The free event will be held on Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, Theater Two, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook.

By Daniel Dunaief

Want to hear characters from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein discussing artificial intelligence? Or, perhaps, get an inside look at an interaction between a scientist studying penguins and a potential donor? Maybe you’d like something more abstract, like a thought piece on aspects of memory?

You can get all three at an upcoming Science on Stage performance of three one-act plays written by award-winning playwrights that feature the themes of cutting edge research from Stony Brook University.

Ken Weitzman Photo courtesy of SBU

On October 30th at 4 p.m. at Staller Center for the Arts’ Theater Two, which holds up to 130 people, professional actors will read three 10-minute scripts. Directed by Jackson Gay, topics will include research about artificial intelligence, climate change in Antarctica and collective memory. Audience members can then listen to a discussion hosted by Program Founder and Associate Professor of Theater Ken Weitzman that includes the scientists and the playwrights. The event is free and open to the public.

Funded by a grant from the Office of the Provost at Stony Brook University and supported by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, the performances are an “amuse-bouche,” or an appetizer, about some of the diverse and compelling science that occurs at Stony Brook University, said Weitzman. 

“The hope is that [the plays] generate interest and get people to want to ask the next question or that [the plays] stick with audience members emotionally or intellectually and makes them want to discover more.”

The upcoming performance features the writing of two-time Tony Award winning playwright Greg Kotis, who wrote Urinetown; Michele Lowe, whose first play made it to Broadway and around the world; and Rogelio Martinez, whose plays have been produced around the U.S. and internationally.

The short plays will feature the scientific work of Nilanjan Chakraborty, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Heather Lynch, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, and Suparna Rajaram, Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science in the Psychology Department.

“It’s a good example of what we are doing and the opportunities for us as we continue to put funding in the arts and the humanities and also in the intersection of that from an interdisciplinary perspective,” said Carl Lejuez, Stony Brook Provost, in an interview. This kind of collaborative effort works best “when it’s truly bi-directional. Both sides benefit.”

Lejuez credits President Maurie McInnis with setting the tone about the importance of learning the humanities and the sciences. Lejuez said McInnis talks during her convocation speech about how she had intended to become a physician when she attended college, but took an art history course that was part of a general education curriculum that changed her life. The sixth president of Stony Brook, McInnis earned her PhD in the History of Art from Yale University.

Lejuez highlighted a number of interdisciplinary efforts at Stony Brook University. Stephanie Dinkins, Professor in the Department of Art, bridges visual art and Artificial Intelligence. She has focused her work on addressing the shortcomings of AI in understanding and depicting black women.

The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics has an arts and culture program, while the Collaborative for the Earth has faculty from numerous disciplines. They are starting a new Tiger Teams to develop key areas of study and will offer seed funding for interdisciplinary work to tackle climate change.

Lejuez plans to attend Science on Stage on October 30th.

“I feel an almost desperation to learn as much as I can about all the aspects of the university,” he said. Not only is he there to “show respect for the work and give it gravitas, but it’s the only way [he and others] can do [their job] of representing and supporting faculty and staff” in science and the humanities.

An enjoyable experience

The participants in Science on Stage appreciate the opportunity to collaborate outside their typical working world.

Heather Lynch, who conducts research on penguins in Antarctica and worked with Lowe, described the experience as “immensely enjoyable” and suggested that the “arts can help scientists step out of their own comfort zone to think about where their own work fits into society at large.”

Lynch explained that while the specific conversation in the play is fictionalized, the story reflects “my aggregate angst about our Antarctic field work and, in that sense, is probably more literally true than any conversation or interaction with any real life traveling guest.”

Lynch believes the play on her work is thought provoking. “Science is a tool, what matters is what you do” with that science, she said.

Lynch was thrilled to work with someone new and believes Lowe probably learned about Antarctica and the challenges it faces.

Bringing talent together

The first iteration of Science on Stage occurred in 2020 and was available remotely in the midst of the pandemic. Weitzman had reached out to scientists at Stony Brook to see who might be willing to partner up with playwrights.

He  is eager to share the diverse combination of topics in a live setting from this year’s trio of scientists. “I did some nudging to make sure there were a variety” of grand challenge topics, he said.

Weitzman explained that bringing the humanities and arts together in such an effort generated considerable enthusiasm. “There’s such incredible research being done here,” he said. “I want to engage for this community.”

He hopes such a performance can intrigue people at Stony Brook or in the broader community about science, theater writing or science communication.

While the plays are each 10 minutes long and include actors reading scripts, Weitzman said the experience would feel like it’s being performed and not read, particularly because professional actors are participating. 

He also hopes one or more of the playwrights sees this interaction as an opportunity to create a longer piece.

“I would love it if [this experience] encourages a playwright to think it justifies a full length” script, Weitzman said.

Lynch wrote a pilot screenplay herself called “Forecast Horizon” that she describes as an intellectual exercise. If Netflix calls, however, she’s “definitely interested in having it live on,” she said. Writing the screenplay gave her a “better appreciation for how much more similar science is to the arts than I would have thought. Both involve solving puzzles.”

As for future funding, Lejuez suggested that the University was still figuring out how to allocate available funds for next year and in future years.

He would like to see how this first time in person goes. Depending on the interest and enthusiasm, he could envision a regular source of funds to support such future similar collaborations.


Some of the ways SBU combines arts and humanities with science

By Daniel Dunaief

The southern flagship State University of New York facility, Stony Brook University seeks ways to bring the best from the arts and humanities together with science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Provost Carl Lejuez. Photo from SBU

Indeed, the school provides a home for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where researchers tap into famed actor Alda’s improvisational acting skills, among other techniques, to connect with their audiences and share their cutting-edge work and discoveries.

In addition to the October 30th Science on Stage production at Staller Theater 2, Provost Carl Lejuez recently highlighted numerous additional interdisciplinary efforts.

This past spring, the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics presented artwork by Professor of Mathematics Moira Chas. Chas created artwork that combines yarn and wire, clot and zippers to illustrate mathematical objects, questions or theorems.

The Office of the Provost has also provided several grants to support interdisciplinary work. This includes two $25,000 grants that promote the development of new research teams to explore interdisciplinary areas of scholarly work and address challenges such as Digital Futures/ Ethical Artificial Intelligence, Sustainability, Critical health Studies/ Health Disparities, Global Migration, and other areas.

Additionally, the Collaborative for the Earth brings together faculty from the arts, humanities and social sciences with behavioral science and STEM faculty. The university is starting a new Tiger Teams that will develop key areas of study and offer seed funding to tackle climate change. The funding will explore ways to create solutions that policy makers and the public can adopt, as well as ways to address disparities in the impact of climate change and ways to support people who are disproportionately affected by this threat.

SBU added interdisciplinary faculty. Susannah Glickman, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, has interests such as computing, political economy, 20th century US and world history and the history of science.

Matthew Salzano, IDEA Fellow in Ethical AI, Information Systems and Data Science and Literacy, meanwhile, has a joint appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication. He studies rhetoric and digital culture, emphasizing how digital technology, including artificial intelligence, impacts and interacts with social justice.

Through course work, members of the university community can also address interdisciplinary questions. Associate Professor in the Department of Art Karen Lloyd teaches an Art and Medicine course, while  Adjunct Lecturer Patricia Maudies, also in the Art Department, teaches Art + The Brain. Both of these courses bring in guest lecturers from STEM and medicine.

Stony Brook also hosts centers aimed at interdisciplinary research, such as the Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS).

One of the current goals and objectives of the IACS strategic plan is to advance the intellectual foundations of computation and data, with high-impact applications in engineering, in the physical, environmental, life, health and social sciences, and in the arts and humanities.

By Julianne Mosher

Theater students at Suffolk County Community College in Selden are bringing a new perspective to an Ancient Greek tragedy with Antigone Now. The powerful show will be presented in Theatre 119 through Oct. 15.

Set on an empty, somber stage with just a staircase and bullet hole panels decorating the walls, Antigone Now is a modern look at one of Sophocles’ earliest surviving plays, Antigone. The hour-long, one act play follows Antigone (Angie Barrientos), a once royal whose brothers and parents are killed amidst war. 

Her sister, Ismene (Ke’Ashma Simpkins), tries to block out the noise of the gun shots and bombings while Antigone desires to find her brother, Polyneices (Jeremy Bazata) who is fighting against the war and deemed a traitor. But when she does, she learns she needs to bury him as he bleeds dead in the street. In order to give him a proper burial and protect his honor, she  must break the law under the new leadership of her uncle, Creon (Gabriel Patrascu).

Based “anytime and anywhere that war is raging,” we follow the troupe of five through the heartbreak and anger they are feeling. With the assistance of the narrator and ensemble member, Meredith Reed, we are taken to Ismene’s home where she tries to console the young and ambitious Antigone, the palace where Creon reigns and a dungeon where one sits awaiting their fate after doing what’s best for their family, but in turn, also becomes a traitor.

Performances by Barrientos, Simpkins, Bazata, Patrascu and Reed are beyond phenomenal. For students just beginning to make their mark in the world of theatre and entertainment, they certainly act as though they have been on Broadway for years all with the help and leadership of director Steven Lantz-Gefroh.

Originally written by Melissa Cooper, the local performances are raw and full of emotion. Despite a play filled with destruction and devastation, there’s a meaning beneath it all like the rubble in the show’s setting.

We get to know each character. Reed’s narrator is strong with storytelling that helps the audience understand where we are. Patrascu’s Creon is the perfect epidemy of a politician with the voice and look to match. We feel Simpkins’ Ismene, who has a broken heart, and cries real tears, with so much love that she just wants to fix and protect everyone who is left in her life. Bazata’s Polyneices says not one word, but his body language and stature on stage make him a focal point in the production. And of course, Barrientos’ Antigone, the titular character, whose rebellious personality, and defiance show us that there is nothing over family and that often-subdued women will do whatever it takes to protect their honor.

Antigone Now is the perfect specimen of tragedy. The modern spin on it is relatable to most in the crowd and it is a beautifully crafted, thought-provoking presentation of a long-told tale that still holds true today.

You won’t want to miss this one. 

The Theatres at Suffolk County Community College present Antigone Now in Theatre 119, Islip Arts Building Suffolk County Community College, 533 College Road, Selden on Oct. 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. *Mature Content.  General admission is $15, veterans and students 16 years of age or younger $10. SCCC students with current ID are offered one free ticket. To order, please call the box office at 631-451-4163.

By Julianne Mosher

Theatre Three was brimming with excitement last Saturday morning as families with young children came to celebrate the spookiest season with the return of a local favorite, A Kooky Spooky Halloween. 

Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Steve McCoy, it tells the story of a kind ghost named Abner Perkins (Steven Uihlein) who has just graduated from Haunting High School and has been assigned to be the spooksperson for Ma Aberdeen’s Boarding House (known for being the most haunted house in Harrison Corner USA and for having the best toast!) as its last ghost has retired. Along with his classmates, he’s given his diploma and his medallion of invisibility, and is sent off to work. 

While at the boarding house gearing up for his first shift, Abner tells his best friend, a witch named Lavinda (Cassidy Rose O’Brien), his deepest, darkest secret – he’s afraid of the dark and he’s not sure how he’ll be able to haunt Ma Aberdeen and her guests. Luckily, Lavinda is a great friend, and she hands him a nightlight and a helping hand to help boost his confidence. 

But lurking around the corner is one of Abner’s classmates, a fellow ghost named Dora Pike (Josie McSwane) who is jealous that Abner was assigned the boarding housed that she so desperately wanted to haunt. Acting like a bit of a bully, she steals his nightlight, his medallion (that he needs for his hauntings!) and rushes off. 

Luckily, Ma Aberdeen (Ginger Dalton) and her boarders, the Petersons — Paul (Liam Marsigliano), Penelope (Gina Lardi) and their son Pip (Sean Amato) — and Kit Garret (Julia Albino), a girl who “just came from a small town to a big city with a suitcase in her hand and hope in her heart,” are ready to help Abner get his medallion back and undo a spell the spiteful Dora Pike put on the boarders, despite being afraid of him at first. 

Let the shenanigans ensue. For a full hour, with a 15-minute intermission, we watch the story unfold while learning more about Abner and all his new friends. 

With colorful costumes and catchy songs, (the one about toast will be stuck in your head for days), this production directed by Jeffrey Sanzel is an adorably perfect way to start the Halloween season. Kids of all ages will love the silly personalities on stage, and parents will appreciate the “punny” jokes that are sprinkled throughout acts one and two. 

But not only does it provide big smiles and a good laugh, the message of friendship and acceptance is something every family will enjoy the holiday. Costumes are encouraged for audience members and the entire cast waits in the lobby on your way out for a keepsake photo.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents A Kooky Spooky Halloween through Oct. 21. Children’s theater continues with Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30 and Jack and the Beanstalk from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit

By Julianne Mosher

There are 525,600 reasons to head to the Smithtown Performing Arts Center and see their rendition of Rent.

Directed by Kevin Burns, the show opens in the heart of Manhattan’s East Village in the late 1980s with this exquisite rock opera originally written by Jonathan Larson. A modern-day musical, loosely inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s “La Boheme,” Larson created the script based on where he was living in the early 90s — in a rundown apartment with several roommates all just trying to survive and, of course, pay rent. 

Set in the middle of the AIDS epidemic, the musical follows the stories of several people, a group of friends and acquaintances, living with addiction, abuse, AIDs, homelessness and more. But despite the heavy topics, Larson’s opera-styled score brings humor and wit to situations that are not for the faint of heart. 

We open with Roger (Zach Johnson) and Mark Cohen (David Reyes), an aspiring singer and filmmaker, sitting in their cold apartment during Christmas. Roger’s girlfriend passed away and while grieving, he meets his new neighbor, Mimi (Alisa Barsch) who asks him to “light her candle” during a power outage. 

We learn of Benny (Trentin Chalmers), a friend-turned-businessman who is trying to evict the old comrades from their underwhelming living space, and we meet Tom Collins (Shiloh Bennett) who’s an anarchist professor living with HIV who falls for the positive and eccentric Angel (Ruben Fernandez), a drag queen street performer. 

Eventually we’re introduced to Maureen (Jess Ader-Ferretti), Mark’s artist ex-girlfriend who left him for Joanne (Michelle Demetillo) a strong-willed lawyer. 

This is a beautifully crafted story of love and loss. 

With a  minimalist set, each and every actor uses their talents of voice and expression to give the scenery life, plus the costumes are straight out of the Broadway musical (1996) turned film (2005). That being said, the cast is so impressive that if one were to listen to their live performance and then the recordings of the original cast, you’d think it’s the same group. 

With the band right on stage in the middle of the action, you learn of the hopes and dreams of the characters, experience loss and eventually find hope. In the three hours of viewing time, this emotional roller-coaster is definitely worth it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll experience a whole new outlook on life. 

Johnson, Reyes, Barsch, Chalmers, Bennett, Ader-Ferretti and Demetillo’s performances on opening night were stellar. The talent of the main cast deserves two thumbs up, and of course, Fernandez embodies the beautiful Angel, both in and out of drag, perfectly — plus, he can dance in heels. 

But the ensemble cast need a round of applause, too. The several roles each and every one of them play isn’t at all confusing, especially since there are several story lines happening at one given time. In fact, those in the background help ground the rest of the group and make the storylines even better.

So, go buy your tickets now because there’s “no day but today” and you deserve to go “out tonight!”

The Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 E. Main Street, Smithtown presents “Rent” through Oct. 22. Tickets are $35 adults, $32 seniors (55 and older), $28 students (21 and under). To order, call 1-800-595-4849 or visit

By Julianne Mosher

Theatre Three kicks off its 53rd season with the award-winning musical The Prom. Set in current day New York City and Indiana, The Prom brings humor and color to an important issue facing the nation — LGBTQIA rights.

Let me explain. Expertly directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, this high energy show starts off with four narcissistic Broadway stars who receive a terrible review about their latest play and their personalities. In order to gain positive feedback to counteract the reviewer’s comment of them being self-obsessed, they learn a trending news story happening in Indiana: a lesbian high school student was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to their prom which incited a riot of the local townspeople. 

The actors, Dee Dee Allen (Linda May), Barry Glickman (Ryan Nolin), Angie Dickinson (Sari Feldman) and Trent Oliver (Brian Gill) – along with the public relations rep, Sheldon (Jason Allyn) hitch a ride west to “selflessly” help the high schooler, Emma (Jae Hughes) gain back her prom. 

Set in a small town with big religious and conservative values, Emma is ostracized, bullied and is blamed for the school board cancelling the prom…until the stars show up dripping in glitter and voicing their opinions with their big personalities and  sharing with the world how they are helping Emma. 

With standout performances by Hughes, they make you feel strong emotion for the drama they are going through in the show. While the play has many highs, a lot of laughs and catchy musical numbers, the show will bring you to tears – especially if you know someone who has gone through a struggle with acceptance.

Interestingly, several details from The Prom were actually based on real-life events. In 2010, Mississippi student Constance McMillen was not admitted into her prom with her girlfriend – and the parents there also tried to separate the straight kids from the LGBTQIA students.

McMillen went to court. Her case was taken by the ACLU and was awarded a payment of $35,000 from the school district that hurt her. They then implemented a non-discrimination policy. 

But while Hughes’ emotional journey, and the main purpose of this show, is heavy and starting of a movement, you can appreciate May, Nolin, Feldman, Gill and Allyn’s silly, charismatic personalities to lighten the mood. You’d actually believe they are Broadway stars with their stellar performances. In fact, everyone on the stage from the main characters to the ensemble deserves constant standing ovations for their professionalism and talent. Even the smallest roles were noticed.

Throughout the show, secrets are unveiled, twists are made and conflict ensues, keeping the audience engaged from start to finish. The set design, by Randall Parsons, is completely reminiscent of a high school auditorium – especially when it gets decorated for the big dance. Allyn and Joe Kassner’s costume design are also impressive. The big personalities of the Broadway stars required a lot of glitter and that’s exactly what they had. Plus, Rico’s Clothing, based in Center Moriches, donated the men’s formal wear for the show. 

All in all, the show is something you could watch over and over, laughing and crying (in a good way!) every time. Theatre Three’s The Prom is an important play that will make people think the following: We are all human, love is love, and “I wish I had a friend like Barry to help me dress up for my prom!”

Don’t miss this one.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents The Prom on the Mainstage through Oct. 21. Tickets are $40 adults, $32 seniors, $20 students, and $20 children ages 5 and up. To order, please call 631-928-9100 or visit

By Rita J. Egan

When a bio-musical is a success, audience members leave inspired and feeling as if they traveled back in time. That’s precisely what the John W. Engeman Theater’s cast and crew have accomplished for theatergoers with their production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which opened Sept. 14.

New York theater lovers first experienced the production on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre from January 2014 to October 2019. The jukebox musical, with book by Douglas McGrath, explores Carole King’s earlier musical and life experiences woven into the beautiful tapestry of this prolific songwriter and singer’s career. 

The production takes the audience on a musical journey from Carole’s first step into the entertainment world in 1958, when at 16 she sold her first song to publisher Don Kirshner, to her career-transforming album Tapestry.

While working for Kirshner, Carole meets lyricist Gerry Goffin at Queens College and collaborates with him professionally. The pair become romantically involved and young parents while creating hits for groups such as The Drifters and The Shirelles. During their partnership, Carole and Gerry enjoy a friendly competition with the songwriting team of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. Unfortunately, Carole and Gerry’s marriage is rocky, leading to divorce. However, the split propels the songwriter to branch out and sing her own music.

The Engeman production is masterfully directed by Paul Stancato, which is apparent in the actors’ fabulous portrayals of the iconic personalities and how they smoothly transition from one scene to another.

Stephanie Lynne Mason does an extraordinary job portraying Carole as a humble, modest songwriter who lacks confidence in her looks and singing talents. However, as the musical progresses, Mason seamlessly evolves into a more confident Carole, ready to take on Carnegie Hall. 

As Act I closes, Mason’s rendition of “One Fine Day,” after the songwriter finds out her husband hasn’t been faithful, nails the heartbreak Carole must have felt when she heard the news. Mason demonstrates that depth again during the reprise of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” during the second act, and toward the end of the show, she has everyone feeling as if they are sitting in Carnegie Hall listening to a Grammy Award-winning star.

Jack Cahill-Lemme perfectly captures Gerry’s turmoil as he deals with depression and is so convincing as a womanizer that it’s difficult not to get upset at him when Gerry breaks Carole’s heart. As for his singing, his delivery of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” in Act II sounds even better than the Monkees’ version.

Sarah Ellis as Cynthia is everything you would expect from a successful songwriter — fun, flirty and sexy. From her first number, “Happy Days/Cynthia,” audience members know they will be in for a treat with Ellis on stage.

Noah Berry is perfect as the hypochondriac Barry, who falls in love with Cynthia. He delivers an energized and impressive “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” in the second act. The musical is also filled with some funny lines, and Ellis and Berry skillfully lighten the mood.

Playing Carole’s mother, Genie Klein, is Laura Leigh Carroll, who portrays her with just the right amount of strength and love. Devon Goffman is perfect in his portrayal of Don Kirshner, acting as a respected patriarch who balances motivating his ensemble of songwriters with caring about them as people.

A review of the Engeman’s production of Beautiful wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the ensemble members. Early in Act 1, the ensemble treats the audience to “1650 Broadway Medley.” This number is just a preview of what’s in store for the audience from the talented singers and dancers as most of them hit the stage later to sing pop classics, stealing the spotlight from the main characters.

Cory Simmons, Damien DeShaun Smith, Dwayne Washington and Leron Wellington are suave and debonair as The Drifters. Their renditions of “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “Up on the Roof” and “On Broadway” are swoon-worthy.

Renee Marie Titus, Zuri Washington, Cecily Dionne Davis and Cece Morin bring to the stage all the glamor, style and talent of The Shirelles with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” Davis returns to the stage and shines once again as fictional singer Janelle Woods singing “One Fine Day,” and Morin as Little Eva sounds fantastic singing “The Loco-motion.” Joe Caskey and Jack B. Murphy as The Righteous Brothers also deliver a powerful “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’.”

The Engeman musicians, led by Jeff Cox, are equally impressive on all the tunes. Kyle Dixon has done a phenomenal job creating a stage design that is versatile yet eye-catching with golden-colored sliding panels, and costume designer Dustin Cross has captured the fun and glamor of the 1960s perfectly.

The beauty of Engeman’s Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is that theatergoers don’t have to be fans of the artist or the songs of the 1960s to enjoy a spectacular night of entertainment. The cast and crew have once again crafted a production worthy of Broadway.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main Street, Northport presents Beautiful: The Carole King Musical through Oct. 29. Tickets range from $85 to $95. For more information, call 631-261-2900 or visit

All photos courtesy of The John W. Engeman Theater.

See a preview of the show here.

Theatre Three's 'A Christmas Carol' cast of 2022. Photo courtesy of Theatre Three

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will hold Young People’s auditions (ages 8–17) for its 39th annual production of the holiday classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. 

They will be double-casting nine roles (for a total of eighteen young people). Readings are provided. A Christmas carol (“Christmas Is Coming”) will be taught. Rehearsals begin late September and are weeknights (beginning at 7 p.m.); Saturdays (mornings or afternoons); and Sundays (mornings, afternoons, or evenings). Young people must appear in half of the performances, including the student matinees. Performances will be held from Nov. 11 to  Dec. 30, 2023.

 For full details visit For more information, call 631-928-9100.

By Heidi Sutton

Every five years or so, Theatre Three reaches deep into its vault of scripts and pulls out a gem. This time it’s Alice’s Most Decidedly Unusual Adventures in Wonderland, an original musical based on the colorful characters sprung from Lewis Carroll’s imagination for his 1865 much-loved children’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass in 1871. The show opened on Aug. 4 to a packed house.

With the message to be true to yourself and to find your own voice, this year’s production, written by Jeffrey Sanzel, features a brand new score by Douglas J. Quattrock, exquisite costumes by Jason Allyn and a cast of over 35 actors who seamlessly play multiple roles.

Directed by Sanzel, the show opens on a rainy day at Camp Carroll Woods. The campers are bored and the camp counselor tries to keep them entertained indoors with a sing-along. A white rabbit suddenly appears but only one of the campers, Alice (Jillian Sharpe), can see him. In a curious pursuit, she tumbles down a rabbit hole and ends up in Wonderland where her “unusual adventure” begins.

With The Cheshire Cat (Kiernan Urso) always in the shadows, a strong-willed Alice must match wits with a list of bizarre characters as she takes part in a “What’s My Name?” contest with The Caterpillar (Heather Rose Kuhn); joins a tea party with The Mad Hatter (Steven Uihlein), The March Hare (Kaitlyn Jehle) and The Dormouse (Hazel Kamath); catches a ride with The White Knight (Liam Marsigliano); meets Tweedledee (Kaitlyn Jehle) and Tweedledum (Heather Rose Kuhn); and is invited to a game of croquet by The Queen of Hearts (Ginger Dalton), all while trying to catch up with The White Rabbit (Ava Garcia) and find her way home. When the kingdom’s tarts go missing, Alice is accused of stealing and must stand trial. Will she find her voice in time? 

Of course, a show like this would not be possible without the supporting cast — members of Theatre Three’s summer acting workshops play numerous roles including campers, contestants in a game show, flowers and a deck of playing cards.

The music and dance numbers, accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, are terrific, especially “Here” with Alice and The Cheshire Cat; “Tea!” by the Mad Hatter, “Song of a Very Sad Knight” by The White Knight; “A Question of Belief” by Alice, and “Let the Good Times Roll” by The Queen of Hearts (“Nothing cheers me up like a good clean chop!”)

Full of whimsy and loaded with riddles, the play is a lot of nonsense, as Alice would say, but it sure is fun to watch as it gives a fresh feel to the story of the adventurous little girl following that dutifully late white rabbit through a maze of imaginative vignettes. Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for a keepsake photo.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Alice’s Most Decidedly Unusual Adventures in Wonderland on Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. and Aug. 12 at 11 a.m and again at 2 p.m. Children’s theater continues with A Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 7 to 21 and the holiday classic Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit 

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport will present ‘Urinetown The Musical’ on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. The show is performed entirely by The John W. Engeman Studio’s audition-only elite Select Players.

Winner of three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards and two Obie Awards, ‘Urinetown’ is a hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, environmental collapse, privatization of natural resources, bureaucracy, municipal politics, and musical theatre itself! Hilariously funny and touchingly honest, Urinetown provides a fresh perspective on one of America’s greatest art forms.

​In a Gotham-like setting, a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. The citizens must use public amenities, regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity’s most basic needs. Amid the people, a hero decides that he’s had enough and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom!

​Inspired by the works of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, Urinetown is an irreverently humorous satire in which no one is safe from scrutiny. Praised for reinvigorating the very notion of what a musical could be, Urinetown catapults the “comedic romp” into the new millennium with its outrageous perspective, wickedly modern wit and sustained ability to produce gales of unbridled laughter.


The Creative Team includes GINA SALVIA (Musical Director), LAURA MCGAULEY (Costume Design), EDWARD READ (Lighting Design), MELISSA PROCOPIO (Sound Design),ISABELLE KTENAS (Production Stage Manager), JENNIFER COLLESTER (Director of Production) and RICHARD DOLCE (Producing Artistic Director).


Tickets are $25 for all performances. They may be purchased by calling 631-261-2900, going online at, or by visiting the Engeman Theater Box Office at 250 Main Street, Northport.


By Heidi Sutton

The John W. Engeman Theater closes its 2022-2023 children’s theater season with the timeless tale of Cinderella, much to the delight of all the little princesses that showed up to last Saturday morning’s performance. With music by Jeanne Bargy and Jim Eiler and book and lyrics by Eiler, the story closes follows the original with a few hilarious twists and turns along the way.

We first meet the fairy godmother who “with a wave of a wand can make all of your wishes come true.” Looking at a list of the neediest cases of the day she discovers Ella, an orphan who lives with her evil stepmother and two demanding stepsisters Henrietta and Gertrude. Ella is treated like a servant and has to sleep in the kitchen by the fire, giving her the nickname Cinderella.

The audience is then whisked away to the castle where King Darling III is making arrangements to throw a ball so that his son Prince Charming can find a girl to marry before his 21st birthday. Invitations are sent out and as always poor Cinderella must stay behind but her fairy godmother will make things right. With a little bit of magic she turns a pumpkin into a royal coach and a handful of cinders become a beautiful ball gown complete with glass slippers. At the ball the prince is immediately smitten with Cinderella as they waltz the night away. But the stroke of midnight changes everything.

Directed and choreographed by Danny Meglio, the fast-paced production is clever, funny and charming. 

Olivia Giorgio is perfectly cast as Cinderella. Her recurring solo, “What Will Become of Me?” is heartfelt. Her fairy godmother, played to the hilt by Lacey Cornell, comes down into the audience often to talk to the children, giving time for set changes, and is often “invisible” on stage, assessing the situation before taking action. 

Natalie Seus has much fun in her role as the evil stepmother as do Alyssa Infranco and Miranda Jo Demott as the stepsisters who invent a special dance at the ball, the Sneeze Polka, which the entire audience is invited to take part in. 

Michael Fasciano draws the most laughs in his role as the extremely near-sighted King Darling III who is always walking in the wrong direction or mistaking one person for another. If not for the assistance of the Royal Guards, played by Jae Hughes and Gabe Cruz, he would’ve walked right off the stage!

The handsome Ryan McInnes makes a fine Prince Charming who only wants to marry for love. A highlight of the show is when he and the Royal Guards come into the audience and give little girls a chance to try on the glass slipper before the stepsisters have a go at it. 

Special mention must also be made of the costumes and wigs designed by Laura McGauley. From Cinderella’s dress to the fairy godmother’s robe to the purple wigs on the stepsisters, everything was magical.

Light-up wands are sold before and during intermission, costumes are encouraged and booster seats are available. Meet, greet and get autographs from the entire cast in the lobby after the show. An autograph page is conveniently located at the back of the program.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Cinderella on Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 27. The 2023-2024 season kicks off with The Wizard of Oz from Sept. 23 to Oct. 29 and Frosty from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31. All seats are $20. To order, call 631-261-2900 or visit