Ives Concert Park to host Flagpole Radio Café

DANBURY, CONN. — A change of pace will come to Ives Concert Park at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. The outdoor venue on the Western Connecticut State University Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury, will host The Flagpole Radio Café, a variety show presented as an old-fashioned radio program featuring a mix of music and comedy, with a musical guest artist. Tickets will be $65 for a VIP ticket that includes a meet-and-greet reception, $30 for general admission, and $20 for students, seniors and children under 12. For tickets, call (203) 837-TIXX or go to www.wcsu.edu/tickets. The event is part of the Newtown Savings Bank Fine Arts & Family series.

According to its creators, The Flagpole Radio Café is a celebration of our towns and our state, yet through its virtuosity has appeal for a larger audience similar to “A Prairie Home Companion” has. The show has enjoyed success because the music is outstanding and the comedy is intelligent and witty. The quality of the show has attracted outstanding guest artists including Peter Yarrow, Tom Chapin, Christine Lavin, Vaneese Thomas, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, The Whiffenpoofs and Roger Ball. So impressed was Peter Yarrow with his experience, that he said, “This is the best thing I’ve done in years. I wish I could take this show as it is, bottle it, and take it on the road.”

Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, will appear on the Ives stage. Joining him will be vocalist Bethany Yarrow, his daughter, and cellist Rufus Cappadocia.

For those not acquainted with The Flagpole Radio Café, it is a variety show created by Jim Allyn, Martin Blanco and Barbara Gaines in conjunction with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. It features music by Jim Allyn and the Radio Café Orchestra, a dynamic ensemble created for the show, and radio-style comedy sketches by the hyperbolically named Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theatre. The Flagpole Radio Café is hosted by musician and radio personality Chris Teskey.

Music Director Jim Allyn’s music roams the landscape of American roots, rock, country, blues and Celtic music. A seasoned stage performer, songwriter, and studio musician, “he plays a lot of good bluegrass too,” according to the legendary Bill Monroe. His intuitive songwriting and singing are matched by his freewheeling improvisations on guitar, mandolin, piano, and harmonica. A “mandolinist extraordinaire” according to the Danbury News-Times, he has performed with Arlo Guthrie, Bela Fleck, Chris Hillman of the Byrds, Newgrass Revival, Vassar Clements, and many others. Allyn recently won first prize in the Flat Pick Guitar category and second prize in Mandolin category at the Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department Pickin’ n Fiddlin’ contest.

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission member Martin Blanco produces and directs the The Flagpole Radio Café. Blanco has been a stay-at-home parent for 12 years. Prior to parenthood, he worked as an arts administrator, stage director, teacher and dramaturg for cultural institutions such as the Huntington Theater Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center, Management Consultants for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Belmont Italian American Playhouse, Boston University and American University. Blanco, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, is a member of the Stage Director and Choreographers Society.

For more information, visit www.ivesconcertpark.com.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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