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Yoga helped Carol Shwidock handle new challengesHere’s to you, Mrs. RobinsonBy Curtain Call

How does a local actress stay in shape to play an older women seducing a recent college graduate? Easy. Yoga. And yoga is a way of life for Stamford resident Carol Shwidock who by day owns and operates Harmony Yoga Studio and by night, plays a character who is what by today’s standards, some would call a cougar.

Area audiences can see this “cougar” in action when Curtain Call’s production of The Graduate continues in The Dressing Room Theatre through May 2. This limited three-week run is directed by Rich Mancini of Stratford and features another Stamford resident, Gregory Barone, in the title role of the graduate, Benjamin Braddock.

The Graduate started in 1963 as a satirical novel and within four years, was an acclaimed movie which won an Oscar for director Mike Nichols and made a star of Dustin Hoffman. who, as the title character, strives to adjust to mindless materialism and sexual hypocrisy. Mrs. Robinson, celebrated in a Simon and Garfunkel song that was part of the movie’s score, was played by Anne Bancroft.

The Graduate was adapted for the stage in 2000 by Terry Johnson’s based on the novel by Charles Webb and the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. We are back in California in1964 and the play has to be viewed very much as a period piece. What was shocking back then is tame by today’s social and moral standards, though there are still messages in Charles Webb’s classic romantic comedy for those who choose to seek them. Mrs. Robinson seduces the uptight Benjamin after he drives her home from a party, a night of passion which becomes a full-on affair. Later, Benjamin falls for Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine, against his lover’s wishes, setting all involved on a collision course. Due to the adult themes this play is not recommended for those under 18 unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

In addition to Shwidock and Barone, the cast includes; Manny Lieberman (WESTPORT), Erica Lynn Evelti and Alexander Weston (NORWALK), Deborah Burke, Erica Lynn Evelti, Sarah Smegal and Larry Zeug (STAMFORD). Production design is by Peter Barbieri, Jr. (OSSINING, NY) and costumes by Megan Latte Ormond (STAMFORD).

The Graduate is presented in cooperation with the City of Stamford with additional support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. It will play in The Dressing Room Theatre through May 2, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00pm and Sunday afternoons at 2:00pm. Call the Box Office for tickets at 203-461-6358 , or go online to Prices for all performances are $26 for adults, $18 for senior citizens and $13 for students and children. Group rates are also available upon request. Discounted passes offer great flexibility and savings up to 35% off regular prices and are on sale all year. The final show of Curtain Call’s 2009-2010 season will be I Remember Mama, playing June 4 through 27 in The Dressing Room Theatre.

Curtain Call is the non-profit community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre. It has been voted Fairfield County’s BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 in the Annual Readers’ Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly and BEST PERFORMING ARTS GROUP by StamfordPlus magazine for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

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