Greetings dear friends and loyal readers and welcome back for our final February visit for 2018! Amazing, isn’t it? March arrives on Thursday… and we’ll eagerly wait to see if it comes in like a lion or like a lamb. Meanwhile, in a sure sign of spring (a mere 25 days away) Dairy Queen has re-opened, to the delight of Blizzard fans. But, let’s not forget our sweet Mel who has kept her West Broad Street creamery open all winter long.
Fans of NBC’s “The Voice” will be happy to know there will be a cool local connection when the popular Emmy Award-winning show returns tonight for its 14th season. Not only will superstar singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson make her debut as a coach — alongside coaching regulars Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and host Carson Daly — but the lovely Rachael “Wildee” Fusaro, a young country singer who lived in Westerly for a number of years with her husband, Peter Fusaro, a Westerly native, will be a contestant. Wildee, as she calls herself professionally, is a Temecula, Calif., native who learned her love of country music from her great grandaddy. “I got through the Blinds,” she told me in an interview last week from Nashville, where she and Peter moved recently in order for her to concentrate on her songwriting. While living in Westerly, Wildee played at a number of local spots — from the Daniel Packer Inn to Cleats at Alley Katz to Salt Water Vineyards — and opened for Billy Gilman at the Washington County Fair last August. She also wrote a song called “Never Giving up on You,” for the late Dorian J. Murray, the Westerly boy who inspired everyone he met and captured the attention of the nation and the world with his courage and his #DStrong slogan as he battled cancer — Wildee continues to support the Dorian J. Murray foundation which has a fundraising obstacle run coming up in June that includes a concert component where Wildee will play, so visit dstrongfoundation.org to learn more and sign up. The “Blinds” as fans are aware, are when judges listen to the performers but don’t get to see them until they push a button to select the artist for their team. We’ll be rooting for you Wildee!
Speaking of the arts, a man who once sang with the Chorus of Westerly and was once featured as a “High” in the Sun’s “Highs and Low’s” editorial section, has been named one of three “Young People to Watch in Theater This Spring,” by the New York Times. Andrew Burnap, a Wakefield native, was just 8 when he first took part in the chorus’ “Celebration of Twelfth Night,” and a high schooler when he took part in a Kennedy Center competition. Now 26, Andrew will be “starring in a major new play on one of London’s most influential stages, the Young Vic, directed by Stephen Daldry, the man behind ‘The Crown,’” said the New York Times. Burnap, who graduated from Yale drama school two years ago will star in “The Inheritance,” Matthew Lopez’s two-part examination of the legacy of the AIDS crisis, and will share a stage with Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Award winner John Benjamin Hickey.
Big bravos to Sarah Brodeur, daughter of Peter and Lora Brodeur of Westerly, who recently received her associates degree in nursing from CCRI and passed the Massachusetts state board exam for nursing. Sarah lives in Plymouth, Mass., and is an RN in the ER at Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth. Well done, Sarah! Ciao bella!