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Newport’s “Theater Happening” a Fabulous Evening for The Opera House

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” —Vincent Van Gogh


And the stars were out in numbers. Although the sky had opened, and rain was pouring, nothing could dampen the Newport Opera House’s Theater Happening”, which turned Newport’s  Washington Square into The Great White Way for an evening, with performances by five accomplished  musical groups in five varied venues:  The Jane Pickens Theater, The Opera House lobby, The Colony House (for the exotic flamenco)  Karol Richardson for a string trio, and Bank Newport hosting fabulous jazz singer  and pianist Andy Milne, the Nathaniel Taylor  String Trio, and The New Repoertory Theatre in a restaging of "Romeo & Juliet".   Joseph R. Burdick and Thomas S. Burdick, Jr, "In the Moonlight," and Arilyn Mitchell played a celestial harp, looking like a 19th century painting.


The copious silent auction



The performers showed the kind of stage presentations that the completed Opera House will host. They included Flamenco con Magdalena,

singer  La Tanya Hall and pianist Andy Milne performing "the singular Sarah Vaughn",  The Nathaniel Taylor String Trio, The New Repertory Theatre with a restaging or "Romeo & Juliet",  and young tenors Joseph R. Burdick and Thomas S. Burdick peforming a dreamy "In the Moonlight."  Harpist Arilyn Mitchell looked like a 19th century painting as she played like an angel.

The Opera House itself, under construction, is “coming along nicely,” according to  Liz Drayton. The committee is now selling dedicated seats, which will be named for the donor.

Welcoming guests in out of the rain

Newport Seen spoke with Bill Martin, Board President Alison Vareika, Director Brenda Nienhouse, and others, all dressed for the rain.  (Newport was perhaps a “Poncho Villa”for the evening?) A cool jazz combo played in the spacious tent, where excellent food and wine were served, and living statues entertained.

Seen were: Practically Everybody, but especially Rod O’Hanley and Richard Crisson, just back from Paris, Mayor Harry Winthrop and wife Deborah, Ellen Barnes and Diana Pearson, Richard D'Addario and Ann Sweeney, Alison Schuman and Alexandra Philippides,  Christine McCullough (we could go on and on) at this party for the ages. 


                                               --Linda Phillips

A jazz quartet played inside the tent


Seats for dedication, and a place in Newport history


Delicious hot buffet


Richard Crisson & Rod O'Hanley


Chairperson of the Board Alison Vareika


Ellen Barnes & Diana Pearson


Christine McCullough


Bart Dunbar, Lisa Lewis and her mother,



Arilyn Mitchell at her harp


The Burdick Brothers sing and play at the Opera House


"In the Moonlight" pleased the crowd


John Richmond & Dave Guertin


Ann Sweeney & Richard D'Addario



The Living statues arrive


Tom Hockaday


The Chinese statue


Stroking the violin


Aleandra Philippides & Alison Shumann




John Brooks & Tom Hockaday


Larry Brown, Elizabeth Leatherman & Dick Brickley


Mary & John Hirschboeck


Bill Martin, Shauna Maguire & John Sawicki


Dick & Nancy Brickley


Introducing The New Repertory Theater


Romeo & Juliet, reworked


The balcony at The Jane Pickens served Juliet


Flamenco music played


And a fiery Flamenco, danced



Peter Stolfitz of St. John's & John Sawicki


Norah Diedrich, Director of the Newport Art Museum


? Deborah Winthrop & Mayor Harry Winthrop


Rod O'Hanley & Jennifer Booth


The sprawling tent in Washington Square


Brenda Nienhouse & Bill Martin


Ms. Nienhouse introduces La Tanya Hall













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