Concerts of Hope and Healing to benefit those affected by the Newtown Tragedy, Jan. 19 and 20 at Ridgefield Playhouse

The Newtown school-shooting tragedy continues to inspire musicians and artists to band together and raise money to help those affected by that horrific event. Such concerts are about restoring community and building hope during shattered times. There have been numerous club shows and theater concerts already, as well as creative outpourings of support from other schools and from the world at large.

Next weekend brings back-to-back events at the Ridgefield Playhouse, with some big-deal musicians coming to Connecticut for “A Concert of Hope and Healing.” 

The show has been organized by Mark Krantz Productions, which is donating “100% of the proceeds” from the show to “benefitting the survivors, first responders and honoring the victims of the Newtown tragedy.” 

On January 19, the line-up features Edie Brickell (of New Bohemians fame; she’s also the wife of Paul Simon), classical guitarist (and former professional baseball player) Bernie Williams performing with the Gil Parris Quartet with special guest saxophonist Bill Evans, the popular teen band Kicking Daisies, Broadway musical theater actress Andrea Frierson (For Colored Girls…, Once on This Island, etc.), Karmine Alers (who played Mimi in Rent on Broadway), current Connecticut state Poet Laureate Dick Allen, teen singing duo Carly &  Eliza, 12-year-old blues guitarist Bobby Paltouf, Connecticut funk/rock band The Juicy Grapes, the acoustic rock duo Destination Unknown and the Ridgefield Chorale. The show begins at 6:30 p.m.

The January 20 event, which starts at 5:30 p.m., offers the jam band O.A.R, legendary blues/rock guitarist Johnny Winter, Ed Kowalczyk of ‘90s stadium act LIVE, young Hartford-based singer-songwriter April Kry (performing with Steve Gaspar), New York singer-songwriter Gary Portnoy (best known for co-composing and crooning the theme songs from the TV series Cheers, Punky Brewster and Mr. Belvedere), bassist Steve Clarke and his trio, Fairfield County acoustic rock stalwarts Whiskey Preacher, Chris Berardo & The Desberardos (from Silvermine, Ct.), The Wagon Wheel Band (Thursday house band at Newtown’s One-Eyed Pig BBQ Restaurant), the funky Kathy Thompson Band and Stamford High School Madrigals.

That’s a ton of acts; the shows just kept expanding since they were first announced. Appreciate the range of styles, rhythms, volumes and ages—the addition of so many child performers is heartwarming.

Tickets for each show are $45, or $75 for “Gold Circle” seats. 

Ridgefield Playhouse is at 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield. The town is less than half an hour’s drive from Newtown. The theater is an elegantly restored playhouse from the 1930s. Since it was renovated and reopened a decade ago, the Playhouse has hosted acts from Marcel Marceau to The Doobie Brothers.

For more info on the concerts of Hope and Healing, contact Ridgefield Playhouse, (203) 438-5795, www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org