New show at the Engeman Theater is a smash hit

By Julianne Mosher

Grab your favorite cocktail, a Hawaiian-print shirt and head on down to Northport to go wastin’ away again in Margaritaville at the John W. Engeman Theater. 

Its latest show, Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville, isn’t only for “Parrot Heads” or Buffet enthusiasts — it has something for everyone: a really good time. 

The show starts out following a part-time bartender/part-time singer, Tully, (who’s also a full-time ladies’ man) at his job on an island in the sun. Working at a tourist spot, he’s introduced to a visitor named Rachel who’s on location for a work trip/bachelorette party for her best friend, Tammy. 

A complete overachiever and workaholic, Rachel isn’t really expecting anything but gathering soil at the local volcano for her project. But Tully, intrigued by her, attempts to befriend her and eventually falls hard in love. 

Through the beachy sounds of Jimmy Buffet, the audience is taken on a journey of the island, learning the backstories (good and bad) of all the characters inhabiting it. Not only will the show make you laugh out loud, but you’ll be out of your seat singing along to popular hits including “Fins,” “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” and, of course, “Margaritaville.”

Directed and choreographed by Keith Andrews, the entire cast deserves accolades for their performance. Sam Sherwood (Tully) is a true star, while Amanda Bailey (Marley), Maggie Bera (Tammy), Hunter Brown (Brick) and Meadow Nguy (Rachel) shine alongside him. 

Dan Sharkey, who plays the questionable and somewhat lost J.D., will have you laughing and falling in love with his character, especially after you learn more about how he landed on the island. 

And if you like piña coladas, or any other fruity drinks, make sure you head to the theater a bit early for a pre-show where visitors can hop on stage, grab a beverage and listen to some tunes sung by the cast as if they are victors to the resort themselves!

That being said, the set design feels like you’re in the Caribbean or somewhere in Hawaii. Beautiful tropical flowers in bright, summer colors line the stage, while the house band (who is typically seated beneath the stage) performs live music front and center. 

But while the show primarily takes place at the resort, the cast does a great job with extras to flip between Tammy’s apartment, the airport, a restaurant in the states and of course, the volcano. Yes, there’s an active volcano that smokes right in the background. However, don’t worry — it hasn’t been active in years… when it killed real estate agents who were vacationing for a conference a few decades ago… (You’ll learn that backstory if you come by).

So, make sure you change into your shirt with a fun, bold print, put on your sandals and take a shot of tequila before you head down to The Engeman for a fantastic and fun night out because, remember, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville through Aug. 27. Showings include Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays and 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Some Wednesdays and Sunday evenings are available. Tickets are $80 or $85 for Saturday evenings. To order call 631-261-2900 or visit

The cast of 'Pippin'. Photo courtesy of The Community Playhouse of Northport

By Melissa Arnold

When a playwright starts working on a new script, they carefully describe the setting, time period, and each character. They may provide information about a character’s intended gender, age, physicality and singing voice. These traits are meant to serve as guides for directors as they select actors for the show.

All this might sound simple on paper, but in reality, it means that an otherwise talented actor may not be a good fit for certain roles. This is especially true for older adults, where opportunities for people in their age group are unfortunately few and far between. 

The Community Playhouse of Northport (CPN) works hard to create an atmosphere that’s welcoming to all kinds of actors, especially those with little to no experience. Each summer, they host a special “Bucket List Production” of a classic musical with a unique twist – all the lead actors are over 45, and all the ensemble members are over 30.

For people who have passed the age threshold for many theatrical roles, the accommodation is a dream come true.

The Bucket List shows began last summer, when a dedicated group of theater families formed the not-for-profit Community Playhouse of Northport. Their predecessor, the Northport Community Theater, was dissolved in 2021. 

“Many of us were friends before CPN formed — some of us were previous performers or had kids who knew each other from community theater,” said Amy Schombs, who handles publicity for the group. “We thought it might be fun to create an opportunity for those of us who’d like to be onstage but are often not in the right age group, or maybe they’ve never had any theater experience before.” 

This year’s Bucket List Production is Pippin, an energetic and surprising tale following the son of the historical King Charlemagne as he searches for fulfillment in young adulthood.

It’s also a show-within-a-show — the majority of the characters are part of a talented, sometimes zany group of performers who bring Pippin and Charlemagne’s story to life. This dynamic allows smaller ensemble roles to take center stage, which isn’t typical in a musical.

Schombs is also an ensemble performer for the show and admitted that getting onstage for the first time since high school was a big step out of her comfort zone.

“My mother took me to musicals all the time as a child and I grew up loving theater. I did some shows during high school and took a few acting classes in college, but that was it,” she recalled. “About 10 years ago, my then-teenage son decided to try out for his high school’s musical, and my whole family fell in love with theater.”

But it hasn’t been easy, she noted.

“At first it was really hard and intimidating, especially as someone who can’t read music and has no real experience. It’s been like speaking a foreign language at times,” Schombs said. “But it’s so much fun and I’m so glad I took a chance and decided to challenge myself.”

Scott Stevenson is in his early 70s, and thanks to Bucket List he’s making his theatrical debut as a comedic ensemble member.

“I’ve always enjoyed going to theater performances, and I’m comfortable onstage because I sing in a barbershop chorus based out of Five Towns College. I found myself going to shows and thinking, ‘You know, I bet I could do that,’” said Stevenson, who worked in the maritime industry prior to retirement. “My wife saw an advertisement for the Bucket List auditions in the paper and encouraged me to go for it.”

Stevenson showed up to audition and sang a few fast-paced bars of “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” by Frank Sinatra. Not long after, he learned that he made the cast of Pippin. 

“I’ve been so impressed with everyone in the group, and they’ve been so welcoming to me as a newcomer,” he said. “It feels wonderful to try something new. To anyone out there who has ever had the dream of performing, I would encourage them to get out there and do it. Don’t let the chance pass you by.”

Seizing the opportunity comes up often for the Bucket List cast, the majority of whom have day jobs, families and other responsibilities. Executive director Suzie Lustig couldn’t be happier to have them.

“It had always been a hope of mine to bring this [Bucket List] idea to the Playhouse,” said Lustig, who is also the organization’s CEO. “There’s a lot of incredible talent on Long Island, and it’s very competitive. It gets harder as you get older — someone who’s a novice at an older age may not have a shot at participating in some shows elsewhere.”

The cast includes teachers on summer vacation, an IT professional, stay-at-home parents, a psychologist and many more.

“This cast is phenomenally committed — everyone is so enthusiastic and brings so much heart because they really want to be there, even after working all day and sacrificing their summer nights and weekends to make it happen,” Lustig said. “They come from all walks of life, but the cast has become great friends through this production.”

Schombs hopes that visitors will take a chance on the unconventional performance, and maybe even consider auditioning in the future. 

“I think there’s a bit of surprise for those who come to see us, because some people come in knowing we’re not experienced performers, but by the end we impress them with how hard we’ve worked and what we’ve been able to achieve,” she said. “Everyone should have items on their bucket list that push them and encourage them to try new things. I think the Playhouse provides an amazing way to do that.”

The Community Playhouse of Northport will present Pippin at 7:30 p.m. July 20 through July 22, with an additional 3 p.m. performance on July 22. Performances are held at the Harborfields High School Auditorium, 98 Taylor Ave, Greenlawn. Tickets are $15. To purchase or for more information about CPN and future Bucket List Productions, visit or call 631-683-8444.

The cast of 'Seussical Jr'. Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

By Heidi Sutton 

Written in 2000 by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Seussical the Musical is a love letter to Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, featuring stories from his  most famous children books including “Horton Hears a Who,” “Horton Hatches an Egg,” “Gertrude McFuzz,” “McElligot’s Pool” and “Oh the Thinks You Can Think!”

Now the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with the Smithtown Historical Society, pays tribute to the creative genius by bringing his colorful characters to life in an outdoor production of Seussical Jr. on the historical society’s grounds through Aug. 17.

Acted out entirely in rhyme, the Cat in the Hat serves as narrator and introduces us to Horton the Elephant who one day hears a cry for help and discovers a floating speck of dust containing the town of Whoville. After safely placing it on a clover flower, the Wickersham Brothers steal it and hand it off to Vlad Vladikoff the black-bottomed eagle who drops it in a field of thousands of clover. Horton is then tricked into sitting on Mayzie LaBird’s egg for 51 weeks, is captured by hunters and eventually sold to the circus. When Gertrude McFuzz finds the clover and give it back to Horton, he is put on trial by Sour Kangaroo for “sitting on an egg and talking to a speck.” Will this faithful pachyderm ever catch a break? What will happen to the citizens of Whoville? Only Judge Yertle the Turtle will decide.

During last Saturday’s opening performance, the 13-member young adult cast — Eldan Bazile, Kat Conway, Alexa Gallery, Erin Risolo, Samantha Rubin, Molly Sanges, Ava Ross, Robby Boswell, Alex Eskin, Julia Gallery, Julia Jackson, Caroline Nuzzo, and Lorelai Mucciolo — did a phenomenal job transporting the audience to the Jungle of Nool. Other cast members include Katie Lehmann, Amanda Sidman, Kendall Danley, Allison Heidrich and Medha Rao.

The wonderful songs, including the catchy introduction “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!” by the entire cast, to “Horton Hears a Who,” “Notice Me Horton,” an uplifting rendition of “It’s Possible,” Horton and Jojo’s duet, “Alone in the Universe,” and “Solla Sollew,” are perfectly executed. 

Using limited props, costumes and sets, the summer stock theater show is the perfect way for these young actors to hone their craft, with the audience seated less than 4 feet from the stage, and small children lounging on blankets in front of them. They learn to ignore the distractions such as a car beeping, a plane flying overhead or a child suddenly jumping up to grab a snack, as well as coping with the weather and bugs. Teamwork also plays a major role in this valuable experience of a lifetime. 

In the end, the audience walks away from this musical extravaganza with the inspiring message that “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” to follow your dreams and let your imagination fly. 

Smithtown Performing Arts Center presents Seussical Jr. at their outdoor stage on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 E. Main St., Smithtown with no intermission on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 17. All seats are $18.50. To order, call 800-595-4849 or visit

By Heidi Sutton

With the temperatures projected to reach into the 90s for the next few days, it’s time for parents to search for fun indoor activities for their children. May I suggest a visit to Theatre Three to see the adorable show Goldilocks and the Showbiz Bears.

Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin Story,  the musical is loosely based on the classic bedtime story with several twists and turns along the way as well as the introduction of a noteworthy superhero and a lesson in safety. With a clever script, lovable characters, song and dance, it is the perfect way to spend a hot summer afternoon.

We first meet Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear, show biz bears who have retired from the circus and are now living in a cottage in the woods. It’s the first of the month and the banker, Billy de Goat Gruff, has come to collect the rent money, which they don’t have. The grouchy goat gives them until the end of the day or they will be kicked out. While their porridge is cooling down, the bears decide to go for a walk to think of ways to come up with the rent.

In the meantime, Goldilocks, a Campfire Bluebird Pioneer Scout Girl who lives with her grandmother Granny Locks, sets off to her cousin’s house to deliver cookies. She ends up at the cottage of the three bears by mistake and lets herself in. Just like the fairy tale, Goldilocks tastes the three bowls of porridge, sits in the three chairs and tries out the three beds, choosing Baby Bear’s bed in which to take a nap because it is “just right.”

When Granny Locks realizes that Goldilocks has not arrived at her destination, she seeks the help of local forest ranger Wolf Hunter to find the missing girl. They arrive at the cottage of the three bears just as Baby Bear realizes that “someone’s been sleeping in my bed, and she’s still there!” Luckily the bears are friendly — they even know Granny Locks from their circus days when she was Eloise the trapeze artist.

But the banker still wants his rent money, so the group puts on a show to help young people learn about safety to raise the funds. Soon all the children in the audience are learning about the importance of staying safe and that “strangers can mean danger — so don’t talk to strangers.”

Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the seven member adult cast does a wonderful job conveying the story. Cassidy Rose O’Brien, complete with a blond curly wig that bounces when she walks, is the perfect Goldilocks, confident and brave. Jason Furnari embraces the role of villain Billy de Goat Gruff and runs with it, with a masterful performance  reminiscent of Barnaby in Babes in Toyland, as he makes his rounds to collect the rent from fairy tale characters including Henny Penny and the witch living in the Gingerbread House. The long cape and horns coming out of his hat is a nice touch.

Liam Marsigliano shines as superhero Wolf Hunter, Forest Ranger, who’s “ready to help when there is danger.” Steven Uihlein, Jillian Sharpe and Kiernan Urso in the roles of Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear are three of the nicest showbiz bears you’d ever hope to meet and Ginger Dalton as Granny Locks is warm and welcoming. Excellent performances all around.

Expert lighting by Steven Uihlein and costumes by Jason Allyn, from the furry ears and feet of the three bears to the impressive forest ranger uniform, tie it all together for a wonderful afternoon at the theater. This show only comes around every five years so don’t miss it! Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for keepsake photos.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Goldilocks and the Show Biz Bears on Fridays, July 14, 21 and 28 and Saturdays, July 15, 22 and 29. All shows start at 11 a.m. Children’s theater continues with Alice’s Most Decidedly Unusual Adventures in Wonderland from Aug. 4 to 12 and Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 7 to 21. Tickets are $12 per person. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit

Theatre Three, 412 Man St., Port Jefferson will hold auditions for strong singers/actors/dancers ages 16 and older for the musical The Prom on Sunday, July 9 at 7 p.m., and Monday, July 17, at 7 p.m. Prepare 32 bars from the song of your choice and bring sheet music in the proper key. Accompanist provided. You may sing from the score. Be prepared to dance. Bring a headshot/resume if available. Rehearsals begin in late July. Performances will  be held from Sept. 16 to Oct. 21. For full details visit 631-928-9100

By Heidi Sutton

Children’s theater continues at The John W. Engeman Theater with The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. The adorable show, based on the first in a series of books by Jeff Brown, follows the adventures of Stanley Lambchop (Daniel Bishop) who lives with his parents (Michael Fasciano and Suzanne Mason) and his brother Arthur (Jae Hughes). His mailman, Mr Cartero (Patrick McCowen) serves as narrator and introduces Stanley as an average 10-year-old kid who has big dreams.

At bedtime, Stanley and his brother see a falling star and make a wish. While Arthur wishes for an A on his science project, Stanley wishes to travel and “do amazing things the world has never seen before.” In the middle of the night a bulletin board above his bed crashes down on him and flattens him like a pancake.

At first, Stanley and his parents are alarmed and take him to Dr. Dan for an evaluation but he is as perplexed (and confused) as they are. When Stanley goes to school, his classmates tie him to a string and fly him like a kite until he gets stuck in a tree. Then Stanley realizes the advantage of his two-dimensional position and, for the price of a stamp, mails himself in a letter to California to visit a friend. 

From there he mails himself to Paris and poses as a painting in the Louvre next to Napoleon and Mona Lisa to catch a sneak thief, and then heads to Hawaii to star as a surfboard in a movie. In the end Stanley realizes that home is the best address but will he remain flat forever?

Directed and choreographed by Danny Meglio, the five talented cast members, playing multiple roles, put on a terrific show. The question on everyone’s mind was how a flat character would appear on stage but the clever costume does the trick.

The song and dance numbers are a delight to watch with special mention to Bishop’s solo “I Wish I Were … A Hero,” “The Funny Sunny Side,” “Talent'” with a great soft-shoe number and Hughes’ heartfelt solo, “Arthur’s Letter.” 

With the message to look for a little adventure in everything you do, this imaginative and clever show is flat-out fun. Meet, greet and sign autographs with the cast after the show in the lobby. An autograph page is conveniently located at the back of the program.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St. Northport presents The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through July 2 with a sensory friendly performance on June 10 at 11 a.m. Up next is Cinderella from July 22 to Aug. 27. All seats are $20. For more information or to order, call 631-261-2900 or visit 

By Heidi Sutton

Theatre Three closes its 2022-2023 children’s theater season with a most fitting choice, an original musical retelling of the  timeless fairytale Cinderella.

With book by Douglas Quattrock with Jeffrey Sanzel and music and lyrics by Quattrock, the rags-to-riches story combines Charles Perrault’s classic story with Mark Twain’s The Prince & the Pauper with lots of hilarious twists and turns along the way.

Charles Perrault (Steven Uihlein) serves as narrator as well as “squire to the sire” and transports audiences to the palace of King Charming (Jason Furnari) who wishes for his son Prince Charming (Sean Amato) to get married and take over the kingdom so he can retire. He decides to host a royal ball and invites all eligible maidens.

The squire delivers the invitations to the home of Cinderella (Danielle Pafundi) who is forced to cook and clean for her stepmother Lady Jaclyn (Louisa Bikowski) and stepsisters Gwendolyn (Kaitlyn Jehle) and Madeline (Samantha Fierro) and be at their beck and call. When Cinderella asks if she can go to the ball, her stepmother tells her she has to do all her chores first, including washing the cat (do they even have a cat?), but we all know how that turns out. 

Left behind while the meanies go to the ball, Cinderella is visited by her fairy godmother (“I don’t mean to be rude but where have you been?!”), Angelica (Heather Van Velsor), who uses her magic to whip up a beautiful dress and carriage and sends Cinderella on her way.

Meanwhile, the prince hatches a plan to switch places with the squire in hopes of meeting a girl who “really likes me for me.” Things go haywire at the ball, thanks to the spoiled stepsisters, and it ends before Cinderella can get there. When she finally arrives, Cinderella is greeted by a squire (the prince) who asks her to dance because “the band is paid till 1 a.m.” Will she  accept his invitation and waltz the night away? Will they live happily ever after?

Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the lively show is perfectly executed with a clever script and all of the wonderful scenes we have come to love overflowing with singing, dancing and lots of magic.

Each actor has his/her chance to shine with solos and duets. Accompanied on piano by Douglas J. Quattrock with choreography by Sari Feldman, the songs are sweet and endearing theawith special mention to “Hey There, Charming,” “Please, Mother, Please!” and “If the Shoe Fits,” “A Girl Like Me (and a Boy Like You)” and “Here in Your Arms.”

The costumes, designed by the uber-talented Jason Allyn, are exquisite, especially Cinderella’s dress which received gasps from the audience when it was first seen, and the lighting and special effects are simply magical.

If you’re looking for something to do with the kids this weekend, Theatre Three’s Cinderella fits the “shoe” perfectly. Costumes are encouraged. Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for a keepsake photo.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Cinderella through June 17 with a sensory sensitive performance on June 4 at 11 a.m. All seats are $10. For more information or to order, call the box office at 631-928-9100 or visit

Kara Vertucci stars as the rebellious Princess Ida in the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island’s 2023 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Princess Ida. (Photo by NanMagna. Copyright 2023 The Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island.)

The battle of the sexes will break out into open warfare when the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island brings its 2023 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic Princess Ida to the Smithtown Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 17, at 8 p.m.  The production will feature a 23-piece orchestra.

 Princess Ida—which debuted in 1884 at London’s Savoy opera, with book and lyrics by W.S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan—is a favorite with Gilbert & Sullivan aficionados, with its score in particular regarded as perhaps Sullivan’s greatest.  The current production is the Light Opera Company’s first since 2007.

More dramatic in tone than any other Gilbert & Sullivan work, c In the end the story boils down to whether the opera’s young people are doomed to grow into their parents, repeating all their mistakes, or if they can escape the machinations of their parents, move beyond hatred and violence, and forge a new future for themselves.

In the new production of the opera, Kara Vertucci of Lindenhurst plays Princess Ida and Joseph Anthony Smith of Freeport plays Prince Hilarion, with Chris Jurak of Brightwaters as King Gama and Ben Salers of Northport as King Hildebrand.  Lady Psyche is played by Patricia Gallagher of West Hempstead, and Lady Blanche by Terry Hochler of East Meadow, with Alyssa M. Mener of Massapequa Park as Melissa; Jordan Breslow of Bellmore plays Florian and Richard Risi of Locust Valley plays Cyril.  Ida’s brothers, the formidable Warriors Three, are played by Henry Horstmann of Lindenhurst (Arac), John Benvenuto of Floral Park (Guron) and Marc Eliot Stein of Brooklyn (Scynthius).  Tamara Shyngle of Brentwood plays Sacharissa, Claudia Arroyo of Port Washington is Chloe and Hanna Roth of Upper Brookville plays Ada.  The director is Gayden Wren, and the music director is Leonard Lehrman.

Princess Ida is unlike any other Gilbert & Sullivan opera,” said Wren, a longtime member of the company and also the author of an acclaimed book about Gilbert & Sullivan.  “It’s Shakespearean in its scope, and its humor—which combines farce, slapstick, satire and burlesque—is in the service of a story of unique emotional power.  Ida and Hilarion are two sides of the same coin, young aristocrats who’ve been pawns in their fathers’ rivalry almost since they were born.  The story pits them as enemies, but as the opera progresses they begin to see something of themselves in each other, and to sense the outlines of a future different from the one they’ve always been told awaits them.

“Ultimately this is a story of generational conflict, of young people trying to get past the mistakes and hatreds of their parents, trying to forge a new world they might actually live in together,” Wren concluded.  “When people ask me what it’s about, I say it’s about a prince, a princess and an arranged marriage … but also about climate change, racial and ethnic rivalries, inequality, social justice and pretty much anything else that’s going on in the world today.  It’s funny, it’s beautiful, but there’s no Gilbert & Sullivan story that’s more directly relevant to the world of today.”

Princess Ida will be presented on Saturday, June 17, at 8 p.m. at the Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 East Main Street in Smithtown.  Admission is $30, seniors and students $25.  For further information, call (516) 619-7415 or visit

Nathan Lane and Robin Williams in a scene from 'The Birdcage'

By Tara Mae

Time to fly the coop and settle in at Theatre Three’s Second Stage for St. George Living History Productions’ next interactive talk, “The Making of The Birdcage.”  

On Tuesday, May 30, at 12:30 p.m., award-winning playwright and lecturer Sal St. George will guide the audience on a behind-the-scenes tour of the 1996 modern classic, with anecdotes, trivia, insights, and movie clips making cameo appearances. 

Featuring complimentary refreshments, cookies, and other treats as well as a Q&A session, “The Making of The Birdcage” invites its patrons to enjoy the presentation as an immersive experience. 

“It is LecturTainment at its best. It’s a combination lecture and entertainment package. My goal is to help you learn while you laugh, that is the magic I try to create,” said St. George.  

Starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, The Birdcage is an acclaimed American remake of La Cages aux Folles (1978). Directed by Mike Nichols, the film chronicles the comedic calamities that befall a gay cabaret owner and his drag queen partner as they try to impress the ultra conservative parents of their son’s fiancée. 

It launched the film career of Lane, renowned for his theater work, and solidified Williams’ chameleon-like ability to embody a variety of characters. Further spotlighted by its stacked roster of supporting actors, this film was a box office smash hit and remains a crowd-pleaser today.

“This was Nathan Lane’s first film. He and Robin Williams bonded immediately…This [cast] is a winning combination of talent,” said Sal St. George. “The Birdcage is a modern day classic that will be enjoyed 20 years, 50 years, and 100 years from now simply because it boasts a brilliant script, superb direction, and memorable performances.” 

Highlighting, exploring, and understanding such talent is a founding tenet of St. George Living History Productions, which provides a sort of showbiz curriculum about Hollywood of yore and yesterday, including lectures, events, and virtual tours of entertainment museums. 

“During our programs we never talk down to audiences; we are informative, educational and entertaining. I think that is what is appealing to them,” added St. George, who runs St. George Living History Productions with his wife Mary, son Darren and daughter-in-law Cassandra.

Such care and consideration is in part what inspired the collaboration between the production company and Theatre Three, which was conceptualized when Darren reached out to Executive Artistic Director Jeffrey Sanzel. 

“Sal’s events are so incredibly well-curated. His translation of detailed research into engaging entertainment is unique. He has a way of finding new takes on any topic he selects,” Sanzel said. “We hope this is the first of many events like this with St. George Productions.”

Although this latest installment of St. George’s lecture series is the first partnership with Theatre Three, St. George and Sanzel have previously collaborated on other projects, including earlier incarnations of Port Jefferson’s annual Charles Dickens Festival. 

“I have lectured from Long Island to San Diego; it was time to bring my programs to the patrons of Theatre Three and the Port Jefferson community,” said St. George.

Theatre Three is located at 412 Main St., Port Jefferson. Tickets for “The Making of Birdcage” are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and veterans, and $20 for groups of eight or more people. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit Group sales may be made by emailing [email protected]. 

By Julianne Mosher

The stage at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport turns into 1930s Austria with its latest production of The Sound of Music and it will have everyone in the audience feel all the emotions.

Based on the real Von Trapp family, and the real events they endured when the Nazi’s invaded their hometown of Austria at the start of World War II, the cast and crew of the latest local production does the original Tony Award-winning show justice with a fantastic lineup of talented actors.

Directed by Drew Humphrey, the show starts off with the Nuns of Nonnberg Abbey ensemble who sing a haunting, and beautiful Preludium hymm with a stellar performance by Cáitlin Burke who plays the Mother Abbess. The set quickly changes from the church courthouse to the rolling blue and purple hills, where our favorite nun-turned-nanny, Maria Rainer (played by Kayleen Seidl), sings the famous classic, “The Sound of Music.”

Made famous by the Oscar-winning 1965 remake of the original Broadway show that starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the audience follows the curious and rebellious Maria as she leaves the Abbey to help a widowed father take care of his seven children. In the Von Trapp home, Maria teaches Louisa, Kurt, Liesl, Friedrich, Brigitta, Marta and little Gretl “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi,” which had the audience singing along in their seats. 

Seidl’s performance of Maria made the audience fall in love with her just as Naval Captain Georg Von Trapp (played by Tim Rogan) and his children eventually do throughout the show. But what also received a standing ovation during last Friday’s show was the performance of those children who rehearsed for weeks after school and their extra curriculars to share the spotlight with some of the most talented actors the industry has to offer. Of that performance, Kayla Kennedy (Brigitta), Laura Park (the mature and almost-17-Liesl), and Micaela Maio, who played little Gretl, were standout stars.

Choreographed by Mandy Modic, the musical number of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” featuring Park and her Rolf Gruber (played by understudy Max Desantis) was playful and impressive using props from the villa’s courtyard to assist them dance around during their flirtatious banter. The set design was able to quickly change with ease, turning from a church, to the mountains, to the Von Trapp living room and bedrooms, to the outside courtyard where the two teenagers would sneak out to.

And we cannot forget other members of the cast, like Matthew Bryan Feld (Max Detweiler) and Angel Reda (as Elsa Schraeder) who were also lovable … even if they didn’t agree with the captain’s politics and played more selfish parts. Reda, who alone has a long resume of national and regional shows, just finished her latest stint with Chicago on Broadway. 

While The Sound of Music may not be the happiest of stories, the cast and crew at the Engeman Theater does the show right with a fantastic lineup to match an amazing score that is fit for anyone, any age, or whether they are 16 going on 17.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents The Sound of Music through July 2. Shows are at 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $85 for Saturday performances and $80 for all others showings, and can be purchased by calling 631-261-2900 or online at