The Carriage House Arts Center Board of Directors:
President: Ann Alford
Vice President: Christina Richarson
2nd Vice President: Ursula Caterbone Treasurer: Frank Gaffney
Director, Publicity & Volunteers: Anthony Carregal Director, Advertising & Sponsorships: Andrea Garmun Secretary/Legal Advisor: Keith W. Wofsey
Chairman Emeritus: Joe Guttadauro
The goal of the Carriage House Arts Center is to provide an outlet for artistic expression in Fairfield County while entertaining the general public and providing a place for the community to enjoy a variety of theatrical arts.
The Carriage House Arts Center is a 501 (c) (3) corporation. Any contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
ANN ALFORD joins the Carriage House Board after being an enthusiastic supporter since its first season. She fell in love with community theater through a children’s acting program in Lubbock, Texas, went on to major in Theatre at Texas Tech University and earned an MFA in Acting from the University of Virginia. For many years Ann was on the artistic staff of the New York Renaissance Faire as a writer, director and as a member of the Steering Committee. She has been very involved in local community theater since moving to Fairfield county in 2005. She has been employed by General Atlantic since 1986, where she is currently Manager for Payroll & Benefits.
ANTHONY CARREGAL has been a member of the Carriage House Board since its inception. For him, the Carriage House has been his labor of love. He has been involved in community theater for some time now - mostly behind the scenes and but has been on stage for that rare role. Anthony has worked at several companies in his 30 years mostly in conference and event planning, but feels most comfortable greeting our audience members and making them feel welcome during our productions. Anthony shares his home with Frank Gaffney and Elvis & Presley, the two sweetest dogs in the world.
URSULA CATERBONE discovered the Carriage House through her involvement in Friends of Cranbury Park. Once she got hooked there was no going back. The Carriage House is her first experience serving in community theater. She performs out front in the lobby and the box office. Prior to retirement Ursula worked as a Chemical Lab Technician followed by Technical Sales at Accounts in such exciting locations as North Jersey and Upstate New York. Ursula springs from Lancaster County. She and her husband Jack share their home with four-legged family members Bella and Buddy.
FRANK GAFFNEY has been a member of the Carriage House Board since the beginning. He has spent the last 30 years in various community theaters, both in Fairfield County and Queens, where he spent his formative years. Frank has worked at several companies in his 30 years in the workforce and is the Owner of We Are Errands, a personal assistant service he founded in 2013.
ANDREA GARMUN has been involved in the Carriage House since its inception, jokingly referred to as its 'mascot'. She has been on the Carriage House stage numerous times and in the audience even more often. She is proud to join the Board and looks forward to helping the theater flourish in the future. Andrea works as an Inside Sales Specialist for Philips Healthcare in Stamford. She is wife to Marshall (for the last 43 years), mother to Phil and the very proud grandmother of Zach.
CHRISTINA RICHARDSON has loved theater since third grade when she wrote an original play for her family entitled "The Princess and the Joker" where she played every part except the princess because her sister refused to be in it if she were not cast in that role. She is a graduate of Northwestern University's theater department and a former performer in summer stock and has been active in the local community theater scene for over a decade. Recently retired from teaching high school English, she lives in Wilton with her husband, Ken, her adorable seven-pound dog, Peanut and is the foster mother to Petey, a delightful rescue dog.
JOE GUTTADAURO was a founding member and first President of the Carriage House Arts Center and has enjoyed watching it grow and evolve. He resigned from the Board of Directors after the 2016 season and remains Chairman Emeritus. Joe first discovered community theater in 1990 when he relocated to Norwalk from Brooklyn, NY. Since that day, he has been working both on and off the stage in pretty much every capacity. Joe is a project manager at Aon Hewitt.
Click to read:
+ A Theater Is Born
By Ryan Jockers, the Advocate
NORWALK, May 5 2006 -- The transformation of the city-owned carriage house in Cranbury Park from a locked-up depository of equipment and trash into an inviting, intimate performing arts center is complete -- just in time for Cinderella to go to the ball.
Due to the efforts of volunteers, and support from the city's Parks and Recreation Department, the building, will debut tomorrow as the Carriage House Arts Center. The building has gone unused the past two years after the theater group that had used it disbanded.
"It's a great project," said Michael Mocciae, the parks director. "It's truly a black-box theater, and a great community spot."
"Cinderella Wore Combat Boots," a humorous adaptation of the classic fairy tale, set in the 1970s, written by Jerry Chase and directed by Frank Gaffney, a city resident, will be performed tomorrow at noon and 2 p.m.
A gala opening, featuring a wine-and-cheese reception, hosted by Mayor Richard Moccia, and a preview of the season's performances, will begin at 8 p.m.
The rebirth of the building, built in the Gothic style of the neighboring mansion, revives Mocciae's original plan for the structure, which he now compares to the Powerhouse Performing Arts Center in New Canaan's Waveny Park.
In the late 1990s, a city resident, Terry Polvey, created a performing arts program that used the carriage house and the mansion, but it ended when she moved out of town.
The building then lay vacant, collecting garbage and city equipment. Last summer, city resident Joe Guttadauro, walking in Cranbury Park, looked into the darkened carriage house and realized it was not being used. He and some of his friends -- involved in various community theater projects over the years -- used to joke about transforming a barn into their own theatrical space, and he said he saw an opportunity.
He called City Hall, and Mocciae told him if he cleaned the building -- the city would provide the paint -- and readied it for performances, the city would support the effort and repair the roof, untouched since 1931.
Guttadauro assembled his friends and, on weekends the past four months, they worked in the building. The past three weeks, they've focused on the play, which is geared toward children.
"It's bright and fun and kid-friendly, but it's set in the seventies, so the adults will get the jokes on a different level," Guttadauro said.
The performing space is painted black, carpeted and seats about 65 chairs. It includes a small stage and area to control the sound and lighting. An adjacent room, the box office and lobby, is decorated by works of local artist Robert Bartram of Stamford, and includes a bench, tables with flowers and, near the entrance, a blank log-in book.
"I think we're all proud of what we did," Guttadauro said. "Our big hope is that people come see it and we get feedback, get people in there, let people know we're there."
"Cinderella" will run May 12 and 13, and a dramatic comedy, "The Sum of Us," will run in October. The Triangle Community Center, of which Guttadauro is the president, will co-present the fall performances.
Staged readings of the books "When I Knew," "Same Time Next Year," and "Shirley Valentine," will be held in June, July and August, as well musical performances, co-presented by The Acoustic Cafe, of Bridgeport.
"It's a place people can go to hear a reading or different kinds of entertainment," said Mocciae. "It's something we've advocated for years, and finally we have a group willing to take on the responsibilities in terms of the programming space."
The city's parks budget funded the exterior renovations -- the roof, the replacement of the carriage house's bay doors and the placing of stone in front of the building. Guttadauro's group paid for some of the decorations. Ideally, he said, he and his friends will make back their money by mid-summer, and then begin building the arts center's budget for "bigger and better" productions, which could include musicians.
"We'll use this year to build momentum to get money in the budget and do some bigger stuff next year," he said. "Bigger is relative with our space. But bigger than what we are doing."
Reprinted from the Stamford Advocate. Copyright © 2006, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.