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John McNamara

From left, Queen Jazmine Lang and Lady-in-Waiting Emily Hampson

As the communities of Miller Place and Rocky Point, along with the neighboring hamlets of Brookhaven’s North Shore, are gearing up for an annual rite of spring, the Friends of St. Patrick are pleased to announce that the 69th annual Miller Place-Rocky Point St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Sunday, March 17.

The event will kick off at the comer of Harrison Avenue in Miller Place at 1 p.m. sharp and will proceed east along Route 25A before ending at the comer of Route 25A and Broadway in downtown Rocky Point. Route 25A will be closed to traffic at noon to prepare for the event.

John McNamara

The committee has named John McNamara as grand marshal of this year’s parade. John and his wife, Kathy, have resided in Rocky Point since 1978, where they raised four children and are the proud grandparents of six. McNamara taught at Maria Regina High School in Uniondale and has been the youth minister at St. Mark’s Parish in Shoreham since 1979. He has also been very involved in teaching and ministry at St. Louis de Montfort Church in Sound Beach and at his home parish, St. Anthony of Padua in Rocky Point. 

In keeping with the tradition of recognizing aspiring young women in the community, the title of parade queen has been bestowed upon Jazmine Lang of Rocky Point. A junior at Rocky Point High School, as well as a gymnastics coach at Towers Gymnastics, Lang is a member of the Rocky Point Fire Department and is very active with charitable activities in her community. Her majesty loves to help not only people in need but also animals, as she is involved with Last Chance Animal Rescue. She participates in the law enforcement program at BOCES and aspires to become a Navy Seal. Lang is very excited to be named queen of the parade and to celebrate with the community she loves.

The queen will be graciously escorted at the parade by her lady-in-waiting, Emily Hampson, a resident of Sound Beach who has been either attending the parade or participating in it all her life.

A sophomore at the Fashion Institute of Technology, studying for a bachelor’s degree in home products, Hampson hopes to achieve a career in cookware or small appliances. All through her young life, she has been an active volunteer in her community and her church, including directing the Christmas Pageant and running concession at the Shoreham BMX track. Hampson was a member of the Miller Place Cheer Team and coached cheer for the Sharks Cheerleading team. While attending college in Manhattan, she spends much time in Sound Beach and still considers it home. She will proudly sit next to the queen waiving at the crowd on March 17.

This year’s parade will feature veteran and community groups and organizations, along with elected officials from all areas of our government for the anticipated crowd of more than 50,000. Of course, no parade would be complete without the presence of local fire departments, high school bands, Irish dancing, Scout troops and many colorful floats. Be sure to come down to cheer your favorite on! There is something on this special day for everyone, as this local parade reaches historic proportions by carrying on a 68-year community tradition.

Visit www.friendsofstpatrick.org for updates.

The cast of ‘12 Angry Men’. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

By Heidi Sutton

For a play that takes place in a single room, “12 Angry Men” has had quite a ride. Written by Reginald Rose after he served as a juror on a manslaughter case, it was turned into a made-for-television movie and broadcast live on the CBS program Studio One in 1954. 

The success of the television production resulted in a film adaptation in 1957. Starring Henry Fonda and Jack Klugman, the movie is consistently ranked as one of the greatest courtroom dramas of all time and was selected for preservation in the United States Film Registry in 2007 for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

From left, Michael Mingoia, John McNamara, Steven Uihlein, Jack Green, Gene Durney, Steve Ayle and Michael Newman.

And significant it is. Over 60 years later, the behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system continues to make an impact in community theaters all around the world. This month, it makes its way to the Mainstage of Theatre Three, a stark contrast to its last production, “Nunsense,” and is more relevant than ever.

Twelve men from different backgrounds sit on a jury where the accused has been charged with murder in the first degree … premeditated homicide. They are tasked with deliberating the guilty or innocent verdict beyond a reasonable doubt of a teenage boy who is accused of stabbing his father with a switchblade. If found guilty, he could face the electric chair. The judge orders the jury to “separate the facts from the fancy” and the deliberations begin.

Jim Pearsall, Michael Newman, Michael Mingoia and Gene Durney.

Directed by Bradlee Bing, the seasoned cast does a terrific job conveying the sense of grave responsibility. As the jurors are led into the deliberating room, the security guard (Alan Schelp) locks them in, giving the sense of being held hostage until a decision is made. 

The actors also effectively convey the temperature in the room by taking turns to fix the “broken” air conditioner, taking off their jackets, taking a sip of water and wiping their foreheads and back of necks. The audience feels the heat, which adds to the volatile environment that envelops the room.

The odds are stacked against the teenager. There are three witnesses, there’s a motive (his father beat him regularly), his alibi is shaky and the murder weapon belongs to him, “But sometimes the facts staring you in the face are wrong.”

A preliminary vote results in 11 guilty, one not guilty — Juror #8, played by Steve Ayle. “Boy, oh boy, there’s always one!” The majority of the jury just want to get out of there and get on with their lives. One has tickets to a baseball game, another wants to get back to running his business and so on. 

Foreground, from left, Mihcael Mingoia, Jack Green, Jules Jacobs, Steven Uihlein; background, from left, David Altman, Joseph Cavagnet and Leonard DeLorenzo

But Juror #8 has doubts and he’s not ready to give in to peer pressure. “A man’s life is on the line …” He asks to see the murder weapon again, to see the layout of one of the witness’ apartment, always questioning and pointing out inconsistencies as the other jurors change their vote one by one.

The characters and plot and suspense develop slowly and that’s the beauty of it. From “You couldn’t change my mind if you talked for a hundred years” and “We don’t owe this kid a thing” to “Maybe we should talk about it” and “We have a job to do, let’s do it” to the final “Let him live,” the emotional progression is an incredible thing to watch.

The end result is a powerful and thought-provoking evening at the theater. The endless clapping at the end of the first act and the standing ovation at the end of Saturday’s opening night performance was most well deserved.

The cast: Joseph Cavagnet, Leonard DeLorenzo, Jack Green, John McNamara, Steven Uihlein, Jim Pearsall, Michael Newman, Steve Ayle, Jules Jacobs, Gene Durney, David Altman, Michael Mingoia and Alan Schelp

Sponsored by Bridgehampton National Bank for the third year in a row, Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “12 Angry Men” through May 5. Running time is two hours and 10 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. The Mainstage season closes with the musical comedy whodunit “Curtains” from May 19 to June 23. Tickets are $35 adults, $28 seniors and students, $20 children ages 5 to 12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

All photos by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

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