Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

Local Youth Theatre Troupe Accepting Registrations for “Willy Wonka the Musical”

Local Youth Theatre Troupe Accepting Registrations for “Willy Wonka the Musical”

willy wonka

Ultra Violet Productions is now accepting registrations for their Winter Theatre Session which begins on Saturday, January 12, 2013. The 10-week session runs through March 16, 2013 with their performance to be held on March 23, 2013 at the Black Box Theatre in Newtown. They will be performing “Willy Wonka the Musical.” Classes are open to children and teens ages 5-18 and are held on Saturdays from 10-11am at Dance Dimensions LLC, 14 Del Mar Drive in Brookfield. Children from all surrounding towns are welcome.

The mission of Ultra Violet Productions is to create a non-competitve, nurturing environment for children and youth to thrive in while encouraging them to find their own unique gifts and talents. Each class includes improvisation, fun theatre games, and vocal and physical warm-ups. Children are encouraged to participate as they feel comfortable. Their focus is on building a child’s self-esteem while teaching acting and singing skills.

For each of their sessions,  Ultra Violet Production does a community service project in conjunction with their productions. Past projects have included food drives, visits with seniors in assisted living facilities, baking cookies for the elderly and much more. This session thy have chosen to donate a portion of ticket sales for “seed money” to benefit the soon-to-be-formed non-profit, Sandy Hook Arts Center for Kids.

For those joining late, classes can be prorated and children and teens may join through Jan. 26. For more information call 203-826-7194 or email for a registration form.

Like Ultra Violet Productions on Facebook by clicking here, and check out photos of past performances.

Visit UVP online by clicking here.


Bethel Artist Memorializes Sandy Hook Children Through Drawings

Bethel Artist Memorializes Sandy Hook Children Through Drawings


Benjamin Wheeler, drawn by Dana Benz

Dana Benz, a 23-year-old Bethel artist is on a mission to draw all of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy and give the drawings to their families. Last week Dana drew Emilie Parker and Olivia Engel (click here for pictures and article).

Jessica Rekos, drawn by Dana Benz

Jessica Rekos, drawn by Dana Benz

This week Dana has drawn four more of the children and has written the following letter to the families. This is Dana’s personal letter and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Bethel Buzz News or its editor.–

Daniel Barden, drawn by Dana Benz

Daniel Barden, drawn by Dana Benz

Beloved Families,

Words cannot express how incredibly loved you all are. You are precious and amazing. My heart weeps for the unimaginable heartache you are feeling. My hope is to bring some small amount of peace to you. May God comfort every heart that is crushed in this tragedy, including yours.

You all had gorgeous children. They seemed full of life and joy. They will always be remembered by their shining deep eyes, infectious smiles and loving hearts.

I know that no child on this earth could ever take the place of your lost ones. No matter if you have other children or even plan on having more, they will never ever be replaced. Their beautiful souls were carefully put together by the hands of God. Their lives matter regardless of what any other misguided person may say to you. It’s okay to be angry. This tragedy is not okay.

I believe this is all happening for a reason. You may ask what the reason is but honestly I have no idea. I’m wondering the same thing. I am not sure we ever will until we can ask God Himself. All I know is this: God did not choose this or want this. He wanted them to live a full life with all of you by their side. God loves everyone too much to cause such evil. A struggling, disturbed young man did this. He is being held accountable for those actions. We all have our own free will and God’s heart is weeping over this situation.

God knows your pain. He is with us always and constantly helping us, especially in times of trouble. I believe that He can turn even the worst things into something beautiful. Nothing is ever wasted. “The white keys on a piano represent happiness and the black keys represent sadness. Just know the black ones create music too.”

May you take the time to heal and see goodness arise from this horrible time. May your sorrow grow into joy…That the insurmountable pain would be relieved, day after day, with some laughter and good memories. I know this won’t be easy, I know our community will never be the same. I cannot even to begin to grasp the horrific and gut-wrenching pain you are feeling. I am here to support you in whatever way feels best. I’m praying for your hearts. You will always have my love.

“So take heart…Let His love lead us through the night. Hold on to hope and take courage again.” Among the sadness, the burdens and the loneliness I see beauty slowly emerging. There is still light in this world. It is shared in a hug, in an act of kindness, a prayer and many other forms that I cannot even name.

I feel like we are a tulip wrestling to get through a snowy ground. It feels cold, hard and nearly impossible but I think as we nourish one another with care we will be able to arise. There is hope, even in a time like this. You are loved and that love will get us through.

“What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him! Because He was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When He wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of this victory. “

May our Heavenly Father pour out His best blessings upon you, always. May goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your lives. I hope with every fiber of my being that when you feel the void taking hold that you will heavily feel God’s love and arms around you.

Dana Benz

Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, drawn by Dana Benz

Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, drawn by Dana Benz

Bethel Artist Dana Benz on a Mission to Bring Joy to Grieving Families Through Art

Bethel Artist Dana Benz on a Mission to Bring Joy to Grieving Families Through Art


Drawing of Emilie Parker by local 23-year-old Bethel artist Dana Benz.

On 12/14/12, Sandy Hook Elementary School lost 20 children, 5 teachers and a beloved principal in a horrific tragedy. Twenty-three year old Bethel Artist Dana Benz is on a mission to bring joy to grieving families through her artwork. Dana said she is in the process of drawing each victim as a tribute to their families after this senseless tragedy. To date she has drawn Emilie Parker, Dylan Hockley and Olivia Engel. Below is her tribute to Olivia.


Beautiful Olivia, 

Your sudden death has shaken us to the core. We love you and will remember you always. You may not be here physically but your soul is alive and well, resting in God’s loving arms.


Dana’s goal is to draw all 26 children and adults who passed away at Sandy Hook Elementary School and give the drawings to the families.

Below is her tribute to 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, who was also a member of Dana’s church, Walnut Hill Community Church. On Friday December 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM, the Walnut Hill Community Church, 156 Walnut Hill Rd., Bethel, will hold a  memorial service for Dylan which is open to the public. Dana plans on giving Dylan’s family the drawing at the service.

In the wake of the horrific tragedy, Dana has found a way to bring healing through her artwork and has partnered with the Sandy Hook Arts Center, a non-profit organization who will bring art therapy, music therapy and pet therapy to the Newtown community.

For more information or to donate to the fund, please click here.

Artist Joseph Farris to Speak on “A Soldier’s Sketchbook” at Bethel Senior Center

Artist Joseph Farris to Speak on “A Soldier’s Sketchbook” at Bethel Senior Center
Local artist and Bethel resident Joseph Farris will speak on his book,  “A Soldier’s Sketchbook” at the Bethel Senior Center, 1 School Street, Bethel, this Thursday December 13th 1:00 p.m. Following the talk will be a book signing.  Farris has  been a contract cartoonist  with The New Yorker since 1971. He has done covers for The New Yorker, Barron’s, Harvard Magazine, ABA Journal, Indiana Alumni, Industry Week and many others.
According to his website: His illustrated memoir “A Soldier’s Sketchbook,” was drawn from the letters, sketches, snapshots, and mementos of Pvt. Joseph Farris, who left his home of Danbury, Connecticut, and set off to war aboard the U.S.S. General Gordon in October 1944, bound for France as part of Company M, 398th Infantry.  He has published many books of his cartoons including Phobias and Therapies, A Cog in the Wheel, They’re a Very Successful Family, and Money Inc.  Farris has illustrated a number of books, among  which the Latin Riddle Book and Loose Leaf. His work has appeared in scores of cartoon collections including most of The New Yorker albums.  He has had one-man shows of his cartoons and has participated in many group exhibitions.
For more information visit his website:

Children’s Art Exchange Opens Wednesday in City Center Danbury

Children’s Art Exchange Opens Wednesday in City Center Danbury
cultural alliance
From the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut–
As a part of an on going global art exchange, organized by Norwalk’s Creative Connections, Guatemalan and US students will artistically share what they value in their cultures and the results will be seen throughout CityCenter Danbury. Through the efforts of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, as well as support from CityCenter Danbury, the Regional YMCA, The City of Danbury, Danbury Library, and Ortegas Restaurante, over 60 works of children’s art will be exhibited side by side – Guatemala to US – to initiate dialogue, encourage discovery, and make us look at our world in new and respective ways. Opening day is Wednesday, December 12th.
The collection, from the archives of Creative Connections, will be shown at CityCenter Danbury, 186 Main Street; Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue; Danbury Public Library, 170 Main Street; and Ortegas Restaurante, 2b Ives Street.  Called “Putting Myself in the Picture,” the multi-spaced show will run through Thursday, January 10th. (Contact specific venues for times.)
Creative Connections was established to build cultural awareness as an essential element of every child’s education in an increasingly interconnected world. It connects children, through art and ideas, over 5 continents and in 38 countries. A teacher in Brooklyn, NY, wrote:  “My students definitely enjoyed learning about CHOCOLATE and where it actually comes from. From there they were so interested in why and how the rainforest is preserved. In turn, they began to look at the trees in their neighborhood in terms of differences and similarities. Most importantly, they realize trees are important for humans and our environment.” Make a Creative Connection now. Visit the exhibition spaces, then encourage your child to express what he sees.
For more information about the visceral and important work of children’s international art exchange,
About the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut:
The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut (formally the Housatonic Valley Cultural Alliance), based in Danbury, Connecticut is a leader in supporting a vibrant arts and culture community in Northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield Counties. We promote and advocate for arts, history, and culture as a primary driver of the economy and as an enriching influence for communities and people. We understand and believe that the arts sector is a critical engine for growth through creativity, innovation and collaboration. The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, a 501c-3, is the largest and only regional service organization working to ensure better access to arts and culture for all residents and visitors in the Housatonic Valley region. We are supported by pubic funding, corporate and private contributions, and by our

Bethel Youth Theatre Troupe Winter Session to Present Willy Wonka, The Musical

Bethel Youth Theatre Troupe Winter Session to Present Willy Wonka, The Musical

willy wonka

Ultra Violet Productions, a Bethel based youth theatre troupe, will present Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, the Musical for their winter session. The theatre troupe has been performing since January of 2010 throughout the Greater Danbury Area and incorporates community service and giving with all of their shows.

At the last show they presented at the Edmond Town Hall, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, students and their families collected a large amount of non-perishable food items to help stock the Brookfield Food Pantry. Last summer they presented a free performance of Snow White at the Brookfield Senior Home, The Cascades. Parents baked cookies and after the show the children visited with the seniors, signing autographs on their programs and socializing over dessert. From now through March they will be holding a sock, hat and glove drive to benefit the Dorothy Day Hospitality House to help Bethel and Danbury’s homeless population.

Students from Bethel, Newtown, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Easton and Redding enjoy learning basic acting and performance skills while having fun in  a non-competitive, nurturing environment that focuses on building a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Theater games, team-building games, improvisation and other activities encourage a child to feel comfortable in their own skin and gain the self-confidence they will need throughout their lives.

Ultra Violet Productions’ next session begins on Saturday January 12th and runs for 10 weeks through Saturday March 16th. Ages 5-18 are welcome to sign up. Classes are $150 per student per session plus a $25 annual registration fee. A 10% sibling discount is given to families. Classes are held at Dance Dimensions, 14 Del Mar Dr., Brookfield, on Saturdays from 10am-11am.  The final production is on Saturday March 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre (Dance Etc.), Mount Pleasant Road in Newtown.

For more information & a registration form, email or call 203-826-7194.
LIKE Ultra Violet Productions on Facebook, CLICK HERE
For more information about youth theater classes, puppet shows and children’s entertainment, visit Ultra Violet Productions’ website by clicking here.