"Music to Our Ears" at The Inn's 6th Living Tableaux production
Posted on December 12, 2016
The Inn, Waveny LifeCare Network’s independent living senior residence, recently delighted the local community with their incredible “Living Tableaux,” a unique, interactive and much-anticipated theatrical Inn tradition since 2009. This year’s production marked the Inn’s 6th Living Tableaux performance, and featured 13 resident models reenacting characters from musical productions, songs or lyrics. As traditional black drape curtains were pulled aside to reveal the living characters, the audience was challenged to identify each musical character, with a related song played by volunteer pianist Justine McCurdy accompanying each reveal. The all-resident cast included:
- Allison Caesar as “Marion the Librarian” from the 1957 Broadway Musical "The Music Man."
- Ron Barlow as “Brunhilda” from Richard Wagner’s late 19th-century opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (“The Ring of the Nibelung”).
- Rhoda Fisher as “Annie” from the Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan.
- Betty DeAraujo as “Alice Blue Gown” from the 1919 Broadway musical "Irene."
- Jane Corcoran as “Madame Butterfly” from the opera by Puccini.
- Stuart Aaron as “Davy Crockett,” the 19th century folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician, with a famous song from the Walt Disney television production.
- Helen Tomaselli as “Gigi” from Vincent Minnelli’s 1958 smash hit with music by Lerner and Loewe.
- Joni Abberley as “Dolly” from the 1964 “Hello Dolly” musical with music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart.
- Betsey Doyle as “Paper Doll” from the Mills Brothers’ hit song which held the #1 position on the Billboard singles charts for 12 weeks in 1943.
- Rose Pla as “Second Hand Rose” from lyrics by Grant Clarke and music by James F. Hanley, written for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1921.
- Pam McCusker as “Molly Mallone,” a popular song published in 1884 set in Dublin, Ireland which has since become the unofficial anthem of that city.
- Don Harbour as the “Music Man” from a musical with lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey.
- Muriel Tracy as “Nellie Forbush” from James Michener’s Tale of the “South Pacific” which opened on Broadway in 1949.
Best known as tableaux vivants or living pictures, the Living Tableaux art form originated centuries ago in Europe, but is perhaps best known today through the “Pageant of the Masters,” a celebrated annual event at Laguna Beach’s Festival of Arts, 50 miles south of Hollywood, California.
Past years’ Tableaux productions at The Inn have featured famous paintings, stars of the silver screen, book characters, and historical icons. “When we first started this tradition at The Inn, it was something I’d wanted to do for over a decade,” said Barbara Jeffries, assistant director of Resident Activities. “Finally I thought, ‘what are we waiting for?’ and put up a notice on our activities bulletin board to recruit players. I had no idea what to expect among the residents, but to my delight nearly a dozen people showed up at our first meeting.” And the rest, as they say, was history, with the Tableaux project gaining a steady momentum of interest, anticipation and participation each year.
According to Jeffries, one of the most challenging – yet exciting – contributing factors to the yearly production’s success is the intense collaboration involved. “It’s a fairly ambitious project to even consider doing, but between the costumes, practice and attention to detail, I think each tableaux looked very authentic,” said Jeffries. “The smiles on the faces of everyone in the audience made every moment of our efforts and planning worth it, and our residents – most of whom are in their 80s and 90s – derived so much pleasure from the entire process from start to finish. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s inspired, and above all, it’s something very different that we’re thrilled to share with the community.”
Located at 73 Oenoke Ridge in New Canaan, The Inn offers independent senior living through Waveny LifeCare Network and welcome seniors from all areas. Waveny provides a comprehensive continuum of healthcare to serve the growing needs and changing preferences of older adults. Waveny is a non-profit organization that offers independent living at The Inn, assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s and memory loss at The Village, and skilled nursing at Waveny Care Center. It also includes Waveny Home Healthcare, Waveny at Home, the Brown Geriatric Evaluation Clinic, Geriatric Care Management, an Adult Day Program available on weekdays with flexible hours, inpatient and outpatient Rehabilitation Services, and short-term lodging respite programs for caregiver relief. For information about The Inn, call 203.594.5450 or visit www.waveny.org.