05/11/12 7:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Katie Connolly as Miss Cecily Cardew in Southold High School's production of 'The Importance of Being Earnest.'

The Southold High School Drama Club will present Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and  Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the district auditorium on Oaklawn Avenue.

Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for adults and $6 for senior citizens and students.

Check out photos below:

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08/03/11 6:15am
08/03/2011 6:15 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The North Fork Community Theatre will present a stage adaptation of the popular 1984 movie "Footloose" beginning on July 28 and running through August 14.

Of all the dedicated theater artists, dancers are closest to the angels. Not just because they can soar above us ordinary mortals, which they can, but because of the admirable passion, discipline and tenacity they devote to their work. That is what raises the sparkling production of “Footloose” by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford at Mattituck’s North Fork Community Theatre above ordinary fare.

The feel-good plot concerns characters who live in a community where dancing is against the law. They find a way to remedy the situation. That’s it.

But as directed and choreographed by Erin McKenna, it explodes with a youth-fueled energy that revs up the metabolism of the audience. It exudes the happiness and well-being we associate with beach books and escapist summer film comedies.

In spite of the fact that there is not a lot of room to breathe on the NFCT stage, Ms. McKenna fills the space with ever-changing original patterns, with an occasional refreshing example from vaudeville or variety (“Mama Says”).

In the same tasteful style, she balances riotous routines with rapturous renditions of ballads. We are elated by the appearances of Victoria Carroll, the irrepressible Becca Mincieli and Abbey Clark and we are enraptured by the beautiful singing of Tara McKenna (“Can You Find It in Your Heart”) and her lovely duet with the ebullient Amanda Mouzakes (“Learning To Be Silent”).

All this does not happen by chance. It results from the precision that characterizes dancers. Once the press visited a Jerry Robbins rehearsal and after watching a complicated section executed over and over again, a reporter asked, “How many more times are you going to do that?” Without a pause, Broadway’s foremost choreographer replied, “As many as it takes.”

Under the musical direction of Jacob Boergesson, a well-balanced pit band supports these extraordinarily good singers. The musical score has a large share of generic melody and the lyrics capitalize on cliché, but Mr. Boergesson inflects them with sensitivity and brassiness in equal parts.

James Yaiullo gives a believable, endearing performance as the hero, and the NFCT lucked out with a star-quality, professional performance from the attractive Ivy Croteau as his girl. Their duet of “Almost Paradise” is unforgettable.

Ryan Beodeker is excellent as the tortured minister who eventually “sees the light” on dancing. His “Heaven Help Me” and “I Confess” are heartbreaking. Billy Finn is all you could wish for as the “bad” boyfriend and his fierce version of “The Girl Gets Around” is stunning.

Dan Yaiullo gets even better every time we see him. He is always good, but here his sharp awareness of the seriousness of his situation blends with his talented singing and dancing into a marvelous performance.

Christina Stankewicz aces all her comic moments and moves us deeply with her heartfelt “Let’s Believe We’re in Love.” Justin Harris is at his best as the free-spirited Cowboy Bob. He is immensely enjoyable.

We all start life with freedom of movement. If you sing to a baby, both little legs fly up in the air and he wiggles his toes. But as life progresses, we settle for tapping a toe or drumming our fingers. “Footloose” will awaken your agility and set you free. There are eight more performances; don’t miss it.

‘Footloose’
North Fork Community Theatre
Old Sound Avenue, Mattituck
Performances continue Aug. 4-7 and 11-14: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. For tickets, call 298-6328 or visit nfct.com.

03/02/17 3:32pm
03/02/2017 3:32 PM

Once On This Island

The Greenport High School Drama Club will present the Lawrence Olivier Award-winning musical “Once on This Island” Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 5, at 2 pm. All performances take place in the Front Street school’s auditorium. General admission is $12; $8 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased at Floyd Memorial Library, the high school office or at the door. Reservations may also be made by emailing information to [email protected]

See more of Jeremy Garretson’s photos below:

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06/06/11 4:20pm
06/06/2011 4:20 PM

Young thespians from across eastern Long Island took bows Sunday during the East End Arts Council’s ninth annual Teeny Awards at Riverhead High School. The red-carpet ceremony, which is modeled on Broadway’s Tony Awards, recognizes excellence in high school theater, evaluating students’ delivery, stage presence and skills in movement. Awards are also bestowed in several technical categories. Special recognition this year was given to Mattituck High School students for bringing the first musical to the school in more than 20 years.

In comedy:

McGann-Mercy’s Laura Lynne Duffy took home the Best Lead Actress award for her performance in “Noises Off.” Tim MacNish and Kelly Cassidy of Mattituck received the Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards for their roles in “The Audition.”

In Drama:

Jennifer Etienne of Shoreham-Wading River received the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in “12 Angry Men.”

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In Musical:

Rebecca Mincieli of Mattituck received the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Amanda Gallo of Riverhead received recognition for an Outstanding Performance, an award reserved for actors in non-lead or supporting roles, for her role in “Once Upon a Mattress.”

Choreography:

Justin Harris of Riverhead, and Gina Arfi of Westhampton Beach tied for the honor of Best Choreography for their work on “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Guys and Dolls,” respectively.

Judge’s Choice award:

This award is chosen by the judges in a vote. It is for a particular scene, musical number, dance number, ensemble effort, or group the judges feel stands out enough to warrant the special merit. This year, the recipient of the Judges’ Choice Award are Mattituck High School Students, led by Colin Keil, Becca Mincieli and Marissa Russo, for campaigning to bring a musical to their school for the first time since 1989.

Stage Manager Recognition:

Tori Staples of Greenport for “Wizard of Oz,” Casey Burns of Mattituck for “One Acts,” Casie Binkowski of Mattituck for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” Kat Dickhoff of McGann-Mercy for “Noises Off,” Stephanie Stripoli of McGann-Mercy for “Bye, Bye Birdie” and Jennifer Bliss of Riverhead for “Stage Door.”

[email protected]

JOHN NEELY PHOTO | Riverhead Supporting Actor in a Musical nominee Jonathan Troiano is interviewed by WPPB's Bonnie Grice.

05/16/11 4:19pm
05/16/2011 4:19 PM

Here is a golden opportunity for you to revel in a score of waltzes, ballads, folk and comedy songs while you celebrate both our country’s past and the history of the American musical. Do yourself a favor and see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” at North Fork Community Theatre.

From the moment a tall cowboy named Curly (James Stevens, blessed with both singing and acting talent) strides down the aisle singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” we know we are in for a treat.
Mr. Stevens and the lovely soprano Jessica Raven as Laurey carry us away in “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” while an admirable Linda Aydinian as Aunt Eller churns and rocks. The gorgeous “People Will Say We’re In Love” and the exuberant “Farmer and the Cowboy” follow. Richard Rodgers’ daughter Mary said her father resumed classical piano lessons when he worked on this show. That may explain the wondrous range of styles, e.g., “Lonely Room” (beautifully and movingly sung at NFCT by Rusty Kransky as Jud).

When the Theater Guild first presented “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs at its playhouse in Connecticut in 1931, neighbor Dick Rodgers was invited to see it. Two years later, he and Oscar Hammerstein began work on the musical version, calling it “Away We Go.”

At the time, “musical comedy” was simply that — a series of popular songs and comic sketches. But Rodgers and Hammerstein changed that forever by integrating story, lyrics and dance, all motivated by the unique feelings of individual characters. They would discuss a scene, who the character was, what the song was about, then write it.

As Steve Sondheim writes in his memoir “Finishing the Hat,” “Oscar transformed a moderately successful play about homosexuality and the loneliness of the early settlers into a paean to American pioneering and expansion.” It opened in 1943, a perfect time to honor our forefathers and mothers who tilled the land and tended cattle since we were all volunteering to help in World War II.

Ironically, the duo found it difficult to raise the backing. Investors complained it had no striptease, no suggestive jokes, no Jewish comic. (It does have a Persian peddler and at the NFCT, David Markel is simply marvelous in the part, trying to sell wares and avoid matrimony.) When Walter Winchell’s agent saw the show’s tryout, she wired back: “No legs, no sex, no chance.”

But they persevered. On the road in Boston, they decided they needed a big uplifting number, preferably about the land. Saturday, after the matinee, the creators went back to their hotel and wrote “Oklahoma.” The director, Reuben Mamoulian, put it in Sunday and Monday nights, and when the chorus rushed down to the footlights and sang, “You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma” right into the laps of the audience, they knew they had a hit and the title was changed.

One of the more thrilling things about musical theater is the sound of a full chorus and the chorus at the NFCT is wonderful — there’s no other word. We happily accept the convention of a crowd singing the same lyrics, presumably having all had exactly the same thought at the same time and Michael Horn, Sherry Beodeker, Ryan Beodeker and all of the farmers and cowboys in the large cast are marvelous.

Amanda Mouzakes as Ado Annie has the skill to make it look easy as she performs a show-stopping “I Cain’t Say No” and later, she duets with the talented and ingratiating Daniel Yaiullo as Will Parker. Celeste Holm, who originated the Ado Annie part, tells the story that on opening night one of the producers came to her dressing room and said, “Remember, it is a tragedy that Ado Annie can’t say no.” Before she could adjust to that, another producer came in and said, “Remember, we are counting on you for comedy!” Sometimes an actor can only listen to his own instinct!

Luckily, at NFCT, the company listened to producer Marion Stark and director Robert Horn. The myriad components of musical production are gathered, unified and presented beautifully by Ms. Stark. Robert Horn’s direction is clear, exuberant, sensitive and altogether right.

Of course, once the curtain is up, it is the pianists who hold the evening together and move it along. Patricia Wall and Kelli Baumann are the real wizards of this magical evening. We lose ourselves in their music and owe them two great “bravos.”

The set is perfect, the costumes grand and the lighting would be even better if the follow-spot lit the faces instead of the laps of the singers.

Equally responsible for the emotional spell of the evening are the choreographers: Erin McKenna and Jan McKenna. Agnes de Mille was the first to introduce “the dream ballet” to musical comedy in order to reveal the hidden fears and desires of the characters. She could only have been grateful and thrilled by the beautiful work of Katie Sousa as well as Peter Peterson and Ryan Beodeker.

“Oklahoma!” is a landmark in the evolution of “the American musical,” which (along with jazz) is our singular and unique contribution to the theater of the world. Rejoice and be proud of it!

‘Oklahoma!’
North Fork Community Theatre
Old Sound Avenue, Mattituck
Performances continue May 19-22 and 26-29. Thursday-Saturday performances start at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees begin at 2:30.
For tickets, visit nfct.com or call 298-NFCT (6328).

04/25/12 6:00pm
04/25/2012 6:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHRODER PHOTOS | McGann-Mercy High School will present a production of 'Jekyll & Hyde,' running from Thursday through Sunday.

More than 50 students at McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead have lent their talents to the school’s production of ‘Jekyll & Hyde,’ which runs from Thursday through Sunday.

Tickets to the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. the first three nights with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, are $10.

A $15 Spaghetti Dinner will be served before the Friday night show.

Check out more photos from the dress rehearsal below.

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KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Mattituck-Cutchogue Junior High presents ‘Light in the Library.’

Students from Mattituck-Cutchogue Junior High School presented the play “Light in the Library” last weekend.

Below are some more photos from the play:

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