Children's theater finds a home in Fairfield

Morgan Weitz of New York and Tyler Paul of Weston, founders of the Northeast Children’s Theatre Company, introduced new shows for preschool children this season at Fairfield Theatre Company.

Morgan Weitz of New York and Tyler Paul of Weston, founders of the Northeast Children’s Theatre Company, introduced new shows for preschool children this season at Fairfield Theatre Company.

Abigail Root spent her childhood in Fairfield surrounded by the arts. Encouraged by her parents, Broadway veterans Frank Root and the late Marianne Challis, she studied musical theater in college and is currently pursuing a performing arts career.

As the assistant artistic director, with her father Frank, and choreographer of the Broadway Bootcamp program, it seemed natural to also join the board of the Northeast Children’s Theater Company (NCTC) when asked.

The chairman of the board, Chip Campbell, also lives in Fairfield. Members also include Tracy Robinson, vice chairman, Westport; David Schwartz, treasurer, Weston; Martha Eidman, secretary, Westport; Jerry Apoian, Westport; Lee Bollert, Westport; Teri Gaberman, Weston; Jeffrey Madwed, Trumbull; Joan Nevin, Westport; Megan Robustelli, Wilton; Daniel Sklar, Westport; Scott Stagg, Westport; Susan Terry, Westport; and Susan Weinberger, immediate past chairman, Westport.

“I have grown up with theater since I was literally a baby, so it is very clear to me how important theater can be to children,” Root said. “I am a big supporter of keeping children involved in the arts, whether it be through watching or participating in theater.”

In residence at the Fairfield Theatre Company, NCTC presented three children’s shows last season. Led by co-founders Tyler Paul of Weston and Morgan Weitz of New York, the actors performed all of the productions for young people enrolled in after-school programs at Hallen School and Barnum School in Bridgeport and Nathan Hale Middle School and George Washington Carver Community Center in Norwalk.

NCTC also sponsors weekly theater workshops at these venues.

“Our outreach program introduces the magic of live theater into their lives,” said Paul. “The majority of these kids wouldn’t be able to afford to go to a theater to see this kind of high-quality children’s shows. Last year we impacted hundreds of students.”

At the Fairfield Theatre Company, NCTC is introducing a new Storybook Series for children ages 2 to 5. Written by educator and author Corbitt Williams of New York, the 40-minute shows will be performed in December, March and June. Goldilocks and the Three Bears will be staged on Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8; The Frog Prince will be on March 1 and March 2, and Peter Rabbit on May 31 and June 1. All of the Saturday performances begin at 10:30 a.m. Sunday performances are at 3. Tickets are $10.

“We want to bring the excitement of this genre to preschool children,” Paul said. “There are really no other professional theaters around the area that provide age-appropriate live theater to this audience. Corbitt’s shows are part presentational and part interactive. It’s definitely unique.”

Kicking off NCTC’s main stage shows, for children age 5 and older, was a production of Dr. Seuss’s children’s classic The Cat in the Hat. Upcoming productions are A Year with Frog and Toad, book and lyrics by Willie Reale and music by Robert Reale, on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25 and 26, and Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 1 and 2.

Jack and the Giant, an original musical written and directed by Andrew Barbato, creator of NCTC’s The Tortoise and the Hare, is on Saturday and Sunday, March 22 and 23, and Saturday and Sunday, March 29 and 30. The music was arranged and produced by Douglas Makuta.

Frecklefaced Strawberry: The Musical, directed by Morgan Weitz, closes out the children’s series. Performances are Saturday and Sunday, May 10 and 11, and Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18.

All shows start at 2 p.m.

“We’re so happy to be in residence in Fairfield,” said Paul. “FTC has been good to us.”

To support NCTC’s outreach initiatives and onstage productions, Paul produced the company’s first annual Broadway in Connecticut benefit in October. The gala included live performances by members of the professional Broadway community. Some of the items bid on during a live auction were tickets to the hit musical Big Fish, backstage passes to a Michael Bolton concert and VIP tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Abigail and Frank Root sang That’s Showbiz, a song originally composed for the musical Ragtime but cut from the final score. A tap dance routine was incorporated into their performance.

Local actors with Broadway and film credits Cynthia Gibb and Susan Terry joined recent Broadway stars Tituss Burgess, Leslie Kritzer and Adam Guettel onstage.

“The gala went really well and raised a lot of money for our outreach programs,” said Paul. “This will hopefully be the first of many Broadway in Connecticut galas we host each October.”

Information about NCTC is available at

Fairfield Theatre Company is located at 70 Sanford Street, Fairfield. Tickets to children’s shows may be ordered at

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