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Cuba's Faded Glory



Waves crash, smoke wafts, people hustle. A motley sea of vintage cars and tattered buildings surround me. Spanish—soft and round—blends seamlessly with the insistent pulse of son, mambo, and rumba. The air is an unmistakable blend of sea, tobacco, and diesel. 

Yes, Cuba is a place that assaults the senses, that embodies paradox and defies logic. It is also a place where I was fortunate to take 23 travelers in February as part of a Fairfield University Bellarmine Museum of Art new program to promote cultural exchange. Our group, comprised of alumni and faculty as well as members of the general public, noticed that things were definitely different in Cuba from the moment we arrived. Upon entering the small baggage hall, my husband Victor (a Cuban-American architect) and I were approached by a somber young man in a khaki uniform. “Luis” was very interested in the literature we had in our carry-on bag—Bellarmine exhibition catalogs. For ten rather tense minutes he recorded, in long-hand, our answers to his many questions together with the title of each publication. 

Once released, we stepped out of the airport into a parking lot filled with vintage American cars—living relics of Havana’s pre-Revolutionary days. Equally eye-catching is the propagandistic imagery, which proclaims the rectitude of revolution and the righteousness of socialism from murals and billboards. A broad billboard near the airport, for instance, apotheosizes Che Guevara: “We see you each day, pure like a child or an honest man, Che, Commander, friend.”

Also remarkable are the holdings of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, now divided into two separate collections: Cuban Art (housed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes) and “Universal” Art (in the Palacio del Centro Asturiano). Another collection worth visiting is the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas. Housed in a villa once owned by a wealthy Countess, the museum—and the treasures it contains—give modern-day visitors a clear sense of how Havana’s élite lived before 1959. One such person was Ernest Hemingway. His island residence, FincaVigía, can be visited by tourists, as can his room (#511) at the Hotel Ambos Mundos in Old Havana.

Old Havana offers evidence of Cuba’s efforts to preserve its architectural patrimony. The city’s five civic squares are bounded by colonial structures that are, generally speaking, far better maintained than the city’s other crumbling edifices. This dichotomy reveals itself on the outskirts of town as well; perhaps nowhere more so than at the sprawling arts complex known as “ISA” (Instituto Superiore des Artes). This project was spearheaded by Castro’s Revolutionary government in 1961, when a golf club was nationalized to create a vast campus comprising five separate art schools. By 1965, however, the regime’s once-utopian project was abandoned. We visited the best of what remains: Ricardo Porro’s School of the Plastic Arts; notable for its organic design and “Catalan” masonry vaults. Here we were wowed by the architect’s evocative spaces and by the opportunity to meet young painters and graphic artists at work. It is their creative energy that gives one hope for renewal in the midst of chaos and privation.

We also visited the Taller Experimental de Gráfica de La Habana, a co-operative of some 120 graphic artists. Visitors can engage directly with artists at this studio just off of Cathedral Square in Old Havana, in addition to buying their works. Classified as “informational material,” artworks are among the few things Americans can bring home from Cuba.

A state-trained guide accompanied our group, contextualizing the “Triumph of the Revolution” along the way and steering us toward state-owned restaurants. The food tries hard, though unsuccessfully, to emulate Continental cuisine—white fish in white sauce abounds. Though meals in Havana may disappoint, the rum does not. This amber elixir, like the omnipresent cigars, does not qualify as “informational material,” and therefore must be enjoyed in situ. 

Cuba is inherently beautiful, despite its current state of decrepitude. There is a real risk, however, that change—if it comes—will be accompanied by a charmless brand of global capitalism. And here’s the rub: achieving prosperity without the destruction of all that makes Cuba unique. If the balance is not right, you may find yourself ordering your cortadito at a Starbucks on Revolutionary Square, your mojito at a Cheesecake Factory in Habana Vieja.

 

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Fairfield Out & About - July/August

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August 2017

It's Doo Wop time! The Barons are one of the Tri-State's hottest "oldies" groups with over 30 years of performing experience.The vocalists consist of three males and one female...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Samba time! If you love Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66, you will love this band! Perfect for any age to dance away to, and to have fun! When Maria Tiscia was invited to play at...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

NOLA’s Dirty Dozen Brass Band are back and dirtier than ever. After more than three dozen years, these Crescent City originals still play a wildly energetic blend of jazz, bebop, and funk. A...

Cost: $35 Standard Members Save: $5/ticket

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


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

More information

“When you get the spark, you got to ride that energy,” says G. Love, and that spark certainly ignites on his 10th studio full-length album, Love Saves The Day. He calls the new release...

Cost: $27/ $30 Day Of- Standing room only; limited seats available

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


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

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

"From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you...

Cost: $15 for Adults. $12 for children 12 & Under.

Where:
The Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Ghosts, ghouls and goblins greet visitors to the historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse, which is decorated to provide thrills and chills for youngsters of all ages (only two rooms are kept dark)....

Cost: Free aside from ferry tickets

Where:
Norwalk Seaport Association Dock
4 N. Water Streets
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Pequot Library invites you to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen, beloved author, at "Jane Austen: Insights and Influences.” This exhibition is part of the ongoing series...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
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

Calling all artists! Submit your work to Pequot Library’s 20th Annual Art Show, “The Story of Art.” Online submissions must be received by midnight on September 15, 2017 in order...

Cost: $25 per piece for up to five entries, $15 per piece for age 22 and under

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.113
Contact Name: Art Show
Website »

More information

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Make Your Own Martian Slime is one of many out-of-this-world astronomy week activities at Stepping Stones starting August 14 and culminating with the Great American Eclipse...

Cost: $15

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


Website »

More information

It's Doo Wop time! The Barons are one of the Tri-State's hottest "oldies" groups with over 30 years of performing experience.The vocalists consist of three males and one female...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Easter Island Formed by brothers Ethan and Asher Payne in 2010, Easter Island creates panoramic, post-rock inspired dream pop. Behind the wall of towering drums, glassy guitars, and the forceful...

Cost: $18 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

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Pequot Library invites you to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen, beloved author, at "Jane Austen: Insights and Influences.” This exhibition is part of the ongoing series...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
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

Calling all artists! Submit your work to Pequot Library’s 20th Annual Art Show, “The Story of Art.” Online submissions must be received by midnight on September 15, 2017 in order...

Cost: $25 per piece for up to five entries, $15 per piece for age 22 and under

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.113
Contact Name: Art Show
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

It's Doo Wop time! The Barons are one of the Tri-State's hottest "oldies" groups with over 30 years of performing experience.The vocalists consist of three males and one female...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Well-published travel writer and New York University professor Dr. Rochelle Almeida presents "A Jaunt with Jane," an audio-visual lecture reviewing the life and times of Jane Austen and...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 11
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Pequot Library invites you to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen, beloved author, at "Jane Austen: Insights and Influences.” This exhibition is part of the ongoing series...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
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

Calling all artists! Submit your work to Pequot Library’s 20th Annual Art Show, “The Story of Art.” Online submissions must be received by midnight on September 15, 2017 in order...

Cost: $25 per piece for up to five entries, $15 per piece for age 22 and under

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.113
Contact Name: Art Show
Website »

More information

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Watch Emma. Discover how the 21st century envisions the timeless works of Jane Austen during this special summer movie series. Offered in conjunction with the Pages from Pequot Special Collections...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

It's Doo Wop time! The Barons are one of the Tri-State's hottest "oldies" groups with over 30 years of performing experience.The vocalists consist of three males and one female...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

A panel discussion uniquely tailored to students who want to continue their music studies in college. The panel will address how to leverage their music skills in the application process, discuss...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 11
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Pequot Library invites you to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen, beloved author, at "Jane Austen: Insights and Influences.” This exhibition is part of the ongoing series...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
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

Calling all artists! Submit your work to Pequot Library’s 20th Annual Art Show, “The Story of Art.” Online submissions must be received by midnight on September 15, 2017 in order...

Cost: $25 per piece for up to five entries, $15 per piece for age 22 and under

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.113
Contact Name: Art Show
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

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

It's Doo Wop time! The Barons are one of the Tri-State's hottest "oldies" groups with over 30 years of performing experience.The vocalists consist of three males and one female...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Award-winning Alex Beyer, 22, has received warm praise for his performances nationally and internationally. In 2016, he was the bronze medalist in the Queen Elisabeth Competition, and was named one...

Cost: Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students.

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
Website »

More information

An American musician and singer-songwriter, Fogerty is a rock icon. As the lead singer and lead guitarist of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty's prolific songwriting helped pen some of the...

Cost: Please visit www.levittpavilion.com for tickets.

Where:
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts
40 Jesup Road
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Sponsor: Tiffany & Co. and Crystal Springs
Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Pequot Library invites you to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen, beloved author, at "Jane Austen: Insights and Influences.” This exhibition is part of the ongoing series...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
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

Calling all artists! Submit your work to Pequot Library’s 20th Annual Art Show, “The Story of Art.” Online submissions must be received by midnight on September 15, 2017 in order...

Cost: $25 per piece for up to five entries, $15 per piece for age 22 and under

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.113
Contact Name: Art Show
Website »

More information

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
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...

It's Doo Wop time! The Barons are one of the Tri-State's hottest "oldies" groups with over 30 years of performing experience.The vocalists consist of three males and one female...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Pequot Library invites you to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen, beloved author, at "Jane Austen: Insights and Influences.” This exhibition is part of the ongoing series...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
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

Calling all artists! Submit your work to Pequot Library’s 20th Annual Art Show, “The Story of Art.” Online submissions must be received by midnight on September 15, 2017 in order...

Cost: $25 per piece for up to five entries, $15 per piece for age 22 and under

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.113
Contact Name: Art Show
Website »

More information

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Running throughout the afternoon of Saturday, August 26, 2017, Black Rock’s 2nd annual PorchFest is a free music festival featuring over 30 performances by talented local musicians. Each...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various Locations
Fairfield, CT


Website »

More information

It's Doo Wop time! The Barons are one of the Tri-State's hottest "oldies" groups with over 30 years of performing experience.The vocalists consist of three males and one female...

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members, free for children 12 & under.

Where:
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens
151 Brookdale Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Pequot Library invites you to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen, beloved author, at "Jane Austen: Insights and Influences.” This exhibition is part of the ongoing series...

Cost: Free

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext. 15
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Calling all artists! Submit your work to Pequot Library’s 20th Annual Art Show, “The Story of Art.” Online submissions must be received by midnight on September 15, 2017 in order...

Cost: $25 per piece for up to five entries, $15 per piece for age 22 and under

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


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.113
Contact Name: Art Show
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

“Appropriate,” the 2014 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play, will be staged at Westport Country Playhouse, from August 15 through September 2. The story of family secrets...

Cost: Tickets start at $30

Where:
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT  06880
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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