Not since Cain and Abel has there been a fraternal rivalry like the one we'll see this May, when local brothers, Chris and Michael Carozza vie for the top prize in Curtain Call's Dancing with the Stars! And though things will be a lot more civil, two local doctors will be participating and two funeral homes will also be represented at this 12th annual fundraising event for Stamford's award-winning community theatre.
This year's Curtain Call's Dancing with the Stars participants
Curtain Call, Stamford’s longest-running and only year-round nonprofit producing theatre organization, has created an event that has become one of the area's most popular fundraising events. According to Curtain Call executive director, Lou Ursone, "Our friends and fans love this night because they get fabulous food at our pre-show cocktail party and a great show." This year's event, presented by Ear, Nose and Throat, LLP, will be held Saturday, May 18.
Currently celebrating its 28th season, Curtain Call has assembled a terrific group of volunteer Star and Professional dancers. Patterned after the hit television show, this is the eleventh year it will be held at The Palace Theatre in Stamford. Judges’ Choice Awards are presented in male and female categories and are based on the performance at the event. Peoples’ Choice Awards are presented in male and female categories and are based on the number of votes secured in advance and the night of the event. “Votes” are sold beginning at $10.00 each and are a major component of the fundraising for this event. (Votes are like sponsorships in a walk-a-thon.)
For this year's event, 12 local celebrities/civic leaders volunteered to spend the next few months in preparation for the May event. They are partnered with dance professionals from throughout the area. This year's lineup includes: Pina Abbazia, Accounting, F.A. Bartlett Tree Experts, with Justin Allen, Arthur Murray Greenwich; Patricia Battinelli Blasius, Office Manager, The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s, with Quinn C., Arthur Murray Greenwich; Michael Carozza, Owner, Carozza Fitness, with Lina Mambella, Metropolitan Dance Center, Chris Carozza, Owner, The Carozza Realty Group, with Iraida Volodina, Arthur Murray Greenwich; Adriana Santaniello Cognetta, Assistant Manager, Bank of America, with Ricardo Sopin, Arthur Murray Greenwich; Kyle Foti, Partner, Murace Management LLC/ Realtor, Coldwell Banker, with Kimberly J. Charles, Latin Moves Dance Studio; Tom Gallagher, Owner, Thomas Gallagher Funeral Home, with Lauren Nicole Sherwood, Diva Star Productions; Merryl Hackman, with Marcos Castro, Independent Choreographer, Dr. Biana Lanson, Physician/Partner, Ear, Nose & Throat Center, with Ted Thomas, New England Academy of Dance; Monica Lynn, Owner, 5 Squares Healthful Home Food Delivery, with Giovanni D’Arpino, Metropolitan Dance Center; Judd Malin, Owner, FISH Restaurant and Bar /Quattro Pazzi of Stamford, with Katie Arbulu, Arthur Murray Greenwich;
Dr. Brian Yomtov, Owner/Chiropractor, Advanced Chiropractic & Wellness, LLC, with Kelly Nayden, Independent Choreographer.
"As a life-long Stamford resident and member of the arts community here, I can't tell you how exciting it is to see this outpouring of support from our community to help keep our community theatre strong," Ursone said. Since 1972, live theatrical productions have been presented at Sterling Farms, the home of Curtain Call since 1992. Curtain Call is in residence at the Sterling Farms complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford and will have had 42 weeks of programming and nearly 200 performances, this season.
Curtain Call's Dancing with the Stars will mimic the popular TV show in that there will be behind the scenes video footage of the couples in rehearsal in addition to live performances and commentary by a panel of judges that night. "The success of our past events has been due in great part to the dance professionals and their studios who volunteer their services to get these amateur volunteers up to speed," Ursone said. Tickets and sponsorships for the event start at $125. "The voting is a great way to get involved in the process," Ursone noted and it is a very important part of the fundraising. The night will also include a performances from Curtain Call's June production of BIG RIVER.
"Planning for this year's event started the day after we held our last event," said event co-chair, JoAnn Gabriele Latorraca, a past Star Dancer. The event committee includes: co-chair, Nikki Glekas, (also a past Star Dancer) with Diane Arditti, Dom Bria, Bob Callahan, Tom Ormond, Jami Sherwood, William Squier, Jan Ursone, Lou Ursone and Gail Yudain. "Our board and a large group of amazing volunteers - more than 100 - will make this event the premier special event in the area," Ursone said.
The pre-show cocktail party, to be held at UConn Stamford, will feature a wide variety of top shelf food and drink provided by such area vendors as Marcia Selden Catering, Nikki Glekas Events, The Waters Edge at Giovanni's and MANY MORE. For more information on tickets, sponsorships, advertising and voting, call 203-329-8207 x11.
Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre as well as outdoors on the great lawn for the annual Shakespeare on the Green presentations. Curtain Call has been voted Fairfield County's BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP every year since 2005 in the Annual Readers' Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly as well as BEST LOCAL THEATRE by StamfordPlus magazine for the past six years. Also named Best Theatre Group and Best Arts Venue by Stamford Magazine readers. Curtain Call also received The Governor's Award for Excellence in Culture and Tourism - 2011, the ACE Award for Excellence in the Arts - 2016, and, in a statewide Facebook poll in August 2012, Curtain Call was the state's favorite theatre.
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