From Acting to Isolating

The Fox family of Easton provides insight into the lives of performing artists and the struggles they faced as the Covid-19 pandemic came between them and their careers.

“When the pandemic brought life in New York City to a screeching halt last March, and the city moved into lockdown status, Annabelle and Douglas asked if they could come to Easton and stay with us for a few weeks,” Daniel Fox said.

Daniel and his wife, Kimberly, along with their daughter Annabelle and her husband, Douglas Waterbury-Tieman, relied on entertainment and theater to stay busy when the pandemic shut down all aspects of daily living in March 2020.

Before the pandemic, Douglas and Annabelle pounded the pavement from sun up to well after sun down most days in the city. They packed their schedules with auditions, jobs, rehearsals, concerts, and shows. “It was exhilarating,” said Annabelle. Taking the train to Connecticut became a therapeutic ritual for the two of them since their college days.

“Annabelle and Douglas spent many weekends in Easton with my husband and I,” Kimberly said. It was always a much-needed escape from their hustle.” 

Douglas Waterbury-Tieman and his wife, Annabelle Fox, recorded music in Annabelle’s parents’ Easton backyard during the pandemic shutdown.

The pandemic had an immediate and  profound effect on their careers and lifestyle. Annabelle reflected on the “whirlwind of emotions,” she felt. “When the pandemic hit, I had no choice but to pause and finally sit with my thoughts and consider other passions,” she said.” I had just come off of one of the most successful chapters of my career.”

During the lockdown, when she and Douglas were living with her parents, Daniel was invited to play guitar and sing on some of the live-stream events promoting Douglas’s original bluegrass musical, Johnny and the Devil’s Box, which they performed in their living room in Easton.  

Currently living in Franklin, Tenn. with her husband, Annabelle attributes the inspiration for her theatrical and musical career to her father. Daniel is a music teacher and worship leader and currently works as a program specialist in music at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk. 

“It is not uncommon these days for adult children to spend some time living back home with mom and dad,” Daniel said. “Thankfully our time with Annabelle and Douglas during last year’s lockdown was nothing but fun and fulfilling.”

Annabelle and Douglas never imagined that her parent’s guest room would become their quarantine cave for nearly five months.

The Fox Family Traveling Minstrels brought cheer to their Easton neighborhood last April during the pandemic .

During their quarantine, the Fox family tackled many at-home projects to keep busy.  Annabelle and Douglas turned their small basement space into a studio where they churned out audition videos almost daily. 

Sometimes Daniel became the videographer for a scene featuring Annabelle and Douglas. Kimberly and Daniel collaborated on videos of puppet shows for Kimberly’s virtual French students.

For a song competition, Douglas and Daniel collaborated as songwriters, and Annabelle sang harmony on the demo. When Daniel needed to create music videos about things like gravity and friction for the museum, Kimberly, Annabelle and Douglas helped to direct and record them. 

Projects they worked on included performing in the Living Room Theatre Challenge hosted by Concord Theatricals and Playbill. They chose to mimic a scene from The Wizard of Oz which was written about in a previous Easton Courier article back in the beginning of the pandemic. You can read the article here.

In an effort to make the experience as professional as possible, Annabelle even sent out offer emails, sourced original costumes, and pulled props from around the house.  Excitingly enough, they made it to Playbill’s top online picks! 

“I miss sitting in a theater and getting lost in the performances playing out. In times of pain and loss and suffering, theater and the arts are an escape that transport us to happier and lovelier places,” Annabelle said.

The hope is that as more people get vaccinated, normalcy will be restored in the near future. And the arts and entertainment industry will be able to bring people together and feel the power of emotions it brings once more.

The Wizard of Oz Scene- The Fox Family does #livingroomtheatre​.

Video: Fox Family Presents ‘Living Room Theater’

In response to Covid-19 putting a pause on live theater, Concord Theatricals and Playbill recently teamed up to host the #LivingRoomTheatre challenge. In an attempt to encourage families to create together during this uncharted time, they made downloadable scenes available from classic scripts spanning from Annie Get Your Gun to Our Town to Wizard of Oz

Douglas W. Tieman
Annabelle Fox

Motivated by a hunger to continue creating during the pandemic, New York City-based married couple Douglas W-Tieman and Annabelle Fox, (currently sheltering in Easton, Conn.) decided to jump at the opportunity.

With the help of Annabelle’s family, Dan and Kimberly Fox, along with Derby the dog, their take on the Wizard of Oz scene became an overnight success making it’s way to the top of Playbill’s online picks.  In an effort to make the experience as professional as possible, Annabelle sent out offer emails, sourced original costumes, and pulled props from around the house.

In the scene, her father, Dan, a former New York City actor,  plays the Wizard.  Kimberly steps into the shoes of the Scarecrow, and their family dog, Derby, assumes the role of the Cowardly Lion.  Douglas plays the Tinman, and Annabelle embraces her lifelong dream role of Dorothy. It brought them a great source of joy and they hope it will bring some to you too. After all… there IS light at the end of the rainbow!

Traveling Minstrels Raise Holiday Spirits

The singing theater family of Dan and Kimberly Fox, their daughter Annabelle Fox and her husband, Douglas Waterbury-Tieman, asked if they could share some Easter music.

They had noticed my car idle in the driveway lately while they walked their dogs and wanted to share some cheer with older people alone on Easter. How nice.

I invited the Weber family who live nearby, set up a few chairs, socially distanced apart, and we had an audience, plus people walking on the road, for the singing minstrels.

Dan and Kimberly are teachers and musicians. Kimberly teaches French at the Montessori School in Wilton and Dan works at Stepping Stones Children’s Museum in Norwalk. Annabelle is a fine actress based in New York City with her writer and fiddler husband. Both were contracted to work at Goodspeed Opera House this summer, but their original folk musical, Johnny & the Devil’s Box, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

People are trying to assist each other more at this time when everyone has been affected in some way or another. Watch the Fox family’s video, and videos from other Easton residents, in Gale Papageorge’s article Easton Front Porch: Coming Together During a Time of Social Distancing.

This was a Flat Rock Road event. It was a heartwarming experience and certainly made my day. I did not feel the isolation of the holiday so much.The

The Weber family who visited brought me a hot turkey Easter meal. It was all very thoughtful and made this holiday memorable, all a result of the pandemic.