News Column

Shelton troupe has five upcoming shows planned

July 25, 2013


July 25--SHELTON -- If you spent any time living or working in the Valley in the last 30 years you no doubt know about The Youth CONNection Players led by founders Gary and Francesca Scarpa.

You may have even seen a production or two.

The Scarpas produce musicals each summer, and this year is no exception.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" will be on stage for five performances in the Percy Kingsley Auditorium at Shelton High School, 120 Meadow St.

The musical comedy begins 8 p.m. Fridayand Saturdayas well as 8 p.m. Aug. 2 and 3, with a 2 p.m. matinee Aug. 3.

"We've become an institution in the Valley for 30 years," Gary Scarpa said. "Thousands of people have seen our shows."

Hundreds of young people have appeared in Youth CONNection productions over the years. The troupe is made up of high school-age students through age 23.

The Youth CONNection is now part of the Scarpas' non-profit Center Stage Theatre, Inc. located at the former Lafayette School. Center Stage was established in 2005.

"The Drowsy Chaperone" is directed by Gary Scarpa and choreographed by daughter Mia Scarpa.

Gary Scarpa described the show as a spoof of a 1920s' musical with music in the style of Cole Porter.

"It's snappy and fun," he said. "We're having the best time with it. Our teenagers watch each other and they cry laughing."

The show is filled with silly vaudeville sketches, Gary Scarpa said, as well as big musical numbers.

Andrew Petersell plays the narrator, called "Man in Chair."

Gary Scarpa said the character is "a reclusive, middle-aged man in a New York apartment. The actors freeze as he narrates. Almost everything he says gets a big round of laughter."

He said he saw "The Drowsy Chaperone" on Broadway and described it as "the funniest show I've ever seen." It won five Tony Awards, and seven Drama Desk awards.

The cast includes John Corraro, Kayla Giampaolo, Casey Perruzzi, Stavros Koumbaros, Justin Zenchuk, Thomas Ball, Ali Dune, Fiona Bryson, Steve Kallas, Casey Blohm, Scott Sheldon, Chelsea Rodrigues, Bobby Henry. There is a backstage crew of about 40 volunteers. Ron Baldwin designs the sets and oversees the building of them.

Tickets are $20 for adults; $10 for students. For tickets and information call the box office at 203-225-6079 or visit


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