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Old Times and New Times

Beau Gravitte brings the Actors Studio to town



Actors Studio cast members Sayra Player, Beth Manspeizer, and Chris Stack will perform Harold Pinter’s Old Times at the Playhouse.

Photo by Shashwat Gupta

(Exclusive TownVibe reader giveaway. Enter for a chance to see "Old Times" at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Sept. 9 at 8pm by simply "like" our Facebook post about it.––A winner has been selected.)

Beau and Debbie Gravitte moved to Ridgefield in 1997 from Los Angeles to raise their three kids. In their years here, the talented duo has spent more time on American performance stages than on our tree-lined Main Street—Beau is a hugely accomplished stage actor, and Debbie a Tony Award-winning Broadway singer. While Debbie has returned from European sojourns to orchestrate the often-annual Holiday Spectacular at the Ridgefield Playhouse, Beau has only once performed on the Playhouse stage—many, many moons ago. That’s changing.

On September 9, Beau Gravitte will direct Old Times, Nobel laureate Harold Pinter’s intensely rich play about three friends talking about, well, old times. “Old Times is about memory,” Gravitte says. “How memory can change, over time, and how we use memory to seduce, or to destroy, one another.” It was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1971. The three-actor performance is part of a project of the Actors Studio, which in late August will relocate to Ridgefield.

The Actors Studio is a non-profit group for actors, directors, and playwrights founded in 1947 by legends Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, and Robert Lewis to provide a place where professional actors could work to develop their craft. “It’s a private gym for actors. It’s where I was born as an actor, in front of Ellen Burstyn,” says Gravitte, of the Academy-, Tony-, and Emmy Award–winning actress. “Once you’re a member, you’re a member for life. It’s a place where you work out and define what your own workout is,” says Gravitte, a longtime board member who now serves as the organization’s associate artistic director. He commutes to its West 44th Street location a few days a week.

“Ridgefield is a great place to raise the kids, great place to come home,” he says. The Gravittes have twins Ellie and Sam—both entering senior year and pursuing theatrical paths at Brown and Princeton, respectively. Sam was a lacrosse standout and the lead in Ridgefield High School’s 2013 spring show, Les Misérables. Now he excels at academics and plays on Princeton’s lacrosse team. Ellie throws the javelin and holds a northeast distance record at Brown. Third child, Charlie, is also graduating in 2017, from Clemson.

One thing Beau has found lacking in Ridgefield: professional theater. “I had this idea,” says the tall, bearded Gravitte, whose booming voice fills the magazine’s Main Street office. “I knew that I was going to be directing a show in New York, sometime in September. And I thought, Wouldn’t it be cool if we had an out-of-town workshop?” So for two weeks at the end of August, Gravitte will host the cast of Old Times to rehearse and perfect the play, which they will perform at the Playhouse on September 9. (The cast will return to New York and open a three-week run.) “I know the sensibility in the town here, I know it’s a cultured town with good taste and good theater. I know it will recognize good theater when it sees it. And I know we don’t get it here often.”

It’s going to be full production, with lights and sets. “The actors will be well-rehearsed,” he emphasizes. As director, he’s confident in the show, and even more so in his actors Chris Stack, Sayra Player, and Beth Manspeizer, who he’s excited to introduce to his hometown. “It’s good for them to get out of the city and come up here—it’s so beautiful here in Ridgefield. If it works for both partners, it’s something I’d like to do every year.”

The Gravittes will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year, having just sold their Ridgebury house and moved to Redding. Most recently, Debbie traveled to Russia, where audiences were so swept away by her voice that she has been invited back to sing in December. “I get a big crush on her whenever I go see her sing. She always gets invited back,” Beau says. “I hope the Actors Studio can get invited back here. The show will be witty and intelligent and fun—just like the people in Ridgefield.”

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November 2017

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Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
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Where:
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Cost: $25

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Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

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Cost: $19.75

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Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
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Telephone: 203-438-5795
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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
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43 Lake Ave Extension
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More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
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Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Housatonic Museum of Art
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Telephone: 203-438-5795
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Where:
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The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
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Danbury, CT  06811
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More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

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Where:
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EXIT 2, I-84
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Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
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Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $40

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
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View map »

More information

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Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

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Where:
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316 Main Street
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View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come create new memories in a magical setting of over 100 holiday trees, elves and pixie dust. Enjoy shopping, live entertainment, raffle prizes and more! Featuring special kids events:...

Cost: Admission: Adults: $10 • Children & Seniors: $5• Kids under 5: Free

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
EXIT 2, I-84
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 1-866-907-2314
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Exhibit on view November 4 – 26, 2017 A comprehensive exhibit showcasing the achievements, careers, designs and personal accomplishments of the architects at the center of New...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

   Get in the holiday spirit and join us for the 3rd Annual Taps & Trees Craft Beer Fest being held on Saturday, 11/18/2017, 6:30 – 10:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza. Taps &...

Cost: Online price: $65.00 Door price: $75.00

Where:
Crowne Plaza Hotel
18 Old Ridgebury Road
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Jack Bouffard
Website »

More information

The Office of Alumni Relations invites you to attend the “Evita” Cocktail Reception & Production on Saturday, Nov. 18. Cocktail Reception starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Drawing Room of...

Cost: $30

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »

More information

After three past sold-out performances, Darlene Love returns with her band and the DL Singers to celebrate the Holiday season once again!  As one of the biggest voices of the 60s, Darlene Love...

Cost: $60

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "EVITA" in the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury....

Cost: $25

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave Extension
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

SEE LOUNSBURY HOUSE TRANSFORMED INTO A CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND! Tickets are on sale now for the 18th Biennial Tree Festival and Unique Holiday Boutique. November 17 – 19 Friday 10:00AM...

Where:
Lounsbury House
316 Main Street
, CT
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-6962
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to announce “Paradigm Shifts,” a group exhibition featuring paintings by Charles Arnoldi, Ricardo Mazal and Manuel Mérida.  The show opens...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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