The Howard – Theater Review “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” – Hartford Stage

Reviewer:                       Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”

Production:                     “It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play”

Theater:                          The Hartford Stage

Playwright:                      Joe Landry

Directors:                         Melia Bensussen & Rachel Alderman

The Howard’s Exhale – “I Believe in Angels at Hartford Stage and so Will You!”

 The Hartford Stage – Connecticut’s premier theater has done a zig during another zag year, instead of presenting their annual “A Christmas Carol” with the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge and astral aerial spirits, they’ve presented us George Bailey with a celestial Angel in need of his wings.  Frank Capra’s classic fantasy film, based on the short story “The Greatest Gift” – “It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play” –  is joyously presented as a nostalgic “Golden Age” radio recreation with an absolutely stunning cast of actors portraying multiple roles. This lavish Rom/Com is reimagined and adapted for stage by Connecticut Playwright Joe Landry and co-directed by Hartford Stage Artistic Director Melia Bensussen and Harford Stage Artistic Producer Rachel Alderman. The production runs from November 26 through December 25 at Hartford Stage in downtown Hartford.

It’s a Wonderful Life, adapted by Joe Landry, Directed by Melia Bensussen and Rachel Alderman Hartford Stage Company

Firstly, let me state my most cherished moments of past holidays has been spent at the Hartford Stage- I am literally on top of the world with delight at my most recent sojourn– the holidays are simply not the same without our annual visit to the Harford Stage. I don’t’ think I have missed a production of their annual “A Christmas Carol” in over 3 decades- yes it is missed this year and hopefully will return in the next turning of the calendar- yet we are joyous in heart and with gratitude that we are in audience (Mask Adorned)  to a live theatrical performance – huzzah!!

“It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play” – presented by WBFR Playhouse on the Air (“BFR” a nod to Bedford Falls me thinks)–  it’s 1945 and we are in the midst of a live radio production, direct from Hartford, Connecticut, being broadcasted from Boston to Bridgeport. Intermittent Tally lights remind our live audience members that we are “On Air” and when to Applaud, Laugh, Swoon or Cry- true audience participation- an onset Folly artist, period microphones, our radio actors enter, we are welcomed by host Freddie Filmore, a host of semi-famous radio/movie actors make entrance to their allotted microphones, and their premiere of the radio play “It’s a Wonderful Life” – we are truly transformed back to the Golden Age of Radio! Its deliciously retro!

Ah the story – oh so familiar, yet the pleasure is in the retelling, in the immortal words – “how one’s decisions in life can have a far-reaching effect on the lives of others”. Meet George Bailey, a young man, a good man who has helped so many. George has dreams of leaving his small town of Bedford Falls for fame, fortune and adventure– yet at each turn a misadventure has caused George’s dreams to Zig and Zag! It’s Christmas Eve- George is in desperate trouble, his Uncle Billy entrusted to bring funds for bank deposit, has inadvertently given the $8000 from the Bailey Brothers Building and Loan to that dastardly Mr. Potter (Hiss Hiss). The bank examiner is coming, scandal afoot, what to do? George contemplates suicide – the lives of others would be so much better if he had never been born. George needs our help- the prayers of family and friends united reach Heaven who send down Angel 2nd class Clarence Oddboddy – his assignment to save George and the possibility of earning his wings- me thinks I hear bells for Clarence and a reminder to George that no man is a failure who has friends indeed- amen!

Folks, “It’s a Wonderful Life: A live Radio Play” – just like the perennial film classic starring Jimmy Stewart – tugs at your heartstrings – it is simply inspirational– I take note at plays end – several folks are literally wiping away an errant tear here and there and that my friend is a good thing- a smile and cry- exactly what LIVE theater should be achieving!! We are simply enchanted by the “voices” of our radio actors – one could simply close their eyes and still envision the heartwarming tale of George, his love Mary, his children -ah especially little Zuzu, from those crumbling flower petals to the line “teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings”!  We are humorusly delighted in the on-set musical commercials of not only hair cream and car soap but for that Hartford Hallmark – G. Fox & Co. Department Store- this production has done it right all the way from the bing, bang, boom of the on stage Foley artist (Leer Leary) to its amazing radio cast including:  Shirine Babb, Jennifer Bareilles, Gerardo Rodriguez, and Evan Zes – my Howard’s Noticed You Award goes to the simply “Mr. Marvel-ous”  Michael Preston – from hat juggling to that “radio voice” of announcer and host Freddie Filmore to the despicable Mr. Potter – you sir are absolutely suburb! An excellent heart pulling performance from all! The Tally light is on – APPLAUD! Enjoy!

Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography tcharleserickson@photoshelter.com

“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” runs Friday, November 26, through Sunday, December 26. Tuesday through Sunday evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday Matinees begin at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $30. For show times and tickets, visit HartfordStage.org/its-a-wonderful-life or contact the Hartford Stage Box Office at 860-527-5151.

To ensure the health and safety of artists, staff, volunteers, and audience members, Hartford Stage has implemented a COVID-19 policy that includes proof of vaccination and masks worn at all times inside the theatre. Up-to-date details of COVID-19 safety measures can be found at hartfordstage.org/covid-19.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.

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The Howard – Theater Review – Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley – Playhouse on Park

Reviewer:                         Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”

Production:                      Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley  

Theater:                            Playhouse On Park

Playwright:                       Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon

Director:                           Sasha Bratt

The Howard’s Exhale – “POPS Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” – a Scrumptious Holiday Gift!

“Truly Scrumptious – You’re truly truly scrumptious – Scrumptious as a cherry peach parfait
When you’re near us, It’s so delicious – Honest Truly – Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley – you’re the answer to all our wishes”!  Well friends – wrap it up with a big red bow, tinsel and holly – this current Playhouse on Park production is indeed a scrumptiously bright yuletide offering. “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley”, currently running at POP from December 1st till the 19th, is the next chapter in the ongoing romances of novelist Jane Austen’s, renown and celebrated characters, the “Bennet Sisters”, offered here by playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, directed by the legendary Sasha Bratt, and starring Sydney Torres as Mary Bennet and Ted Gibson as Arthur de Bourgh.

Mr. Darcy this, Mr. Darcy that??  – nope – the aloof romantic hero has put a ring on the finger of his beloved Elizabeth (Lizzie) finally!!  The only thing dashing about Darcy this time around is that Lizzie has her darling Darcy dashing about as part of the sister’s lovelorn masterplan mission to secure a husband for a fourth Bennet sister. Yep, – love is in the air once more – friends hold tight onto that mistletoe – mischief and romance is on its way – Ooohwee!!! – this is gonna be fun!!

This time around, it’s all about the middle sister, the plain, socially awkward yet scholarly and musically inclined little Mary Bennet- it’s her time to find romance with a little help from her matchmaking sisters – don’t cha think? The family has gathered at the majestic home of the Darcy’s, Pemberley, Lizzie is fast at work with a new-fangled notion from Germany – an in-house Christmas tree- oh my that’s a novelty! Joining in the festivities include; Charles and Jane (nee Bennet) Bingley, now several months with child;  the wildly flirtatious Lydia Wickham –  the first and youngest of the Bennet sisters to wed, oy vey now that’s a story!; and their guests, the invited – the bookish Arthur de Bourgh and that lowly interloper Anne de Bourgh. Anne, daughter of the wealthy, and oh so domineering Lady Catherine De Bourgh, who has met her just rewards – but her shadow of discord to the Bennet gals is still being felt. Though Lady Catherine’s property and monies are to go to the male heir, her often betrothed daughter is on the prowl to finally snatch a man and keep the estate intact – you got it – namely meek, mild and bookish Mr. Arthur de Bourgh who seems to have eyes for Mary – Hmmm? What’s a poor (ahem) bloke to do?

Sydney Torres as Mary Bennet

“Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” is a clever and innovative juxtaposition of what may or may not take place after the happenings of “Pride and Prejudice” – it’s chock full of those delightful repercussions that are brought forth because of hasty judgements. It’s charmingly apparent to all who will get what in the end -hey – its Austin-thentic! By the way- as I mentioned over a year ago B.C. (Before Covid) after seeing POPS production of “Pride and Prejudice” and now “Miss Bennet-Christmas at Pemberley” – I would so gladly like to propose to the POP A.D.s  that you include a POP/Jane Austen Romance Festival  yearly  as part of your main stage season.

Firstly, kudos to our Director – Sasha Bratt – an extraordinary force in theater direction, a Connecticut legend helping to shape today’s theater scene. A true visionary is Sasha – an audience may never truly realize all that goes into a production from its style and staging, sets and even the music  – we thank you sir for your enduring and continuing legacy to Connecticut theater. Two on-set notables – Costume Designer Lisa Bebey for her excellent “Regency Era” designs and Scenic Designer, Anna Brewster for her elegant Pemberley onstage visuals.

Howard Steven Frydman and Sasha Bratt

Major applause to an enthusiastic cast of players- they are as happy to be on stage and we – an appreciative audience are pleased as well to be in their presence enjoying live theater at its finest. I humbly thank this delightful cast including our two main leads: Sydney Torres as Mary Bennet and Ted Gibson as Arthur de Bourgh – at plays end- an elderly woman sitting nearby is in literal tears when our two stalwarts finally come together-Brava to you both!! Additional cast members include: Dakota Mackey-McGee as Elizabeth Darcy, Griffin Stanton-Ameisen as Fitzwilliam Darcy, Kristin Fulton as Jane Bingley, Karim Nematt as Charles Bingley, Moira O’Sullivan as Anne De Bourgh and finally the coveted “Howard Noticed You Award” rightly goes to Miss Laura Axelrod for her vibrant scene stealing performance-she was like a bolt of lightning on stage- full of energy—in her portrayal of Lydia Wickham- good Job Miss Axelrod! A scrumptious and most excellent live production at every turn. Enjoy!

Laura Axelrod as Lydia Wickham

Tickets are now on sale for MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY,. and range from $40-$50. Student and Senior discounts are available. Student Rush is $10 (cash only), available 15 minutes prior to curtain. Previews are on December 1 and 2, with all tickets at $20. 2pm matinees are on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Evening performances are at 7:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and at 8pm on Friday and Saturday.

COVID-19 Policy: All patrons must be fully vaccinated. Vaccination card, government issued ID, and masks are required for all patrons.

For more information or tickets, call the Box Office at 860-523-5900 x10 or visit www.playhouseonpark.org. Playhouse on Park offers discounts for group sales; inquire today! Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.

 Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com

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The Howard – Once Upon a Poinsettia! A Geissler’s Holiday Happening

A Geissler’s Holiday Happening – a tale – “Once upon a poinsettia”!

Well folks, leave it to your old pal Howard to make a holiday memory wherever he goes-

This time around, I am so pleased to share this heartwarming tale that takes place in the old hometown, in the beautiful hamlet of Bloomfield, CT.

In fact, as it happens, I was visiting my favorite grocery store – Geissler’s, its a hop, skip and a jump from, one of our favorite restaurants, Bloomfield Village Pizza- but I digress – 

The Geissler’s tale it is ! – it’s the first day of December, the weather is cool, not cold, a few clouds wrap the blue skies above. Covid Mask adorned, the Geissler’s opening entry door parts way as I enter the store. In quick order, I grab a shopping basket, reach for a complimentary antiseptic towelette to bathe my hands and basket and make my ingress. 

Harvey Leon Frydman

My mission here this day, is to make something easy peasy to prepare for my dinner this evening, but before I even take a few steps away from the produce department something catches my eye.

Close to the stores entry, is a large placement of assorted holiday poinsettias plants, their vibrant red leaves quickly reminds one that the holidays are soon to be upon us. Off to the side is a woman, adorned in her own COVID mask, she is looking from one poinsettia plant to another, indecisive on which one to select. I say not one word, and just point my finger at a particular large poinsettia- “which one”? she asks. I then point out three large plants to her and then one perfectly perfect poinsettia. She takes my selection, places it in her basket, thanks me and I slowly take my leave heading toward the stores bakery thinking I have done my good deed for the day.

Yet, before I go, she turns to me and says “I know you”! I turn back a bit stunned. “You know me? – How”? I quizzically respond in return as I adjust my Face covered Covid mask. “You’re  Howard, your bother is Harvey” she matter-of-factly announces. She introduces herself to me as Mrs. Geneva S. teacher at the Metacomet Elementary in Bloomfield, where she delightfully informs me that my brother was her former student teacher several several years past at the school. As I retold this poinsettia story later on to brother Harvey, he stated “OMG – what an amazing story – there was a mutual connection, and something wonderful caused you to stop to help her”. As Harvey reminisced about his time as a teacher, he described to me how much he so enjoyed working with Mrs. Geneva in her classroom and how she was more like a sister to him. Magical things do take place during the holidays- don’t you agree?!

Well, before Mrs. Geneva and I parted ways, her to the produce department, I finally to the bakery, we both pointed at each other and I said “Wasn’t this a fantastic holiday story” – yes we both agreed – once upon a poinsettia! Happy Holidays

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Brad Davis – A Tribute to the “Voice of Connecticut”

Brad Davis – his voice reached millions throughout Connecticut – a pioneer in radio and television – we have lost an icon, a true gentleman, a dear friend – Brad Davis you will be missed by all.

Brad Davis and Howard Steven Frydman

He called me “Mr. BATV” and I called him “Mr. Radio”- whenever we met, it was always the same, a warm welcoming smile and a hearty handshake and “Howard how are you”? Brad and I, we often talked politics, we talked about the world, we talked about our hometown, but often times we just chatted about broadcasting- his start at WTIC, the Saturday afternoon, televised kid’s dance show with its milk sponsor, his friendship with 60’s rock star Bobby Vinton, his time as a television investigative reporter, and his many years on WDRC-AM radio, with its station located in our beautiful hometown, the hamlet of Bloomfield. 

Brad Davis, “the voice of Connecticut” was more than a radio personality, he was our dear friend and our neighbor, – one would often times see him  waiting in line at the bank situated at Copaco, or leisurely shopping at Geisslers. Yessiree- Brad was a “townie” and he always made time to greet a fan!  Every September, for many years, he could be found helping to give out school supplies and back-backs to Bloomfield children, and helping out at other Bloomfield local nonprofits.

Brad did numerous programs for Bloomfield Access Television over the years- I would often call him while he was still on air, hearing him do either a local commercial, or having a heated on air discussion, and he would say “Howard, hold on a sec, let me finish this or that”. I asked him once, if I could actually film him doing his radio program during WDRC’s Anniversary, “absolutely” he stated, little did I realize how early he went on the air, 5am, I was so glad to see this legend at work. In fact, a few years later, Brad did his entire broadcast live from the BATV studios, at the Bloomfield Jr. High School, as part of our then-annual BATV Octoberfest.

I oftentimes tell my favorite Brad Davis tale. I was invited to a luncheon at the Wintonbury Hills Golf Course. Having arrived early, I was sitting off to the side at a table for five by myself. Soon I was joined by Brad’s long time assistant Donna Banks, and then Brad himself, a few minutes later restauranteur Billy Grant joined us with a box load of his famous “Augie and Rays” footlong hotdogs, we each had one,  and finally, the then state Governor at the time, John Rowland, took the last empty chair at our table – wow , you can imagine the fascinating tales, the hearty laughs that took place that day- Thank You Brad For always making me welcomed.

Brad Davis- will always be a true legend – you leave a legacy of good work throughout our hamlet of Bloomfield and throughout Connecticut. I thank you for being a friend and mentor –  your voice may now be quiet, but your legacy will continue on and onward. Brad you will missed by all – goodnight good friend.

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The Howard – Theater Review – “Ah Wilderness!” at Hartford Stage

Reviewer:                       Howard Steven Frydman

Theater:                         The Hartford Stage

Production:                     “Ah Wilderness!” 

Playwright:                     Eugene O’Neill

Director:                         Melia Bensussen

“Things are always better in the morning.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 A glorious morning has finally arrived- the return of live theater – a return to the Quality, Innovation, Artistic Excellence that we have so lovingly longed for – Ladies and gentlemen, mesdames et messieurs, damen und herren, –  Curtain Up! We have joyfully returned to Connecticut’s premiere theater – The Hartford Stage and the opening night of Eugene O’Neill’s “Ah Wilderness”, directed by Melia Bensussen. Thank you Ms. Bensussen, Thank you Hartford Stage – things are always better with theater in our lives!

Critics night – We are among a thong of special guests this evening- the Hartford theater who’s-who are in the house for this special opening night- including: Rob Ruggiero, Artistic Director at TheaterWorks; Robert H. Davis, Professor of Theater at the Hartt School, actor, voice/dialect coach; famed actress Johanna Morrison; and of course Melia Bensussen, the Hartford Stage’s Artistic Director, is everywhere, beaming with smiles, greeting invitees, welcoming all to a grand night of theater – an endearing wish has come true, we are back in a theater!

Melia Bensussen,

“Ah Wilderness!” opens the 2021-2022 season at Hartford Stage, and is repeatedly reported as O’Neill’s only full-length well-known comedy, depicting a happy, gentle family of manners, and a story that ends with a happily gentle ever after. “Ah Wilderness!” had its premiere in 1933 at the Guild Theater on Broadway. The play is set in our own beautiful coastal community of New London, Connecticut, – and by the way Playwright Eugene O’Neill spent his boyhood summers here – me thinks one of the characters, koff koff – Richard is a disguised Eugene!

 It’s the Fourth of July, 1906, and we are introduced to the Miller family – Nat Miller, owner of the local paper, Nat’s wife Essie – mother of 4 – Arthur, Mildred, Tommy the youngest, and 16 year old Richard and his coming of age – yes a “Wonder Years” in turn of the century America. Along the way, there is a few drunken interludes, some old maids, a hotsy-totsy, a meanie next door neighbor, young love, a lobster boil, and even live on stage music and song. If you were asking yourself where does the title derive from –  it’s  from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – Richard’s  favorite poem – hmmm that poem must be hot stuff – it even makes its way into the musical – “The Music Man”.

Even though Eugene O’Neill’s ‘Ah Wilderness!” is stated as his only comedy, I freely have to admit, I did not find the play “ha ha funny”, yet it does get you working your eyes and ears – it’s the type of play where you are watching/listening for the nuances of language, the back and forth of verbal on stage battles that often times leads to a laugh or two. Truly you are here for the actors- a wonderful cadre of Actors emoting – live actors. Throughout the plays 2 hours 10 minutes, I literally have my head in my hands, at the edge of my seat, engrossed in the happy sensation of watching an ultra fine troupe of actors plying their craft to a house of a most appreciative audience- brava to our cast. 

And now our cast- a deep bow to you all- you are all truthfully gifted actors – I name you here – Joseph Adams, Michael Boatman, Annie Jean Buckley, McCaleb Burnett, Natascia Diaz, Antonio Jose Jeffries, Tanner Jones, Antoinette LaVechhia, Brittany Anikka Liu, Myles Low, Katerina McCrimmon, Stuart Rider, and Jaevon Williams. I am proud to provide the coveted “Howard Noticed You” award to both Joseph Adams and his absolutely amazing depiction of the curmudgeonly neighbor “McCumber” – we just love to hate ya- ya did good, and finally major kudos to Jaevon Williams as “Richard” – a stunning, heartfelt performance sir- I look forward to seeing you starring on Broadway. The Hartford Stage has provided an excellent LIVE production that is not to be missed! Enjoy!

“Ah, Wilderness!” runs October 14 through November 7 with performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm; with select weekday matinees at 2pm. Hartford Stage is located at 50 Church Street in downtown Hartford.Tickets for “Ah, Wilderness!”, with prices starting at $30, are on sale now and can be reserved by visiting HartfordStage.org or calling (860) 527-5151. Information on discounts and free ticket programs can be found at HartfordStage.org/show/discount-programs.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.

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The Howard – “Boo-field Halloween Food Crawl” – Trick or Treat!!

“Boo-field Halloween Food Crawl”

Howard Steven Frydman & IT

Boo! Take a bite out of great culinary treats from some of Connecticut’s finest food makers. It’s the fantastic and ever so eerie The Howard suggested “Boo-field Halloween Food Crawl” taking place this Halloween weekend throughout the beautiful New England hamlet of Bloomfield, Connecticut.

This unique event is sure to be a chilling and ever delicious experience for foodies and Halloween lovers of all ages. Our first stop is at the ever busy Isaac’s Bagel Cafe, situated at 16-b Mountain Avenue in Bloomfield, Connecticut, helmed by the one and only Mr. Isaac Suttar other wise known in our hamlet as the “nicest person whom you will ever meet”! Issac is adding to his extensive menu- with “pumpkin-potpourri” a myriad of Autumn favorites, including pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bagels, wacky waffles, and please don’t forget all those seasonal favorites such as, home style breakfasts, soups, salads, sandwiches and on a cool Autumn day a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate!

Isaac Sutar

What’s Halloween without a wickedly delicious trick or treat pizza- our next stop takes us to Bloomfield Village Pizza, situated at 34 Tunxis Avenue, in the hobgoblin hamlet of Bloomfield. Chef Maria Rosu otherwise known as the “Good Pizza Witch of the East” and her staff at Village Pizza will be brewing up not only her famous “Halloween “The Great Pumpkin” Pizzas”, but such incredible edibles including; cauldrons of her bewitching pastas, “spook-etti” and “zombie” meatballs, BBQ “bat-wings”, fried dough “witches’ wands”,  monstrous hulking grinders, “yummy mummy wraps”, “devil made-me do it” antipasto, “werewolf”-burgers and the Good Pizza Witches’ freshly made “Transylvania Tiramisu” dessert treats. The restaurant offers “call ahead” pick up or delivery right to your home so you can have a safe Halloween event.

Chef Maria Rosu

Calling all you “Children of the Night” – our next stop is to take a big bite out of some  devil-licious decadent desert sweet treats that can only be found at Bloomfield’s  most famous and busiest pastry shoppe – Pasticceria Italia, situated at 10 Wintonbury Mall. Here you will find spine-chilling cookie creatures, ghost and goblin cup cakes, and other mouth watering desserts from Chef Emiddio Botta. I would also suggest that besides all their Halloween decorated baked creations you give yourself one special treat by taking a big bite out of one of their freshly made cannolis-  you will wolf them down – howlingly good!

Emiddio Botta

The Howard suggested “Boo-field Halloween Food Crawl” is a wonderful way for you and your family to safely enjoy Halloween throughout  the hamlet of Bloomfield while supporting some of our local merchants. Wishing all a wonderful evening of tricks and delicious treats. Enjoy!

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.

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The Howard – Foodie Friday – An Autumn Visit to Isaac’s Bagel Cafe

Today is Friday, October 15th 2021- we are in the midst of Autumn. Where is Howard this beautiful October day you ask? I am in the hometown, the beautiful hamlet of Bloomfield- the future metropolis of New England. On this sunshiny day, oh so beautiful with leaves gently parachuting down- I am visiting my friend, everyone’s friend, the one and only Mr. Isaac Suttar other wise known in our hamlet as the “nicest person whom you will ever meet”!

As many of you know, Isaac is the owner of one of the busiest “local hotspots in town – Isaac’s Bagel Cafe, situated at 16-b Mountain Avenue in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Delicious food, a homey atmosphere, and friends amongst friends abound within the Bagel Cafe. On this visit the ever busy eatery is adorned with the tapestry of Autumn and the celebration of Halloween. 

Issac is adding to his extensive menu- with “pumpkin-potpourri” a myriad of Autumn favorites, including pumpkin muffins, bagels, waffles, and please don’t forget all those favorites such as, home style breakfasts, soups, salads, sandwiches and on a cool Autumn day a nice steaming cup of hot chocolate.

On this very day I meet a woman who had moved to the hamlet about six years ago and this was her very first time at the popular eatery. She and her friend were sitting outside of Isaacs, in the award winning Isaac garden patio, and she remarked, “I’m a bit ashamed, I’ve lived here for 6 years, I go by every day and I wondered why it was so busy here, out of curiosity I stopped by today. I had a delicious omelette, I’m taking home a bag of fresh bagels, and believe you me, now that I know the way – I will definitely be back- the food is wonderful and Isaac is a wonderful host”.

 In fact, many folks drop by each day just to say a Hearty Hello to Isaac Suttar. He’s definitely one popular guy in Bloomfield. During my visit, I join others in the queue and order my personal fave during the week, a fried egg sandwich on a toasted buttered hard roll,  however, during the week-end, its the “Isaac Special” – a veggie omelette with a side of red bliss home style potatoes. Isaac always stops by to check on me and my meal and yes – we chat away like the good  friends we have become over the years.

For a hot coffee, a fresh bagel and a welcoming greeting this Autumn- please stop at Isaac’s Bagel Cafe, situated at 16-b Mountain Avenue in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Enjoy!

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The Howard – Theater Review – Nunsense with a Twist – Seven Angels

Reviewer:       Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”

Production:          NUNSENSE – With A Twist

Theater:                Seven Angels Theatre

Playwright:            Dan Goggin

Music/Lyrics:         Dan Goggin                                                                         

Directors:                Jimmy Donohue & Semina DeLaurentis

The Howard’s Exhale – “Nunsense – The Angels Are Among Us!

Overture, curtains, lights, This is it, the night of nights – my friends, I have not been in a live theater in over a year and half- so here I sit in the majestic Seven Angels Theater, in Waterbury, Connecticut, and as they say “On with the show this is it”! The show – the musical comedy – Nunsense – “With a Twist”. Well get thee to a nunnery!

My first journey has brought me to the house of Semina DeLaurentis- yes “the one and only” Semina- let me state for the record – that the legendary Miss Semina is a treasure – a national and state treasure- Connecticut’s First Lady of Stage! We are so rightly proud of her theater and to be able to see this well renowned actress up close, performing on stage in the production and the role of Sister Mary Amnesia, that she originated and has been associated with for over 35 years. We now assemble our heavenly angelic stars – ahem – those surviving “Little Sisters of Hoboken”- our additional cast includes; Tom Chute as Sister Mary Regina, Jimmy Donohue as Sister Mary Hubert, Marissa Follo Perry as Sister Mary Leo, Mandy Leigh Thompson as Sister Robert Anne, and lastly and not be forgotten, Sister Mary Annette. Book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggins, and co-directed by Jimmy Donohue & Semina DeLaurentis.

So here I humbly sit with a joyous full audience in attendance. Seven Angels Theater is alive again. The “Good Story” according to Goggins – come meet five of the 19 surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken, New Jersey. A tragedy has once again befallen the sisterly order, – oy vey – a tale of woe – what could it be?! Originally a missionary order that ran a leper colony in the south of France, ahem, I mean on an island south of France (please take note of this important fact) until the sisters themselves started to physically fall apart and they returned back to the good ol’ USA. 

Tom Chute as Reverend Mother/Sister Mary Regina

Holy Mal De Mer! Yet now another act of Armageddon has occurred among the sisters – a culinary disaster of the most biblical proportions-  Chef Sister Julia, Child of God (ahem) has unfortunately prepared her infamous vichyssoise for a final last supper, tainted and oh-so deadly, that 52 of the sisters are heaven-sent. The Little Sisters of Hoboken, have only enough funds to bury 48 of the 52 sisters – Sister Mary Regina/Reverend Mother (the most exalted Tom Chute) has spent the extra funds needed for burial on a brand new HD 4K Television- what to do – WHAT TO DO?! Why put on a musical, comedy, laugh out loud variety show, what else! 

I truly admit, I’ve seen Nunsense performed at other theatrical venues, but never with Semina DeLaurentis in performance- my friends she is a gem, a dynamo, a master of comedy, a literal ball of energy – a hoot and a half! I was thrilled when she began the “act” where she gentle but firmly quizzes the audience. Question one – “and the leper colony was established on an island south of ? I quickly raised my hand and retorted “France” and received my genuine St. Christopher Motorist Prayer Card from Sister Mary Amnesia. Believe you me, I was thrilled to receive the card, and that throughout the show she acknowledged pointedly that I was the “card collector guy”.  Another not to be missed Semina moment is when now accompanied by the bawdy, but oh so lovable hand-puppet, Sister Mary Annette – belts out ”So You Want To Be A Nun” – an unforgettable fun-tastic moment!

As they say a great cast is worth repeating, Miss DeLaurentis, is surrounded by an “oh so” satisfying sisterly assemblage. Tom Chute –  the longtime WATR morning host, portrays Sister Mary Regina, the Reverend Mother,  you sir were extraordinary – truly exceptional on stage, singing, dancing, a wonderfully playful tongue in cheek performance! Thank you Tom! We told you about Jimmy Donohue when we reviewed “Elf The Musical” at Seven Angels – our opinion of him remains the same I’m afraid- “this future Tony/Academy/Emmy/Grammy star is Mr. Jimmy Donohue – this is “star” quality – I want you to remember his name, Jimmy Donohue”. Jimmy ya did good as Sister Mary Hubert- you are a Star! -‘nuff said! Marissa Follo Perry as Sister Mary Leo – we also saw her last in playwright Jacques Lamarre’s “Love and Spumoni” – as usual you are simply radiant on stage-a true triple treat to the eyes and ears. Miss Mandy Leigh Thompson portrays Sister Anne, I have not had the previous opportunity to see you perform- but throughout the show you simply soar on stage! What a voice on you -clear crisp precise- Outstanding talent on stage! Miss Thompson, you also deserve to receive the coveted “Howard Noticed You” Award – great job! Nunsense at Seven Angels is an Outstanding opportunity to see greatness on stage that is not to be missed! Enjoy!

Marissa Follo Perry as Sister Mary Leo

Evening and matinee shows available. Tickets are $30. Call the Seven Angels Theatre box office at 203-757-4676, online at sevenangelstheatre.org, or stop in on Plank Road in Waterbury. Bring your friends for a great night out. Doors and Devil’s Corner Bar open 1 hour before curtain. Free Parking. Minutes off I-84.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.

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The Howard – Theater Review – Nunsense with a Twist

Reviewer:             Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”

Production:                      NUNSENSE – With A Twist

Theater:                            Seven Angels Theatre

Playwright:                        Dan Goggin

Music/Lyrics:                     Dan Goggin                                                                         

Directors:                           Jimmy Donohue & Semina DeLaurentis

The Howard’s Exhale – “Nunsense – The Angels Are Among Us!

Overture, curtains, lights, This is it, the night of nights – my friends, I have not been in a live theater in over a year and a half- so here I sit in the majestic Seven Angels Theater, in Waterbury, Connecticut, and as they say “On with the show this is it”! The show – the musical comedy – Nunsense – “With a Twist”. Well get thee to a nunnery!

My first journey has brought me to the house of Semina DeLaurentis- yes “the one and only” Semina- let me state for the record – that the legendary Miss Semina is a treasure – a national and state treasure- Connecticut’s First Lady of Stage! We are so rightly proud of her theater and to be able to see this well renowned actress up close, performing on stage in the production and the role of Sister Mary Amnesia, that she originated and has been associated with for over 35 years. We now assemble our heavenly angelic stars – ahem – those surviving “Little Sisters of Hoboken”- our additional cast includes; Tom Chute as Sister Mary Regina, Jimmy Donohue as Sister Mary Hubert, Marissa Follo Perry as Sister Mary Leo, Mandy Leigh Thompson as Sister Robert Anne, and lastly and not to be forgotten, Sister Mary Annette. Book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggins, and co-directed by Jimmy Donohue & Semina DeLaurentis.

So here I humbly sit with a joyous full audience in attendance. Seven Angels Theater is alive again. The “Good Story” according to Goggins – come meet five of the 19 surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken, New Jersey. A tragedy has once again befallen the sisterly order, – oy vey – a tale of woe – what could it be?! Originally a missionary order that ran a leper colony in the south of France, ahem, I mean on an island south of France (please take note of this important fact) until the sisters themselves started to physically fall apart and they returned back to the good ol’ USA. 

Tom Chute portrays Sister Mary Regina/Reverend Mother

Holy Mal De Mer! Yet now another act of Armageddon has occurred among the sisters – a culinary disaster of the most biblical proportions-  Chef Sister Julia, Child of God (ahem) has unfortunately prepared her infamous vichyssoise for a final last supper, tainted and oh-so deadly, that 52 of the sisters are heaven-sent. The Little Sisters of Hoboken, have only enough funds to bury 48 of the 52 sisters – Sister Mary Regina/Reverend Mother (the most exalted Tom Chute) has spent the extra funds needed for burial on a brand new HD 4K Television- what to do – WHAT TO DO?! Why put on a musical, comedy, laugh out loud variety show, what else! 

I truly admit, I’ve seen Nunsense performed at other theatrical venues, but never with Semina DeLaurentis in performance- my friends she is a gem, a dynamo, a master of comedy, a literal ball of energy – a hoot and a half! I was thrilled when she began the “act” where she gentle but firmly quizzes the audience. Question one – “and the leper colony was established on an island south of ? I quickly raised my hand and retorted “France” and received my genuine St. Christopher Motorist Prayer Card from Sister Mary Amnesia. Believe you me, I was thrilled to receive the card, and that throughout the show she acknowledged pointedly that I was the “card collector guy”.  Another not to be missed Semina moment is when now accompanied by the bawdy, but oh so lovable hand-puppet, Sister Mary Annette – belts out ”So You Want To Be A Nun” – an unforgettable fun-tastic moment!

As they say a great cast is worth repeating, Miss DeLaurentis, is surrounded by an “oh so” satisfying sisterly assemblage. Tom Chute –  the longtime WATR morning host, portrays Sister Mary Regina, the Reverend Mother,  you sir were extraordinary – truly exceptional on stage, singing, dancing, a wonderfully playful tongue in cheek performance! Thank you Tom! We told you about Jimmy Donohue when we reviewed “Elf The Musical” at Seven Angels – our opinion of him remains the same I’m afraid- “this future Tony/Academy/Emmy/Grammy star is Mr. Jimmy Donohue – this is “star” quality – I want you to remember his name, Jimmy Donohue”. Jimmy ya did good as Sister Mary Hubert- you are a Star! -‘nuff said! Marissa Follo Perry as Sister Mary Leo – we also saw her last in playwright Jacques Lamarre’s “Love and Spumoni” – as usual you are simply radiant on stage-a true triple treat to the eyes and ears. Miss Mandy Leigh Thompson portrays Sister Anne, I have not had the previous opportunity to see you perform- but throughout the show you simply soar on stage! What a voice on you -clear crisp precise- Outstanding talent on stage! Miss Thompson, you also deserve to receive the coveted “Howard Noticed You” Award – great job! Nunsense at Seven Angels is an Outstanding opportunity to see greatness on stage that is not to be missed! Enjoy!

Evening and matinee shows available. Tickets are $30. Call the Seven Angels Theatre box office at 203-757-4676, online at sevenangelstheatre.org, or stop in on Plank Road in Waterbury. Bring your friends for a great night out. Doors and Devil’s Corner Bar open 1 hour before curtain. Free Parking. Minutes off I-84.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.

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The Howard – Passticceria Italia Bakery – Bloomfield, CT

The Howard – Howard Steven Frydman

Chef Emiddio Botta, owner of Passticceria Italia Bakery, situated in the beautiful Hamlet of Bloomfield, Connecticut, is proudly celebrating 25 years this August of continuous service throughout New England.

Emiddio Botta’s dedication, passion and hard work in providing the finest in baked goods, artisan pastries, and gourmet taste treats is truly inspiring and the reason for his long continued success as the premiere baker not only in Bloomfield, but throughout New England. Chef Emiddio Botta has additionally achieved celebrity status as one of the premiere pastry chefs here in Connecticut with his bakery “Pasticceria Italia” designated as “number one” of the top ten owner-owned bakeries here in Connecticut.

State Representative Bobby Gibson, who serves the 15th District – Bloomfield and Windsor CT, sent the following congratulatory remarks; “To Chef Emiddio Botta, owner of Passticceria Italia on your 25th Anniversary in business. Congratulations and thank you for your delicious treats and service to the Bloomfield Community. May your next 25 years be just as wonderful! Salute!”

The Honorable Sydney Schulman, former Mayor of Bloomfield states, “Good Morning Everyone, I am thrilled to congratulate Chef Emiddio Botta on the celebration of his 25 years of providing the BEST Italian pastry and baked goods in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. I have talked to people from New Hampshire who have tasted his preparations at the Big E in Springfield and couldn’t wait to taste more. He is a shining jewel in Bloomfield’s restaurant and bakery establishments.  But, this jewel, like a fine diamond, shines outside the confines of Bloomfield to all over Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. A deep secret that should not be kept is his ability to serve Italian pasta meals at the restaurant also. If you want a taste of Heaven, try his pastries, Italian bread, etc.”

“It all started with a cannollie”, states Howard Steven Frydman, “it was during one of my first food reviews in 2008 for the Bloomfield Messenger, that Emiddio introduced me to one of his freshly made cannollies and I was hooked. I learned that he creates over 5000 cannolis each month and I’m sure I’ve eaten my share of them. Around ten years later Emiddio provided the grand cake for my 30th Anniversary Party as General Manager of BATV- the the three layer chocolate mousse cream cake was the hit of the celebration. In fact, during Thanksgiving, it has been a family tradition in my home to have one of Emiddio’s freshly made chocolate cream pies each and every year. Emiddio is one special person in our town, and I wish him a glorious anniversary and another 25 years of successful business here in Bloomfield.”

Emiddio, along with wife Carmen, son Giovanni and his entire dedicated bakery staff, arrives at the bakery at 5am, and off they go, turning out besides everyone’s favorite Cannolis and stogliatellas, aka Lobster Tails, but freshly made pies, breads, cakes and cookies and so much more. The ever busy bakery located at the Wintonbury Mall is a historic “Must Visit” destination stop for anyone visiting the charming hamlet of Bloomfield, CT. No matter what time of day, year, or even holiday – Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, or even Halloween, throngs of folks can be found in queue awaiting a freshly made baked artisan pastry treat, a hot from the oven pizza or even ordering their multi tiered weddings, anniversary or birthday cakes from Emiddio- the Maestro of marzipan.

Visitors always take note that the pastry shop’s glass showcases are always brimming with such freshly made baked goods, including, Whip Cream Cakes, Ricotta Cakes, Chocolate Mousse Cakes,Tiramisu Cakes, German Chocolate Cakes, Napoleon Cakes, Rum Cakes, Cappuccino Cakes, Strawberry Cheese Cakes-, and pies galore- Apple, Chocolate and Banana Cream, Pecan, Yam and Sweet Potato Pie, and there is so much more- and we have not even started on the myriad of Italian cookies, home made soups and sandwiches.

Chef Botta states, “I am ever so proud of my family and staff for what they have achieved in the past 25 years. In honor of our Anniversary, anyone who can bring in a photo of one of our Wedding, Anniversary or Birthday cakes that was purchased and created here at Passticceria Italia will receive a 10% discount on one of our special event cake creations purchased during our anniversary month”.

Paticceria Italia Bakery is located at the Wintonbury Mall, Bloomfield, Connecticut. For information of how to order your freshly make baked goods, please contact Chef Emiddio Botta at (860) 242-3440. Please remember to wear your face mask and social distancing is required when visiting the bakery.

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