Just as big changes are coming for ABC-TV's "Dancing With the Stars," with sports reporter Erin Andrews in as the new sidekick to Tom Bergeron, Ridgefield's own beloved "Dancing" event is bringing major changes to its fifth and final season. Headlining "Dancing with the RSO All-Stars Show" on Saturday, March 15 at 7 p.m. are a new venue, The Ridgefield Playhouse, and more affordable ticket prices: $50 and $65 for seating, and $150 for preferred seating plus a lush post-show cast party, with plenty of food and drink, at Gallo, 5 Grove Street.
Unchanged from previous seasons is "fan favorite" voting, where the dancers, past and present, get the most competitive. This coveted prize is awarded strictly on raising money, and fans can vote for just $10 a pop. Some of the dancers are even planning their own events to pump up their fundraising, and news of these will be updated on the RSO website: ridgefieldsymphony.org.
Local notables making up this year's all-star cast are Jenny Conciatore, Allison Stockel, Sarah Bouissou, Mike Principi, Di Masters, Dr. Robert Bonwetsch, and Theresa Santoro. Each is paired with a professional dance partner from a local studio; the couples are already hard at work rehearsing for their glittery performances. A live dance band led by Arnie Gross will back the show. Resting his baton for the evening to emcee will be affable RSO Music Director Jerry Steichen--who danced in 2011 and can also receive votes.
This grand finale event, formerly a dinner dance, was recast as a stage show at the Playhouse to accommodate a much larger audience at lower prices.
For the dancers past and present, however, the biggest bragging rights come from winning the popular vote, and thus raising the most funds for the RSO.
"The whole town can get involved this way and support Ridgefield's own not-for-profit, professional symphony orchestra," said Gina Wilson, RSO Executive Director.
Dancers from past seasons eligible to win the vote are Rudy Marconi, Peggy Marconi, Marty Fiedler, Don Sturges, Terry Hughes, Petko Dimitrov, Dr. Ed James, Mike Settani, Jerry Steichen, Reed Whipple, Jennifer Pappas, Dan Berta, Michael Byl, Raffaele Gallo, Roy Reeves, Chip Neumann, Mitchell Maturo, and Sean Dowd.
Voting is now open on the RSO website and ballot boxes for each dancer are in locations around town. Tickets, at $50 and $65 for seating, and $150 for preferred seating plus the cast party, are on sale. Call the box office at 203-438-3889 or go to ridgefieldsymphony.org for details on voting and tickets.