Authors Posts by Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton
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All Souls Church in Stony Brook hosts a Shamanic Drumming meditation session in its Parish Hall basement, 10 Mill Pond Road, Stony Brook on Thursday, Jan. 30 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Led by experienced shamanic drummer Ric Statler, the meditation seeks to integrate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts of the human self, creating a state of well-being. Free. Call 631-655-7798 for more info.

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Telescopes 101

Is there a telescope gathering dust in your closet because you don’t know how to use it? Have you been thinking of buying a telescope and want to know what to consider before making a purchase? Jeff Norwood of Camera Concepts & Telescope Solutions will answer all your questions at a workshop held at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main St., Stony Brook on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. $40 fee. To register, call 631-689-5888.

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Photo from LIGMC

Voices wanted

The Long Island Gay Men’s Chorus invites you and your friends to join them in their first rehearsal of the season at the H. Lee Dennison Building, 100 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. No formal audition required. Unite with them in song and friendship. For more information, visit www.LIGMC.org.

It’s a Marty Party!

Marty

Marty, the tall, googly-eyed robot that roams Stop & Shop stores searching for spills and potential hazards is turning 1. To celebrate, select Stop & Shop stores on Long Island will throw Marty a 1st birthday party on Saturday, January 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. complete with birthday cake, crafts for kids and giveaways.

Marty the robot is used to identify hazards and spills on the floor, allowing associates to focus on customers. When the robot detects a potential hazard on the floor, he notifies store associates who take corrective action.

Some fun facts about Marty on his first birthday:

  • Marty is from Kentucky and was created by Badger Technologies
  • Marty speaks both English and Spanish
  • On average, Marty spots 40 spills and potential hazards at each store every day
  • Marty has more than 300 cousins who also live at Stop & Shop stores across the company’s five state footprint
  • Marty’s favorite dance move is the robot (naturally)

Participating locations in our neck of the woods are:

57-01 Sunrise Highway, Holbrook

700-60 Patchogue Yaphank, Medford

2350 North Ocean Avenue, Farmingville

1100 Jericho Turnpike, Huntington

365 Rt 109, West Babylon

294 Middle Country Road, Coram

351 Merrick Road, Amityville

400 Union Blvd, West Islip

421 Commack Road, Deer Park

291 West Main Street, Smithtown

1730 Veterans Memorial Highway, Islandia

425 Portion Road, Lake Ronkonkoma

260 Pond Path, South Setauket

2650 Sunrise Highway, East Islip

More information about Marty can be found at: https://martyatstopandshop.com/ 

 

Bailey

MEET BAILEY!

This week’s featured shelter pet is Bailey, a 5-year-old American bulldog mix rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas and currently waiting for his forever home at Kent Animal Shelter. 

A handsome playful dog, this sweet boy loves squeaky toys and long walks. Why not come by to meet him? He comes neutered, microchipped and is up to date on his vaccines. 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Bailey and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

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Stampeding ostriches on a pecking mission are part of the next level in the game of Jumanji. Photo from SONY Pictures

By Heidi Sutton

Riding on the coattails of the 2017 box office hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, director Jake Kasdan has reassembled the original cast for an equally exciting sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level. Since opening mid-December, the action-packed film has dominated the box office, raking in over $700 million worldwide. 

Awkwafina joins the cast of Jumanji in The Next Level. Photo courtesy of SONY Pictures

Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s 1981 children’s book, “Jumanji,” the story first appeared on the big screen in 1995. Starring Robin Williams, it centered around a creepy board game that summoned forth dangerous jungle creatures each time the dice was thrown.

Kasdan’s successful 2017 reboot featured four high school students — Spencer (Alex Wolff), Bethany (Madison Iseman), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Martha (Morgan Turner) — who come across the video game version of Jumanji while serving detention together. 

When each teenager picks an alias to start the game, they are teleported to the world of Jumanji and become the actual avatars they had chosen. Spencer becomes archaeologist Dr. Xander “Smolder” Bravestone (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Bethany is cartographer Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), Fridge turns into zoologist Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart) and Martha is transformed into martial arts expert Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). 

With only three lifelines each, evident as black stripes on their wrist, the gang is tasked with a series of challenges in order to “win” the game. Only after successfully retrieving the Jaguar’s Eye from an evil villain, with a little help from avatar Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough (Nick Jonas), aka Alex Vreeke (Colin Hanks) who had been stuck in the game for 20 years, do they earn safe passage home. 

In The Next Level, the four teenagers, now in college, make plans to meet up at a local cafe for Christmas break. 

Danny Glover and Danny DeVito join the cast of Jumanji in The Next Level.

When Spencer fails to show up for the reunion, his friends go to his house looking for him. To their dismay, they discover the infamous video game, broken but still functional, in the basement and realize their friend has gone back to Jumanji. They decide to go rescue him but things take a funny turn. While Fridge and Martha reenter the digital world, Bethany is bypassed by the game and Spencer’s Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Eddie’s former best friend Milo (Danny Glover) are unwittingly sucked in as well.

In a hilarious body swapping twist, Danny DeVito’s character initially finds himself in the Rock’s muscular 6-foot 5-inch body while Danny Glover’s character is now a zoologist in Kevin Hart’s body. Martha once again takes the form of Ruby Roundhouse but Fridge is now Jack Black’s map reader. 

Bethany joins the group later on in a nonhuman form and Jonas’ Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough also makes a reappearance. As the story unfolds, the cast switch avatars several times more by swimming in magic water, and we are introduced to a new character, a cat burgler named Ming Fleetfoot (rapper Awkwafina).

From left, Nick Jonas, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Awkwafina and Kevin Hart star in the third installment of the Jumanji franchise.
Photo courtesy of SONY Pictures

As the game is now at the next level, the stakes have also been elevated. Jumanji is suffering from a massive drought. To leave the game, the group, in addition to finding Spencer, must recover the Falcon’s Heart — a magical necklace stolen by warlord Jurgen the Brutal — which can end the drought if brought before sunlight and uttering Jumanji. Like before, each avatar has three lifelines with the addition of new skills (Ruby Roundhouse is now a nunchuck expert) and weaknesses (Prof. Oberon can now add heat, sun and sand to his growing list). 

The special effects are top notch. In addition to an exciting rope bridge scene in the jungle with vicious mandrills, the game’s map has now expanded to include the desert and dunes where the avatars are chased by prehistoric-looking ostriches and to Jurgen’s castle on an icy mountaintop where they face perilous cliffs and an unfriendly host.

As far as laughs go, The Next Level just might outdo its predecessor. Blain’s character Fridge finds much to complain about being in his new avatar, Prof. Oberon, which he finds even worse than when he was stuck as “Mouse,” whose weaknesses include cake. “At least I was still black,” he groans. 

Hart and Johnson’s characters are even funnier as perennially confused grandpas stuck in younger bodies. Johnson’s Danny DeVito impersonation with a New Jersey accent has hilarious results, especially when attempting to “smolder,” while Hart is tasked with capturing Glover’s slower speech, and his avatar ends up revealing key facts of the game too slowly to be of any use.

The clever script, filled with action, adventure and lots of comedy coupled with an outstanding cast and terrific soundtrack, is a winning formula. The final scene hints at a “Jumanji 4” — can’t wait! Running time is two hours. 

Rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language, Jumanji: The Next Level is now playing in local theaters.

By Heidi Sutton

One of Theatre Three’s most important offerings, in my opinion, is its children’s theatre series. Each show teaches a moral lesson — don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t be a bully — while introducing young audiences to live musical retellings of wonderful fairy tales including “Cinderella,” “Pinocchio,” “Hansel & Gretel” and its latest offering, “Little Red Riding Hood: A Tale of Safety for Today.” The adorable show opened last Saturday and runs through Feb. 22. 

While it follows the Brothers Grimm version closely, the story is used as a tool to teach “stranger danger” in a most effective way. Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin F. Story, the musical centers around a little girl named Amanda Sally Desdemona Estella Barbara Temple, although everyone in town calls her Little Red Riding Hood because she always wears the red cape her Granny Beckett made for her. 

When her grandmother sends Little Red Riding Hood’s mother a letter complaining “no one ever comes to visit. I might as well get eaten by a wolf!,” Amanda and her twin sisters, Blanche and Nora, head over the river and through the woods to bring her some Girl Scout cookies. Halfway there, Little Red Riding Hood tells her sisters to go back home because Nora is nursing a terrible cold. Now alone, she encounters a stranger (William “Billy” de Wolf) and commits a series of safety mistakes, placing her grandmother and herself in a dangerous situation.

Director Jeffrey Sanzel leads an adult cast of six who have the best time acting out this clever script.

Steven Uihlein serves as storyteller and does a terrific job introducing each scene, giving his own opinions and interrupting the show when he deems it necessary. Uihlein also plays numerous supporting roles, including a policeman, doctor and mailman.

Nicole Bianco is perfectly cast as Little Red Riding Hood, although she does love saying her long name a bit too much! Lol! Krystal Lawless tackles the challenging role of the forgetful Mrs. Temple with ease. Constantly mixing up her children’s names and attempting to make a cup of tea for Nora out of feathers, wrenches, sticky notes, etc. she draws the most laughs. 

Kyle Breitenbach has much fun in the role of the Wolf, who is all bark and no bite. Special effects make his stomach rumble and he is always asking the audience if they have any steak or a bone on hand. One of the best scenes is when the Wolf chases Granny Beckett around the bed, and when she steps away, he goes around many times more before he realizes she’s gone.

Michelle LaBozzetta has the most exhausting role in the show, skipping on stage as Blanche, turning the corner and reappearing as her twin sister Nora, hunched over and suffering from a cold. What a workout! LaBozzetta is so convincing that young children will not make the connection. 

But it’s Ginger Dalton as Granny Beckett who steals the show. Dripping with sarcasm, she pulls out all the stops to try to get her family to visit her and even fakes getting sick. Her solo, “Who’s at My Door?,” is superb.  

During the last 10 minutes of the show, the actors discuss the safety mistakes that Little Red Riding Hood made, including talking to strangers and giving out her grandmother’s address, and what she should have done instead.

The musical numbers, accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, are fun and catchy, especially “Little Red Riding Hood” and the tap dance number “To Granny Beckett’s House We Go.”

The great story line, the wonderful songs and the important message it conveys makes this show a perfect reason to catch a performance. Meet the entire cast in the lobby after the show for photos.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents “Little Red Riding Hood: A Tale of Safety for Today” is for ages 3 and up through Feb. 22. Children’s Theatre continues with “Hansel & Gretel” from Feb. 29 to March 21, “The Adventures of Peter Rabbit” from April 8 to 25 and “Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs” from May 23 to June 6. Tickets are $10 each. For more information or to order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Photos by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Let it snow!

The Whaling Museum at Cold Spring Harbor  hosted a FrozenFest inspired by the ‘Frozen’ films on Jan. 19. Families with young children came from all over Long Island to attend the event which included a special visit with Elsa, a scavenger hunt, a snowball fight and a screening of the ‘Frozen’ movie. Participants also created crafts including Elsa’s crown and a snowflake wand. 

Photos by Heidi Sutton

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Photo courtesy of Heckscher Museum

Too cold outside? Then come in to the Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave, Huntington for its annual free “Draw In’ WinterFest on Jan. 26 from noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy an array of art activities in the galleries including making a digital action painting while sipping hot cocoa, collage and paint your own masterpiece with artist Robyn Cooper and much more. First 50 children under age 10 will receive free art supplies! Call 351-3250 or visit www.heckschermuseum.org for more information.

East Northport Middle School invited sixth graders from Northport Middle School to view a Theatre Three theatrical touring production of “Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project” on Jan. 9.

Performers acted out scenarios to demonstrate that bullying, harassment and peer pressure can occur both inside and outside of school, including hallways, locker rooms, buses and even at home. Additionally, the production spoke about the influence social media has on one’s reputation, social cliques and rumors.

The production’s main message, however, was, “See it, say it, stop it.” The intention was to encourage students to stand up for each other to put an end to bullying. During a Q&A after the performance, the performers advised the middle school students to be upstanders rather than bystanders. “You really are the ones that can make a difference,” they said.

Theatre Three’s Educational Touring Company is available to come to your school or organization. For more information, call Marci at 631-928-9202.

Photos courtesy of the Northport-East Northport School District