, Newburyport, MA


March 6, 2014

Packing in the performances

Variety Tonight! spotlights a smorgasbord of local talent


“They’re just wonderful people who have a talent to share,” Budzyna said. “All they need is the right moment of nurturing or encouraging.”

Variety Tonight! is being presented by Acting Out! Productions, a Newburyport children’s theater program that is co-directed by singer-songwriter Mara Flynn and Budzyna’s wife, Deirdre.

Flynn will perform three original songs during next week’s show. She promises a pop tune, a “fun and silly song” on the ukulele, and the title track from her latest CD, “Wide Open.”

“I tried to choose three songs that were different from one another,” said Flynn, who lives in South Berwick, Maine.

Also an actress, Flynn first crossed paths with John Budzyna several years ago, when they were both part of Little City Comedy Company, the Newburyport troupe run by Stephen Faria that is another inspiration for Variety Tonight!

“I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re in for,” Flynn said. “John’s just a delight.”

Flynn will be joined by backing vocalist and cellist Juliet Norman and guitarist and bassist Guy Capecelatro III.

Though next week’s show will feature mostly musical performances, it will also include a “Saturday Night Live”-style news segment with Budzyna and Ashley Risteen, as well as a game show centering around The Pettengill House in Salisbury. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food donations for Pettengill, which supports at-risk children and families in the Greater Newburyport area.

“March and April are their hardest months,” said Budzyna, who will also donate a portion of proceeds from ticket sales to Pettengill.

If next week’s variety show is well-received, Budzyna hopes to expand it into an event occurring two or three times a year. Future performances could incorporate dance, poetry, readings and skits, he said.

“If people could laugh more, I think this world would be a better place,” Budzyna said.

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