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American Idol's Siobhan Magnus, 'Gnomeo & Juliet' and More

Enrich your life, Aug. 4 – 10, 2011

Capital Classics Presents Shakespeare's Richard III

One of William Shakespeare's most compellingly diabolical villains comes to life when the Capital Classics company presents Richard III. Set during England's War of the Roses, the play dramatizes the life of a scheming, ambitious usurper of the throne.

Performances continue August 4 through 7, and August 11 through 14. They are held outdoors in the garden of the Carol Autorino Center at , 1678 Asylum Ave., West Hartford. In the event of rain, performances move inside the adjacent Hoffman Auditorium. Tickets, available at the door, cost $12 adults; $7 students. To reserve, visit www.capitalclassics.org or call 860-231-5555.

'Voicestrumentalist' Lipbone Redding at Blue Back Square

West Hartford's continues A Little Wednesday Night Music, its series of free outdoor concerts, on Aug. 10 when Lipbone Redding performs. Billed as a "voicestrumentalist and Southern gentleman," Redding combines New Orleans swing, Memphis grooves and New York City style in his original tunes.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. at the pergola on Isham Road. for more information, visit www.bluebacksquare.com/events

Colonial Kids' Adventure Camp at Noah Webster

West Hartford's hosts its final week of Colonial Kids' Adventure Camp from Aug. 8 through 12. Children ages 8 to 11 are invited to relive life in the 1700s. Activities include colonial crafts and hearth cooking, playing with colonial toys, and putting on a colonial-themed skit for parents. The children also visit in West Hartford where they dip candles, wash wool, and care for animals.

Camp hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Cost is $265; $239 members. The Noah Webster House is at 227 South Main St., West Hartford. For more information, visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org or call 860-521-5362.

Civil War History at Stanley-Whitman

When the Civil War came to Connecticut, the people of Farmington and Unionville gave all they had to the Union cause. On Aug. 8 through 12, their contributions are celebrated in a series of programs at Farmington's Stanley-Whitman House. The museum's education coordinator, Joann Zeisner, leads participants through each of the sessions. The schedule is as follows: 

Aug. 8 – "Remnants of the Past" highlights the diaries, letters, photographs and other artifacts saved by soldiers and their families.

Aug. 9 – "Outfitting Soldiers" examines the role of Connecticut's textile mills and armories in outfitting Union soldiers. Confederate uniforms are also discussed. 

Aug. 10 – "Military Life and Battlefields" focuses on the men of Farmington's Connecticut 16th Infantry, Company C, who survived the Battle of Plymouth and were sent to the infamous Andersenville Prison in North Carolina.

Aug. 11 – "Medicine During the Civil War" compares how each side treated its wounded and dealt with sanitation. The emergence of nursing is explored.

Aug. 12 – "Changing Lifestyles" looks at the aftermath of the Civil War and how it affected people.

Each program runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $20 per day per person and registration is required. The Stanley-Whitman House is at 37 High St., Farmington. For more information, visit www. stanleywhitman.org or call 860-677-9222.

Gnomeo & Juliet in Canton 

Gnomeo, Gnomeo, wherefore art thou, Gnomeo ... William Shakespeare's timeless tale of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, gets turned on its head in Gnomeo & Juliet, a 2011 animated adaptation of the love story. The film screens outdoors on Aug. 6 at the Farmington Valley Shoppes in Canton. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt voice the lead characters, who resemble those red-capped garden ornaments. Also lending their voices are Michael Caine, Maggie Smith and Ozzy Osbourne. The screening is preceded by entertainment by Join the Circus – Show and Workshop.

The pre-show runs from 6 to 8 p.m. The free screening begins at dusk in the main parking area near the barn. The Shoppes at Farmington Valley are at 110 Albany Turnpike, Canton. For more information, visit www.theshoppesatfarmingtonvalley.com or call 860-693-3059.

Swing, Swing, Swing

A tribute to swinging musical greats Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee takes place Aug. 5 at the Simsbury Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows in Simsbury. The concert, part of the Iron Horse Concert Series, features Amanda Carr & the Everett Longstreth Orchestra.

Tickets cost $8 for lawn seats; $12 for table seats. For reservations or more information, visit www.simsburymeadows.com or call 860-651-4052. The Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows is at 22 Iron Horse Boulevard, Simsbury. 

Idol's Siobhan Magnus at SummerWind

American Idol finalist Siobhan Magnus & Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra play the SummerWind Performing Arts Center on Aug. 6. Possessed of a dark and powerful set of pipes, Magnus has drawn comparisons to Janis Joplin. 

Concert time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $37 to $74.75. SummerWind is at 40 Griffin Road North, Windsor. For more information, visit www.sscsummerwind.org or call 800-317-7140.

Guitar Duo Returns to Windsor Art Center

Judy Handler and Mark Levesque perform Aug. 4 at the Windsor Art Center in Windsor. The concert marks a return for the husband and wife duo whose repertoire features a blend of Brazilian, Latin American, swing, gypsy, classical and folk music.

Concert time is 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation: $10 at the door. The Windsor Art Center is at the corner of Central and Mechanic streets in Windsor. For more information, visit www.windsorartcenter.org or call 860-688-2528. 

Air Museum Hosts Special Programs

The early days of August bring lots of high-flying activities to the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks. On Aug. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., meet and talk with local commercial, corporate and private pilots. Aug. 8 through 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., question Don Tethke, alias "Dr. Flush," who worked for 35 years at Hamilton Standard devising life support systems for astronauts. And on Aug. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., watch rocket demonstrations by RC rocketeers from Time Machine or build your own between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. (There is a $5 fee for the rocket kit.)

Check the website for complete information. The New England Air Museum is at 36 Perimeter Road, Windsor Locks. For more information, visit www.neam.org or call 860-623-3305

'Next Generation Musical' at Goodspeed's Norma Terris

A young woman sits behind the wheel of a car, waiting to turn on the ignition. Her name is Samantha Brown, and she is supposed to leave for college. Her bags are packed, but she is filled with doubts as the defining moments of her senior year flash through her mind. Parental expectations, a first love, a failed friendship and more inspire the new musical The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown. The show, which begins performances this week at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theater in Chester, features music by Brian Lowdermilk and book and lyrics by Kait Kerrigan.

The show runs August 4 through 28. It is recommended for ages 13 and up. The Norma Terris Theatre is at 33 North Main St., Chester. For tickets and more information, visit www.goodspeed.org or call 860-873-8668

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda 

Colin Quinn's hit one-man show Long Story Short, directed by Jerry Seinfeld, arrives this week at New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre. Quinn's incisive one-man exploration of world history has received critical raves. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times writes “This easygoing alumnus of Saturday Night Live brings his own distinctive every-guy’s perspective to the galumphing march of civilization." Seinfeld's production has played to sold-out houses on Broadway.

The production runs from Aug. 9 to 21 on the Mainstage. Tickets cost $50. Long Wharf Theatre is at 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven. For tickets or more information, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.

Revolutionary War Re-Enactment at Sturbridge Village 

Here is one straight from the history books: On Aug. 6 and 7, Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass., presents "Redcoats & Rebels," New England's largest Revolutionary War re-enactment. Watch over 800 soldiers fight mock battles then mingle with them around the campfire during the "Twilight Encampment." Cannons will be fired, and live fife and drum music provides a period soundtrack. 

Old Sturbridge Village is at 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, Mass. For more information, visit www.osv.org or call 800-SEE-1830.

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