Authors Posts by Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton
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Amanda Geracie (Maid Marian) and Steven Uihlein (Robin Hood) star in 'The Misadventures of Robin Hood.' Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Hear ye, hear ye! Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men have taken up residence at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson through Aug. 13 as the theater presents the world premiere of “The Misadventures of Robin Hood.”

With original script and music by Jeffrey Sanzel, Steve McCoy and Douglas Quattrock adapted from the well-known English folklore “Robin Hood,” the new musical comedy follows the timeless tale closely but turns out to be more like Mel Brooks’ 1993 film “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” With equal parts adventure and silliness, the show is a perfect way to enjoy a lazy summer afternoon.

Sanzel skillfully directs eight adult actors who are clearly in their element. The actors are joined on stage by a supporting cast of 35 young members of the theater’s summer acting classes who help the story along with narration and song. It’s the 12th century and King Richard the Lionheart has gone to fight in the Crusades, leaving his brother Prince John in charge who orders the Sheriff of Nottingham to collect taxes from the poor villagers. When Robin of Locksley protests, he is banished from the kingdom and retreats to Sherwood Forest. There he assembles his group of Merry Men and, with the help of Maid Marion, becomes Robin Hood, robbing the rich to give to the poor.

The cast of Theatre Three's 'The Misadventures of Robin Hood'
The cast of Theatre Three’s ‘The Misadventures of Robin Hood.’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

The lines are very cheeky: “Why does everyone have to repeat everything I say?” “It’s more dramatic that way!” and the fast-paced show is action packed with sword fights and archery contests. There’s even a bit of magic thrown in as the sheriff acquires a belt that when put on changes his appearance. Oh and the sheriff gets booed — a lot.

Steven Uihlein is hilarious as the absent minded bumbling swashbuckler Robin Hood who just can’t seem to get anyone’s name right including his bride to be, and Amanda Geraci is wonderful as the very patient Maid Marian, or as the program says, “patient beyond words.”

After an absence of more than five years, Jason Furnari returns to the Theatre Three stage to tackle the villainous role of The Sheriff of Nottingham and steals the show. Furnari, best known for his role as the original Barnaby in “Barnaby Saves Christmas” and as Peter in “The Adventures of Peter Rabbit,” is simply wonderful and delivers a stellar performance.

Newcomer Mark Jackett, standing well over six feet, is perfectly cast as Little John, and veteran Andrew Gasparani is an excellent Friar Tuck. Ginger Dalton, as Mrs. Buttertom, Melanie Acampora as Bettris Much and Emily Gates as Anne Much round out the cast and do a fine job.

Accompanied on piano by McCoy, the songs are fun and catchy with special mention of Geraci’s beautiful rendition of “Robin My Love” and Furnari’s “What Makes a Man a Man.” Costumes by Teresa Matteson are on point from Robin Hood’s traditional Lincoln green outfit to Friar Tuck’s robe to Maid Marian’s beautiful gown.

Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for photo ops.

Theatre Three, located at 412 Main Street in Port Jefferson, will present “The Misadventures of Robin Hood” Aug. 12 at 11 a.m. and Aug. 13 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Children’s theater continues at Theatre Three with “Pumpkin Patch Magic” from Oct. 1 to 29, “Barnaby Saves Christmas” from Nov. 25 to Dec. 30 and “The 3 Little Pigs” from Jan. 21 to Feb. 4. All tickets are $10. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

One of 25 street gardens in the Three Villages that have been recognized. Photo courtesy of the Three Village Garden Club

To show appreciation for the wonderful efforts of the gardeners of the community, the Three Village Garden Club instituted a Street Garden Recognition Program 11 years ago. Residents of the Three Villages were invited to participate in this program, had to fulfill the requirements of using only living plant material and the garden had to be well-maintained and be pleasing to the eye.

Participants included Laura Nektaredes, Barbara DeBree, The Jazz Loft, John and Nancy DeBellas, Virginia Bushart, Anthony Isola, Julie Parmagiani, Glynn Mercep & Purcell, LLP, Innovative Nutrition, Karin Ryon, Janet MacDowell, Palma Sette, Aida Von Oiste, Kim Squartrito, Rita Scher, Mike Specht, Bob Bronzino, Jackie Kramer, Eileen DeHayes, Michele Matton, Mary and Bill Wilcox, Jeanette Reynolds, Jean Jackson, Gladys Belmonte and Ralph VonThaden.

Members of the garden club viewed the participant’s gardens, and those who qualified were invited to a Brunch Reception held on July 16, at the Emma Clark Library. At the reception, each participant received a plaque, which was designed by a member of the Three Village Garden Club, JoAnn Canino. Photos of the gardens were on display at the reception and will also be posted in the library during the month of September.

If you would like to participate in the street garden recognition program next year or recommend a garden in the Three Villages that you admire, applications will be available at the Emma S. Clark Library in the late spring of 2017. For more infor- mation on the Three Village Garden Club, visit www.threevillagegardenclub.org. The public is encouraged to visit the street gardens at the following locations:

22 Deer Lane, E. Setauket

24 Deer Lane, E. Setauket

11 Lodge Lane, E. Setauket

7 Stalker Lane, E. Setauket

42 Fireside Lane, E. Setauket

52 Fireside Lane, E. Setauket

2 Cedar Ave., E. Setauket

6 Van Brunt Manor Road, Poquott 6 Sharon Ave., Poquott

206 Route 25A, E. Setauket

5 Carlton Ave., E. Setauket

36 Lake Ave., Setauket

57 No. Country Road, Setauket

6 Wendover Road, Setauket

343 Main St., Setauket

15 Huckleberry Lane, Setauket

8 Huckleberry Lane, Setauket

15 Lewis St., Setauket

7 Mill Pond Road, Stony Brook

40 Main St., Stony Brook

275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook

139 Christian Ave., Stony Brook

16 Bailey Hollow Road, Stony Brook

8 North Road, Stony Brook

81 University Hgts. Drive, Stony Brook

History came alive on July 23 at the second annual Culper Spy Day, a collaboration of 18 organizations including Tri-Spy Tours, the Three Village Historical Society, The Long Island Museum, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization and Stony Brook University’s Special Collections. Hundreds of community members endured the heat to come out and learn about the amazing story behind George Washington’s Setauket Culper Spy Ring. Activities, which took place in Setauket, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson, included tours, battle reenactments, colonial cooking demonstrations, live music, crafts and more.

Ryan Wood, age 7, of Sayville gets a guitar lesson from SBU student Shari Cummings at the LIM's Family Fun Day on July 31. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Ryan Wood, age 7, of Sayville gets a guitar lesson from SBU student Shari Cummings at the LIM’s Family Fun Day on July 31. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The grounds of the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook were swarming with families last Sunday afternoon as the venue hosted a perennial favorite, Family Fun Day.

Children enjoy a concert with Aly Sunshine and Johnny Wheels of Funky Town Playground at Family Fun Day at the LIM
Children enjoy a concert with Aly Sunshine and Johnny Wheels of Funky Town Playground at Family Fun Day at the LIM

The free event, which was sponsored by Target, included 1960s-inspired crafts, a musical performance by Funky Town Playground, access to all the exhibits and outbuildings and refreshments.

The highlight of the day was a visit from the Stony Brook University’s Staller Center of the Art’s Instrument Petting Zoo. During this interactive presentation, students from SBU’s Music Department, which included Tommy Wu, Shari Cummings, Emily Sobel, Sean Silvestrone, Carina Canonico and David Gazaille, demonstrated many instruments including the flute, piccolo, violin, cello, bass, saxophone, guitar, chimes, slide whistle, rainstick, a kazoo and even a theremin.

Children were then given the chance to hold, touch and play many of the instruments and received a kazoo as a gift at the end of the performance to encourage continued music appreciation and participation.

“Family Fun Days are our chance to welcome our community for a free day to come and experience all that the LIM has to offer,” said Lisa Unander, director of education at the museum. “The Instrument Petting Zoo’s approach of introducing young children to musical instruments, through interactive games and humor, was the perfect connection to what families could experience in our galleries and grounds throughout the day.”

Catch the museum’s next Family Fun Day, complete with a Halloween theme, on Sunday, Oct. 30.

From left, Jud Newborn, curator of special programs for the Cinema Arts Centre, and actor Chris Lemmon hold up special themed sheet cakes with photos from Jack Lemmon’s movies. Photo by Alex Wolff

The Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington hosted “Twist of Lemmon,” Chris Lemmon’s live multimedia theatrical tribute to his father, legendary star Jack Lemmon, on July 28. The sold-out show was followed by a special reception featuring two theme sheet cakes — one featuring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in the 1968 film “The Odd Couple” and the other featuring Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon in drag from the 1959 comedy “Some Like It Hot.”

Photo by Alex Wolff
Photo by Alex Wolff

The SoundWaters schooner will arrive in Port Jefferson next weekend. Photo by Mike Bagley

The 80-foot schooner, SoundWaters, is offering the public a chance to experience Long Island Sound in a very special way this August. This beautiful and historic three-masted ship will be sailing from Port Jefferson Harbor from Aug. 11 to 14. The public is invited to sail on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12 to 14 at 3 or 6 p.m. Adult tickets are $35 and children (5 to 12 years) are $25 for afternoon sails and $35 for sunset sails.

SoundWaters
SoundWaters

Guests are invited to bring their favorite food and beverages and relax for a breezy afternoon sail — ideal for families — or a beautiful and romantic sunset sail. All sails last two hours and depart from the Port Jefferson Village Center Dock (just east of Danfords and the Ferry Dock).

SoundWaters, a replica of a historic sharpie schooner, has been sailing Long Island Sound since 1989 as the flagship of Stamford CT-based environmental education nonprofit, SoundWaters. During the week, SoundWaters is a floating classroom, carrying over 5,000 students every year from 64 different towns in the Long Island Sound region. While on board, SoundWaters educators teach the students about the ecology of Long Island Sound.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.soundwaters.org.

Author Nomi Dayan (holding book) with community members after the event. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Heidi Sutton

The Friends of the Huntington Public Library hosted a book signing with author Nomi Dayan last Thursday evening. Dayan, who is the executive director of The Whaling Museum & Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor, gave an informative and evocative pictorial presentation exploring the rise and fall of whaling on Long Island before signing copies of her new book, “Whaling on Long Island” (Arcadia Press). Artifacts from the museum’s collection, including a whale ear bone and scrimshaw items crafted by whalers at sea, were passed around during the event. The book is available for purchase at The Whaling Museum’s gift shop.

Check out next week’s issue of Arts & Lifestyles in Times Beacon Record Newspapers for a book review of “Whaling on Long Island.”

The garden bench dedicated in memory of Ellen Michelmore. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Heidi Sutton

Friends and family gathered at the garden at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson to dedicate a bench in memory of the late Ellen Michelmore on July 24. Michelmore, who served as the theater’s resident musical director for more than 25 years, passed away this May at the age of 63 after a five-year courageous battle with leiomyosarcoma, a cancer that infects muscle tissue. “Ellen loved this theater,” said her husband Jeff Lange. “She was the bravest soul I ever knew,” he added.

Ellen Michelmore and her husband Jeff Lange File photo
Ellen Michelmore and her husband Jeff Lange. File photo

A gold plate on the bench is inscribed with the lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”:

Try ‘n’ to get my soul free

We are stardust We are golden

And we got to get ourselves

Back to the garden.

Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Theatre Three’s Artistic Director Jeffrey Sanzel said the lyrics were chosen because “those were the opening lyrics to our ‘Summer ‘69: Return to Woodstock’ that Ellen sang in the very first production. It’s where it all started — it has so many levels in its meanings.”

Jean Sorbera, who had been Theatre Three’s resident choreographer for many years, purchased the bench and donated it. It now sits alongside memorials for two other members of the Theatre Three family gone too soon, Brent Erlanson and Bonnie Vidal.

During the ceremony, Michelle LaPorte and Gerry Saulter performed a moving rendition of “Progressions para Pauline,” a flute and guitar piece by Argentinian composer Luiz José Merlin, in Ellen’s honor.

A reception followed at the theater’s Second Stage. Sanzel gave a toast to Michelmore with her favorite wine, Prosecco, saying, “There are no words,” as he choked back tears. Scanning the packed room, it was incredible to see how many lives Michelmore had touched over the years.

For actors Hans Paul Hendrickson, Steven Uihlein, Sarah E. Bush and TracyLynn Conner, memories of Ellen were practically identical — how she made them feel welcome when they first arrived and helped them perfect their craft. Conner said she and Ellen formed a close personal relationship and would get together often to sing. Conner wore a pair of Ellen’s shoes to the dedication.

“I absolutely adored Ellen and miss her very, very much. She was like family to me,” said actor Steve Ayle. “We worked together at Theatre Three for the last 25 years, most recently playing opposite each other in the [2015] One Act Play Festival’s ‘Quack.’ Ellen was warm and kind beyond compare, her talent immeasurable, and her big, bright eyes reflected her remarkably positive and enduring spirit, even in the face of her illness. She will live on forever in my heart and soul.”

Douglas Quattrock, who has been at the theater full time since 2002 but has been acting there since the mid-80s, was clearly moved by the dedication. “Besides being one of the most caring and genuine people you could ever meet, Ellen was also an inspiration,” said a tearful Quattrock. “Even though I have never had any formal training in composing music, Ellen always encouraged me to do it. ‘Just play what’s in your heart’ is what she would say. I was honored to work on so many shows with her.”

Michelmore was such an integral part of the Theatre Three family that she was honored with a musical tribute “Ellen Michelmore: Notes From The Heart,” in 2014. The evening featured singers, actors and musicians who had been blessed to work with her. “Jeff [Sanzel] asked me to write a song for Ellen [for the tribute],” continued Quattrock. “The opening lyric that immediately came to my mind was ‘You’re The Music, You’re The Song.’ To me, that was Ellen … She was the music.”

Actor and musician Kevin Story also reflected on his time with Michelmore, saying, “Ellen was a unique light. From the moment I set foot inside Theatre Three over ten years ago, she was encouraging and supportive, a great mentor, colleague and friend. There are really no words, as Jeff said.”

Sanzel said that Theatre Three’s Aug. 19 and 20 performances of “Woodstockmania: Woodstock in Concert,” a musical created by Michelmore, will be dedicated to her memory. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In addition, Sanzel said a plaque bearing the inscription, “Ellen Michelmore: The Spirit of Music Ever Present” will be placed in the orchestra pit and “a portrait of Michelmore will be commissioned for the lobby.”

Kevin Story surely spoke for all who attended the ceremony that day, saying, “We’ve all been touched by Ellen in an amazing way, and we can only hope her light will continue to shine through us somehow. She will be missed.”

Gene Casey & the Lone Sharks. Photo by John Broven

Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks performed for hundreds of concertgoers at the Port Jefferson/Northern Brookhaven Arts Council’s Sunset Concert at the Harborfront Park last Wednesday. The group entertained the crowd with tunes from Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as their original music including “Who’s Sharing the Moon” and “It Should Rain” and received a standing ovation at the end of the night. Photo by John Broven

Tom Manuel, back row in black jacket, and the Jazz Loft Big Band performed at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Sunday Summer Concerts on the Green on July 24. As the sun set over Stony Brook Harbor, the band played many jazz favorites including “Woodchopper’s Ball,” “Satin Doll,” “Jackson County Jubilee” and closed out the night with “One Mint Julep.” Corinne Schaller, a Long Island’s Got Talent finalist opened the show.  Photo by Heidi Sutton

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