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New Non-Profit Brings ‘Carousel’ to Guilford

Published April 27, 2016

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A new non-profit is getting ready to bring the arts to stages all across the Connecticut shoreline and it’s starting in Guilford. Shoreline Theatrical Arts (STA) will showcase regional talent in the performing arts and the first event is a production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, right here in the new Guilford High School (GHS) auditorium.

Managing Director Mary Beeman and pianist and composer Artistic Director Chad Hardin began STA in 2015 after Hardin was approached by the Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA) to apply for regional arts grants to produce performances along the shoreline.

“He received a grant for $5,000 to produce a concert version of Carousel that would benefit SAA Young Artist Scholarship Fund,” said Beeman. “Shortly thereafter, Chad and I decided to begin this new non-profit, Shoreline Theatrical Arts, since SAA didn’t have the capacity to take on any new programming.”

While the non-profit is still developing, Beeman said they have a clear idea of their objectives.

“The mission of STA is to bring high caliber performing arts productions to the Connecticut shoreline,” she said. “This may morph into something more specific once a board of directors is formed this summer. Right now, Chad and I are the only two board members.”

The organization’s first production, Carousel, will be staged Saturday, June 25 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m. at the GHS auditorium. One of Rogers & Hammerstein’s most acclaimed musicals, Carousel follows the lives of carousel barker Billy Bigelow and millworker Julie Jordan as their growing romance disrupts different aspects of their lives.

Selecting Carousel as its first production opened the door for many event partners including The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence and Women & Family Life Center. Beeman noted the musical touches on many issues surrounding domestic violence.

“There is a theme of domestic violence that runs through Carousel, and we wanted our audience to be well aware of the services that are available today that certainly weren’t available in the 1880s, when Carousel is set,” she said. “Rather than clean up the story of Carousel to be politically correct, we made a conscious decision to keep the story as Rodgers and Hammerstein created it, but to bring to our audiences the clear message that help is readily available to anyone facing this kind of crisis in their family.”

To put on the show, Hardin has gathered musicians and singers from across the state and some even from New York City. Beeman said they were also working to raise $5,000 by April 22 to pay performers and cover marketing programs and rental costs to get the show off the ground.

“We almost got to $5,000,” she said. “We are just a few hundred short, but we are extending the sponsorship deadline to [Saturday] April 30. There is still time to sponsor and get on our poster.”

Tickets will go on sale in mid-May. Premium tickets coast $40, adults cost $20, and $15 for seniors and students.

While Beeman said they are excited about the first production, they are still looking ahead to see what’s next.

“We haven’t lined up any other events,” she said. “But the possibilities are endless—dance concerts, cabaret nights, a fully staged musical, play readings, music concerts.”

To learn more about STA and the production or to dnoate, visit http://shorelinetheatricalarts.weebly.com.

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