau
Website »

More information

The Brennan Center for Justice Voter Rights and Elections team will address preserving the right to vote for every eligible citizen. The facts of voter access, voter suppression, voter fraud...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Build your child’s inner artist through the art of clay.  In today’s technology driven world children are rediscovering the proven transformational qualities of working with clay....

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Over 20 farms and food producers will have everything you need for beach picnics, Sunday dinner, even your weekly shopping. Five CT farms, including Fairfield’s own Little River Farm,...

Cost: Free admission.

Where:
Sherman Green
1451 Post Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

NPR Music wrote of the musician and Grammy winning producer, “Son Little doesn't strive to reproduce his influences; he recombines them into something new.” And on New Magic, his...

Cost: $25 Standard Members Save: $3/ticket

Where:
FTC StageOne
70 Sanford St
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic that changed American musicals forever dawns at Goodspeed for the very first time. Cowboy Curly and farm girl Laurey are taking their sweet time falling in...

Cost: $28-$80

Where:
Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT  06423
View map »


Sponsor: Goodspeed Musicals
Telephone: 860-873-8668
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ages 8-12 Staff Instructor Menu:  Created from a “Mystery Basket” which will include a protein, vegetable, starch, fruit, and of course … Chocolate! Class...

Cost: $50.00 per person

Where:
the Silo
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: The Silo
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Contact Name: kim Prange
Website »

More information

Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

The 2017 Progressive® Insurance Norwalk Boat Show®, the Northeast’s premier in-water boating event, docks at Norwalk Cove Marina September 21-24, 2017, offering water lovers an...

Cost: $15 for Adults, Free for Kids Under 15

Where:
Norwalk Cove Marina
48 Calf Pasture Beach Road
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic that changed American musicals forever dawns at Goodspeed for the very first time. Cowboy Curly and farm girl Laurey are taking their sweet time falling in...

Cost: $28-$80

Where:
Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT  06423
View map »


Sponsor: Goodspeed Musicals
Telephone: 860-873-8668
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Friday, Sept. 22nd 5:00-8:00pm Free Admission FTC Parking Lot and The Warehouse   Let's say goodbye to summer in style!  Live Music by Tony Sarno Band Cool BMW's ...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Warehouse FTC
70 Sanford St
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Johnny A. has one of the most eloquent voices in modern music - and he doesn't sing a note. Instead, he channels joy, love, humor, sadness... every aspect of the human experience, through his...

Cost: $32 Standard Members Save: $3/ticket

Where:
FTC StageOne
70 Sanford St
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Nikon Small World  exhibition runs July 29 - October 29, 2017 at Bruce Museum This exhibit showcases the top 20 award-winning photographs of the 42nd annual Nikon Small World...

Cost: $10 adult,$8 senior/student, under 5 and member free. Free on Tuesdays to all

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

The 2017 Progressive® Insurance Norwalk Boat Show®, the Northeast’s premier in-water boating event, docks at Norwalk Cove Marina September 21-24, 2017, offering water lovers an...

Cost: $15 for Adults, Free for Kids Under 15

Where:
Norwalk Cove Marina
48 Calf Pasture Beach Road
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Homes for the Brave will host the 3rd Annual Step Up For The Brave Stadium Stair Climb Challenge at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard on Saturday, September 23, 2017. This fun and challenging event will...

Cost: Early Bird registration: $25 General registration: $35 Student: $20

Where:
Ballpark at Harbor Yard
500 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: ABRI/Homes for the Brave
Telephone: 203-338-0669
Contact Name: Kathy Beardsworth
Website »

More information

TROPHIES Awarded to the top 3 Male and top 3 Female in each age group * PRIZES for Top Male and Top Female Overall * CHIP-TIMING of both the 5K and the 1-Mile * T-SHIRT, Race...

Cost: $35/$20

Where:
Jennings Beach
880 S Benson road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: Only You Foundation
Telephone: 203-292-6601
Contact Name: Kelly Fedak
Website »

More information

Step Up for the Brave – Stadium Stair Climb Challenge is a unique, vertical challenge where participants are encouraged to conquer climbing a target number of stairs in honor of our...

Cost: Early Bird registration: $25 General registration: $35 Student: $20

Where:
Ballpark at Harbor Yard Home of the Bridgeport Bluefish
500 Main St
Bridgeport, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday September 23, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Join Joe Brandt from The CT/Westchester Mycological Association for a fascinating walk through our woodlands as you look for fascinating mushrooms....

Cost: FREE

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Can we fix it? Yes we can! Every child can be a builder, an engineer, a baker, or a dressmaker at the new Mega Making exhibit. Using real materials and real tools, young makers...

Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Stepping Stones Museum for Children
Telephone: 203-899-0606
Website »

More information

Free Music for Youth Free Young Persons’ Concerts Series at Pequot Library kicks off their season with Samuel Suggs, double bass Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 at 2pm
 Pequot Library,...

Cost: FREE (Kids aged 12 and under)

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Music for Youth
Telephone: 203-254-0123
Contact Name: Misty Beyer
Website »

More information

It would be difficult for any music fan to not be aware of the Sixto Rodriguez story at this point. While Rodriguez always enjoyed a respectable if impressive following in Australia and South...

Cost: $55-$85 Members Save: $5-$8/ticket

Where:
The Klein Memorial Auditorium
910 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT  06605
View map »


Telephone: 120-325-91036
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

The 2017 Progressive® Insurance Norwalk Boat Show®, the Northeast’s premier in-water boating event, docks at Norwalk Cove Marina September 21-24, 2017, offering water lovers an...

Cost: $15 for Adults, Free for Kids Under 15

Where:
Norwalk Cove Marina
48 Calf Pasture Beach Road
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic that changed American musicals forever dawns at Goodspeed for the very first time. Cowboy Curly and farm girl Laurey are taking their sweet time falling in...

Cost: $28-$80

Where:
Goodspeed Opera House
6 Main Street
East Haddam, CT  06423
View map »


Sponsor: Goodspeed Musicals
Telephone: 860-873-8668
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags