Wilton Playshop’s holiday show bears gifts
The Wilton Playshop’s new show, “A Gift for You and Me,” is more than a standard holiday play.
The family-friendly show is interspersed with musical and dance performances, making it more of a show-within-a-show. Performances will be held Friday, Dec. 13, through Sunday, Dec. 15.
An original production, “A Gift for You and Me,” was written and directed by former longtime Wilton resident Ginny Ruggieri with musical direction by Wilton voice teacher Sarah Lee Michaels.
The story follows a couple and their five children on a trip to New York City where they experience Times Square, make new friends, and ultimately heal old wounds. Along the way they catch spectacular holiday performances.
“It’s a nice holiday family show,” said Ruggieri, who has deep roots in Wilton. She and her husband Mike lived in town for 18 years, where all three of their children attended Wilton schools. The couple now lives in Norwalk, but Ruggieri has maintained a relationship with the Wilton Playshop where she directs children’s plays for the Wilton Children’s Theater.
The idea to write a Christmas show was proposed to her in June by Playshop board members. “I had written a musical once with a partner, but never a show by myself,” she said.
Ruggieri was given a premise for the show — entertainment, with a script around it.
The challenge was a bit daunting at first, and ideas for the show came and went, until Ruggieri had a breakthrough while on a trip to Park City, Utah. “I was getting up early in the morning to write and the setting there was very inspiring,” she said.
Ruggieri came up with a plot idea of a family visiting New York City, based on a trip where she brought her own three kids into Manhattan when they were little. “We took backpacks and brought what we needed for an overnight in the city. We saw a show at the Marriott and had a terrific night there,” she recalled.
That experience gave her the basic starting point for “A Gift for You and Me.” She added in a plot with conflict to flesh the idea out, and created a script for the show. “Working on characters and their backstories, I decided to make the story emotional, too. To get deep emotion was the hardest part for me,” she said.
The show also contains a variety of musical and dance numbers, including a chorus singing Christmas carols, tap dancing, and a Nutcracker piece performed by members of the Conservatory of Dance in Wilton. A musical act from Wilton High School is also in the works. “Sarah Lee Michaels is handling the entertainment acts. Bryan Mercer is acting as emcee. Most of the entertainment is local,” Ruggieri said.
Wilton residents Daniella Sallese, Bea Basanese, Miya Lasher, Maddy Passaro, and Charlotte Markey play sisters in the show.
The cast is having a good time with the production. “One of my favorite things is all the fun everyone is having with this show. The other day we were all together laughing,” Ruggieri said.
In addition to the spirit of fun, “A Gift for You and Me” also has a holiday message. “There is a gift at the end for the family and the person they give it to. The show is about helping someone. By giving a gift, you get a gift, too, when you help someone,” she said.
“A Gift for You and Me,” is being performed Dec. 13 at 7 p.m, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. at 15 Lovers Lane in Wilton. Tickets are $20/adults, $15/ages 12 and under.
To buy tickets and for more information, visit wiltonplayshop.org.
Editor’s Note: This story was corrected to reflect the dance studio involved is the Conservatory of Dance in Wilton.