Curtain Raises on ShowTown, NWCT’s Newest Arts And Culture Series
“A lot of us don’t go to Florida in the winter,” says Lloyd Baroody. (Amen to that.) But that doesn't mean they're content to be shut-ins. The Lakeville resident has made it his post-retirement mission to bring the northwest corner of Connecticut out of hibernation in the coldest months of the year by establishing ShowTown, a nonprofit he’s started with his wife.
Baroody, who grew up in Lakeville, returned here after he retired early from his pharmaceutical research company in New Jersey. He loves it here, but both he and his Beirut-born wife realized that it could be a little too sleepy in the off season. A former board member of the Sharon Playhouse, he was itching to bring entertainment beyond musicals to the area when the Playhouse is dark.
ShowTown will inaugurate its first season with a weekend run of David Mamet’s play “Race” at the Seifert Theater at Salisbury School on March 22 and 23. The organization is bringing the production in following its run at TheatreWorks in New Milford.
Baroody was inspired by the Boondocks Film Society, also a Litchfield County enterprise, which brings arthouse movies to different venues and creates an event around the film’s theme. It’s been a roaring success.
“We’re doing the same thing, following their playbook to have pop-ups in the area,” he says. “People could see ‘Race’ in New Milford, but not many people want to drive in the cold and dark to see it. We give them no excuse not to see it. It’s an experiment to see how many people we can attract.”
If ShowTown can carry out its plans, there’s no reason why it can’t stick a pin in that weary “too dark and cold” excuse. Bringing in existing entertainment from other areas, such as the “Race” production, is one way to do it without incurring a lot of expenses; this is, after all, a not-for-profit that at this point is funded by Baroody himself. But, Baroody says, the idea is for ShowTown to program its own events specific to the people who live in the area, tapping into the surprising number of famous/interesting/hidden residents who have knowledge to impart.
Upcoming events might include a Q&A with local chefs, a Tedx-like event featuring prominent members of the community, and a jazz concert where you learn something about the art form. Baroody mentions the Salisbury Sinfonietta and the Salisbury Forum as organizations that have found success with their winter programming.
“We’re all trying to transform our sleepy area and surrounding areas into something more than a place where you go to sleep in the wintertime,” he says. He’s hoping high-quality programming at affordable prices will turn that around. And he’s looking for volunteers to help develop additional shows.
Have an idea for a ShowTown event? “We’re all ears,” says Baroody.
ShowTown presents David Mamet’s “Race”
(a production of TheatreWorks in New Milford, CT)
Friday, March 22, 8 p.m. & Saturday, March 23, 2 & 8 p.m.
Salisbury School, 251 Canaan Rd., Salisbury, CT
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