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Norwalk Neighbors Notes: A Dinner and a Show

NORWALK, Conn. – A long time ago, back when I was single living in Manhattan, I swam regularly at the 92nd Street Y. During one of those swims, while treading water in the deep end, I met a fellow. We had an interesting chat, so interesting that he invited me out for “a dinner and a show.” (How fun, I thought. I love the theater, Broadway or Off-Broadway, it wouldn’t matter to me.) But meeting someone in the pool was risky business for me, not because of what you might think but because I didn’t wear my contact lenses, naturally, in the pool. Would I recognize him when I could see clearly?

To cut a long story short, he was odd-looking, prematurely bald and about three feet shorter than me. (This certainly underscores: corrective lenses should be worn at all times.)  Dinner wasn’t dinner like in a restaurant with table in a cozy corner. Dinner was a hamburger at a hamburger joint called Jackson Hole. But that didn’t matter as much as “the show.” It wasn’t a show . It was just a dumb old movie on Home Box Office. By that time in the evening, I developed a splitting headache, so I didn’t stick around for “the show.” This was one thrifty fellow.

We all know thriftiness is a virtue. This week in Norwalk you can be thrifty and still enjoy a real “dinner and a show” and not just a hamburger and HBO. This Friday evening is the last night of SoNo Restaurant Week. Enjoy a three-course dinner for $19.99 or $29.99. (Restaurant Week continues for lunch and dinner through Sept. 30).  Participating restaurants are Strada 18 , Match , Donovan’s , The Ginger Man , SoNo Baking Company , Red Lulu , Bacchus , Coromandel , Chocopologie , O’Neill’s , Barcelona and SoNo Brewhouse. Nicole of Donovan’s said, “Business has been great this week.” Christine of Chocopologie said, “We have reservations for Restaurant Week and are expecting to be busy through the end of the week.”

For the show, you can still get tickets for “Boy Wonder?” – an original play written by a Connecticut playwright and featuring Norwalk’s very own John Atkin . John invites you to “come see ‘Boy Wonder?’ this weekend at the Crystal Theater in South Norwalk. It's a new comedy, possibly bound for New York, and I'm playing Eddie Parrot, one of the characters sitting at the bar and commenting on the goings-on! It is a new comedy by playwright Rick Giarniero of Stratford. It chronicles a day in the life of James O'Banion, who is juggling relationships with his wife, girlfriend and new mistress, in addition to dealing with several unique and interesting clients. In the third act the play takes a hilarious left turn leading to an unexpected conclusion.”

John added, “I've had the theater ‘bug’ for a long time. I actually worked backstage at my high school musical over 40 years ago, but really didn't get the nerve to audition until 6 or 7 years ago. I've done a number of shows in many theaters around Fairfield County: musicals, dramas, comedies. The most difficult part for me, in terms of time with community theater, is finding the windows in my calendar when I know I will be in town for all of the rehearsals and the run because I travel so much. At many theaters, the rehearsals can be up to two months, and then if you have a run that goes for five weeks.”

“I've actually had shows where I've taken off for London after a Sunday matinee,” says Atkin, “and been back Thursday or Friday afternoon for a performance that evening. Just don't tell my directors!! Comedies are great. At times, it can be difficult to stay in character, especially if things have gotten the cast giggling during a rehearsal, and then trying to hold back during an actual performance.”

A night on the town with a fella I like, with or without my corrective lenses, sounds like a perfect plan to me.

"Boy Wonder?" will play at the Crystal Theater Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $15 for students. They can be purchased at or by calling (877) 849-5327.

To have your social event, announcement or honor included in Norwalk Neighbors Notes, email Jeanne at .

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