Kids

Photo by Courtney Braun

‘Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown presents “Shrek The Musical Jr.” through March 1. In a faraway kingdom, Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairy tale misfits, runaways who’ve been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. Farquaad tells Shrek he can get his swamp back if he rescues Princess Fiona from the dragon-guarded tower. But every fairy tale has its unexpected twists and turns! Performances are held on Saturdays and Sundays at various times and Feb. 17 to 21 at 1 p.m. for Presidents Week break. All seats are $18. For further information or to order tickets, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

 

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month with Toothpalooza! at The Whaling Museum, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Explore teeth large and small – including some of the largest teeth in the world. Check out a real whale tooth cavity, see a narwhal tusk, watch a puppet show and see the Tooth Fairy! Carve a scrimshaw box for baby teeth and go home with “toothy” crafts.

Fee is $12 children, $6 adults. Call 631-367-3418 for more information.

By Heidi Sutton

It was hard to discern who was having more fun during last Saturday night’s opening of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Theatre Three – the audience or the actors. The fast-paced family-friendly show, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is told almost entirely in song and makes for a wonderful time at the theater.

Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the musical opens where the Narrator (Sari Feldman) is telling a group of children the biblical story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis, about a young man who lives in Canaan with his father Jacob and his 11 brothers. 

A predictor of dreams, Joseph is his father’s favorite (he reminds him of his late wife), causing much resentment and jealousy among the remaining brothers. When Jacob gifts Joseph a “coat of many colors,” the brothers decide that they must get rid of the chosen son once and for all and sell him into slavery to passing Ishmaelites who take him back to Egypt. They tell their grief-stricken father that Joseph was killed in an accident.

Joseph becomes a household slave to a wealthy man named Potiphar but is soon accused of seducing his wife and thrown in jail. He is eventually summoned by the Pharaoh to analyze his recurring dream, and in turn saves Egypt from a seven-year drought. Back in Canaan his brothers are not so lucky and are starving to death. They decide to go to Egypt to ask the Pharaoh for help but encounter Joseph instead. Will he seek revenge or find it in his heart to forgive?

Supported by an uber talented cast (38 in all), C.J. Russo is brilliant as Joseph and shines in his solos “Any Dream Will Do” and “Close Every Door.” Sari Feldman is terrific in the exhausting role of Narrator, shadowing Joseph and keeping his spirits up as he faces bad luck at every turn and leads the cast in an inspiring “Go, Go, Go Joseph.” Douglas Quattrock is hilarious in the duel role of Jacob and Potiphar and draws the most laughs with his perfect comedic timing.

Choreographed by Jean P. Sorbera, the many wonderful dance numbers in this huge production are each embraced by the cast with gusto, from the jaw-dropping country-western hoe-down “One More Angel in Heaven” featuring Kiernan Urso, the reggae inspired “Benjamin Calypso” with Londel Collier, the exotic Egyptian dance number “Potiphar” with Nicole Bianco and the too funny “Those Canaan Days” with Steven Uihlein. It is Andrew Lenahan’s Elvis-inspired “Poor, Poor Pharaoh”/”Song of the King,” however, that steals the show and brings the house down. 

The many colorful costumes designed by Ronald Green III, the live orchestra directed by Gregory P. Franz, incredible lighting by Robert W. Henderson Jr. and beautiful set by Randall Parsons tie it all together perfectly. Don’t miss this one.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” through March 21. The theater continues its 50th season with Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias” from April 4 to May 2 followed by the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll musical “Grease” from May 16 to June 21. Tickets are $35 adults, $28 students and seniors, $20 children ages 5 to 12. Wednesday matinees are $20. For more information or to order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Photos by Peter Lanscombe/ Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Ginger Dalton and Kyle Breitenbach

Three more chances to catch a performance of “Little Red Riding Hood: A Tale of Safety for Today” at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 at 11 a.m.  Amanda Sally Desdemona Estella Barbara Temple, better known as Little Red Riding Hood, takes a thrilling journey through the woods to her grandmother’s house. Joined by her twin sisters, Blanche and Nora, Little Red Riding Hood learns a big lesson about safety in this modern musical telling. All seats are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.’

Photo by Corinne Wight

Join the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport for Disney’s “Frozen Jr.” now extended through March 8 by popular demand! When faced with danger, princesses Anna and Elsa discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. This enchanting musical features all of the memorable songs from the hit Disney film and will thaw even the coldest heart! Tickets are $15. To order, call 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com. 

Robert Cushman Murphy Jr. High School (team one), from left, coach Jillian Visser, Jayden Chandool, Michael Melikyan, Michaelangelo Scialabba, Rithik Sogal, Kevin Shi and coach Emily Chernakof

On Thursday, Jan. 30 and Friday, Jan. 31, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory held two back-to-back installments of the Long Island Science Bowl, a regional branch of DOE’s 30th annual National Science Bowl®. In this fast-paced question-and-answer showdown, teams of students from across Long Island were tested on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, energy and math.

On Thursday, Team One of Great Neck South Middle School garnered first place in the middle school competition, earning their school three years of consecutive wins. Team Three of Great Neck Middle School captured second place; Robert Cushman Murphy Jr. High School (team one) of Stony Brook won third place; and Commack Middle School (team one) placed fourth.

On Friday, top honors went to Great Neck South High School, who competed against 19 other teams in the high school competition. High school runners-up included Wheatley School in Old Westbury (second place); Ward Melville High School in E. Setauket (third place); and Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station (fourth place). 

As first place winners, Great Neck South Middle School (team one) and Great Neck South High School have won all-expenses-paid trips to the National Finals near Washington, D.C., which will begin on April 30. They’ll be joined by the winners of all 112 regional competitions held across the country.

“The National Science Bowl® continues to be one of the premier academic competitions across the country, preparing America’s next-generation for future success in the ever-expanding fields of science, technology, and engineering,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “The Department of Energy is committed to fostering opportunities for our nation’s students, and we congratulate Great Neck South in advancing to the National Finals, where they will continue to showcase their talents as the top minds in math and science.”

All participating students received a Science Bowl T-shirt and winning teams also received trophies and medals, and the top four high school teams received cash awards. Prizes were courtesy of Teachers Federal Credit Union and Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA), the event’s sponsors. BSA is the company that manages and operates Brookhaven Lab for DOE.

For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science. 

By McKenzi Murphy

Sitting cross-legged on the floor of a vibrantly lit playroom, a little boy gleefully fiddled with a box of Mr. Potato Head toys. Flanking him on both sides, delighted at his antics, members from the Los Angeles-based contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC, Haley Heckethorn and Tiare Keeno, joined the little boy in his creations. 

On the morning of their performance at Staller Center for the Arts on Feb. 8, Heckethorn and Keeno, along with the rest of the company, headed over to the new Stony Brook Children’s Hospital to spend time with a few of its patients. It was there, within newly painted and decorated walls lined with oceanic-themed paintings and paper mache art, that they met with and performed for about a dozen of the 40 patients.

“It’s always very rewarding to be able to give back to the community and spread the joy of dance with everyone, but especially with those who are really in need of a pick-me-up,” Jamal White, a dancer and BODYTRAFFIC’s social media manager, said. The last little girl he visited became his favorite because of her delightful laughter. While two of his colleagues went through some of their steps, she sat giggling and clapping along. “It was the cherry on top,” he said.

While the younger children seemed more interested in playing with the dancers and showing off their toys, some of the older children had an opportunity to ask the dancers questions about their work and the company, familiar territory for many of the performers. Throughout their tours, BODYTRAFFIC often goes on outreach missions. Usually, they visit schools and teach students a few of their modern moves, or go into retirement homes and work with elderly residents. However, for some of them, going into a children’s hospital proved to be a new experience. 

“It’s one of my favorite experiences so far,” Heckethorn, who has been with the company for two and a half seasons, said. “It was really lovely and especially doing that on a show day, it really inspires and brings a lot of energy. We travel so often and it is really taxing, so [events] like going to a children’s hospital reminds us of why we dance and why we love it so much.”

Splitting off into smaller groups, the dancers were able to visit a few patients in their rooms where they showed off a modified version of a dance they would later perform in front of hundreds at the sold-out show at the Staller Center. A few children even joined them in learning some steps after some encouragement.

“We visited this one five-year-old,” Rachel Secrest, a dancer new to BODYTRAFFIC’s season, said. “His name was Chris and he recently had surgery and was connected to a machine which was helping him. At first, we came in and he just laughed at us as we danced. We showed him some moves, and he was giggling and nervous, but his mom was with him and got him up and out of the bed. He still has it inside of him to want to dance.”

An emotional but so very rewarding experience, getting to spend time with the children became a bright spot in an otherwise high-stress day. 

“It’s tough seeing these kids who are quite sick and hooked up to different machines,” Secrest continued. “But as much as I could I was trying to really look at their faces and do what I could to make them forget their troubles for a minute. I was seeing a kid I wanted to connect with and share a dance with.”

General operating support was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Outreach program was coordinated by the Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and BODYTRAFFIC. 

Paul Newland, Outreach director at the Staller Center for the Arts said, “It was a wonderful collaboration, and we look forward to working with the Children’s Hospital again soon.”

Photos courtesy of Staller Center for the Arts

 

Photo courtesy of WMHO

Here are some fun and educational ways for your kids to enjoy winter break:

Benner’s Farm

Ever wonder what it’s like to be on a real working farm in the winter? Kids ages 7 to 14 can enjoy winter break at Benner’s Farm, 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, E. Setauket on Feb. 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn how to make maple syrup, help care for the animals and more. Snacks provided. Bring lunch. $60 per day, $100 for both days. To register, call 631-689-8172 or visit www.bennersfarm.com.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor will hold several winter break events from Feb. 17 to 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Make snow that won’t melt, make homemade ice cream and create slippery, sticky slime. Admission is $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 kids ages 3 to 12. Call 516-692-6768.

Huntington Historical Society

Kids in grades 1 to 6 can join the Huntington Historical Society at the Conklin Barn, 2 High St., Huntington for a variety of hands-on history activities, including learning traditional weaving techniques and Presidents Day-themed crafts, games and activities on Feb. 17 and 18 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Campers will go home with a piece of their very own hand-woven fabric. Fee is $35 per day. Call 631-427-7045.

Smithtown Historical Society 

Enjoy February break with the Smithtown Historical Society,  239 E. Main St., Smithtown from Feb. 18 to 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Enjoy a different theme each day including Kaleidoscope Fun, Mid Week Mardi Gras, Snow Day and National Biscuit Day. Fee is $30 per day. To register, call 631-265-6768.

Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum

From Feb. 17 to 20 from 10 a.m. to noon children in grades K through 3 can take part in several workshops at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Learning Center, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport. Participants will take tours of the museum’s collections and then create a related craft including an owl diorama, animal portrait and a mixed-media deep-sea collage. $20 per child. To register, call 631-843-5539.

Ward Melville Heritage Organization

On Feb. 18 to 20 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main St., Stony Brook hosts a Puppet Making workshop for ages 6 to 11 with acclaimed artist Liz Joyce ($100 for all three days) and Music Mornings with Johnny Cuomo for ages 3 to 5 ($85 for all three days, $30 per day). To register, call 631-751-2244.

By Heidi Sutton

In perfect timing with winter break, DreamWork’s “Shrek Jr.” along with all its fairy-tale creatures have taken up residence at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts in Smithtown. The fun musical runs through March 1. 

Based on the popular 2001 animated film and picture book by William Steig, the show is an edited version of the Tony award-winning Broadway musical but still features many of the beloved scenes and songs we have come to love. 

With book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori, it tells the story of how a “little ogre came to live in the swamp with a beautiful princess and his best friend, and a gingerbread man, and a very handsome puppet, and an elf, and a fairy godmother, and a witch, and a crossdressin’ wolf and three pigs!” In short, if you are a fan of classic fairy tales, you’ll love this show.

It’s Shrek’s 7th birthday and, as with all ogres, his parents tell him he must move out and find his own place to live. (“Watch out for men with pitchforks!”) Shrek settles into a swamp far, far away and life is good until all of the fairy-tale creatures in the kingdom of Duloc are exiled to his land by order of Lord Farquaad, the ruthless ruler of Duloc.

In order to get his land back, Shrek strikes a deal with Farquaad to rescue Princess Fiona from a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon and bring her back to be Farquaad’s queen. Along with the wisecracking Donkey, the ogre embarks on a journey to save the fair maiden and learns valuable lessons, including what makes us special is what makes us strong.

Directed and choreographed by Tommy Ranieri, the talented young cast of 23 embraces this 2½-hour large-scale production and leaves us wanting more. Lead actors Hunter Pszybylski, Leah Kelly and Luke Ferrari shine in their roles as Shrek, Fiona and Donkey; and Luke Hampson steals the show as the tiny terror Lord Farquaad. 

As with all musicals, the songs are the heart of the show, and what wonderful songs they are from the opening group number, “Big Bright Beautiful World”; to Pszybyiski’s beautiful solo “Who I’d Be”; Kelly’s “Morning Person” complete with tap and Irish step dancing; to the finale “This Is Our Story”; and a rousing rendition of Smash Mouth’s “I’m a Believer” to send us on our way.

The multiple costumes of fairy-tale characters, designed by Chakira Doherty, cut no corners and wait until you see the dragon! The elaborate sets by Tim Golebiewski, makeup and special effects tie the entire production together nicely.

SPAC has presented a wonderful opportunity for young adults to hone their craft. This is their story — let them share it with you. Meet Shrek, Fiona and Donkey in the lobby after the show for photos and autographs.

Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown presents “Shrek The Musical Jr.” through March 1. Performances are held on Saturdays and Sundays at various times and Feb. 17 to 21 at 1 p.m. for Presidents Week break. Children’s theater continues with “Moana Jr.” from April 10 to 19. All seats are $18. For further information or to order tickets, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

For more photos from the show, visit www.tbrnewsmedia.com.

Photos by Courtney Braun/ SPAC

Open cast call

Simple Gift Productions will hold auditions for the well-loved children’s tale Alice in Wonderland at the Stony Brook Community Church, 216 Christian Ave., Stony Brook on Feb. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All roles are open. This is a tuition-based program for kids/teens in grades 3 to 12. Rehearsals are Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with performances at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook Village on April 18 and 19. For registration information and audition materials, email DrKVanH@optonline.net.