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Volunteer hoofers cut a rug for Stamford's Curtain Call

By Curtain Call

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Judges's Choce Award winners Lori Mercede and Ted Thomas (Mercede also won Best Friendraiser Award.)
A Stamford firefighter who was hoping to hose his competition. A wine store owner that had intoxicating moves, and a caterer who was looking to serve up just deserts to his fellow competitors, were all on stage as part of Curtain Call’s Dancing with the Stars fundraiser, Saturday night May, 19. Eleven local community leaders joined forces to raise funds for Stamford’s Curtain Call, Inc. at their fifth annual event of this kind. And these volunteers exceeded the organization’s fundraising goals to boot!

At the end of the two-hour program, the crowd of more than 800 was on its feet at The Palace Theatre in Stamford cheering Lori Mercede as the Judges’ Choice Award winner – Female Division. The cheers continued as Jeffrey Selden was awarded the Judges’ Choice Award - Male division. Their professional dance partners were, respectively, Ted Thomas of The New England Academy of Dance and Sarah Lee Michaels of The Voice Studio. The Best Friend Raiser Award also went to Lori Mercede while Steven Wise was given the Peoples’ Choice Award for raising the most money. "Steve played a huge part in the $142,000 that was raised," said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call's Executive Director. Wise’s professional partner was Rosa Petriello, Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich.

Judges for the night included ABC-TV Senior Meteorologist and Greenwich resident Bill Evans; Stamford resident, founder of Stamford Gives Back and former Dancing With The Stars competitor, Maureen Pavia, and David Thomas Moore, professional choreographer, teacher and manger of the newly opened Dance With Me Dance Studio in Stamford.a

Peoples' Choice Award winners Steven M. Wise and Rosa Petriello
The crowd at this fund-raiser for Curtain Call - Stamford's longest-running and only year-round, nonprofit producing theatre company – began cheering at the top of the night with Curtain Call’s promotional video created for them by The Stamford Media Center team. The ending portion of the evening included a sneak peak from Curtain Call’s 42nd STREET, opening next month.

For the fifth year in a row, Curtain Call hosted this fundraiser in hopes of introducing new families to the theatre company while also raising funds through a somewhat non-traditional way. "We really wanted something different than the usual "rubber chicken event," said co-chair for the event, Jami Sherwood. She and her fellow co-chair Julia Frisoli were both volunteer Star Dancers in Curtain Call's first such event in 2008 and are great at helping calm the nerves of each year's volunteers. Frisoli noted that "Every one of our volunteer dancers, amateur and professional alike, were completely committed to this event and that made our jobs so much easier."

The volunteer Star Dancers for the event included: Wayne DeVingo, owner, Salon Wayne; Jeanne Hendrickson, Director of Finance, Perey Turnstiles, Inc.; Karen Kelly, Associate Publisher at Moffly Media;; Theresa Rogers Matthews, owner, Horseneck Wines; Mercede; Jimmy Romaniello, president of James Daniel Entertainment; Selden, Managing Partner, Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning; Mia Schipani, Vice President of Business Development RMS Companies; Nick Tamburro, Firefighter, City of Stamford; Meri Wick, Director, Sales Learning and Development, Heineken USA; and Wise, owner, Steven Wise Associates. “Each of them has contributed to our community through a variety of other events and organizations showing the spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in Fairfield County,” Ursone said.

Professional dancers also included Lou Lopez of Stamford's Latin Moves Dance Studio; Michael Powers and Lazaro Chavez of Arthur Murray of White Plains; Jude Coraldi and Peter Hahn from Fred Astaire Dance Studio Norwalk; and Kelly Butler, Angessa Hughmanick and Mayko Noriega from Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich;

Before all the fancy footwork began, there was a pre-show reception held at UConn Stamford. “We were blessed to have some of the best food and beverage vendors in the area support this event,” Ursone said. On hand to feed the friends and family were bartaco, Boulevard 18 Bistro & Wine Bar, Columbus Park Trattoria, Crystal Rock, LLC., The Capital Grille, David’s Soundview Catering, EOS greek cuisine, Heineken, Marcia Selden Catering, napa & co., Spazzio, Sushi Village, W.J. Deutsch and Sons, Ltd., and Zyr Vodka.

"Planning for this year's event started the day after we held our last event," said Sherwood. The event committee included: Diane Arditti, Bob Callahan, Lynne Colatrella, Linda Jamshidian, Richard Levitt, Betsy Mercede, Tom Ormond, Robin Selden, Lou and Jan Ursone. "Our board and a large group of amazing volunteers have made this event the premier special event in the area," Ursone said.

Judges' Choice Award winners (Male) Jeffrey Selden and Sarah Lee Michaels
Curtain Call is the nonprofit, professionally-run, community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford. Year-round productions and educational workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre. Curtain Call was voted Fairfield County's BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP 2005 through 2012 in the Annual Readers' Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly as well as BEST LOCAL THEATRE by Stamford Plus magazine for the past five years. Curtain Call also received The Governor's Award for Excellence in Culture and Tourism for 2011.

For more information Curtain Call programs, call 203-329-8207 or go online to www.curtaincallinc.com.

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