Local student interns with summer theatre company

Intern Matthew Johnson of Trumbull.
Intern Matthew Johnson of Trumbull.

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan begins its 13th season of professional theatre at Waveny Park Saturday, June 25.

The productions run with the help of 18 college interns, one of which is Matthew Johnson of Trumbull. Education is part of the STONC mission, and as a result the theatre offers an internship program for career track theatre arts college students and recent graduates who would like professional experience in their field of interest.

According to Melody Meitrott Libonati, the artistic director at Summer Theatre of New Canaan, the internship program’s importance lies with the fact that it “helps feed and educate the next generation of the theatre community.”

It allows interns to work side by side with professionals and actively participate in delivering a theatrical season.

Matthew is focusing on acting. He is a rising senior at Western Connecticut State University where he majors in vocal performance.

For the last month, Matthew has dedicated lots of hard work preparing for this summer’s season through many hours of rehearsal. He has worked on all shows and programs of this year’s season, including the Broadway’s classic hit musical West Side Story.

Young audiences professional children’s theatre also include Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach and the new musical Cinderella, A Fairy’s Tale. He has also assisted with STONC’s educational programs such as Junior Company and DramaRamas, a program for middle school aged children with special needs.

West Side Story

From the first notes to the final breath, West Side Story is one of the most memorable musicals and greatest love stories of all time. The score by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim is widely regarded as one of the best ever written. The book by Arthur Laurents remains as powerful, poignant and timely as ever, touching upon race relations, immigration, police and community relations and gun control. West Side Story features such classic songs as Maria, Tonight, America, Something’s Coming, Officer Krupke and When You’re a Jet. Performances begin Wednesday, July 6 and run through Sunday, July 31 show times Thursday through Saturday 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees 4 p.m.

James and the Giant Peach, has been called a “Masterpeach” of a musical by critics. This delightful theatre for a young audience production is based on Roald Dahl's fantastical tale of a boy, his insect friends and their amazing journey across the ocean on a giant piece of fruit. The musical has be devised to include multiple puppets (some life size) custom designed by Jeff Semmerling, one of America’s leading mask makers, based in Chicago and integrated with actors and shadow puppets to enhance this magical story. Performances begin Saturday, June 25 and runs weekends through Sunday, July 31.

Cinderella, A Fairy’s Tale, is a new musical adaptation of the classic Cinderella fairy tale. “Children are more sophisticated at a younger age and need characters, music and a story ine more in tune that reflects more of today’s culture” explains Melody Meitrott Libonati who also authored the adaptation and co-wrote the lyrics with the composer David Hancock Turner and music director for the Summer Theatre. Appropriate for all ages, this Cinderella is more confidant, addresses how to deal with her bullying stepsisters and is more than capable to help run the kingdom. Cinderella opens Friday, July 16 and will run in rotation on weekends with James and the Giant Peach through July 31.


Tickets to shows are online at stonc.org. All seats are reserved.

Prices for West Side Story are $25-60 with tables for two from $90 and tables for six $240. Prices for the young audience shows are $22 and tables for six are $120.

Performances will also be presented by the Summer Theatre’s educational programs include: the award winning DramaRama program and the Junior Company.

The DramaRamas, a performance program for children with special needs will present James and the Giant Peach June 27 at 4pm in the Waveny Park Tent Theatre. This presentation also features a pre-show concert by STAR Inc’s The Rubber Band. Admission free.

The Summer Theatre’s Junior Company will present James and the Giant Peach Jr. on Friday, July 22nd at 4 p.m. Tickets for the Junior company are $10 and available online.

Senior sunday

The Summer Theatre has set its Senior Sunday Matinee this season for July 10 at the 4 p.m. matinee of West Side Story. All tickets for Seniors (64+) are just $25. Summer Theatre is also partnering with several of New Canaan’s finest restaurants to offer dining specials with show attendance. See their website for special promotions.

Thursday nights will be Girls Night Out (GNO).

Women can enjoy pre-show special Happy Hour and dining specials at select New Canaan restaurant.

Plus the Thursday nights there will be raffle prizes from local boutiques, spas and merchants given out.

More info

About The Summer Theatre of New Canaan: The Summer Theatre of New Canaan is a not for profit professional theatre company.

Performances are presented at Waveny Park, New Canaan (just off exit 37) under an all weather open air tent theater.

Comfortable seating and some stage-side dining tables, convenient free parking.

For tickets or more info on the shows, educational programs, events and promotions go online to stonc.org or call box office at203-966-4634.