Arts & Entertainment

The cast of ‘The Addams Family,’ from left, Terry Brennan, Daniel Belyansky, Jon Rivera, Steven Cottonaro, Gina Morgigno, Denise Antonelle and Marc Slomowitz. Photo by Timothy Pappalardo

By Charles J. Morgan

Deep, dark, dank and dusty were the living quarters of the cartoon-famous Addams Family immortalized by Charles Addams and carried forward by the long-running TV series. Just in time for Halloween, Oakdale’s CM Performing Arts Center’s Noel S. Ruiz Theatre has produced it in all its necropolitic splendor and funereal solemnity. And by the way … it’s a musical.

Given CMPAC’s penchant for grand and opulent staging, it was phenomenally successful. The ubiquitous and talented Patrick Grossman designed the set with its precise and swift and sure mobility. With keenly executed lighting plot by Carl Tese, the show’s dark and dreary set was suffused with appropriate ominous light including graveyard mist.

Grossman also directed and his skills with blocking and interpretation were palpably patent. CMPAC’s massive venue poses a problem for the making and breaking of character compositions in a coherent, logical (real?) manner. Theatrically, Grossman succeeded mightily in this. When it came to interpretation he did a credible job inculcating “spookiness.”

Jon Rivera, in the role of Gomez, has the dominant role. His voice, somewhere between a tenor robusto and dramatico, carried him emotionally through all his numbers such as “Wednesday’s Growing Up” and “Gomez’s What If” in Act I. He focuses emotion and sturdiness with masterful acumen.

Denise Antonelle, as his wife Morticia, has a firm soprano coupled with a voluptuous stage presence and a projection ability commingled with exceptional clarity. Their daughter Wednesday was played by Gina Morgigno. Morgigno was ingénue-like in her movements and that plangent voice in Act I’s “Pulled” and “Crazier Than You” in Act II ranked her as a first rate actress-singer. Fifth-grader Daniel Belyansky, who plays Pugsley, is wonderful in his solo number in Act I, a take-off on Gomez’s number “What If.” He has a strong developing voice, and this showcase number may mark him for much to come.

With a massive blonde wig, Terry Brennan plays Grandma, launching her scratchy, boisterious voice in earthy aphorisms, brooking no opposition from anyone. Marc Slomowitz as Uncle Fester had a sort of a parallel role. He had mobility, especially facial, and was hilarious in “Fester’s Manifesto” in Act I and “The Moon and Me” in Act II.

Then there was Lurch the butler. It was a silent role except for his gurgling and growling, the timing of which evoked some loud laughter, especially from your scribe. Steve Cottonaro handled this role with mimetic menace.

As usual, Matthew W. Surico led a live pit band with his expected genius. There was somewhat of a preponderance of Latin rhythms ranging from tango to 6/8 time Bossa Nova, even a waltz. The musical talents of this 12-piece outfit rose to resplendent heights. Choreography was in the hands of the skilled M.E. Junge who also played a small part as one of the Ancestors while costumes were neatly handled by Ronald Green III.

If the audience’s whooping and howling are any indication of the success of this production, it must be a smash hit. Your scribe more tacitly agrees.

The CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale will present “The Addams Family” through Nov. 8. Tickets range from $20 to $29. For more information, call 631-218-2810 or visit

‘Apples in the Fall’ by Shirley Weiner.

By Talia Amorosano

Kicking off with an artist reception this Saturday, Oct. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m., the Mills Pond House Gallery in St. James will host its annual STAC Member Artist Showcase in which 55 original pieces of art by 55 just-as-diverse artists will be on display inside the historic building through Jan. 8.

STAC, or Smithtown Township Arts Council, is a group comprised predominantly of Long Island artists, art enthusiasts and arts supporters. The Member Artist Showcase offers a yearly opportunity for STAC members and the community to come together to view pieces of artwork that participating artists have specifically chosen for the show.

“What’s different about this opportunity is that the artists get to choose what piece they are exhibiting in the show, we don’t choose it,” said STAC Director, Allison Cruz.  “Usually the juror or curator selects the work, but in this show they get to show what they want to put in.”

Cruz noted that artists sometimes use the opportunity provided by the absence of a selection process or theme to showcase either new or unusual pieces for them; so individual experimentation with different mediums and styles is common.

“This is one of the most diverse shows that we’ve ever seen,” said Cruz. “There are some mounted wall sculptures, mixed-media sculptural pieces, acrylic [paintings], oil [paintings], watercolor [paintings], photography, pencil drawings, really a wide variety.”

The extent of this diversity of medium and style is apparent in comparisons between works by different artists in the show.  Justin Greenwald’s oil on canvas painting entitled “Entropy 2015/Color Study” has an abstract expressionistic vibrancy of color, while digital photograph, “Front Porch,” by Smithtown resident Elizabeth Milward captures every shadowy detail of a partially illuminated porch scene in muted grays and blacks.

Stony Brook resident Nicholas Valentino’s mixed media piece, “On the Road Again,” includes a real electric guitar, and “Fiji,” an acrylic painting by David Herman, uses bold blocks of color to create a graphic, immediately eye-catching image of a man holding a snake.

Ronkonkoma resident Vivian Gattuso’s “Autumn Leaves,” Port Jefferson resident Shirley Weiner’s “Apples in the Fall,” East Setauket resident Robert Roehrig’s “Snow in West Meadow Creek” and Nesconset resident Virginia Musantry’s “Winter’s Colors” depict seasonal weather changes appropriate for the fall and winter time period in which the exhibit will be shown.

“When you have local artists it’s always a very well-viewed show,” said Cruz. “We usually get a pretty good turnout [of attendees] during the week.” Some of the works that clearly showcase Long Island life and scenery are Stony Brook resident Franco Jona’s expansive watercolor painting entitled “Stony Brook Harbor,” Setauket resident Patty Yantz’s oil painting, “Harbor Light” and Rocky Point resident Joe Miller’s oil painting, “Afternoon at a Winery.”

However, despite the abundance of local artists and representations of Long Island landscapes, Cruz noted that “This is definitely not a Long Island landscape show, although some years it can be. There are maybe six pieces total [about which] you could say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Long Island. This is a Long Island theme.’ It’s really very eclectic [in terms of subject matter] … we have a little bit of everything.” In addition to Long Island, Brooklyn, New York City, North Carolina and Florida are represented.

Many of the works at the showcase will be available for purchase. Juror James LaMantia (of LaMantia Gallery in Northport), selected four winners, Jeanette Martone, Donna Grossman, Ned Butterfield and Elizabeth Millward, to participate in a future Winners Showcase alongside winners of next year’s Juried Fine Art and Juried Photo Exhibitions. Patty Caracappa received an honorable mention.

The Mills Pond House Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, St. James. Hours are Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery will be closed on Nov. 11 and 25 to 30 and  Dec. 21 to Jan. 3. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit

From left, Danny Meglio, James D. Schultz, Kate Keating, Max Venezia, Samantha Carroll and Jacqueline Hughes in a scene from ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ Photo by Jennifer C. Tully

By Rita J. Egan

The John W. Engeman Theater in Northport is serving up a juicy treat with its newest children’s production “James and the Giant Peach.” Based on the classic Roald Dahl tale, the musical, under the direction of Jennifer Collester Tully, features a score by the Tony Award-nominated team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul that alternates between the touching and the upbeat and the book by Timothy Allen McDonald that stays true to Dahl’s original magical story.

The whimsical musical captures the imaginations of theatergoers, both young and old, and the cast effortlessly transports the audience from the hero’s original dismal circumstances to a delectable adventure. As the story opens, we meet James Henry Trotter, an orphan, who has just discovered he can leave the orphanage where he has been staying to go live with his two aunts. The audience soon learns though that his new guardians are usually up to no good.

When the duo demand that James chop down a peach tree, while they spend the day at the beach, the young lad is visited by Ladahlord who reveals to him a special potion to use on the peach tree. Later, when it’s discovered the tree has produced a giant peach, the aunts scheme to make money off the oddity. However, their plans are foiled when James is pulled into an adventure with a colorful cast of friendly insects.

With the opening number, “Right Before Your Eyes,” the audience gets a delightful peek at the offbeat characters that will soon become part of James’ life. Michael Verre as Ladahlord, also serves as narrator in the production, and with his sweet tenor voice, lulls the theatergoers into a magical land where a giant peach can exist and change the life of a young man, right before their eyes.

Max Venezia, who played James on opening day, and alternates the role with Austin Levine, captures the gentle spirit of the protagonist, which is clear during his first number “On Your Way Home” in Act 1. Audience members can’t help but feel a bit of sadness for the little boy who no longer has a family to call his own.

Alyson Clancy as Aunt Sponge and Suzanne Mason as Aunt Spiker are so adept at their comedic abilities, with Clancy even taking out a can of whipped cream at one point, that they not only provide plenty of comic relief but they also make the audience forget just what terrible human beings these character really are. With numbers such as “Property of Spiker and Sponge,” “There’s Money on That Tree” and “I Got You” throughout the play, you can’t help but like the dastardly aunts thanks to Clancy and Mason.

The musical features some entertaining dance numbers, too. During the first act, Verre and Venezia share lead vocals in the lively number “Shake It Up.” While the ensemble joins in the vocals and choreography, Verre is the one who takes center stage with his impressive tap dancing skills.

As the second act opens, the audience discovers James has entered the peach and, along with the lad, meets the eclectic group of life-sized insects. There’s Ladybug played divinely by Kate Keating; Grasshopper portrayed dapperly by James Schultz; Spider presented stylishly by Samantha Carroll; and Danny Meglio as Earthworm embracing his character with thick reading glasses and just the right amount of pessimism for the whimsical adventure. In addition, actress Jacqueline Hughes is a standout as Centipede, as she convincingly portrays a male character like a street-smart newsboy.

The second act allows the actors who play the insects a chance to show off their acting and singing talents, and they don’t disappoint. They also receive a few giggles from the audience with their antics as they navigate their small quarters inside the rolling peach.    

While the critters may be surprised at first to share their space with a human, the number “Everywhere That You Are” shows the insects may have a soft spot for our hero. Led by Keating and Schultz, the bugs deliver the song with a tenderness that convinces you of the bonding with the boy, not only on stage but off as well.

The Earthworm also comes out of his bookish shell during the number “Plump and Juicy,” and Meglio and his fellow insects perform an entertaining number that eases the tension during a scary moment in the peach and adds just the right amount of goofiness that is always welcomed in a children’s musical. 

While trouble ensues when the giant peach and its passengers encounter sharks, seagulls and even impalement on the Empire State Building, James and his new friends conquer their fears and work together to save the day. The cast ends the show perfectly on an upbeat note with the song “Welcome Home,” and when all is said and done, we find that sometimes a sense of family can be unearthed in the most unusual places.

All involved with the Engeman’s “James and the Giant Peach” have produced a heartwarming and inspiring story that will keep children as well as adults entertained from beginning to end. It’s a perfectly peachy way to spend a weekend morning with the family.

The John W. Engeman Theater in Northport, 250 Main St., as part of its Bethpage Federal Credit Union Youth Theater Series, will present “James and the Giant Peach” on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through Nov. 8. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 631-261-2900 or visit

by -
0 477
‘Onions and a Secret Place,’ watercolor, by Eleanor Meier, using the Setauket Grist Mill as inspiration

By Sue Wahlert

Beginning Oct. 9, Gallery North will open its doors to its annual Local Color show, Then and Now. As the final event of its 50th anniversary celebration, Judith Levy, executive director of Gallery North, has brought together works created by the Gallery’s Artist Advisory Board, a talented and renowned group of local artists.

“We wanted Local Color to be focused,” said Levy, who collaborated with Historian Bev Tyler of the Three Village Historical Society to select local historic sites as the artists’ inspirations. “We wanted the artists to go to their selected location and interpret in their own way,” she added.

Each artist had the opportunity to look through historic photos provided by the TVHS and select a historic location. Local artist and advisory board member Pam Brown said of the idea, “History and the arts are a natural relationship. Artists have been the keepers of history throughout time by recording the life and events on canvas and paper.” The result of this collaboration is a multidimensional show full of passionate and meaningful reflections related to these historic spots.

The artists

Kelynn Alder
Fred Badalamenti
Sheila Breck
Pam Brown
Nancy Bueti-Randall
Jeanette Dick
Flo Kemp
Bruce Lieberman
Carol Marburger
Kevin McEvoy
Eleanor Meier
Terence Netter
Doug Reina
Pat Solan
Fernanda Vargas

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with six of the 15 artists in the show about their process and contributions to Then and Now. Artist Fernanda Vargas, who is originally from Brazil and has lived in more than nine countries, felt it was important to find a place that makes her feel comfortable and connected. She chose the Gamecock Cottage, which is at the end of Trustees Road at West Meadow Beach in Setauket. “The cottage is,” according to Vargas, “a little paradise corner.” Her two graphic works on old French linens reflect the intimate time she spent exploring this historic cottage.

Doug Reina researched the historic area near his studio on Main Street in Setauket. Selecting a building next to the Country Corner Pub, which formerly housed a bakery, led to a friendship with the owners of the pub, who used to live in the bakery building. “I wanted to feel the building,” said Reina. “I sketched it over and over. It forced me to come up with more creative ideas. I used the building as a launch pad using texture and color.”

Other artists chose locations with environmental, social or political histories.  Pam Brown, sculptor and fabricator, chose an area on Main Street, which used to be home to one of two rubber factories in Setauket. Located by the marsh and waterways, the factory greatly affected the local environment during this industrial period. Reflecting on these circumstances, Brown uses her elaborate bird sculptures to examine the past and present of the marshland and its survival. “My work is fabricated onto copper and silver, which is very connected to industry,” said Brown. “My hope is to bring people out to these sites.”

Other artists such as Terence Netter and Sheila Breck focused on Setauket’s West Meadow Beach and reflected on its transition from bustling cottages to its natural restoration. Netter whose painting is entitled, “A New Dawn at West Meadow Beach,” reflects his “oasis of peace” in his nonrealistic painting of the beach. From another point of view, Breck reflects on the ever-changing face of the beach in her painting, which shows people occupied by their cell phones, in the oil painting entitled  “Beach Reading.” 

Nancy Bueti-Randall chose the historic area near the Grist Mill in Stony Brook.  However, the mill is not the focus but instead the artist’s connection with the stream adjacent to the mill.  Bueti-Randall reflected, “I painted this 12 years ago, the waterway does not change, within the small space. The same reeds and the same house are still there. You connect to the subject intellectually and emotionally.”

Each piece of art visitors experience at Local Color: Then and Now is a look into the creative minds and hearts of the artists and how they process the local historic areas in and around Setauket and Stony Brook. As Netter said, “There’s a lot of history in the little old town,” and it is certainly worth exploring, visiting and reflecting upon.

Local Color: Then and Now will run through Nov. 13. An artist reception will be held on Friday, Oct. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. and an ArtWalk by Historian Bev Tyler will be held on Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gallery North is located at 90 North Country Road in Setauket. For more information call 631-751-2676 or visit

Tab Hunter in his youth. Photo from Jud Newborn
Tab Hunter photo from Jud Newborn
Tab Hunter photo from Jud Newborn

By Stacy Santini

Studebakers, drive-ins, saddle shoes and ice cream parlors will instantly conjure up images of a decade that most people remember fondly and others wistfully wish they could visit. Iconic television programs such as “I Love Lucy” and “Father Knows Best” were viewing staples in most living rooms and matinée idols such as Ricky Nelson, James Dean, Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds graced the big screen before the term “celebrity” found its way into our vernacular. It was the 1950s, an era known for Truman and Eisenhower politics and innocence savored.

Tab Hunter was a star that seemingly endorsed the mainstream value system and fulfilled every notion that Hollywood was projecting at the time. Unbeknownst to his droves of fans, he was living a secret life that, today, wouldn’t have had to be so secret. “Tab Hunter Confidential,” a documentary exclusively premiering at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, on Wednesday, October 14th, bravely tells Tab’s story and is a brilliant peek into Hollywood during that time; an epoch that simply will not fade away.

Director Jeffrey Schwartz has adapted Tab Hunter’s memoir into a riveting narrative that clues the viewer in on the struggle this dashingly handsome, sun-kissed, all-American screen darling dealt with through most of his career. Fearful of shattering his well sought after image, Tab Hunter lived openly as a heterosexual, having well-publicized romances with numerous Hollywood starlets while knowing he was unequivocally gay. Not only is this acclaimed documentary a fascinating depiction of Hunter’s impressive career, but with same sex marriages recently legalized in many states, the world’s mindset is rapidly changing and the story is well suited for the times.

Tab Hunter in his youth. Photo from Jud Newborn
Tab Hunter in his youth. Photo from Jud Newborn

While living in the closet, Hunter was consistently number one at the box office and often the same on the music charts. Movies such as “Damn Yankees” and songs like “Young Love” quickly propelled him from stable boy and figure skater to heartthrob. Later taking on the role of Todd Tomorrow, opposite Divine, in John Water’s cult classic, “Polyester,” only further secured his role as Hollywood royalty.

Curating the event is Jud Newborn, an international multimedia lecturer who has a formidable list of credentials, one of which happens to be curator for special programs for Cinema Arts Centre. He began his studies at New York University, became a residence writer at the University of Cambridge, Clare Hall, and capped off his impressive education with his dissertation on the hidden cultural meanings of the Holocaust at University of Chicago, where he received his doctorate. Often considered an expert on Nazi warfare and the Holocaust, he not only co-authored the book, “Sophie Scholl and The White Rose,” but also founded and curated The Living Memorial to the Holocaust at The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Newborn has a knack for recruiting prestigious and very famous guests to Cinema Arts Centre, and his reputation as curator is well earned. Securing Tab Hunter is no surprise. Always considering the Centre his second home, Newborn states, “It is so diverse, so stimulating. It is a joy to bring in these exciting programs for the audience.” Elaborating further, “ Adding to the Cinema’s already outstanding roster prior to my post here, I have brought in Christopher Plummer, Tony Curtis, Dick Cavett, Norman Lear, Leslie Caron, Erica Jong, Rita Moreno, Steve Guttenberg and so many more. It has been such a pleasure.” When asked what his secret is, he jovially says, “I’ll never tell.”

Tab Hunter in his youth. Photo from Jud Newborn
Tab Hunter in his youth. Photo from Jud Newborn

Cinema Arts Centre is a true cultural gem for Long Island. With more than 10,500 members, it has served as the template for prominent film festivals ,such as Sundance. Started in 1973, it parallels the Film Forum and The Film Society of Lincoln Center. The venue has three state-of-the-art theaters, the aesthetically pleasing Sky Room for receptions and patio gardens. At 7:30 p.m., the Cinema will screen “Tab Hunter Confidential” as part of an alluring program. The documentary will be followed by an interview with Hunter conducted by famed author and lecturer, Foster Hirsch, which will include an audience Q&A. Afterward, there will be a dessert reception in the Sky Room, with a performance by jazz guitarist Mike Soloway.

Tab Hunter might be considered an anomaly for Hollywood, surviving a culture that was once known for devouring their young stars, and rising above what was once considered an obstacle. He has embraced a lifestyle that was true for him and fearlessly tells the world about it. Witnessing such integrity is a rare opportunity and should not be missed.

Cinema Arts Centre is located at 423 Park Ave., Huntington. Tickets are $25, $20 members. For more information, call 631-423-7611 or visit

James Hazen Hyde’s 1899 station brougham carriage. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

Mention the Gold Coast era on Long Island, and people immediately think of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” and the great mansions built in the early 1900s. Some of those mansions are gone,  victims of housing developments. Others, such as Laurelton Hall and Villa Francesca were both lost to fires. Some are in the public trust, turned into museums or schools like the Vanderbilt Mansions in Centerport and Oakdale. And a few, a very few, are still privately owned, like Oheka Castle, now a luxury hotel and event venue, and the Woolworth mansion. Of the more than 1000 mansions built, less than one third are still in existence.

To highlight the architectural wonders of Long Island’s North and South shore mansions during the “Gatsby” era, the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages is currently presenting “Gilding the Coasts: Art and Design of Long Island’s Great Estates.”

“The subject of Long Island’s great country house era has been chronicled in numerous other exhibitions, books, and documentary films. We thought it would be interesting to focus on the design and construction aspect of the story more than the social history of the house owners and their servants, which tends to get a larger share of the attention,” said Joshua Ruff, exhibit curator and museum director of collections & interpretation.

From left, 1920s pink party dress with silk faux glass beading, gift of Timothy Smith; embroidered silk gown, 1908, gift of Mrs. B. Langdon and Mrs. William Floyd Nichols; embroidered silk velvet evening opera cape, 1912, gift of Grace Rumbough. Photo by Ellen Barcel
From left, 1920s pink party dress with silk faux glass beading, gift of Timothy Smith; embroidered silk gown, 1908, gift of Mrs. B. Langdon and Mrs. William Floyd Nichols; embroidered silk velvet evening opera cape, 1912, gift of Grace Rumbough. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Some of the mansion owners are well known, while others less so. Ruff continued, “We wanted to look at both the extremely well-known figures in this story, … like Stanford White, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and William Delano, as well as those people and their houses who have not received the same level of attention, such as William de Leftwich Dodge, who designed and lived in the fascinating and unique Villa Francesca, just a couple of miles away from the museum [in Setauket].”

The exhibit includes furniture from some of the estates, beautiful antique women’s clothing, estate plans, photos, paintings, Tiffany lamps, sculpture and even the very unique weather vane from Vanderbilt’s Eagle’s Nest.

“One of the most interesting stories that I learned much more about in the development of this exhibition was that of James Hazen Hyde (1876-1959), heir to Equitable Life Insurance and owner of a spectacular house and estate in Bay Shore, a place which he inherited from his father, redesigned and named The Oaks.

Hyde was a major figure in Gilded Age society who was forced to exile in France after a scandal in 1905. In the exhibition, we have a terrific close-to-life scale portrait of him located beside a brougham carriage that he owned, as well as a painting of his estate. The paintings came to us from New York Historical Society, the carriage is ours. It was terrific to pull all of this material together,” said Ruff.

While some of the items on display belong to the museum, Ruff noted that, “We were pleased to have received very significant loans from the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, the Vanderbilt Museum, Planting Fields, the New-York Historical Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Huntington Historical Society.  We also received excellent important loans from a number of private collectors, especially Daniel and Betsy White of Box Hill, Leftwich Kimbrough, the grandson of William de Leftwich Dodge, and Gold Coast historian Paul Mateyunas.”

An important feature of the exhibit is the gigantic time line which encircles the gallery. It begins in 1866 with the formation of the Southside Sportsman’s Club, which catered to the wealthy residents of the South Shore. It ends in 2015, with the sad notation that a fire badly damaged the 25,000 square foot Woolworth mansion in Glen Cove.

Noted Ruff, “Adaptive reuse has been the saving grace for many historic Long Island estates. Thankfully, people can still visit and appreciate William Cutting Bayard’s Westbrook Estate — Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Otto Kahn’s Oheka, William Coe’s Coe Hall — Planting Fields Arboretum and State Park, The Phipps Estate — Old Westbury Gardens and many more. We really hope that the exhibition encourages visitors to seek out and explore the treasures that are available to them a short drive away and to appreciate how fragile and vulnerable these estates are, and worthy of our protection.”

“It is wonderful that Box Hill still exists in an excellent state of preservation and remains in family hands after all these generations. Sadly, Laurelton Hall and Villa Francesca were both lost to fires within several years of one another,” he added.

Julie Diamond, director of communications at the museum, said a bus trip is planned in November to the Culinary Institute and the Vanderbilt Estate upstate in Hyde Park, an interesting comparison to Long Island’s Vanderbilt Estate.

Dori Portes, the museum’s receptionist for the past 17 years, said, “This is one of the three top exhibits I’ve seen,” in all that time. “It’s stunning, just beautiful!”

An illustrated exhibit program, which not only includes information on the artifacts in the exhibit but the time line as well, is available from the museum.

The exhibit is open through Sunday, Oct. 25. Don’t miss this fascinating look at historic Long Island. The LIM, a Smithsonian affiliate, is located at 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. It is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. For further information, call 631-751-0066 or go to

Actor Jason Segel applauds a fan during a book-signing at Book Revue on Oct. 6. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Actor Jason Segel signs a fan’s cast at Book Revue on Oct. 6. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Actor Jason Segel signs a fan’s cast at Book Revue on Oct. 6. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Jason Segel, an actor known for roles in comedies such as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “I Love You, Man,” attended a book signing at Book Revue in Huntington on Tuesday to promote his new book, “Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic,” the second installment of a trilogy which he co-authored with Kirsten Miller.

Segel also participated in an audience question-and-answer session, where he discussed if the book series might ever be made into a movie and if the characters are based on any real people in Segel’s life.

Actor Jason Segel shows off his new book, ‘Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic,’ at Book Revue on Oct. 6. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Actor Jason Segel shows off his new book, ‘Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic,’ at Book Revue on Oct. 6. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Segel said he started out writing the book series as a script, when he was on the television show “Freaks and Geeks,” so some of the nightmare characters were meant to be played by his friends on the show.

One boy asked if Segel remembered any of the nightmares he had as child.

“Yeah,” Segel said. “My big recurring nightmare, that was in the first book, was witches eating my toes. People asked me, ‘Where does that came from?’ and I figured out it’s because when you’re a baby, parents stand over you and tell you they’re going to eat your toes.”

The entire cast of ‘Alice’s Wonderland Adventures!’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Lewis Carroll’s beloved classic may be more than 150 years old, but “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” still resonate with children and adults alike. Now Theatre Three’s creative geniuses Tim Peierls and Jeffrey Sanzel have written a brand new Alice-inspired children’s musical — “Alice’s Wonderland Adventures!” — that opened last Saturday. All the familiar characters are here, from the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter, to the Queen of Hearts to the beloved Cheshire Cat. Throw in an appearance from Humpty Dumpty and Dorothy Gale, add a quick game of Wheel of Fortune for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a hit show.

Sanzel as director leads a talented group of seven adult actors, all of whom play multiple roles, through a delightful and clever production perfect for younger audiences. Seasoned actors Jenna Kavaler, Amanda Geraci, Hans Paul Hendrickson, Andrew Gasparini and Steve Uihlein are all outstanding, as are newcomers Mary Ortiz and Melanie Acampora, making their children’s theater in-house debut.

In the first act we meet Addison Carroll (Kavaler), an actress who is nervous that she will forget her lines as Alice in “Alice in Wonderland.” In a dream sequence, she finds herself transported to a magical land where the White Rabbit accidently takes her script. Addison spends the rest of the show chasing after the harried hare, trying to get it back. Along the way, accompanied by the Cheshire Cat, she has a tea party with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse; plays croquet with the Queen of Hearts, who enjoys shouting, “Off with their heads!” a bit too much; and visits with Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Addison’s adventures help her gain confidence and she awakens from her nap, ready to take on the world.

Sanzel knows his target audience well. Every scene is full of song and dance, fast-paced and short. Riddles and jokes run rampant throughout the production: “Why do flowers work in the kitchen? Because you can’t make tarts without flour!”

The 12 original musical numbers by Peierls, accompanied by Steve McCoy on piano, are the heart of the show. Hendrickson is outstanding in his solos, “We’re All a Little Mad Here” and “The Tweedle’s Song,” in which he impressively performs both Tweedle roles, making his solo a duet. Geraci shines in “So Much to Do,” and the entire company’s “Wonderland Within You” is the perfect finale.

The actors utilize the set from the evening show, “Sweeney Todd,” but that’s OK because the costumes and puppets are so colorful and fun, a set is not even necessary. From the caterpillar with his six arms to the long red robe of the Queen of Hearts, costume designer Teresa Matteson has done an excellent job. It is the 13 puppets, however, designed and constructed by the brilliant Tazukie Fearon, that steal the spotlight. From the moment they make an appearance, the children are mesmerized. This is live theater at its best. Meet the cast in the lobby after the show.

Five-year-old Josephine Cunniffe, of Stony Brook, who said she loved the show, enjoyed the performance with her grandparents. Her favorite character was the White Rabbit.

Ashley Kenter, who’s been coming to Theatre Three since she was a little girl, said her favorite characters were “Alice … and the bunny” and her favorite scenes were when the Cheshire Cat told knock-knock jokes. The 10-year-old, who was having her birthday party at the theater, said she decided to celebrate the milestone at Theatre Three “because there is a lot of room here and they have a lot of good shows.” Her favorite show of all time is “Barnaby Saves Christmas,” which by coincidence is the theater’s next children’s show, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 26.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson, will present “Alice’s Wonderland Adventures!” through Oct. 24. Tickets are $10. For more information, call the box office at 631-928-9100 or visit

The fourth day was a charm for the Heritage Trust Center’s carnival. After three days of wet and windy weather, residents of Miller Place, Mount Sinai and neighboring communities finally gathered at Heritage Park to enjoy the fourth and final day of the center’s seventh annual carnival on Sunday, Oct. 4.

Children and adults alike enjoyed rides like Pharaoh’s Fury, Tornado, the Swinger and others, and could choose between savory foods and sweet surprises like zeppole and deep fried Oreos, Greek food and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Those who stayed into the evening hours were also treated to fireworks, which were pushed from Friday to Sunday.

Steve McCoy and Suzanne Mason star in ‘Sweeney Todd’ at Theatre Three. Photo by Sari Feldman, Franklin Inc.

Port Jefferson Village residents can score free tickets to see the musical “Sweeney Todd” at Theatre Three on Main Street.

Residents with a valid ID can pick up tickets at the village recreation department office, on the second floor of the Village Center, as supplies last. The tickets are available for two Thursday night shows: Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 22 at 8 p.m.

Call 631-802-2160 for more info.