Local theater group holds anniversary gala at Brecknock Hall

01/13/2014 7:00 AM |
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Colin Palmer as King Richard at the Northeast Stage 30th anniversary party Friday.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Colin Palmer as King Richard at the Northeast Stage 30th anniversary party Friday.

“It went like a feather flying through the air — so fast.”

That’s how actress Peg Murray described the past three decades for local theater group Northeast Stage, which celebrated its 30th anniversary Friday night with a Masquerade Gala and fundraiser at Brecknock Hall in Greenport.

Ms. Murray, a group co-founder and former creative director, was the guest of honor at the nonprofit’s Jan. 10 event, which featured live music from George Cork Maul and dancing and performances by Northeast Stage company members.

SEE PHOTOS AT NORTHFORKER.COM

“It was a shock when I saw the announcement [for the gala],” said Ms. Murray, 89, a Southold resident who won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Fraulein Kost in the original Broadway production of “Cabaret.”

Established in Greenport in 1984 by Ms. Murray, Amie Sponza and Dave Markel, Northeast Stage presents free outdoor performances of Shakespeare each summer at Greenport’s Mitchell Park as well as actor training workshops and at least two separate productions throughout the year.

Ms. Murray, who began her career on the stage and later transitioned into daytime television, where she starred on soap operas such as “Love of Life” and “All My Children,” said she sometimes wrote scripts for Northeast Stage shows in her dressing room between takes.

“It’s a marvelous company,” Ms. Murray said. “When we started Shakespeare in the Park everyone said, ‘Oh, you can’t do that in Greenport.’ And we pressed right on. It had terrific actors and it still does.”

Ms. Sponza echoed her co-founder’s sentiments.

“I feel pretty gratified that we’ve kept going and am proud of all our accomplishments,” she said. “It’s not easy. It sure is not easy, with grant funding drying up and the Village not having a budget for us anymore. We’re trying to keep it gong and we appreciate the community’s support because without that we would not be able to do it.”

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