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Darko’s Book Club

The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival

By Mona Golabek & Lee Cohen
Host: Elizabeth Williamson, Senior Dramaturg/Director of New Play Development
Monday, Mar. 30, 2015

Based on the true story of her mother, Mona Golabek describes the inspirational story of Lisa Jura Golabek’s escape from Nazi-controlled Austria to England on the famed Kindertransport. Jewish musical prodigy Lisa Jura has a wonderful life in Vienna. But when the Nazis start closing in on the city, life changes irreversibly. Lisa’s father is only able to secure one berth on the Kindertransport. The family decides to send Lisa to London so that she may pursue her dreams of a career as a concert pianist. She bravely endures the trip and a disastrous posting outside London before finding her way to the Willesden Lane Orphanage. It is in this orphanage that Lisa’s story truly comes to life. The resulting tale delivers a message of the power of music to uplift the human spirit and to grant the individual soul endurance, patience, and peace.

Note: To join Darko’s Book Club, you must join for the entire season. Sign up here »


AfterWords Discussion

April 7, 14, 15

Join members of the cast and our Artistic staff for a free discussion, immediately following select 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday or 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees. FREE


Sunday Afternoon Discussion

April 5, immediately following the 2:00 PM Matinee
Guest Speaker: Ivan Backer

PHOTO CREDIT:  John Kish IV/Moravian College

PHOTO CREDIT: John Kish IV/Moravian College

Ivan Backer was born in Czechoslovakia. His life changed forever on March 15, 1939 when German troops moved into his hometown of Prague. His mother, assisted by his aunt, helped the young boy escape to safety in England before the start of World War II via the Kindertransport orchestrated by British stockbroker Sir Nicholas Winton. Mr. Backer was one of 669 children saved by Winton, who was the subject of a 2011 Czech documentary feature – Nicky’s Family

Mr. Backer’s life journey eventually brought him to New York when he was a teenager. Mr. Backer graduated from Moravian College in Pennsylvania with a B.A. degree in History (the college awarded him with the HAUPERT HUMANITARIAN AWARD in 2003) and received his Master’s degree in Social Ethics from Columbia University. He also earned degrees from Union Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary, both in New York. Mr. Backer became the first Director of Community Affairs for Trinity College in Hartford. Nine years later, he became the Director of Graduate and Special Programs for the college, where he helped develop a Master’s program in Public Policy Studies.

Mr. Backer has spent much of his life working to improving the lives of others. Mr. Backer was instrumental in forming a neighborhood issues committee with Hartford Hospital, Trinity College, and the Institute of Living called SINA (Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance). SINA grew to include Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Connecticut Public Television and Radio. During Mr. Backer’s 17 years as President and Executive Director, SINA became nationally recognized as a model for community revitalization. Mr. Backer’s community involvement included service on at least 17 boards of directors, task forces, and coalitions.  Mr. Backer, now retired, resides in Hartford.


Open Captioned Performances

April 12, 2:00pm & 7:30pm

For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. FREE


Audio Described Performances

April 18, 2:00pm

For patrons who are blind or have low vision. FREE

Darko’s Book Club

The Taming of the Shrew

By William Shakespeare
Host: Darko Tresnjak
Monday, May 18, 2015

A rough-and-tumble farce centered around a lively battle of the sexes, The Taming of the Shrew brims with action and bawdy humor. The unconventional romance between a lusty fortune-hunter and a bitter shrew unfolds to the accompaniment of witty, fast-paced dialogue and physical humor in this excellent introduction to Shakespearean comedy. The freebooter Petruchio arrives in Padua to hear of Katharina, a beautiful heiress whose waspish rants and caustic personality have repelled all attempts at courtship. Professing to admire a woman of spirit, Petruchio immediately sets about his wooing. The initial encounter between Kate and her wily suitor is spiked with impassioned exchanges of blows as well as jests. After a madcap wedding ceremony, the still-protesting Kate is whisked away to be “killed with kindness” and reborn as a loving wife.

Note: To join Darko’s Book Club, you must join for the entire season. Sign up here »


AfterWords Discussion

May 26, June 2, 3

Join members of the cast and our Artistic staff for a free discussion, immediately following select 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday or 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees. FREE


LGBT Night Out

May 21, 6:15pm

Pre-show nosh and complimentary wine (plus drink specials at cash bar) for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patrons. FREE


Sunday Afternoon Discussion

May 24

Enjoy a lecture from artists and scholars connected with the production immediately following the 2 p.m. matinee. FREE


Open Captioned Performances

May 31, 2:00pm & 7:30pm

For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. FREE


Audio Described Performances

June 6, 2:00pm

For patrons who are blind or have low vision. FREE