Thursday, November 6, 2008

G.I Joes, "Jazzy" Joe, and Classy Bluegrass

The Veterans Memorial Theater Company, based in South Windsor, comes to Middletown for its inaugural production. "Pvt. Wars", a 1979 play written by James McLure, tells the story of 3 soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. They are in the recreation room of a V.A.Hospital and, through a series of short scenes, come to know each other and begin to trust themselves.

Despite the "heaviness" of the topic, the play actually has many lighter moments. Starring Dana O'Neal, Foster Reese, and Phil Godeck, performances take place at 8 p.m. the next 2 Fridays and Saturdays (11/7, 8, 14, and 15) in the Green Street Arts Center. There is also a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday November 16. Directing the show is Kathy Keena with the Middletown-based Connecticut Heritage Productions serving as co-producers. For ticket information, call 347-7771.

Bassist, composer, former Middletown resident, and world traveler Joe Fonda returns to The Buttonwood Tree this Friday night with a new ensemble. He's heading a trio featuring saxophonist Cliff White and special guest Jacek Kochan on drums. The Polish-born Kochan spent 15 years in the United States and Canada before returning to Warsaw. He's a skillful player who really likes to push the music so he should be an excellent companion for the rhythmical style of Fonda. The music begins at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, the Buttonwood presents the Grass Routes Bluegrass quintet at 7 p.m. Led by Bill Reverley (mandolin, fiddle, vocals) and his wife Marilyn Toback-Reverley (guitar,vocals), the ensemble blends traditional material with modern folk and country tunes. All the members sings and their harmonies can be quite nice. They've been performing in the area since the early 1980s and have a loyal following. For more information about The Buttonwood's offerings, call 347-4957 or go to

Also, don't forget that violinist/violist Anthea Kreston plays a free concert this Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Hubbard Room of The Russell Library. An afternoon of French Sonatas should be just the cure for the November doldrums.

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