Finch For Secretary of State, Plus: Casting Call At The Playhouse

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is going to jump on the pile of Democratic candidates seeking the state’s top office.

You know what I say? Bill Finch for Connecticut secretary of state! Now, I know this will attract a chuckle or two, but when Bill and I used to sit by the fire in his home on Crown Street with a couple of cocktails, we never chatted about his desire to be mayor of the state’s largest city. The thought of him becoming mayor, even after Joe Ganim was in trouble never came up.

The office that Bill aspired to was Connecticut secretary of state. It’s a fit for his interest areas and wonkish brain. Okay, yeah, it’s a position that oversees business filings and state and municipal election certifications, but Finch is the kind of guy that would take the job into the classrooms of public schools to educate kids on the importance of the vote, participation and the daily impact that government has on their  lives.

Ply hizzoner with a couple of martinis and he’d tell you: yeah, baby, bring on secretary of state. Finch was recruited for mayor by party chiefs only after John Fabrizi was in trouble and they loathed the thought of a Chris Caruso mayoralty.

John Kennedy is Finch’s political hero and all that stuff that JFK represents is important to Bill. He may be disingenuous on some stuff, but not about that. But Bill is not driven by ambition. If Bill had half the ambition of Joe Ganim, there’d be no doubt that he’d be positioning himself for secretary of state. Shit, Joe was running for governor two years after he was elected mayor of Bridgeport. Of course, a page-one urging from the (then) Publisher of the Connecticut Post Dudley Thomas was all Joe needed. Joe ends up the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, but that’s another story.

One of the things I love about OIB is that I get to share the same shit with you that I’d share with Bill if we were sitting by the fire on Crown Street. (That no longer happens.) But if I were advising Bill I’d tell him make a play for secretary of state, and here’s how:

Bill still has enough of a relationship with Democratic State Party Chair Nancy DiNardo to position himself. He makes peace with Democratic Party Chairman Mario Testa to help him solidify local party support and work the rest of the state. Mario at this point wouldn’t mind getting Bill out of the city.

One of the problems, however, with Connecticut’s constitutional offices–governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, comptroller and secretary of state–on the Democratic side is the labeling that comes with a couple of slots such as treasurer and secretary of state. A long time ago party regulars decided that the treasurer’s slot had to be a black and the secretary of state had to be a woman. What a bunch of horse shit.

It’s possible to overcome that by lining up political support early or having the guts to run a statewide primary. Bysiewicz was not the endorsed candidate of the party in 1998, ran a primary and won.

But knowing Bill, he’d rather dig his heels in determined to leave a decent legacy as mayor. We’ll see.

News release from Congressman Himes

Himes Named to Housing and Capital Markets Subcommittees

As a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, Himes will provide professional and technical expertise on critical issues

WASHINGTON, DC-A former executive for an affordable housing nonprofit organization and investment banker, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) will serve on the Housing & Community Opportunity and Capital Markets, Insurance, & Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittees of the House Committee on Financial Services. Congressman Himes will lend his practical expertise to help ensure solutions that serve the best interests of Connecticut families and businesses.

“As we grapple with the most challenging economic times in a generation, we need to find solutions that protect taxpayers and ensure businesses succeed,” said Congressman Himes. “I will go to work every day with the best interests of Connecticut families-and their homes and jobs-at the top of my agenda.”

Congressman Himes most recently led the New York office of Enterprise Foundation, a nonprofit institution that combines the resources of private, public, and community organizations to address complex issues of urban poverty. Mr. Himes’ team, working closely with now-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, led the way in financing the construction of thousands of affordable housing units in the greater New York metropolitan region, often using new green technologies to achieve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs. Mr. Himes began his professional career at Goldman Sachs & Co. where he worked his way up to Vice President over the course of a 12-year career. There he co-headed the telecommunications technology group and worked extensively in Latin America.

Casting Call At Playhouse

Hey, check this out. Playhouse on the Green, that cool little venue on State Street, is holding auditions for the Wiz. Maybe they’ll let me play one of the munchkins. Feel free to cast OIB friends. Spread the word.

Playhouse on the Green in downtown Bridgeport is holding an open call audition for its 2009 Season Finale of The Wiz. Co-Director: Matt Schicker; Co-Director/Choreographer: Beth Fauerbach; Musical Director: TBA; Associate Producers: Christy McIntosh and Eli Newsom.


All auditions take place at Playhouse on the Green, 177 State Street, Bridgeport, CT, 06604. map


Auditions for adult actors (age 18+) will take place on Thursday, February 26, 2009 from 6PM-9PM (sign in begins 5:30PM) and Saturday, February 28 from 10AM-1PM (sign-in begins 9:30AM). Actors will audition in order of arrival.


Auditions for younger actors (Elementary through High School ages) will take place on Saturday, February 21, 2009 from 10AM-1PM. (sign-in begins 9:30AM).

Actors will audition in order of arrival.

Seeking younger children (elementary/middle school age) for chorus (munchkins, winkies, quadlings; full breakdown below) and older children (high school-age) for lead roles, vocal chorus, and dance ensemble (full breakdown below).

What to prepare:

Please bring a headshot (or recent photo) and resume of any stage or performing experience. Please prepare a full ballad song and uptempo song (no verse). You may be asked to sing one or both.

Auditioners who are asked to attend callbacks at a later date may be asked to participate in a movement/dance call.

All roles open. Seeking singer/actors of all types/ages; full breakdown below. All ethnicities are encouraged to audition. Non-Equity, no pay.


General rehearsal schedule for The Wiz is weeknights after 7PM and weekends during the day beginning Saturday, March 14, 2009. Performances: Apr 24-May 10, 2009 (Thu-Sat @ 8PM, Sun @ 3PM; Sat 5/9 @ 3pm). All rehearsals and performances to take place at Playhouse on the Green, 177 State Street, Bridgeport, CT. One block walk from Metro North station.


The grand finale of the mainstage season is The Wiz, the ground-breaking musical version of L. Frank Baum’s beloved American tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown. Dorothy, the little girl from Bridgeport* is blown by a tornado into Munchkinland in the Land Of Oz. While there she meets the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion on the Yellow Brick Road. She defeats the evil witch and goes to see the powerful Wizard who turns out to be a phoney. Along her journey, Dorothy realizes the importance of home, family, and in believing in herself. A dazzling and funky musical set to a lively score combining rock, gospel and soul music, The Wiz includes such hit songs as “Ease on Down the Road”, “Home”, “Everybody Rejoice (Brand New Day)”, and “If You Believe”. The Wiz is the winner of SEVEN Tony Awards on Broadway, including Best Musical and Best Musical Score.

*Playhouse on the Green has received special permission to set the story in Bridgeport, CT, for this production.


AUNT EM/GLINDA (female, mid-30s to mid-40s) – strong singer (legit, gospel, jazz) and warm presence. Able to play both motherly concern and glamorous sophistication.

DOROTHY (female, late teens to mid-20s) – excellent singer & actress, good dancer.

ADDAPERLE (female, 20s-50s) – excellent comic actress & singer, good mover. Goofy and lovable Witch of the North.

SCARECROW (male, late teens to mid-30s) – excellent actor, singer, and dancer; ability to adopt the Scarecrow’s loose-limbed physicality a must.

TIN MAN (male, late teens to late-30s) – excellent actor & singer, good dancer; strong sense of “show biz” style; must be able to adopt the Tin Man’s physicality, from stiff to well-oiled.

LION (male, late teens to late-30s) – excellent comic actor, strong vocal, good mover.

THE WIZ (male, 20s-30s) – stylish performer, excellent vocal and comic ability as well as sincerity; confident physicality.

EVILLENE (female, 30s-50s) – great comic character performer with strong vocal abilities; ability to play the Wicked Witch of the West’s scarily domineering side required.

GATEKEEPER/LORD HIGH UNDERLING/OTHER CHARACTER ROLES (male, 20s-50s) – good comic actor who relishes the chance to play multiple contrasted roles, from haughty to clueless.

DANCE ENSEMBLE (ideally 3 female, 3 male) – excellent dancers who sing and act to play Poppies, Crows, Kalidahs, Winkies, Monkeys, Citizens of Oz.

MUNCHKINS/ENSEMBLE (boys and girls / ages 8-18) – must have outstanding vocal & dance skills to play Munchkins, Winkies, and Quadlings.



  1. Lennie,

    You believe that Mayor Finch could actually win statewide office?

    On whose bloody ticket? Maybe he could join fellow Liebercrat Jim Amann on the Connecticut for Lieberman line?

    Honestly, the base has not forgotten those who thumbed their noses at the Dem Party and process by “Sticking with Joe” in the fall of 2006.

    Plus you pretend that a Bridgeporter can possibly play well elsewhere in Connecticut? Do you really think B’port has shed its bad rap? (Look what happened to DeStefano in 2006, e.g.)

    Man, I love your loyalty. But please don’t try to pass fantasy off as analysis.

  2. I would like to see Finch ease on down the road or ease on up the road to Hartford. Let’s assume this happens, who do we have waiting in the wings on the dems side?
    1. Andres Ayala he is strong in some circles and weak in others. I don’t see him at this point carrying the city.
    2. Marilyn Moore good showing in primary against Musto but can she carry the city?
    3. Bob Curwen not strong enough and has a lot of enemies.
    4. Chris Caruso this could be the time however he has to have a plan. Running around the city yelling corruption did not work the last time. Court case could hurt him.
    5. Tom McCarthy I doubt it, if I were him I would run for Judge of Probate. Not strong enough to be mayor.
    Republicans god only knows. They have been silent during this last turbulent year, it seems they come awake 3 months before the mayoral election and just run anyone that is masochistic enough to run.
    I think Russo or Shays would be great.

    1. I don’t see Mr. Ayala carrying the city at this point either, but it’s early and the field isn’t there to be sorted out yet.

      Don’t know anything about Marilyn Moore.

      Bob Curwen, eh, I wouldn’t say he has enemies exactly, but he has demonstrated an ability to rub others the wrong way. He may be too rough around the edges to be a successful candidate for mayor.

      Mr. Caruso, in spite of the flame job (no pun intended) he received on this blog, is a very shrewd operator. He has many good ideas, is an effective legislator, and knows from experience that “all politics is local” (in the words of Thomas P. O’Neill). Mr. Caruso shares something else with the late Mr. O’Neill (and the Kennedy boys and Chris Dodd, for that matter): The Irish politician’s talent for making both warm friends and bitter enemies. The court case could hurt him, especially if Johnny Fabs entered the fray. Caruso made no secret of his plan to attack Johnny on the drug-use issue. Fabs could portray Caruso as a whiny loser.

      Tom McCarthy? Good for something, not for mayor. Judge of Probate may not be a good position to have anymore.

  3. I just finished watching Bridgeport Now.
    Kudos to the awesome threesome.
    Show was organized, thoughtful and full of info.
    The discussion of the historic buildings was terrific.

  4. Well TrueBlue, you’re correct it would not be easy, but in politics timing is everything and it would be a free run for Finch. He loses nothing by trying to line up the political support. If it’s not there, he can back away, he’s still mayor until 2011.

    Wondering, you forgot Johnny Fabs! And, of course, would be fun if OIB friend Bruce Hubler jumped in. I can hear Bruce now: Lennie, leave me alone!

  5. *** I would not vote for Finch for Sec. of State that’s for sure, reward him for what? He leaves City Hall then McCarthy takes over & then what? Or will there be a special election for a replacement so the state can spend more tax dollars? We need a good Sec. of State that’s going to try & push for new & better laws that will change some of the biased ways of running elections. Also, have much more say & authority over local town committees to change some of the careless ways of so-called representation of our local districts & the ways they operate in general. Finch is not that person, he’s a good talker & story teller to get what he wants, then slips you a mickey! Someone like attorney Tom Mulligan would be good for Sec. of State, he’s a sensible man & fair. ***

  6. Lennie I did not forget Fabrizi. I left him off on purpose. I think we have had enough of Fabrizi after his last budget came to light.
    I did not forget Hubler either but where is he? I don’t know him but his posts on this blog are very good. I think that the Republicans need to start coming forward now and offer the voters alternatives to the BS we are now getting.

  7. What the city really needs is a reform-minded realist to run for mayor, a candidate with universal appeal and a non-partisan political philosophy. I have some admiration for Chris Caruso, but he lost the primary to Bill Finch because the movers and shakers were concerned about what Mayor Caruso would’ve done to their lock on power. Mr. Caruso ran a vigorous campaign. The focus on reform was effective (he didn’t lose the primary by all that many votes). It was the way he put the message across. He came off very angry and spiteful, gassing off about how he was going to issue a decree prohibiting all city employees from serving on the city council (the city attorney’s office would be spending so much time defending against constitutional challenges that there would be no time for any other business), about the corrupt political machine, etc. He simply never offered any plans on rebuilding Bridgeport, improving city services, repairing a decaying infrastructure, making municipal employees more accountable to their superiors (instead of the party hacks that got them their city jobs), etc.

  8. The mood of the country has definitely changed for the better since Obama’s inuaguration, in spite of the economic doldrums. The president’s calls for transparency with be echoed across the nation. Citizens will demand accountability of their elected officials. We’ve been doing it for years, but we will be demanding it in greater numbers. Obama’s victory was made possible by enfranchising those demographic segments of our society that hadn’t known the feeling of empowerment before. They also learned that elected officials serve at the pleasure of the voters, not the other way ’round.

    Bridgeport city government should be accountable. More voters should and ought to demand transparency. It is our right to know exactly what the hell goes on when the City Council and the Mayor conduct our business, so we don’t have to ask politely. It is our right, and we are right to demand it.

  9. Bpt Kid; Great post. Transparency in government, boy would that be great. One other thing is accountability and the willingness to listen.
    We just took it on the chin here on the upper east side. We are getting a large Jehovah’s Witness complex in an A resident area. This was their third try and they appealed the Planning & Zoning ruling.
    Despite the fact that they did not have a legal quorum to vote city attorney Greg Conti who originally was not at the meeting allowed the vote to go forward even though 3 of the 8 attending commissioners never heard the original petition or the neighborhood concerns that were voiced at two seperate meetings on this proposal.
    Reggie Walker the all-knowing commissioner said he was familiar with the area and thus he could vote.
    Here is where Conti and Buckley took the easy way out. First off Walker never heard the petition and thus by their own rules he should not have voted. Then the vote was 4 to grant the appeal and 2 to deny the appeal. By their rules the vote needed 5 votes to pass. Conti said OH it passed.
    When contacted today the city attorney stated he will not listen to what I have to say no matter how right I might be because I am not a commissioner. This is a case where minor bureaucrats will not or don’t care to do their jobs and the people get screwed.

  10. “John Kennedy is Finch’s political hero and all that stuff that JFK represents is important to Bill.”

    What “stuff” would that be Len? Having affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner? Launching the Bay of Pigs? Escalating the Vietnam War?

    Or, on the positive side, cutting taxes, as Kennedy proposed in ’62 and Congress enacted two years later? Is that important to Bill? Hard to tell!

    If Finch really wants to emulate Kennedy, he should join the Navy and just ship out. Lennie can organize the going-away party at Mario’s.

  11. Casting call at the Playhouse? The Wiz? Lennie, what the heck is wrong with you? What does the Playhouse have to do with politics? You’ve never promoted “The Wuzz”, despite the fact that the Wuzz plays every two weeks at 45 Lyon Terrace in the Council Chamber and admission is free.

    Lennie, you should try knocking on the door at 70 Crown Street and see if you can once again sit by that fireplace and hold a pol pod interview with Bill Finch.

    You can also try getting Chris Shays at Beacon Street and do another pol pod interview. Fast Eddie Perez is facing a long stay in the big house and all you can think about is the Playhouse. Interview Fast Eddie too; you can title the pol pod interview The “Costa” of doing business with Eddie Perez.

  12. *** It’s amazing how grapevine gossip or newspaper’s & media’s negative press to increase sales brings out the worst in people sometimes! Sometimes those accused are pre-judged before all the facts are out or are actually indicted and found guilty. It would be fun to watch as a reality show some of these “holier than thou” finger-pointers playing “I’ve got a secret”! ***

  13. Finch for Secretary of State, eh???
    That would certainly make room for a competent Mayor to step in, pfft … like that will happen in Bpt.

    But let’s take a serious look at this. Finch and his cronies (is that what I should call them?) managed to orchestrate “voter persuasion” techniques during the ’07 Mayoral race which secured his spot as Mayor.
    Morals set aside, wouldn’t a Secretary of State with these capabilities be an asset for Democrats statewide?
    However, this means he could not only ensure Democratic victories, but he would also control which Democratic candidates receive a ticket to the general election … this may fire up the ole Lamonteer/Liebercrat feuding and other factions alike.

    Besides, if history tells us anything, it is more likely Finch will be joining the ranks of his predecessors (Ganim and Fabrizi) in an incriminating scandal soon to come.

  14. *** If one does come up you can be sure the OIB’s gossip news reporter Joel will be all over it! And give you a tip on what good republican politician would be a better choice for the people come election day. ***


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