Jewish Community Foundation

StageNotes: The Flamingo Kid

The Catskills of Connecticut: Remembering the Jewish Summer Retreats

By Antay Bilgutay, Development Director

Jewish Community FoundationThe Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford have collaborated with Hartford Stage as a community partners during the run of The Flamingo Kid.

Personal stories, personal values

At its core, The Flamingo Kid is a coming-of-age story. Young Jeffrey Winnick, raised by his parents to have solid, working class values, finds himself tempted by the flash and glamour of a different lifestyle when he gets a job at a high-end beach club. Winnick must reconcile what he himself values as he makes important life decisions.

Similarly, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) helps individuals affirm and express their personal values through charitable giving and the legacies they choose to leave. By unlocking the transformative power of individual and collective philanthropy, JCF provides lasting support for the Jewish community – locally and beyond – through important life decisions made by its donors. Visit www.jcfhartford.org to learn more.

Summer Resorts: A Slice of Jewish Life in Connecticut

The Banner Lodge, Moodus, CT

The Banner Lodge, Moodus, CT

The world premiere musical takes place at the El Flamingo, a fictional beach club on Long Island, in 1963. In post-war America, clubs like the El Flamingo emerged as vibrant summer destinations for middle-class Americans who sought status and an escape from the heat of the city. Membership at these clubs was often “exclusive” – literally. Jews, Italians, and other ethnic groups, turned away by established clubs, were forced to create their own resorts. These new clubs, in turn, became havens where cultural identity was celebrated.

From the late 1880s through the 1970s, Connecticut spawned numerous summer resorts that catered to Jewish urban workers and their families. Over time, many Jewish farmers developed thriving resorts in Colchester, Moodus, Lebanon, and East Haddam – which featured swimming pools, dance halls, and stage entertainment.

During the run of The Flamingo Kid, a special lower lobby display entitled “The Catskills of Connecticut: Remembering the Jewish Summer Retreats” will showcase archival photographs and ephemera documenting the mid-century heyday of Connecticut’s Jewish resorts, connecting our own community to the world of the musical.