Community Soundings: 'Annie Jr.' auditions next week; Beautification Commission welcomes new members

‘Annie Jr.’ auditions next week

Open Arts Alliance of Darien is holding auditions for its upcoming musical production of “Annie Jr.” on Dec. 12, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. at Round Hill Community Center in Greenwich.

With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Annie eventually foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations, finding a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.

Performances of “Annie Jr.” will take place on April 27 and 28 at the Cole Auditorium at the Greenwich Library.

Rocco Natale, executive director of Open Arts Alliance, will direct the musical. Rocco will be joined by Ronnie Staplefield (associate producer), Jennifer Dunn (choreographer), Maria Colonnato (costume and scenic designer), Jack Kriskey (crew foreman) and Kerry Gavin (music director).

All youth in the community ages 8-18 are encouraged to audition. Required audition registration can be completed at by Dec. 11. Auditioners need only attend one of the scheduled audition dates. Children auditioning should be prepared to sing a song of their choosing a cappella, and be ready to read from a portion of the script.

For information, please call Open Arts Alliance at 203-202-2147 or visit

Girls’ Night Out features gingerbread house decorating

The Darien Community Association’s Girls’ Night Out Gingerbread House Decorating event will take place Dec. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The DCA and Palmer’s Catering will provide light bites, wine, gingerbread houses and all of the decorating supplies.

Proceeds will support the nonprofit mission of the DCA, which includes college scholarships for Darien High School graduates.

Fees are $65 for DCA members and $80 for the public. Payment is required by Dec. 11 and may be made online at or by contacting the DCA at or 203-655-9050, ext. 10. The DCA is located at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien.

Beautification Commission welcomes new members

The Darien Beautification Commission has welcomed Christine Munro, Catherine Mahoney, Suzanne Okie and Tracey Whitehead as new members. They join members Cristine Orsi Lirot, Chairman, Julia Arstorp, Sandy Drimal, Elizabeth Hall and Susie Skerrett.

Munro has lived in Darien since 1977 with a 10-year interlude when her family was posted in Europe. She loves gardening and had a software company, SOS, which specialized in software for Landscape Designers and Garden Centers. She will serve as the commission’s treasurer.

Mahoney has been a Darien resident for 27 years and has raised six children here. After leaving her financial career, she quickly became involved with the Darien Environmental Group. She will assist with the Hanging Baskets.

Okie grew up in Darien and has lived here with her family since 1974. She has been a real estate agent in town for over 40 years and has been with Halstead CT LLC since 2009. She is a member of the Garden Club of Darien and is an avid gardener. She will coordinate the Adopt A Garden program.

Whitehead has lived in Darien for 31 years. She recently retired from banking where she worked as a senior trust and estate officer. She is an avid gardener of both flowers and vegetables. During the summer months she can be found either in her garden or at the beach.

Annual Christmas Party with Santa

on Dec. 14

The Darien Community Association is welcomng Santa Claus back to the Mom’s Morning In Annual Christmas Party on Dec. 14 at 10 a.m.

Parents and caregivers and their toddlers/preschoolers are welcome to join for some holiday cheer, and to take holiday photos. The highlight of the party will be the visit with Santa, set against the backdrop of a full-size Christmas tree nestled within the historic DCA Meadowlands home.

When there’s a line, adults will find plenty of chairs, and toddlers will have some little things to keep them occupied, including holiday cookies and juice. Fee is $10 per child. The full calendar can be found at

‘Turkey at the Crossroads’ lecture begins January

The opening lecture of this year’s Darien Community Association’s 2019 Academic Lecture Series on Global Issues, “Turkey at a Crossroads”, begins Jan. 3 at 10 a.m. with a timely talk by Steven Cook.

Cook, an expert on Arab and Turkish politics and U.S. and Middle Eastern policy, is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern and African Studies at the Council of Foreign Affairs and will discuss “Turkey and the Neighborhood.”

Cook is an author, a columnist for Foreign Affairs magazine, published widely in journals, opinion magazines and newspapers, and is a commentator on radio and television. He also writes a blog about Middle Eastern politics and history called “From the Potomac to the Euphrates.”

Previously, Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institute and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Registration for the four week series is available online at or through the DCA office. Tickets for the Thursday morning series are available until Jan. 2 at $100 for the public and $75 for DCA members. Tickets for the Wednesday evening lecture and reception are $35 for the public and $30 for DCA members.

Single tickets for the Thursday morning series and the evening lecture will be sold for $30 at the door on a space-available basis. Prepaid tickets will be available at the door prior to the first lecture. No tickets will be mailed in advance.