data blogFebruary 6, 2023
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Upcoming Ordinary People Production to Encourage Public Discussion and Raise Support for the New Canaan Urgent Assessment Program

NEW CANAAN, Conn., Feb. 3, 2023 – Town Players of New Canaan, a nonprofit, all-volunteer community theatre, looks forward to raising awareness of mental health with its upcoming production of Ordinary People, a powerful and moving drama. Based on the Oscar-winning movie starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton, the play tells an emotional and heartwarming story of an ordinary family struggling to heal from an unexpected tragedy. It opens Feb. 17 and runs through March 5 at the Powerhouse Theatre in Waveny Park.

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“Given the unfortunate rise in emotional distress and mental illness due to the pandemic, we want to contribute to the important conversation about mental health,” said Deborah Burke, director of Ordinary People and president of Town Players of New Canaan. “Through the unique experience of live theatre, we hope our performance of Ordinary People reduces the stigma of talking about mental health and increases awareness of the mental health resources in our community.”

Multiple organizations within New Canaan and the surrounding area are supporting Town Players in this effort. Of special note, the cast and crew of Ordinary People thank Dr. Michael Groat, chief clinical officer at Silver Hill Hospital, a nationally recognized psychiatric hospital, for serving as their advisor and helping them portray their characters with empathy and authenticity. Dr. Groat will also lead talkbacks immediately following each Sunday matinee, providing an opportunity for the audience to join a discussion about the performance with him, Deborah Burke and the cast.

Additionally, Town Players consulted with New Canaan’s Department of Human Services to better understand the mental health needs of the community and to maximize the impact of its Ordinary People production. As a result, Town Players is hosting a benefit on Sat., Feb. 25, at Carriage Barn Arts Center in support of the New Canaan Urgent Assessment Program (NCUA), a collaboration between the Town of New Canaan and Silver Hill Hospital. The NCUA Program aims to connect those in urgent need of mental health treatment with a timely, psychiatric assessment and tailored referral for ongoing care. The program requires zero out-of-pocket costs from New Canaan residents for the assessment. Tickets to the event include admission to that evening’s performance of Ordinary People.

Bethany Zaro, director of New Canaan Human Services, said: “Mental health is a critical issue in our community, especially since COVID-19 subjected nearly all of us to periods of isolation due to quarantine. For many people, isolation can trigger feelings of anxiety and depression. We are therefore immensely grateful to Town Players for helping us raise awareness of the Urgent Assessment program as well as our town’s many other resources for mental health support.”

Examples of such other resources are Kids In Crisis, which, as part of its prevention, counseling and crisis services for children and families throughout southwest Connecticut, provides a “TeenTalk” counselor in Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School; and New Canaan CARES, which provides responsive educational programs that support and strengthen parenting skills, positive youth development, and healthy lifestyles. Additionally, a national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was established in July 2022. A comprehensive list of New Canaan’s mental health resources will be featured in the playbill for Ordinary People.

Along with Silver Hill Hospital and New Canaan Human Services, sponsors to date of Ordinary People include: Walter Stewart’s Market; Stewart’s Wine and SpiritsKarl ChevroletCarriage Barn Arts Center;  Connecticut HumanitiesConnecticut Public; and Russell and Katie Barksdale.

Ordinary People will open Friday, Feb. 17 and run through Sun., March 5, 2023, at the Powerhouse Theatre in Waveny Park. Performances will be held Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM.

For show tickets and more information: Visit https://tpnc.org/shows/ordinary-people/.

For Feb. 25 benefit tickets:  Sales open to the general public on Feb. 12. All proceeds from tickets sales and donations for the Feb. 25 show will benefit the New Canaan Urgent Assessment ProgramVisit TPNC.org\special-events for more information. 

To explore sponsorship opportunities of Ordinary People, please email Town Players at info@tpnc.org.

About Town Players of New Canaan 

Town Players of New Canaan (TPNC) is a nonprofit, all-volunteer community live theatre, founded in 1946 and located at the Powerhouse Theatre in Waveny Park. Town Players produces five main stage productions per year in addition to offering staged readings, new works, special events and theatre arts classes. It provides a home for live theatre to enrich its community, creates an opportunity for artistic expression, serves and is accessible to all.