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Brittany Lacey

By Julianne Mosher

Nobody does camp better than Theatre Three. This time with their latest production of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, the Port Jefferson-based venue succeeds, yet again, with a phenomenal production of the hysterical musical that is bound to offend everyone and anyone in the best way possible.

Adapted from Mel Brooks’ 1967 film of the same name, the story follows two producers who scheme to get rich fast by fraudulently overselling interests in a Broadway musical they’re seeking to fail. Plot twist … it’s a smash hit, much to their dismay.

Theatre Three’s production is just as good as the latest Broadway revival (latest being 2001) which starred Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. The cast and crew outdid themselves with every detail — from the constant costume and wig changes courtesy of Ronald Green III (and there are quite a few) to Randall Parson’s scenic sets that switch between the office of Max Bialystock (Scott Hofer) and Leo Bloom (Tony Butera) to the rooftop of Nazi-turned playwright Franz Leibkind (Evan Teich). 

Yes, a Nazi. Like I said, this play is going to offend. 

Hofer and Butera in the lead roles of the producers shine on stage, again, on the same level that the show’s former Broadway legends bore in the past.

With several dozen different roles — it’s a Mel Brooks show, so of course it’s going to be chaotic — every person who enters stage right and left are fantastic with an ensemble cast that literally does it all. The singing is master level, the choreography is impressive and you’ll be laughing as soon as the curtain opens during the first number, “It’s Opening Night.”

After Bialystock and Bloom find the most offensive musical out there, Springtime for Hitler, they need to find financial backers. Bialystock, a Casanova to the wealthy elderly, uses his charm on widowers while Bloom meets the beautiful and talented Ulla (Brittany Lacey) who becomes the main female lead in the play they’re hoping fails … as well as Bloom’s love interest. 

The next stop is to get the worst director out there — Roger De Bris (Ryan Nolin), a flamboyant failing director with his long-term, life “roommate,” Carmen Ghia (Jim Sluder). While Nolin and Sluder play near-deadbeats in the theater industry, both have remarkable talent in real life.

Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the three-hour-long show is so good you want to sit through it again and again. You’ll be bound to find something new at every showing.

So, like I mentioned earlier, Theatre Three does campy musicals extremely well. “When You Got It, Flaunt It,” right? And the only advice I have moving forward is to continue and “Keep It Gay” with all that talent on stage.

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Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents The Producers through June 22. Tickets are $40 adults, $32 seniors and students, $25 children (ages 5 to 12) and Wednesday matinees. Please Note: Contains adult humor and situations. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

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By Julianne Mosher

For what is now a quarter of a century, Theatre Three’s Annual Festival of One-Act Plays is a favorite tradition that should not be missed out on. 

Now in its 25th year, more than 12,000 submissions from playwrights across the country have been sent to the Port Jefferson-based theater over the years in hopes that their short, under 30-minute shows have a shot of being performed on stage. This season, Director Jeffrey Sanzel said there were over 2,000 submissions and just eight made the cut. Of those eight, none disappointed. 

For an-hour-and-a-half, during Sunday, Feb. 25th’s performance, the nearly sold-out audience sat quietly, engaged, watching, listening to what is about to appear on stage. The festival brings these little vignettes that are full of story — some that are hysterically funny, while others leave the room quiet because of how serious and emotional the act ends. 

The festival opens with Brian C. Petti’s Bovine Existential, with Linda May and Phyllis March playing two cows who are waiting in a slaughterhouse holding pen discussing fate, mortality and morality. Both May and March play the animals well, and while a serious topic of philosophy, they still had the audience in stitches. 

The second act features Deirdre Girard’s A Year to Grieve and at first the audience doesn’t expect what will eventually happen. We see Thomas (Evan Teich) and Heather (Brittany Lacey), two mystery crime writers working on Heather’s latest novel. The friendship between the two is sweet, until one decides to make fiction real. Both Teich and Lacey shine — as usual, since both are returning Festival performers. 

To lighten the mood, we’re sent to a tomb in Verona, Italy to see Juliet (Cassidy Rose O’Brien) who woke up from her slumber and didn’t kill herself with her fiancé’s dagger in Juliet Wakes Up by Laura Neill. Compared to the original Shakespearean tragedy, this is anything but. Quite frankly, this should be a whole show on Broadway, rather than the & Juliet musical that is currently out. I like this version better. Juliet is met by Rosaline (Julia Albino), her cousin, and Willow (Gina Lardi), the apothecary worker who sold the poison to begin with. The three ladies hatch a plan to hide Romeo’s (Jae Hughes) body after Juliet stabbed him to death, instead.

The first half ends with Rescue by Kevin Podgorski, and this one is not for the weak at heart. We’re introduced to Dot (Ginger Dalton), who has a large bruise on her face. She’s talking on the phone with her two friends, Maeve (March) and Allen (Andrew Markowitz), who are desperately trying to help her out of a toxic and dangerous home situation at the hands of her grandson, Charlie (Steven Uihlein) that Dot has been taking care of since his mother died. Powerful and sad, when the act ended there was a silence, with several audience members saying, “wow.”

After a brief intermission, we’re set in a car on a highway leading to the Colorado border for Aleks Merilo’s The Nearest Far Away Place. A young woman (Courtney Gilmore) hitch hiked a ride from Wisconsin by a man who eventually we learn is a corrections officer played by Rob Schindlar. Uncomfortable and nervous about what is waiting for her across state lines, the young girl tries to chat the man up, but quietly spoken, he has no interest until he begins talking about his own family and how he hasn’t spoken to his own daughter in years. With a serious undertone, it has its highlights that will make you laugh because of the two opposite personalities; Gilmore’s annoying teenage girl self (which we can all relate to somehow) and Schindlar’s stoic manly façade. 

A complete left turn into Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend’s The Curse, we’re taken into an alternate version of The Little Mermaid featuring a mer-man, Jeremy (Sean Amato) who was washed up on land and realizes he has feet. Turns out, an evil enchantress named Donna (his co-worker of all things) turned him human as punishment for his man-splaning over her during staff meetings. He only comes to this realization by Beth (O’Brien), a passerby who sides with Donna. After some serious plays beforehand, this one was funny and lighthearted, which is just what we needed.

In Grave Matters by Michele Markarian, Paula (Lardi) is at the grave of her father asking for a sign from him to get over the family drama since her parents had passed. Well, the dad didn’t show, but her mom, Beth (Dalton) came by instead. This one, again, has those serious undertones, but Dalton’s annoying motherly comments (that again, we can all relate to somehow) make it funny and surprisingly realistic — despite her being a ghost, of course.

And we end with the beautifully crafted The Hike to Hart Lake by Johanna Beale Keller which features Albino, Amato, Hughes, O’Brien and Uihlein as five friends who hike up a mountain in their 20s to a beautiful scenic view they never forget. Always saying they should all go back, life happens, there are deaths and slowly the group becomes one over the course of 80 years. While all five actors are standouts, Hughes had the audience in tears with their powerful monologue at the end of the performance. 

With a minimal set with just a few props moved around for each play, the costumes designed by Jason Allyn match each performance perfectly — and remember, we’re sent from present day, to the 14th Century and then into the future. So, buckle up, grab some tissues and make sure you sit in for The 25th Annual Festival of One-Act Plays. It isn’t just a show… it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents the 25th annual Festival of One-Act Plays through March 23 at The Ronald F. Peierls Theatre, on the Second Stage. All seats are $25. Please note: Adult content and language. Parental discretion is advised. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Julianne Mosher

For 24 years, Theatre Three’s “Festival of One-Act Plays” has been bringing new voices to the not only Port Jefferson, but to all of Long Island. 

Festival founder and director Jeffrey Sanzel told the audience on opening night that the festival, which is nearing a quarter-of-a-century next year, received 750 submissions for the 2023 season from all around the world. “I’m expecting 1,000 next year,” he said.  

And of those 750 submissions, eight were selected, directed, rehearsed and will now be performed through March 25. Of those eight, none disappoint. 

For an hour-and-a-half, the audience sits quietly, engaged, watching, listening to what the actors have to say. And the lineup is unique — as a viewer, you don’t really know what to expect coming in.

The festival starts off with “Down to the Wire,” written by Julia Everitt, a New York City-based playwright with 37 stage plays to her name. This piece shows us what goes on inside a college dormitory, when a roommate played by Danielle Pafundi is hilariously losing her mind thanks to procrastinating an assignment. And despite what you might think, the play is not about camels. 

Then comes “A Citrus Day,” by Mark Cofta, a Pennsylvania-based playwright, who sadly passed away last July. With a minimalist set of just a bus bench and a suitcase, the audience watches two strangers together unearth a dark family secret. While sad and thought-provoking, it reminds you that you just need to make lemonade when life gives us lemons. Performances by Melissa Norman and Tristan Prin are top notch.

Following the more-somber bus stop story is Leslie Dianne’s “Accepting Adina.” Father Steve Ayle and son Steven Uihlein sit side-by-side in the patriarch’s living room, packing away mementos. Together they talk about the mother, Rebecca, and how her illness and assisted living stay is impacting them both. “Accepting Adina” is a tough look at grief, but Ayle’s and Uihlein’s performances are so raw that you feel the sadness, but also the hope of the future, we all feel when a loved one is lost. Tissues are required for this one. 

The best performance of the night by far was by Phyllis March in “The Dating Pool.” The scene opens up with Phyllis, 61, standing at a diving board in a dark pool. She’s visited by her 16-year-old self (Ava Andrejko), then herself at 23 (Samantha Fierro), 36 (Brittany Lacey) and 49 (Tamralyn Dorsa), where present day 61 is reminded of her lost loves of each of those lovers impacted her in that moment. The scene ends with her four former selves encouraging her to take the plunge. “The Dating Pool,” written by Arianna Rose is a thoughtful piece, and full of laughs, that can relate to any age in the audience. 

After a brief intermission, we’re inside an airport with Keith Whalen’s “Unclaimed Baggage” — a hysterically funny look at coming back to the real world after a relaxing trip. Not only does Marvin (but shhh… don’t tell the clerk his name), played by Angelo Dibiase, have to pick up his suitcase and some medicine after a long plane ride, but he has a special encounter with Finn, played by Jason Furnari, who just wants to help. 

Another audience favorite was Larry Brenner’s hilarious supernatural dating story “First Bite.” Here we learn about Wanda’s (Brittany Lacey) past dating history — and let’s just say she has a type — while out to dinner with John (Evan Teich). The scene starts out with a normal looking couple enjoying drinks and each other’s company, until Wanda asks John her place or his? You’re going to laugh a lot, but make sure you leave your garlic at home.

And finally, Mark Loewenstern’s “The Slightly Exaggerated True Story of ‘Civic Virtue’” concludes the show with a fascinating exploration of the intersection of the public eye and the power of art. Based loosely on the famous statue and fountain that once stood in front of New York City Hall in Manhattan, we watch a fast-paced history of architect MacMonnies’ (incredibly played by Antoine Jones) thought process behind sculpting the nude man and two sirens. 

We go through nearly two centuries of the public’s opinion on it, how it moves, and have visits from some well-known elected officials including Mayor La Guardia, Anthony Weiner and Robert Moses. Not only is it a brief, inside look of a famous piece of art, but it reminds the audience how statues (no matter how sexist, racist or now-deemed inappropriate they may be) are still a part of our history. While you’ll learn from this one, you’re also going to laugh. 

Tickets are $20 for the show, plus there’s a cash bar as you walk in. Make sure you visit Theatre Three’s second stage at The Ronald F. Peierls Theatre in Port Jefferson this month for a great night out. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you might learn a fact or two about “Civic Virtue” for your next trivia night.

Theatre Three is located at 412 Main St., Port Jefferson. For more information, or to order tickets, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

After a two-year delay because of COVID, the Festival of One-Act Plays returns to Theatre Three in all its glory. Now in its 23rd year, the One-Acts are a wonderful opportunity for audiences to watch actors hone their craft up close and personal on the theater’s Second Stage. The festival opened last Sunday for a 10-performance run.

Festival founder and Executive Artistic Director Jeffrey Sanzel was tasked with selecting six original works from over 500 submissions and then selected an uber talented cast to tell their story. Fantastic costumes designed by Jason Allyn (with special mention to The Beat Goes On) tie it all together resulting in an incredible evening of live theater. 

“For the first time on any stage, these works come to life,” said Sanzel. “How challenging and exciting to present a unique universe in the space of no more than 25 minutes—and often as short as ten…” in a two-hour marathon in the cozy setting of The Ronald F. Peierls Theatre on the Second Stage, a space so intimate that “there is no wall. There is no division.” 

The show opens with Philip Darg’s Confessions of a Successful Playwright, a hilarious look at One-Act Festivals of all things. Wade Lawson (Stephen T. Wangner) meets up with a reporter (Tamralynn Dorsa) for an interview to share his struggles, triumphs, determination and eventual obsession to becoming the most produced, but least known, playwright in history.

Next up is The Turn-Around, by Cary Pepper. In a constant battle with his next door neighbor Lester’s many assault rifles and gun range, Robert (Antoine Jones) approaches Lester (Steve Ayle), with a change of heart in their ongoing war over the Second Amendment. The Turn-Around addresses one of today’s hot button issues from a wickedly humorous point-of-view.  

The first half concludes with the darkest offering of the evening. Joshua Young’s disturbing Bad China shows Nos (Steven Uihlein) asking for a favor from his sister, Reba (Brittany Lacy), which she keeps from her husband, Del (Evan Teich). A brutal portrait of the opioid crisis is played out within a dysfunctional family, where choices lead to harrowing results.

After a brief intermission, the show continues with Benign Departures, Tony Pasqualini’s vision of a national health crisis from a catastrophic perspective. Set some fifty years in the future, Dr. Elizabeth Baker (Tamralynn Dorsa) visits the homeless Maggie Elmer (Mary Ellin Kurtz) and a battle of wills ensues in which the two very different people find a common ground and a deeper understanding.

Ariana Rose’s comedy The Beat Goes On takes a peek at what goes on inside a display case at the Smithsonian, as various musical containers vie for superiority. Hilarity ensues as Cass (Sari Feldman), Trax (Steve Ayle), L.P. (Antoine Jones), Cee Dee (Brittany Lacey), and Dayta (Steven Uihlein) all hope for a transfer to the newer adjacent display case, leaving the audience in stitches.

The evening closes with Frank Tangredi’s Play Date, a whimsical look at fatherhood from two very different perspectives. The elderly Lou Gershwin (Bradlee Bing) just had a child with his second wife who is 30 years younger and 15-year-old Tyler Hill (Eric J. Hughes) gets limited visitation rights with his child. Meeting at a park bench, the two fathers share their stories and connect in a poignant, charming story.

With an excellent lineup and incredible cast, this festival is not to be missed. Get your ticket before they’re sold out.

Sponsored by Lippencott Financial Group, Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present The 23rd annual Festival of One-Act Plays through April 2. Please note: The plays contains adult language and subject matter. Parental discretion is advised. Running time is two hours with one 15-minute intermission. All seats are $20. To order, call the box office at 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com

All photos by Peter Lanscombe/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

 

Above, from left, Brittany Lacey as Syliva and Steve Ayle as Greg. Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

By Michael Tessler

There are few bonds greater than between a man and his dog, and sometimes there are few bonds stranger! Theatre Three begins the new year with the wonderfully clever off-Broadway comedy, “Sylvia,” written by A.R. Gurney.

This light-hearted romp introduces us to Greg, a man midway into his midlife crisis. He’s had it all: a happy family, a stable corporate job, even a great apartment in the heart of Manhattan … but now with an empty nest, retirement just around the bend and a fading flame of a marriage, he does what any sane person would do — he adopts a stray puppy from the park!

Brittany Lacey and Steve Ayle in a scene from ‘Sylvia’. Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Directed by Bradlee E. Bing, this performance offers more than laughs; it is a philosophical journey through the complexities of aging and relationships. One can’t help but become emotionally invested in Bing’s incredibly talented cast of actors. His production never wastes a beat. Even as dialogue happens on one side of the stage, Bing cleverly places subtle action on the other, giving way to a truly immersive performance.

Peter Casdia, the stage manager, runs a tight and efficient shift backstage. The show’s set, designed by Randall Parsons, is simple but very effective. Alternating between an apartment, local park and office, you’ll easily keep track of where you are from location to location. Robert W. Henderson Jr.’s lighting design is subtle but quite efficacious.

This show’s quick-wit script and sublime cast doesn’t require the usual pomp and circumstance when it comes to the show’s lighting or set. Its simplicity is its strength, letting the audience dive head first into this character-centric performance.

Steve Ayle, who portrays Greg, is perfectly cast. His ability to transcend both comedy and drama give him a unique ability as a performer. Many actors on stage tend to become victims of overacting, a desperate need to evoke a reaction from the audience. Ayle, as testament to his ability as actor, does just the opposite. His authentic humor is a delight and is so genuinely played that you will in earnest believe him in all of his actions. When watching his performance you’ll find yourself asking:“Why the heck isn’t this guy on TV? He’s great!”

From left, Kate (Linda May) and Sylvia face off in a jealous rage in a scene from ‘Sylvia.’ Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

Theatre Three veteran Linda May plays Greg’s wife Kate, a witty English teacher who has dedicated her life to educating underprivileged youth in the works of William Shakespeare. With her children off at college, Kate delves into her work, turning a new leaf in her professional career. Things are turned upside down when her husband of several decades finds himself with a rather unhealthy attachment to his new dog, the eponymous Sylvia.

In one of my favorite exchanges, Kate finds herself on the floor facing off with Sylvia in jealous rage. The act of one woman and one dog, going nose to nose over the affection and love of their shared man is strikingly comical and brilliantly performed.

Brittany Lacey, the star of Theatre Three’s wonderful performance of “Legally Blonde,” is back and is nothing short of a real (dog) treat! Her versatility as an actress shines as she takes on the show’s titular four-legged character, Sylvia, a bouncy, frisky poodle mix. Lacey wastes no time in establishing believability, capturing and personifying perfectly the internal dialogue of a dog. Her physicality during the show is tremendously funny and her dialogue is delivered with refreshing gusto. Lacey’s profanity-laced rant about cats is perhaps the show’s greatest sequence, saying what we’ve all felt about cats at one time or another!

Sylvia’s sensuous romp with neighborhood dog Bowser gives way to some incredible comedic material. You’ll find yourself desperate for air during her barrel of fun performance. When paired with her owner, Greg, you get the opportunity to see two incredibly talented actors really delve into their craft. Their scenes together are some of the best in the show and really capture the unique love between a man and his dog.

Matt Senese in a scene from ‘Sylvia’. Photo by Brian Hoerger, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Last but certainly not least is the show’s everyman (and woman) Matt Senese. Though I don’t want to spoil all the fun, this multifaceted actor delivers huge laughs playing three separate supporting roles as both a man and a woman. For his explosively funny performance alone, go see this show!

Theatre Three’s Athena Hall is looking more beautiful as ever. The cozy, elegant and historical theater is the perfect venue in which to escape reality. Now offering accessibility with an elevator lift and a refurbished wheelchair-friendly bathroom, the theater remains a sanctuary for all those with a love of the arts. Oh, and the ushers are the best around! All in all, “Sylvia” is a perfect way to start the new year. Light, funny and endearing, this show’s short run doesn’t stop it from being big fun!

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “Sylvia” on the Mainstage through Feb. 4. Tickets are $35 adults, $28 seniors and students, $20 ages 5 to 12. Children under 5 not permitted. Wednesday matinee is $20. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

From left, Rachel Greenblatt, Brittany Lacey, Jenna Kavaler and Amanda Geraci in a scene from ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical.’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Michael Tessler

“Legally Blonde” is the sort of film I’d usually enjoy bundled up in a blanket on a cold winter day, perhaps while digging into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, laughing loudly to myself. And yet Saturday night at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson I found myself sharing in that same wholesome joy surrounded by hundreds of others equally filled with laughter and milewide smiles. “Legally Blonde: The Musical” doesn’t shy away from its film roots but rather embraces them, incorporating songs and themes that deliver the story like never before!

Jeffrey Sanzel, the show’s director, continues to demonstrate a mastery of theater worthy of Broadway or the West End. This is not a compliment I deliver lightly, but it is so rightfully deserved. His ability to transcend genre and create flawless spectacles of comedy, drama, music and dance have stunned me continuously through the many shows I’ve now reviewed. Not once have I left the theater’s Athena Hall without being uplifted or captivated by the raw, genuine emotions neatly packed within the confines of a Theatre Three production.

Brittany Lacey as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical. Photo by Brian Hoerger
Brittany Lacey as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical. Photo by Brian Hoerger

“Legally Blonde,” while a light-hearted romp, was certainly no exception to that rule. After a long and difficult week I found myself leaving the theater feeling lighter than air. Not even for a moment is the beautiful illusion of theater ruined, undoubtedly because of Sanzel’s magic touch. His actors are so well-paced, so well-trained, a truly regimented troupe of thespians. Their stage comes to life.

Our protagonist is the stuff of “Greek” legend, and by that I mean she’s the president of the Delta Nu sorority at UCLA. Elle Woods, your quintessential popular blonde stereotype, is awaiting an overdue dinner with her longtime college boyfriend (played with lovable arrogance by Chris Brady) whom she expects to propose. Hilarity ensues as quite the opposite happens. Without spoiling too much, Elle begins on an unlikely adventure to Harvard Law School, a place not exactly known to be fashion forward!

This show is filled to the brim with comedic caricatures playing on our preconceived notions in a delightful way. From the hunky UPS man played to comedic perfection by Kyle Breitenbach to the rude, snobby, love-to-hate law student Vivienne Kensington played impressively by Caitlin Nofi, to the “blood in the water” lawyer Professor Callahan played by Theatre Three veteran Steve McCoy.

Brittany Lacey and Brett Chizever in a scene from 'Legally Blonde: The Musical' byPhoto by Brian Hoerger
Brittany Lacey and Brett Chizever in a scene from ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ byPhoto by Brian Hoerger

At the show’s center is actress Brittany Lacey. Her performance as Elle Woods is local theater at its finest. Her voice both powerful and soft, her delivery of lines so expressive and authentic, and most impressively her ability to dance in flawless precision while belting notes that require two and a half lungs. Many times throughout the production, I wondered if the show’s original writers had somehow met Lacey and based the show’s protagonist after her. Casting could not have been better. She’s accompanied by the awkwardly lovable Emmett played with a special tenderness by Brett Chizever. Before the show’s end you’ll love these two!

Randall Parsons has built a set of simplistic brilliance, the entire stage enclosed by an ever-changing border of glowing lights complemented perfectly with Robert W. Henderson’s lighting design. Shining in the spotlight is the brightest pinks I’ve ever seen with gorgeous costumes by Su Jung Weaver. All these elements are coordinated seamlessly by stage manager Peter Casdia. Jeffrey Hoffman, the show’s musical director, expertly leads a “Greek” chorus and a cast of superb vocal talents. From the show’s opening number, “Omigod You Guys,” to the more touching “Ireland” it seems there was not a mark to be missed! Don’t miss out on seeing this show. I guarantee it’ll take a “chip off your shoulder!”

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson kicks off its 47th Mainstage season with “Legally Blonde: The Musical” through Oct. 29. Tickets range from $20 to $35. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

The Sisters of Delta Nu in Theatre Three's production of 'Legally Blonde: The Musical' at Theatre Three. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Rebecca Anzel

Brittany Lacey stars in ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ at Theatre Three from Sept. 17 to Oct. 29. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.
Brittany Lacey stars in ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’ at Theatre Three from Sept. 17 to Oct. 29. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Theatre Three in Port Jefferson is gearing up for its next Mainstage production, “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” which will open on Saturday, Sept. 17. The role of Elle Woods will be played by 28-year-old Brittany Lacey, best known to Theatre Three regulars as Mimi in “Rent” and as Belle in “A Christmas Carol” when she was a company member there from 2010 to 2012. I had the opportunity to sit down with Brittany before rehearsals last Friday night to ask her about her latest role.

Why did you decide to audition for the role of Elle Woods?

This is a dream role of mine and having the chance to perform it here at Theatre Three makes it even more special. It’s like I’m coming home and now I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a huge fan of Reese Witherspoon. I love her! I think she’s very funny and talented. Of course, I don’t know her personally, but she seems like such a good person — like Hollywood hasn’t gotten to her.

What is your favorite scene in the show?

I just discovered it the other day. My favorite scene is “What You Want.” The song has three parts to it and all are great! Our choreographer, Whitney Stone, came up with this amazing dance and it’s just a lot of fun. It’s like one big party on stage. A lot of the cast is involved in the number. I like when you’re on stage with everyone else because you’re able to share everyone else’s energy and I think it makes it a more memorable experience.

What is your favorite song in the show?

“Take It Like A Man.” That has become my favorite one. I don’t know what it is about it — I love singing it. I play it opposite Brett Chizever (in the role of Emmett Forrest). It’s a real joy. Brett is great. How many weeks does the cast rehearse before production? Four or five weeks … I’m not exactly sure. Because most people work during the day, we rehearse from 7:15 at night to 10:30 and then on weekends, we’ll have five-hour rehearsals. It’s a lot of repetition and practice. And, after I go home, it’s all I listen to. I drive my boyfriend crazy making him run lines with me!

What is it like working with the director, Jeffrey Sanzel?

I love working with Jeff. He’s a strict director, but in a good way. Jeff cares about everyone on that stage and what they’re doing. He really works with you to make sure you’re comfortable. It’s all about putting out a great product and everyone feeling proud of their performance. What is it like working with your castmates? I only knew a handful of them going in, and everyone is so nice. This cast is very supportive. I haven’t had that in a while so it’s really, really nice.

Who is playing the role of the UPS guy? Is he cute?

He’s so much younger than me — am I allowed to answer that? But no, the ladies will be quite happy with who they’re watching up there. Kyle Breitenbach is doing a great job with the role. He’s very funny.

Brittany Lacey with the only four-legged member of the show, Taxi. Photo courtesy of Theatre Three
Brittany Lacey with the only four-legged member of the show, Taxi. Photo courtesy of Theatre Three

I noticed the show will have a real dog in the role of Bruiser Woods. What is she like?

Her name is Taxi, like a taxi cab. She’s a chihuahua. Caitlin Nofi (who plays Vivienne in the show) has a friend who was kind enough to lend us Taxi, and she’s a star! She came in with a pink and purple bow around her neck and owned that stage. And she’s so good! She’s calm.

Have you ever performed on stage with an animal before?

I don’t think so! I’ve played a lot of animals, but no I don’t think I’ve ever had one on stage. It definitely makes me nervous because you just want the animal to feel okay up there. You don’t want to scare it. It’s fun though! It’s different, because at the end of the day, you’ll see what she wants to do. If she wants to prance around the stage, she’s going to prance and we’re going to let her.

What is it like being a part of a production at Theatre Three?

It’s a great experience. I feel like this theater tries to make it feel like a home for their actors and that you’re a part of their family. You don’t always get that in other places. Everyone works really hard because they just put their whole heart into it, and that is another reason I love to come back here. Jeff [Sanzel] is the leading force of that. The heart he has for theater, for this theater in general, is ginormous. It’s great because then that falls onto the rest of us and it makes you want to put even more effort into the show.

Why should people come see the show?

Because we really want you to! No, no, I think we’re putting a lot of hard work into it. We’re just getting into tech week, but I believe we’re putting out a really good production and I hope it’s fun for them. We promise to entertain you! We all love what we’re doing, so I think that always translates to the audience. If we’re having fun, hopefully that means they’re having fun watching it.

Do you have a favorite spot in Port Jefferson that you like to go to?

As soon as rehearsal’s over, I go down to Ralph’s. I love my ices and ice cream! It’s like my after rehearsal treat. What are your plans after this? I don’t have any definitive plans yet, but I’m sure it will involve auditioning. A lot of this job, of being an actor, is putting yourself out there and hoping that casting directors like what you have to offer.

Anything else you would like to add?

I’m having fun, I’m loving this experience and I can’t wait to open this show!

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “Legally Blonde: The Musical” from Sept. 17 to Oct. 29. Tickets range from $20 to $35. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.