HEADLINES

Norwalk Symphony Orchestra/New Paradigm Theatre Co-Production: Carousel: A Concert

“Carousel: A Concert – A Different Perspective”

Director and Broadway Veteran, Kristin Huffman, brings a more current perspective to Carousel: A Concert, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra/New Paradigm Theatre Co-Production.

As arts groups struggle to get audiences back after the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown, Huffman found that the template she created for her company back in 2016 (always partnering with a social justice community nonprofit that echoes the theme of the shows they produce), was more relevant than ever. Sandra Miklave, Executive Director of the Norwalk Symphony, had already adopted this concept when the two nonprofits collaborated on producing West Side Story in 2019 and South Pacific in 2020. “Making these relevant connections to and with our community uplifts us all. We are honored to spotlight an organization actively working to combat injustice
and raise the awareness of our audiences through our programming” says Miklave.

This classic Rodgers and Hammerstein show and its gorgeous orchestral music score has sometimes been upstaged by one of its controversial

themes, domestic abuse. Unfortunately, this activity is still a part of our modern-day life. Having a female director who is actively seeking advice and sensitivity led both organizations to this show's nonprofit partner, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC). Actively addressing the topic of domestic abuse, rather than hiding it, is quite a new take for the show. Huffman says it's a way to responsibly and creatively render a timeless classic for our modern-day audiences. The DVCC will help educate the cast and the audience about their work in this arena.

The DVCC provides counseling and advocacy services, support and education for the prevention and elimination of domestic violence across the Connecticut communities of Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Westport, Wilton and beyond. All services are free, confidential, multilingual and multicultural. If you or someone you know needs help, call the 24-hour hotline at (203) 588-9097. For more information about
DVCC, visit dvcct.org.

While the show itself remains the same, the approach lends itself to a more modern and feminine way of seeing one of the themes in this show. "I don't have all the answers, but I am also not afraid to ask for direction from experts," says Huffman. “Understanding why a woman would defend the man who has abused her has always been confusing to me, but it's not an issue that has gone away since 1945 when the show debuted. I want my actors to have consultants on hand who see this on a daily basis. And I want our audiences to know that if they experience this, the DVCC can help them too.”

Huffman says, "With theatres and symphonies constantly trying to fill their halls with audience members, I think the missing element can sometimes be a connection to the community in a concrete way. As much as I love art, it can sometimes seem like it exists as a distraction or just as "art." I think in the end, audiences will see a very "real" version of this show and how it applies to their real world, and then be swept away by the gorgeous score played by the orchestra. And if they end up needing help or if someone they know needs help in an abusive situation, they also know where they can go for this help in our community.”

Tickets at www.norwalksymphony.org or 203.956.6771. VIP Reception tickets for the pre-concert and intermission are available in limited quantity and can be purchased at the time you buy your tickets.

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