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Divine Renovation


The town of Torrington will roll out the red carpet—quite literally—Thursday, June 20th, when actor Erik Estrada returns to the Warner Theatre to introduce the second season of Divine Renovation, Destination New England, which was filmed entirely in Torrington and Northwestern Connecticut environs in May 2023.

The premiere will take place before the series airs on streaming channels. The reality show is a different take on home restoration series, introducing a “divine” element as it cooperates with local religious institutions, businesses and charities to spread kindness and help to those needing both a practical and spiritual lift. In Torrington, St. John Paul the Great Parish and Academy and Father Emmanuel Ihemedu, pastor, were featured. Some teachers and children from the Academy as well as parish staff and parishioners were also filmed.

Estrada, host of the show, will appear live on stage and celebrate the businesses and volunteers who participated. There will be a 6PM VIP reception, limited to 50 attendees, and a 7:30PM preview of the new season in the Oneglia Auditorium (Main Stage). But even before that, from 4 to 7PM, the town will erupt in celebration with a street fair celebrating Estrada and the Divine Renovation Premier.

Attendees can shop from local vendors and craftspeople, visit tables representing area non-profit organizations and enjoy fun activities. At 5PM, festivities will focus on the local “stars” who appeared in the filming of Divine Renovation before the event concludes at 7PM. Ticket holders can then “walk the red carpet,” into the theater for the 7:30PM Producer’s Cut premier.

Local businesses, nonprofits, organizations and all the volunteers who helped will be featured in this unique specially edited version and will be acknowledged and celebrated at this red-carpet event," according to the Warner. Estrada will offer his thoughts about shooting in the area and share some behind the scenes stories.

Tickets start at $45 with children under 12 admitted free. VIP ticketholders can meet and take photos with Estrada at a private pre-show reception.

Divine Renovation shot its first season in Wilmington NC where it undertook projects such as creating a ramp for a disabled firefighter who had suffered traumatic brain injury in a traffic accident. In addition to the ramp, the man’s bathroom was rehabbed, making the floor safer and installing a higher toilet. Perhaps most especially, he was gifted with an electric lift-assist recliner to replace his battered “command post.”

Estrada, who sat and talked with the amiable recipient, told of his own experience with traumatic injury during his stint playing Francis Llewelyn "Ponch" Poncherello on the popular television series, CHiPs, about the California highway patrol. Suffering from multiple broken bones and internation injury, he said he experienced an out-of-body experience during which he understood his work in this world was not yet finished.

He has since continued his career both in the entertainment world, winning awards for his role in the telenovela series, Dos Mujeres, Un Camino, and has also appeared in many movies and network TV programs. In addition he became a police officer in real life, first as a reserve police officer in Muncie IN for three years and then as a sheriff’s deputy in Virginia working on the Internet Crimes Against Children task force.

While in Torrington filming for Season 2 of Divine Renovation, he attended a local Back the Blue Supper fundraiser for Detective Edward Mumm whose 8-year-old son, Christian, suffers from Ohtahara syndrome, a debilitating and rare disease that left the child incapacitated and in need of constant care.

Estrada has said on multiple occasions that he believes first responders and law enforcement personnel “have an overdose of compassion in their DNA. That’s why they do what they do. They are genuinely giving, loving and caring individuals.”

The cast and crew found plenty of “genuinely giving, loving and caring individuals” in Torrington when they showed up to film Season 2. The film crew spent the week at the FISH of Northwest Connecticut shelter and food pantry, providing repairs to the building and a new flagpole on the lawn.

FISH Executive Director DiCara hopes that the premiere will have benefits even beyond those physical upgrades made by the Divine Renovation volunteers. She sees the exposure as a way to shine a spotlight on homelessness and food insecurity in the community.

While in the region in 2023, Estrada and his crew also visited Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) to spotlight the agency's work with disabled children, men and women and the dogs that are trained to serve them.

Thursday’s red-carpet celebration will be sponsored by Casanova Remodeling. For more information and tickets, visit the link below or call the Box Office at 860-489-7180, ext 1. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Warner Theatre.