Arts & Entertainment

Jean Linzee will portray Emily Dickinson. Photo from the WMHO

In honor of National Poetry Month the Ward Melville Heritage Organization will host a live dramatic performance titled “Artists & Poets,” showcasing iconic American poets, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, at the Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main St., in Stony Brook Village on Sunday, April 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. The event will  feature Jean Linzee as Emily Dickinson and Darrel Blaine Ford as Walt Whitman.

A former Long Island biology teacher and world-traveled ornithologist, Ford not only has a striking physical resemblance to Walt Whitman but a personal affinity with him since childhood, when he was given a copy of “Leaves of Grass” and was “hooked ever since.” He has been recreating Whitman’s persona for over 30 years and continues to maintain his legacy today by visiting schools and libraries as the famous poet.

Linzee is a Yale graduate and has taught English and theater at The Stony Brook School for over 20 years. Her experience includes not only teaching but also acting, directing and writing. She has conceived, written and performed in many of her own one-woman shows, as well as William Luce’s “The Belle of Amherst,” based  on the life of Emily Dickinson, which she has performed in England, Poland, Switzerland and throughout the United States.

There will be a special interaction with the audience and the actors, who will perform in an impromptu skit embodying the personas of Dickinson and Whitman as if they were meeting for the first time. The performance is $20 per person and will include refreshments.

There will also be a free art exhibit on site including works by Pat Solan, Flo Kemp and members of the Stony Brook Photography Club. Additional dates for the free art exhibit are April 16, 17, 18, 20 and 21.

For further information, please call 631-689-5888 or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

Music, food and games at SPARKBOOM event on Saturday

Wantagh native AJ Estrada strums a tune from his latest project, ‘Archibelle.’ Estrada will be performing at an event in Huntington on Saturday. Photo from AJ Estrada

By Julianne Cuba

On Saturday, a LaunchPad Huntington on Main Street will be home to an event that merges art, music, food and games, all while showcasing Long Island talent.

The event, called “ART BYTES: A Special #ARTNTECH Event,” is the brainchild of LaunchPad Huntington, a business accelerator and event space on Main Street in Huntington, Long Island Visual Professionals and SPARKBOOM, a project of the Huntington Arts Council that aims to support Long Island artists.

Raj Tawney, who is head of public relations & media for SPARKBOOM, said the program has hosted dozens of events since its first in 2013. Saturday’s event is expected to attract at least a few hundred people — but more than expected always seem to show up.

“The program exists because we felt there wasn’t enough opportunity for Generation Y and millennials in regards to emerging creative talent in Long Island,” Tawney said. “So, we developed this program give opportunity to younger artistic types in the area, so they don’t feel like they need to run to Manhattan to seek opportunity.”

One ART BYTES artist is AJ Estrada, a jack-of-all-trades. Estrada — a native of Wantagh — sings, plays the guitar and paints digitally. Estrada will be singing and performing songs from his new project, “Archibelle.” And his artwork will be on display in the featured artist gallery.

“I think this event, and SPARKBOOM, in general, has done a tremendous amount of work in curating and bringing together creatives from all over Long Island,” Estrada said. “They’re truly an outstanding group of people.”

Alexa Dexa, a Lindenhurst native who takes the name Dexa after her paternal grandmother, will also be performing at ART BYTES. Dexa, who is a 2011 graduate of Berklee College of Music, will be performing selections from her upcoming album, “Year of Abandon,” which, according to Dexa, is a collection of “toychestral” electronic pop songs concentrated on the meanings of the word “abandon.”

Accompanying Dexa’s own voice will be her toy piano, pitched desk bells and electronic beats she handcrafts.

“Any event that supports and showcases local music and musicians in their local neighborhoods is doing a great service to the arts community and the general public,” Dexa said. “Events like this absolutely strengthen the cultural validity of Long Island and certainly keep me from straying too far for too long while on tour.”

The event is free, with a $5 suggestion donation. It will take place at LaunchPad Huntington, at 315 Main Street on the second floor.

From left, Kyle Petty as Simon and Danny Amy as Jesus in a scene from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ Photo by Diane Pacifico Marmann

By Charles J. Morgan

There are two ways that “Jesus Christ Superstar,” currently in production at the CMPAC, may be the subject of a critique: the theatrical and the biblical. The work of Tim Rice (lyrics) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), who gave the theatrical world “Evita” and “Phantom of the Opera,” it is a rock opera with no recitatives — all song and some ancillary choreography.

Brilliantly arranged live music, actually in the pit, featured Matthew W. Surico directing and on keyboard, backed by Danny Passadino on second board, Diana Fuller and Laura Carroll on guitars, Rob Curry on bass, Jacob Krug on percussion, John Dumlao on violin with Jared Shaw on drums, Kevin Merkel on horn and the skilled fingers and embouchure of Gary Golden on trumpet. This crew had it all, superbly rehearsed, musically overwhelming; Surico had culled top talent.

Director Danny Amy had the leading role of Jesus of Nazareth. Tall and imposing with a lyrical tenor voice, he dominated the enemies and followers with gentility consonant with that of the Nazarene.

Two key roles were held by Jim Sluder as Judas and Debbie Hecht as Mary Magdalene. Sluder brought out the purely earthbound fanaticism. His intense drive to have Jesus proclaim himself as an earthly ruler will lead him to the betrayal. Sluder’s high-pitched intensity had him truly “eating up the scenery.” Hecht’s role was problematic. There is a scholarly trend currently that puts her extremely “close” to Jesus. Her plangent and echoing voice was near rapturous and brought off the humanity of Jesus, which was the essence of Rice and Webber’s efforts.

Four other roles were critical: Annas, played by Ralph D’Ambrose, Caiaphas by John DiGiorgio, Herod by Marc Andre Ausset and Pontius Pilate by Carl Tese. D’Ambrose was the mocking, teasing enemy of Jesus, a part he carried out with detailed efficiency. DiGiorgio, costumed in red with gold-tipped staff revealed a voice that approached a deadly basso at times and brought out his authority with booming, stentorian menace. In contradistinction to the others, Ausset captured the deviant, flighty Herod in a spangled costume and even danced with his female courtiers in a number designed to look like a Moulin Rouge group doing the Galop Infernal. Tese had a near basso voice that he used as an accent to his proclamations. He quite ably evinced the dangers of the middle-of-the-road lack of decision that marks Pontius Pilate’s fatal pronouncement.

In Act I, Hecht’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was a relief from the raucous song and dance of the tormentors and followers, yet it evinced a deep sincerity and that underlying attraction that perhaps is attributed to the Magdalene without biblical evidence. “Pilate’s Dream” by Tese gave the audience a clear picture of Pilate’s hesitancy and his fear. Annas, Caiaphas, priests and the chorus perform “This Jesus Must Die,” a pounding, roaring declaration that made known the desires of the Sanhedrin more than obvious.

Act II is a passion play. The “Last Supper” made no effort to emulate da Vinci but was neatly executed with “Do This in Memory of Me,” outstripping the meaning of the first Eucharist. Ironically Webber’s artful tendency to use a rock cum Latin beat still paid off here. The confrontation of Christ with Pilate was done well except for the famous “What Is Truth?” which was delivered almost in passing when it deserved more of a showcasing.

Choreography by Jennifer Amy was conservative but effective. Set design by Danny Amy was very impressive. The dust and stones of first-century Jerusalem were done in detail with even an upstage center exit that gave a true three-dimensional air. Intricate lighting was the work of David John Serrecchia. He played it suggestively with head spots on Jesus looking like a halo. The finale was handled by the orchestra in a number entitled “John 19:41.” With Surico’s talent handling this one, it had all the sonority of a typical full-blast finale.

The CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, will present “Jesus Christ Superstar” through April 26. Tickets range from $20 to $29. For more information, call 631-218-2810 or visit www.cmpac.com.

By Julianne Cuba

Peaches Rodriguez, a break dancing pioneer, stand-up comedian and East Northport resident who broke into stardom after her role in the 1984 film, “Beat Street,” is the unlikely doppelgänger of a well-known French politician.

Comedian and dancer Peaches Rodriguez, above, is enjoying a new level of intercontinental fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen. Photo from Peaches Rodriguez
Comic and dancer Peaches Rodriguez, above, is enjoying a new level of fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen. Photo from Rodriguez

After a break dancing competition in Queens last month, Abdel Karim, who is a hip-hop choreographer and a friend of a friend of Rodriguez on Facebook, created a video meme of Rodriguez break dancing with the suggestion that it was actually Marine Le Pen, the popular nationalistic politician, dancing just after local elections in France.

Because of its extreme absurdity, the video went viral in France, with nearly 300,000 views on Facebook. That video, along with a second video of Rodriguez and a few other break-dancers, also went viral in the United States, with more than 100,000 hits.

“It’s always good to get exposure no matter how you get it,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview this week. “You can’t control something that goes viral. And you have to take it as it comes. It’s almost so random you just have to roll with it and enjoy it as it happens … the views are continuing to go up.”

It’s as if there was a video of a Hillary Clinton look-alike break dancing after an election, Rodriguez suggested for comparison — because that’s exactly what happened, she said.

Comedian and dancer Peaches Rodriguez is enjoying a new level of intercontinental fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen, above. Photo by Rémi Noyon, through Flickr Creative Commons license
A video of Peaches Rodriguez has gone viral, due to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen, above. Photo by Rémi Noyon, through Flickr Creative Commons license

In the 1980s, after moving from Connecticut to New York with the hopes of beginning a career in comedy, Rodriguez said she got into break dancing after realizing how good she actually was at that style of dance.

Today, Rodriguez still does both — stand-up comedy and break dancing. But her main job is a traveling comedian in the tristate area, she said.

“I break-dance part time, they have battles and events,” she said. “It’s a cool underground scene.”

Rodriguez also spends her time mentoring young, novice dancers in the industry.

Due to her new intercontinental fame, Rodriguez said she has a few gigs already lined up in the U.S.
Rodriguez added that if Clinton wins the 2016 presidential election, she would not hesitate to dress up like the former U.S. secretary of state and bust a move or two.

‘Breakfast Memories’ by Irene Ruddock

By Ellen Barcel

The Suffolk County Parks historic Deepwells Farm and Mansion on Route 25A in St. James will host the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club’s Associates’ and Members’ Non-Juried Art Exhibition from April 12 to 26.

“It’s a new tradition” for the club said board member and co-chair Jeanette Dick of Belle Terre. “This exhibit is an additional undertaking by the club to fulfill their mission to promote the work of women artists. It [will be] a bi-annual event held at different galleries and museums in the tri-state area.” The first was at the museum in Water Mill and the second at a gallery in Connecticut. This one, at Deepwells, will be the third. “It’s a new adventure for us, a new venue,” for the 118-year-old club, she said.

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe was a philanthropist, art collector and one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequeathing her collection of paintings to it. The art club was formed in 1896 to “provide aid, counsel and exhibition opportunities to young women artists in New York City.” The club, which meets in Grace Church in NYC, has grown over the years with membership spanning the country.

One of the board members of the club, Setauket artist Irene Ruddock said, “It’s so nice meeting women from all over the country and they are good. [The club] is one of the most prestigious [art] organizations.” Ruddock went on to add, “Our own wonderful Jeannette Dick is taking over as president of this organization. It’s an honor for her to be president.”

"Pungent Aroma" watercolor by Eleanor Meier
“Pungent Aroma” watercolor by Eleanor Meier

Added Dick, who referred to herself as currently president-in-training, “It’s a wonderful club with women I greatly admire — a wonderful group of women to work with who are very talented.”

According to Eleanor Meier, co-chair of the exhibit and club board member, Deepwells Mansion was selected as the site for the current exhibit because it’s “a nice venue and close to the St. James railroad station for those coming out from the city.”

The mansion was built in approximately 1845 and has been home to Joel L.G. Smith, a descendent of Richard “Bull” Smith of Smithtown and William L. Gaynor, mayor of New York City from 1910 to 1913. The Greek Revival mansion and part of the farm property was acquired by Suffolk County in 1989 and has been the site of many events including art shows, arts and crafts festivals and holiday boutiques.

Open to professional artists, the show will include a wide variety of media including watercolors, acrylics, oils and etchings. Seventy-four works of art from associates and members of the club will be on display. Noted Dick, “It’s a good sized show with a good mix of media.” She added that the show includes sculpture. Pat Solan of Port Jefferson Station will be showing a sculpture as will Priscilla Heep-Coll from Brooklyn.

Ruddock noted, “The whole point of the show is to give the associates who never had a show a change to exhibit. It’s very hard to get into this club. Some people try for years.” It’s not a juried show, she added. “If you’re an associate [of the club] you can show,” with each artist submitting a work that was “representative of their style.”

Ruddock’s submission, “Breakfast Memories,” is a still life done in pastels of brown eggs and an antique canister set. “It was so much fun to do,” she noted. Of the brown eggs, she said, “each one was different with its speckles. I fell madly in love with a canister set in an antique shop, [a set] that I’d been looking for for years. I took it home and set it up with the eggs to paint. It was exciting … I have so much fun with art.”

"Pecking Order" pastel, by Jeanette Dick
“Pecking Order” pastel, by Jeanette Dick

While the show is open to associates and members across the country, many Long Island artists will be represented including members of the Setauket Artists, including Renee Caine, Patty Yantz, Anne Katz, Paula Pelletier, Patty Schwarz, Flo Kemp, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Jeanette Dick, Irene Ruddock, Eleanor Meier, Angela Stratton, Carole Scinta, Pat Solan, Joan Rockwell and Sheila Breck. Other Long Island artists include Mary Maran, Joyce Bressler, Alexandra Marinaccio, Marion Cohen, Lillian Forziat, Helen Giaquinto, Lucille Berrill Paulson, Liz Jorg Masi, Debra Grossman and Alexandra Albano.

Most of the works are for sale with proceeds to benefit the club’s scholarship programs. Expect a very good show as, said Meier, “the club has high standards.” A reception for artists and invited friends will be held on April 12. The exhibit will be open daily from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Michael Verre tries to squeeze a shoe on Kate Keating as Alyson Clancy and Maryellen Molfetta look on during a scene from 'Cinderella' at the Engeman Theater. Photo by Jennifer C. Tully

The John W. Engeman Theater in Northport was a sea of blue princess dresses last Saturday morning at the theater’s opening of the classic fairy tale, “Cinderella.” Directed by Jennifer Collester Tully, the story follows the original plot closely with lots of fun and laughter. The inclusion of a few younger actors is a nice addition, making this show the perfect choice to introduce children to the magic of live theater.

Allie Eibler and Michael Verre fall in love in a scene from ‘Cinderella' at the Engeman Theater. Photo by Jennifer C. Tully
Allie Eibler and Michael Verre fall in love in a scene from ‘Cinderella’ at the Engeman Theater. Photo by Jennifer C. Tully

Allie Eibler stars as the sweet and innocent Ella, a young girl whose father dies, leaving her at the mercy of her evil stepmother and mean stepsisters. Forced to do all the chores and sleep in the kitchen by the fireplace, she is nicknamed Cinderella. Her miserable plight attracts the attention of her fairy godmother, played wonderfully with a warm Southern accent by Suzanne Mason, who is determined to rescue her. Aided by her helpers, energetic 13-year-olds Ryan J. McInnes and Meaghan Maher (both last seen in “A Christmas Story”), the fairy godmother arranges for Cinderella to attend the royal ball, where she steals the heart of the young prince, played by the handsome Michael Verre, and, after the shoe fits, lives happily ever after.

The talented Maryellen Molfetta plays the role of the stepmother with just enough selfishness and greediness, and Alyson Clancy as Henrietta and Kate Keating as Gertrude are hilarious as the jealous stepsisters.

Maryellen Molfetta, Alyson Clancy, Kate Keating and Allie Eibler star in 'Cinderella' at the Engeman Theater. Photo by Jennifer C. Tully
Maryellen Molfetta, Alyson Clancy, Kate Keating and Allie Eibler star in ‘Cinderella’ at the Engeman Theater. Photo by Jennifer C. Tully

It is the incomparable Kevin Burns, however (seen most recently as the Cowardly Lion in the “Wizard of Oz” and as Frosty in “Frosty the Snowman”), in the role of the king, who steals the show.  Blind as a bat, he fumbles around the set, always headed in the wrong direction, mistaking a topiary for a guard, and almost falls off the stage at one point, drawing the most laughs.

There is a lot of audience interaction in this show — something the kids just love. The actors walk up and down the aisles during scene changes, serving as a nice distraction. The king even wanders up and down the aisles with Cinderella’s glass slipper, asking little girls to try it on as the prince stands by with eager anticipation. Even the youngest guests won’t have time to grow restless as they participate in “The Sneeze Polka” dance and are asked questions by the cast.

Suzanne Mason bewitches the audience in a scene from 'Cinderella' at the Engeman Theater. Photo by Jennifer C. Tully
Suzanne Mason bewitches the audience in a scene from ‘Cinderella’ at the Engeman Theater. Photo by Jennifer C. Tully

Designed by Laurén Paragallo, the colorful costumes, ranging from the stepsister’s hilarious outfits to Cinderella’s breathtaking ball gown, to the royal garbs for the king and prince, are spot on. Choreography by Marquez Catherine Stewart is terrific, especially evident during the “The Sneeze Polka.”

Meet the cast after the show for pictures and autographs. An autograph page is conveniently located in the back of the program. The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport, will present “Cinderella” on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through May 10. Tickets are $15 each.

For more information, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

Fresh out of the box, roller skates wait patiently for their first customers at the Rinx in Port Jefferson. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Rita J. Egan

With the temperatures rising, a transformation is underway at The Rinx at the Harborfront Park’s Village Center in Port Jefferson. From April 10 to July 25, locals can change those ice skating blades for wheels as the outdoor rink will offer roller skating for the first time.

Renee Lemmerman, Village of Port Jefferson superintendent of recreation, said she saw Tom Palamara, owner of The Rinx, at the park last summer and said to him, “Hey, did you ever think of doing roller skating when ice skating ends?”

The two later met to talk about the possibility, and Palamara started looking into different types of surfaces and companies that could undertake such a project, according to Lemmerman. The superintendent said there are currently no roller rinks in Suffolk County, and she thought it would be a fun activity for local children. However, she soon found out roller skating isn’t just for kids when she was speaking with various people.

Lemmerman said one woman to whom she told the news, who was around 50 years old, said to her, “Oh my God, I want to go roller skating! I would never go ice skating but I used to roller skate.” The superintendent said she realized after talking to the woman, “Wow, we’re going to hit a whole different demographic here.”

Palamara said once the news started spreading that roller skating would arrive in Port Jefferson, people began approaching him asking if it was true. “It’s really amazing the level of interest we have gotten from random people,” he said.

While researching to find out if there had ever been a rink in Port Jefferson during the 20th century, Palamara found a newspaper article from “The Brooklyn Daily Eagle” dated July 5, 1908. According to the article, roller skating took place at Athena Hall located in the building now occupied by Theatre Three. With the absence of the activity from the village for decades, the owner said everyone at The Rinx is excited about offering roller skating and providing another pastime for village visitors.  He also has found from the ice skating season that Harborfront Park provides the perfect spot for a family gathering or night out for couples. “The thing that is great about the rink in Port Jefferson is it’s a nice, small, Rockfeller-Center-like rink,” Palamara said.

Ice skating ended on March 15, and the ice will be replaced with a multi-purpose, athletic sports court floor. Palamara said quad skates will be available to rent as the style of skates have a much wider platform than roller blades, making them easier for new or rusty skaters. The owner said attendees are also welcomed to bring their own skates, and the roller rink will be available for birthday and private parties.

Admission rates are $11 adults, $5.50 seniors and $8.50 children 11 and under, except for Friday and Saturday nights when admission is $12 for all. Skate rental is an additional $5.50.

The Rinx is located at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101-A East Broadway, Port Jefferson. For more information on session times and discount passes, visit www.TheRinx.com/Roller or call 631-403-4357 for more information.

‘Frozen’ sing along edition and ‘Cars’ are just two of the Disney movies to be screened next week in Smithtown. Image from SCPA

There’s no better way to spend a week off from school than watching some of the best Disney movies around on the big screen.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts is hosting a Disney classic movie week that takes place during many districts’ spring breaks April 4 to 12. Each day, a different movie that caters to both boys and girls will be shown.

“The kids are off from school [and] we always try to do something for when kids are off from school,” owner Ken Washington said.

The movies include “Frozen” (sing along version) on April 4, “Wreck-It Ralph” on April 6, “Tangled” on April 7, “Cars” on April 8, “Sleeping Beauty” on April 9, “Brave” on April 10 and “Toy Story” on April 12.
“The biggest response so far has to be Disney’s ‘Frozen,’” Washington said.

Each movie starts at 1:30 p.m. and tickets are $5 each. Advance tickets are on sale now.

But it’s not just Disney the center is celebrating. On select dates through October, classic movies are being shown at the theater. Coming up in April is “A League of Their Own,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Sting,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “As Good As It Gets.”

Since bringing the classic movies back to the theater in November 2014, the theater has experienced a very positive response, Washington said.

In June, the theater will be showing “E.T.” and “Jaws,” which Washington expects to be the biggest movies of the season.

Washington had a hand at picking all the classic movies that will play and he worked hard to find movies that everyone would like. “I kind of picked the whole roster,” Washington said. “I started at the top 100 films of all time.”

Another big weekend at the theater will be superhero weekend in May, where movie lovers can see “The Amazing Spiderman” 1 and 2, “Superman” 1 and 2, “Batman” and “Batman Begins” as well as “Ironman” 1 and 2. The theater will also host a Lord of the Ring trilogy, which is expected to be a 12-hour adventure.

Part of the reason the theater is taking part in the movie events is because the town is celebrating its 350th anniversary and Washington wanted the theater to be a part of that.

“I think it’s been enough of a response that we are looking to continue [the classic movie series] next year,” Washington said.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2 E. Main St., Smithtown. For more information on the theater’s classic movies, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org/show-schedule/movie-nights.

Jessica Lee Goldyn in a scene from ‘A Chorus Line’ at the Engeman. Photo by Michael DeCristofaro

By Charles J. Morgan

“A Chorus Line” opened at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport last weekend and was a top-notch terpsichorean treat! If your scribe could marshal more alliterative allusions evoking the theatrical theophany that burst forth last Saturday, he would be demeaning the meaning of accurate critical acumen. But enough of Roccoco doggerel! The show, directed by Drew Humphrey was, well, a smash hit.

Since it was all about dance and nothing but dance, a word about the choreography is in order. Dena DiGiacinto was in charge, and her fully charged crew put out a potpourri of evolutions and contortions in every genre including tango, tap, ballet and culminating in an all-hands-on-stage finale entitled “One,” which brought out a standing ovation rife with shouts of “Bravo!” DiGiacinto is immensely talented, having played a role in it on Broadway. However, she is the one who managed the unbelievable precision, coordination and aesthetic unitive finality that was a tribute to the totality of the show.

Since dance requires music, there was James Olmstead leading his magnificent crew with associate Bob Kelly and featuring Joe Boardman on trumpet, Brent Chiarello on trombone, Russ Brown on bass, Mark Gatz on reeds and Josh Enflich on percussion. In your scribe’s opinion previously expressed about this band, they could easily supplant a Broadway pit outfit including its string section.

The main lead is Zach, the choreographer charged with getting a chorus line in shape for a forthcoming performance. He is played by James Ludwig who reveals not only talent in dancing but a genuine stage presence as an actor. He even appears as a dancer in that knockout finale.

Then we have Jessica Lee Goldyn as Cassie who gives an empty-stage dance  solo in “The Music and the Mirror” as well as an emotional dialog with Zach that can only be described as riveting.

Stephanie Israelson is Valerie. She has two breakaway numbers. In Act I with Andrew Matzger and Sissy Bell called “And…” in which her dancing skills are obvious and in Act II a solo on “”Dance: 10; Looks: 3” in which those skills are more ubiquitous. DJ Petrosino as Al and Rachel Marie Bell as Kristine are hilarious in a number called “Sing.”

In another number entitled “At the Ballet” Kelly Sheehan, Abby Church and Courtney Moran manifested evident skill. Patent progress was also evident in Danny Wilfred’s performance as  Richie.

It should be remembered that every single person on the boards is a dancer. There are no walk-ons, no characters who have only dialog — it is dance and music all the way. Lighting was effected by Cory Pattak who handled the fast-paced action with consummate skill.

There was no set. Even the back wall upstage was seen; after all it was rehearsal and audition time. Laura Shubert on sound design made her  ability to balance, increase/decrease, volume shine through. Your scribe even picked up a brief solo by Josh Endlich played on sizzling high-hats. The beats of all the numbers was so complete that your scribe’s slightly arthritic knee grew tired from his left foot tapping. He actually had to switch to his right.

All in all, the entire performance is sharply and professionally performed, something that the Engeman has consistently presented to theater audiences.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport, will present “A Chorus Line” through May 10. Tickets are $69. For more information, call 261-2900 or visit www.engemean theater.com.

Council head mulls creating new lecture series

Marc Courtade photo from Huntington Arts Council

Marc Courtade, the new executive director of the Huntington Arts Council, is rolling up his sleeves and getting ready to work.

Courtade follows Diana Cherryholmes as the new leader of the arts organization and officially stepped in to fill her position on March 2. Cherryholmes, who was at the helm of the Huntington Arts Council for more than 16 years, left to work for Suffolk County.

Before joining the Huntington Arts Council, Courtade was the business manager for Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post for the past 17 years.

“I am delighted to bring my skills, passion and energy to the Huntington Arts Council, and look forward to helping the arts remain a vibrant part of our community,” he said in a statement.

While at Tilles, Courtade was an integral part of the center’s performance season, where he assisted in planning and organizing many of the performances and special events. At Tilles, he also created the pre-performance series, “Performance PLUS!” while simultaneously producing and acting as artistic director for 10 years. Courtade continues to teach musical theater and opera courses for the honors program at LIU and The Hutton House Lectures at Lorber Hall.

“At the moment, I just want to help to continue the good work and move the organization forward … I’m still transitioning and working on a 50th anniversary reception,” he said in a phone interview. “This is the 50th anniversary of the concerts at Heckscher Park, so we’re currently working on finalizing that programming.”

Courtade said that the planning for the 50th anniversary of the concerts in the park is all still in the works, but he is looking to hold a small reception before the anniversary concert on June 27.

Courtade said that over the years he has given many lectures and would like to continue that while at HAC.

“I would love to begin a lecture series here, presentations about the arts,” he said. “Different art genres. I would like to tailor it across a wide variety of art genres. I would give some and I would like to have speakers from the outside as well on arts-related topics.”

While Courtade’s personal focus is in the performing arts, the Huntington Arts Council offers a wide variety of arts, including both performing and visual.

Courtade said that on April 10, HAC will be holding its opening reception of a self-portrait visual arts show entitled, “I see me!” It will be a juried show and the winners will be announced very soon, he said.

In addition to his involvement at Tilles and now at HAC, Courtade has been a speaker for the New York Council for the Humanities since 2007. He is a frequent speaker all over Long Island and the New York-area.

Before Tilles, Courtade worked in development for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and New York City Opera.

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