Tags Posts tagged with "Douglas Quattrock"

Douglas Quattrock

By Heidi Sutton

Who doesn’t love The Wizard of Oz? The 1939 classic starred a 16-year-old Judy Garland who stole our hearts as Dorothy Gale, a young girl swept away by a tornado to the land of Oz and her quest to return home with the help of her three friends — the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow.

Now Theatre Three brings us Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz, an original musical adapted from the stories of L. Frank Baum by Jeffrey Sanzel and Douglas J. Quattrock. While the opening scene and songs may be different, the overall story and message remains the same and makes for a wonderful afternoon of live theater. 

Jeffrey Sanzel directs an amazing cast —  Cassidy Rose O’Brien (Dorothy Gale), Josie McSwane (Scarecrow), Steven Uihlein (Tin Man), Sean Amato (Lion), Jason Furnari (The Wizard of Oz), Louisa Bikowski (Wicked Witch of the West), Julia Albino (Glinda), Liam Marsigliano (Gatekeeper and Winkie) and Kaitlyn Jehle (Judy Gumm, Winged Monkey) and a special appearance by Tasha PoyFair as Toto — who  whisk the audience away to the land of Oz with gusto.

The story begins as Dorothy Gale, chief editor of her high school newspaper, the Baum Bugle, is busy putting the paper to bed when a fierce storm blows in and knocks her to the ground. When she wakes up, she finds herself in Munchkinland. Her news stand has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East causing her demise, much to the delight of the Munchkins.

When the Wicked Witch of the West shows up, Dorothy is protected by Glinda the Good Witch of the North who fits her with the Wicked Witch of the West’s ruby slippers and tells her to take the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City to find the Wizard of Oz who can help her get home. Along the way, Dorothy meets a Scarecrow who wants a brain (even though she comes up with the best ideas!), a Tinman who yearns for a heart, and a Lion who longs for courage. The three join her on her quest and the musical adventure begins.

Amazingly all of the memorable scenes from the film are here as well, from the talking apple trees, the enchanted poppies, to meeting the Wizard in the Emerald City, the Witch’s castle and her crystal ball, and the infamous melting scene. 

Choreographed by Sari Feldman and accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, each main character has a chance to shine with a song and dance number including Cassidy Rose O’Brien’s “I Close My Eyes,” Josie McSwane’s “I Think,” Steven Uihlein’s “Pitta-Pat” and Sean Amato’s “I’m a Lion.” 

The supporting cast is gifted with many great scenes as well with special mention to Liam Marsigliano who is hilarious as the Gatekeeper holding a sign that says “ZO” and as a grumpy Winkie who is tired of always saying O-Ee-Yah/ Eoh-Ah. And did I mention a special guest appearance with fur, four legs and a tail (and it’s not the lion!)?

A nice touch is the flawless scene changes — each time Dorothy meets a new friend, they walk through the aisles of the theater (the yellow brick road) and by the time they reach the stage, the next scene is already set up like magic. 

Costumes by Jason Allyn are incredible as always, especially Glinda’s gorgeous dress and the special lighting and sound effects tie everything together perfectly. 

In the end, the show reminds us to be true to our hearts and to our friends and that there is no place like home. Souvenier plush lions will be on sale for $5 during intermission and stop by the lobby on your way out for a group photo with the cast.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz through March 16. Running time is 1 hour and 20 minutes with one intermission. Costumes are encouraged. Children’s theater continues with The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 13 to 27 and a brand new show, The Mystery of the Missing Ever After from May 25 to June 15. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Julianne Mosher

The second annual Vogue in the Village Fashion Show is heading to Theatre Three in Port Jefferson this month so locals can strut their stuff in the latest styles from the village’s boutiques all for a good cause.

Scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m., (on Leap Day), this year’s theme is appropriately titled “Leap Into Fashion.”

Hosted by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and Theatre Three, the event follows a successful show last year. Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, said that last year’s ticket sales went back to supporting the chamber and their events. And while this is partly true this year, Ransome added that donations from the 2024 show will also go to the Town of Brookhaven’s Dress for Success program.

According to the Town of Brookhaven website, “Dress for Success Brookhaven is part of an international nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the developmental tools to help them thrive in work and life.”

Since 1999, Dress for Success has helped over 6,000 women work towards self-sufficiency in the Town of Brookhaven.

Ransome said this a great way to get the word out about local stores like Fame & Rebel, Kate & Hale, The Smokin’ Gentleman, Ivory & Main, Sue La La Couture, Timber & Ties and Dr. G Sustainability Lifestyle. 

In addition, before the show and during intermission, a vendor’s marketplace with tables set up for different organizations, businesses and services will be held throughout the theater’s lower level. 

Douglas Quattrock, third vice president of the chamber and artistic associate and director of development at Theatre Three, said this year they have about 50 models coming out to get done up and sashay across the stage. “It has built up a lot since last year,” he said. “What I love is the community coming together.”

Along with local shops donating their services, local beauty salons like Fedora Lounge Boutique Hair Salon, The Hair Bar and Karasmatic Day Spa are planning to help out with hair and makeup before the show. 

The models are getting the full glam experience — men, women and even dogs.

Ransome noted that, like last year, dogs for adoption with Yorkie 911 Rescue will prance on stage wearing accessories from Fetch Doggy Boutique and Bakery on East Main Street. The 2023/2024 Ms. New York Senior America, Mae Caime, is also going to be a highlighted model.

“It’s one-stop-shopping the see the best of the village in one night,” Quattrock said. 

The 2nd Annual Vogue in the Village Fashion Show will be held at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson on Thursday, Feb. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The vendor marketplace opens at 5 p.m. 

The first 100 ticket holders to arrive will receive a fabulous gift: a swag bag, filled with goods from the local merchants. Tickets are $20 cash and check, $25 for credit card and online. Donations for Dress for Success will be accepted at the event or online when purchasing tickets.

For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit portjeffchamber.com/events-calendar/vogue-in-the-village-2024/

By Heidi Sutton

The temperature outside was a bone-chilling 22 degrees as I drove into Theatre Three’s parking lot in Port Jefferson last Sunday morning. Once inside, however, the atmosphere was warm and inviting as families with young children settled in their seats to watch a most excellent performance of Jack and the Beanstalk or The Boy Who Cried Giant!

Written by Jeffrey Hoffman, Douglas J. Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel the original musical combines the well known fairytale with the classic fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf and tells the story of a nice boy named Jack (played by Sean Amato) who lives in a small village with his mother (Josie McSwane) and his best friend in the entire world, Filpail the Cow (Julia Albino).

But Jack has a problem — he tends to exaggerate and has told so many tall tales (“I can even wash a cat!,” “My cow can speak in seven different languages!”) that no one believes him anymore. “Someday your stories are going to get you in trouble,” his mother warns. Jack also receives a visit from the Fairy Mary Goodwing (Cassidy Rose O’Brien) who tries to convince him to “always tell the truth and you will be true to yourself.”

One day his mother tells him that they have no other choice than to sell Filpail to Butcher Blackstone (Ryan Worrell). On the way to the market, Jack and his cow meet two pirate gypsies, Marco and Margot (Liam Marsigliano and Kaitlyn Jehle), who claim they want to buy Filpail for “cowpanionship” (they really want to sell her to Butcher Blackstone) and trick Jack into trading her for some magic beans.

Jack’s mother is furious when she finds out what happened and throws the beans away. A giant beanstalk suddenly appears, signaling the start of a wonderful adventure.

In Act Two, Jack climbs the beanstalk and discovers a castle in the sky occupied by a cranky (and whiny!) giant (Ryan Worrell), the giant’s wife (Gina Lardi), a golden harp (Liam Marsigliano) and a hen that lays golden eggs (Kaitlyn Jehle). 

When Jack returns home and tells his mother and the villagers what he has seen no one believes him. He decides to return to the giant’s castle with Filpail to bring something back as evidence. The giant’s wife gives Jack a pair of her husband’s enormous pants. But as they are about to leave, the giant gets a whiff of the boy and his cow (“Fee Fi Fo Fum!”). Will they escape in time?

Under the direction of Steven Uihlein, a talented cast of eight adult actors play multiple roles during this action adventure. The songs, accompanied on piano by Douglas J. Quattrock, are catchy and fun and there’s even a tap dance number choreographed by Sari Feldman.

Costume designer Jason Allyn deserves “giant” accolades for the beautiful outfits and props, including a three-foot-long sneaker and a beanstalk that magically grows all the way to the ceiling. 

With the important message that one should always tell the truth, Jack and the Beanstalk will warm your heart. Don’t miss this one. Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for photos. 

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Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Jack and the Beanstalk through Feb. 3. Children’s theater continues with Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 21 to March 16; The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 13 to 27; and a brand new show, The Mystery of the Missing Ever After, from May 25 to June 15. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

While three spirits haunt Ebenezer Scrooge on Theatre Three’s Mainstage, the spirit of the season carries over to the children’s theater production of Barnaby Saves Christmas. The holiday favorite, written in 2003 by Douglas J. Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel with music and lyrics by Quattrock, has become a beloved tradition in Port Jefferson and one that is looked forward to each year. The show opened last Saturday and runs through the end of the year.

It’s Christmas Eve at the North Pole and Santa’s elves Sam (Josie McSwane), Crystal (Kaitlyn Jehle) and Blizzard (Julia Albino) are busy putting the finishing touches on the presents and loading the sleigh. Barnaby (Ryan Worrell), the newest and littlest elf trainee, tries his best to help but only succeeds in making a mess.

When Santa (Sean Amato) and the elves leave to deliver the gifts to children across the world, Barnaby realizes that they left behind a special toy, a “little stuffed bear with dark blue pants, buckles on his shoes and a bright yellow vest,” he enlists the help of Blizzard’s fawn Franklynne (Cassidy Rose O’Brien) to find Santa and “save Christmas.” Along their adventures they discover that an evil villain named S. B. Dombulbury (Steven Uihlein) who, with his partner in crime Irving (Jason Furnari), is trying to ruin Christmas for everyone, and meet a Jewish couple (played by Gina Lardi and Sean Amato) and learn all Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. There’s even a great chase scene through the theater!

Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the nine adult cast members do a wonderful job telling this adorable tale. Reprising his role as Barnaby, Ryan Worrell’s solo “Still With a Ribbon on Top” is beautifully executed and wait until you see him dance! And yes, Barnaby will save the day but just wait until you see how! 

Costumes by Jason Allyn are exquisite and the choreography by Sari Feldman is superb. Utilizing the set of A Christmas Carol, the special effects are terrific, elevated by the futuristic lighting and, spoiler alert, it even snows in the theater!

With the ultimate message that “every day is a golden opportunity to be better than you used to be,” Barnaby Saves Christmas is a must see this holiday season. Your kids will love it! Souvenir elf and reindeer dolls will be available for purchase during intermission and the entire cast will be in the lobby after the show for photos. 

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Barnaby Saves Christmas through Dec. 30. Children’s theater continues with Jack and the Beanstalk from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3, Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 21 to March 16, and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 13 to April 27. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Jeffrey Sanzel returns as Ebenezer Scrooge for the 39th annual production of 'A Christmas Carol' at Theatre Three Photo by Steven Uihlein/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Melissa Arnold

Sure, it’s freezing outside and there’s probably a million things you need to do before the holidays arrive. But here’s a thought: before hunkering down to binge watch the newest Hallmark movies, why not enjoy some live entertainment?

Whether it’s an old classic or something new, local theaters have plenty of options for spreading holiday cheer. Here are just a few.

Community Playhouse of Northport presents ‘Elf’

Perhaps no modern character embodies the Christmas spirit more than Buddy Hobbs, famously played by Will Ferrell in the 2003 blockbuster Elf. The musical adaptation has all of the zany antics from the original film, along with fun music and some plot differences that make for a fresh experience even if you’ve seen the film.  

Life at the North Pole is all Buddy the Elf has ever known. He doesn’t know that he’s really human, raised by elves far away from his birth family. When he learns the truth, hyperactive Buddy sets out on an epic journey to find his father in New York City. Elf is a heartwarming and hilarious tale of self-discovery and family ties.

Budd (Gage Deoquino) and Jovie (Maeve Barth-Dwyer) star in ‘Elf.’ photo by Suzie Lustig

“There’s a timelessness to Elf, and Buddy has a way of charming people and making everyone feel good. Even though there’s a Christmas theme, it’s really about coming together as a family and I think everyone can relate to that,” said producer Suzie Lustig. 

Now in its 2nd season, the Community Playhouse was founded by a group of theater families who wanted to keep those traditions alive in Northport. The cast of Elf is comprised of 50 actors, giving as many people as possible the chance to get involved.

“Our youngest performer is 6 and the oldest is around 75, so there are opportunities for everyone. The relationships and connections that we’ve made are so important — we’re intentional about mentoring young performers and making everyone feel like they have a chance to grow here,” Lustig said. “Elf really fits into what we try to do with all of our shows — a multi-generational cast and a story that you can bring the entire family to. Live theater is fueled by the interaction between the performers and the audience; their enthusiasm and their laughter is what makes it such a fun and magical experience for everyone. We may be a streaming generation now, but there’s no replacement for being with a group of people and being entertained in person.”

If you go: Elf show dates are Nov. 9, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19 at the Brosnan Theater, 158 Laurel Avenue, Northport. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. An opportunity to meet the cast, including Santa, will precede Sunday performances at 1:30 p.m. Visit www.communityplayhousenorthport.org or call 631-683-8444 for tickets.

The Minstrel Players of Northport present  ‘A Christmas Carol’

Ask five people about their favorite version of A Christmas Carol and you’ll probably get just as many answers. Charles Dickens’ classic novella has spun off countless adaptations for the stage and screen, and it’s even common for small-town productions to add their own special touches.

Money-hungry Ebenezer Scrooge couldn’t care less about the Christmas season — he’s got no family and it hurts his business. But then he’s visited by three ghosts who show him how his bad attitude affected him and others in the past, present and potential future. It’s a deeply moving story about the choices we make, facing consequences and seeking forgiveness.

At The Minstrel Players, siblings Ray and Tara Palen were inspired to combine elements from their favorite versions of A Christmas Carol while writing their adaptation. This year’s narrator role will be split into two parts, with a male and female actor each taking a turn to tell the tale.

“In our show, we run the whole gamut of Scrooge’s life. We take a close look at his time in boarding school, including his falling in love for the first time and the end of that relationship. Ultimately, Scrooge falls in love with money instead,” said director Tricia Ieronimo. “I think the general message of hope and redemption, and seeing the change of heart for someone as crotchety as Scrooge, really resonates with audiences.”

The production has run successfully for nearly 20 years, with both audiences and actors returning regularly.

“The cast is up to 33 people now, with new adults and new children getting involved. We love welcoming new faces, whether they’re acting or helping out at the theater, and watching our audiences grow as well,” Ieronimo said. “We’ve really become a family over the years and that comes through in our productions.”

If you go: A Christmas Carol will be held at 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, and at 3 p.m. Dec. 10. Minstrel Players perform at the Houghton Hall Theatre at Trinity Episcopal Church, 130 Main St., Northport. For tickets, call 516-361-7232 or email [email protected].

Theatre Three of Port Jefferson presents ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Barnaby Saves Christmas’

From left, Sean Amato as Fred Halliwell and Jeffrey Sanzel as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 39th annual production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Theatre Three.
Photo by Steven Uihlein/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Theatre Three has a longstanding tradition of performing “A Christmas Carol” each year since 1984. In fact, executive artistic director Jeffrey Sanzel has played the role of Scrooge more than 1,500 times — and he’s not tired of it yet.

“I’ve said these lines literally thousands of times, but we’re always working with new people who are bringing their own readings to their roles. Sometimes a line will strike me differently than it has before, which changes my thought process,” Sanzel said. 

The full group of 28 actors is split into two casts. The 10 adult actors will appear in every show, while the younger actors will alternate. Several of the cast members have played in the show for many years, and some have even gone on to take adult roles after making their debut as children.

They have also put their own creative spin on Dickens’ storyline.

“The script is re-adapted every year, so it’s always evolving. Sometimes it can take several years for an idea to take shape and eventually work its way into the show. What’s great is we have people come year after year because they want to see what’s different. It’s always fresh and new.”

Please note, no children under 5 are permitted at this show.

If you go: A Christmas Carol runs from Nov. 11 to Dec. 30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson. Tickets are $25 per person in November; $40 adults $32 seniors and students in December. To purchase tickets, visit www.theatrethree.com or call (631) 928-9100.

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If you’re looking for something lighter, Barnaby Saves Christmas has become a holiday classic in its own right since its debut performance at Theatre Three in 2004. This original children’s production was written by Douglas Quattrock, the theater’s artistic associate and director of development.

In the early 2000s. Quattrock spent some time helping out in the sales office and found that they were always getting calls asking about a show for younger children.

“I play piano and I’ve always loved writing songs, so I had this idea to write about Santa’s littlest elf. It’s a story I would tell to my nieces and nephews when they were growing up,” Quattrock recalled. “After the first performance in 2004, [Theatre Three executive artistic director] Jeffrey Sanzel started working on it with me, and the script continued to evolve into what it is today. The camaraderie between Barnaby and Franklynne is really special, and there’s a powerful message about never giving up.”

Barnaby, the littlest elf, has always been told he’s too small to make a difference. But when trouble strikes at the North Pole, it’s up to Barnaby and his pal Frankie (the littlest reindeer) to stop Christmas from being canceled. The hour-long show is a sweet and magical story of self-confidence, friendship and resilience. Barnaby even gets to meet a Jewish family on his journey, who teaches him about Hanukkah and believing in miracles.

“Doug puts his whole heart into this show. It’s like Rankin and Bass caliber – beautiful, funny, heartwarming, with catchy music and a wonderful message that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can make a difference,” Sanzel said. “There are kids who have grown up seeing it and it’s one of our best-received children’s shows, which is why we bring it back year after year.”

If you go: Barnaby Saves Christmas runs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson. All seats are $12. To purchase tickets, visit www.theatrethree.com or call (631) 928-9100.

Smithtown Performing Arts Center presents ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)’

Some people love classic holiday movies and make it a tradition to watch them annually. But if you’re looking for a fun twist on those old favorites, the Smithtown Performing Arts Center (SPAC) has you covered.

This year’s holiday production, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some), was actually chosen for practical reasons.  

“We’re putting on a production of Frozen Jr. [for kids] during the winter, so we also wanted to do a show for adults that could run in the evenings while using the Frozen stage and set,” explained Kelly Mucciolo, managing director of SPAC. 

Productions like these are also known as “trunk shows” because they can be performed on any stage, feature a small cast, just a few props and little to no set decoration.

This three-man show introduces the audience to three burned-out actors that are sick of repeatedly performing A Christmas Carol year after year. They vent their frustrations to the audience before deciding to take matters into their own hands, piecing together a madcap performance that includes all of your Christmas favorites, carols, seasonal traditions from around the world and more.

“This is an off the cuff-style collection of every Christmas story you’ve ever heard of, put together in a very silly and slapdash way so you get a little bit of everything,” Mucciolo said. “This is such a happy time of year, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. I think this show is a fun way to spend an evening and get away from some of the hustle and bustle while still being out with your family.”

Come prepared for a little audience participation and maybe even some singing. 

Please note, this performance is recommended for ages 12 and up.

If you go: Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 23 at the Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown. Tickets are $32 for adults, with discounts for students and seniors. For showtimes and to purchase, visit www.smithtownpac.org.

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 www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

You know its officially Spring when Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail, Mrs. Rabbit and the McGregors arrive at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. The  adorable show opened last week for spring break and runs through April 29.

Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and the late Brent Erlanson, the original musical is loosely based on one of the best-selling books of all time, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and features all of the beloved characters in the story.

The audience is whisked away to the countryside home of Mrs. Rabbit and her four bunnies who live next to Mr. and Mrs. McGregor who spend the day tending to their pride and joy — their garden. 

While Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail listen to their mother by staying inside and doing their chores, Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny sneak out to steal from their neighbor’s garden again and again to satisfy their insatiable appetite for lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and string beans. The constant marauding finally wears the farmer’s patience thin and he plots his revenge.

Directed by Steven Uihlein, the cast of 8 is excellent and exemplifies the magic of live theater. Sean Amato and Steven Uihlein take on the characters of Peter and Benjamin, two comedic roles that provide quite a workout as they run through the theater to escape the “mean as a bear” farmer.

Samantha Fierro, Danielle Pafundi and Courtney Gilmore as Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail spend most of their time looking for their wayward brother so he won’t get in trouble by their patient mother (Elizabeth Ladd) and often ask the audience if they have seen him. (“He’s right behind you!”)

Peter and Benjamin seem to be especially naughty and persistent this year and audiences will sympathize with the McGregors, wonderfully played by Liam Marsigliano and Alanna Rose Henriquez. 

With choreography by Sari Feldman, the musical numbers, accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, are terrific, with special mention to “One More Time Around,”  “Run, Peter, Run!” and the hip hop number, “Peter’s Socks.” The final number incorporates all of the songs in a super mega-mix extravaganza.

In a brilliant move, the show takes advantage of the three sets of doors from the current mainstage production, Pride @ Prejudice, which, when opened, always reveals a surprise. Costumes by Jason Allyn are absolutely charming and wait until you see the lighting and special effects!

Souvenir bunnies in various colors will be sold before the show and during intermission and the entire cast will be in the lobby after the show for a meet-and-greet and photos.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St. Port Jefferson presents The Adventures of Peter Rabbit through April 29 with a special sensory sensitive performance on April 16 at 11 a.m. Children’s theater continues with Cinderella from May 27 to June 1, and Goldilocks & the Showbiz Bears from July 7 to 29. All seats are $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com. 

Pixabay photo

Internet fraud, a worsening cybercrime phenomenon, has reached downtown Port Jefferson.

Through various tactics, online scam artists have successfully targeted storefronts and events throughout Port Jefferson, scoring hundreds of dollars in profits. 

During the 4th annual ice festival in late January, scammers sold eight fake tickets for a mac ‘n’ cheese crawl organized by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce. On the day of the event, victims presented their fraudulent tickets.

The tickets “looked very official,” said Barbara Ransome, the chamber’s director of operations. However, when chamber staff asked those presenting these scam tickets when they had purchased them, their response revealed that something was out of place.

“They said, ‘We got them two days ago,’ and that’s when I realized this was a scam because we had been sold out … for at least a week and a half,” Ransome said, adding that the popularity of the event created an opening for scam artists. “My speculation is that this person saw that these tickets were sold out, saw that people were looking for them and created this whole fraud situation.”

At Theatre Three on Main, a similar practice has gained traction. Although the theater sells tickets at $35 per seat, online ticket scammers have capitalized by selling back-row seats at enormous markups. 

Douglas Quattrock, the theater’s director of development and artistic associate, reported one such incident where a couple spent nearly 10 times the going rate. “We had a couple that paid $672 for a pair of tickets,” he said.

Although only “a handful” of theatergoers have fallen prey to these ticket scams at Theatre Three, Quattrock considered the practice disruptive to operations.

“Being a smaller not-for-profit, we try to keep our prices very family oriented,” he said. However, he added that “scammers see this market as very attractive.”

But online scams are not limited to ticket sales. Jena Turner owns the Port Jeff-based gift shop Breathe, which offers nontraditional healing remedies and psychic readings. 

In an interview, Turner reported that multiple phony social media accounts have emerged, using her photos and business name to solicit payments from unsuspecting patrons. 

“Right now, I know that there are five accounts that stole my photos and are pretending to be me,” she said. 

Social engineering

“There are standard social engineering tactics, such as giving the victim a sense of urgency or taking advantage of their appeal to authority.”

— Nick Nikiforakis

Nick Nikiforakis, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University, said internet fraud is becoming a growing concern for small business sectors, which are increasingly vulnerable to malicious cyber activities. 

He contends that online criminals have shifted their sights on smaller boutique organizations because large corporations are investing more resources into cybersecurity systems. 

“Effectively, you have cybercriminals who are customizing their attacks toward small businesses,” he said. 

Turner’s case, according to Nikiforakis, represents a common social engineering scenario.

A social engineer “makes an online account for a company with a brick-and-mortar presence and then tries to take the recognizable name and the good faith that the business has built,” the associate professor said. 

He added, “They are targeting online users, pretending to be the person running this business,” tricking their victims “to send them money, divulge information or in some way get people to participate in a scam.”

A downtown dilemma

Turner said she has reported her digital imposters but has received no relief in removing these scam accounts from the Instagram platform. 

“I had reported it to Instagram several times — and by several, I can say probably more than 20,” she said. “Instagram hasn’t done anything about it.”

Nikiforakis noted that there are considerable technical limitations for social media companies in policing social engineering activities. While they could theoretically verify with storefront owners whenever a platform is created in their name, online scammers often find creative ways to circumvent such safeguards.

“Things can be done, but this is inherently a cat-and-mouse game,” he said. Social engineers “are not attacking a security vulnerability. … They are abusing people’s faith and trust in institutions and recognizable brands.”

Lacking assistance from Big Tech, Turner said she took matters into her own hands, creating a video in which she wrote out her authentic social media handle by hand.

“I made that video, and I just keep reposting it on my story and on my Facebook so that people aren’t falling for it,” she said. “That’s been really helpful.”

But, she added, “We have over 8,000 followers, so not everyone has seen the video. Unfortunately, the scam is still ongoing.”

To respond to the number of ticket scam incidents, Theatre Three similarly released a statement on its website condemning third-party ticket vendors. “The only place to buy tickets from us should be www.theatrethree.com,” Quattrock said.

Still, he encouraged patrons to remain on guard for potentially inflated ticket prices and to approach online transactions cautiously. 

For those who may suspect a ticketing scam, he implored them to call the theater directly before completing the transaction.

“If it looks suspicious to you, just call the theater and verify that they’re on the right website,” he said.

As online fraud persists throughout the local area, businesses and customers are not without recourse. Nikiforakis indicates that awareness of the typical social engineering strategies can help users protect themselves from participating in online scams.

“There are standard social engineering tactics, such as giving the victim a sense of urgency or taking advantage of their appeal to authority,” he said. “For both patrons and companies, by actively resisting this, you can slow down and potentially defend yourself against an attack.”

By Heidi Sutton

Fans of the classic movie The Wizard of Oz will fall in love with Theatre Three’s current children’s production, Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz. Adapted from the stories of L. Frank Baum, the show, written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Douglas J. Quattrock, features an original score, a clever script, and wonderful cast — Samantha Fierro, Danielle Pafundi, Steven Uihlein, Sean Amato, C.J. Russo, Louisa Bikowski, Stephanie Moreau, Liam Marsigliano and Kaitlyn Jehle with a special appearance by Shay Francis Feldman — who bring this magical story to life. 

Dorothy Gale, chief editor of her high school newspaper, the Baum Bugle, is busy putting the paper to bed when a fierce storm blows in and knocks her to the ground. When she wakes up, she finds herself in Munchkinland.  Her news stand has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East causing her demise, much to the delight of the Munchkins. 

When the scary Wicked Witch of the West shows up, Dorothy is protected by Glinda the Good Witch who gives her those famous ruby slippers and sends her down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City to find the Wizard of Oz who can help her get home. Along her journey, Dorothy meets a Scarecrow who wants a brain, a Tinman who yearns for a heart, and a Lion who longs for courage. The three join her on her quest and the adventure begins.

Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, all of the iconic scenes are here, from the talking apple trees, the enchanted poppies, to meeting the Wizard in the Emerald City, the flying monkeys, the Witch’s castle, the Winkies and the melting scene (what a world!). A nice touch is the flawless scene changes — each time Dorothy meets a new friend, they walk through the aisles of the theater (the yellow brick road) as the next scene is set up. The costumes by Jason Allyn are just perfect and the special effects are top notch. And did I mention there is a special surprise with four legs and a tail? 

In the end, the show reminds us to be true to our hearts and that there truly is no place like home. Don’t miss this one. Stop by the lobby on your way out for a group photo with the cast.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz through March 18. Running time is 1 hour and 20 minutes with one intermission. Children’s theater continues with The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 5 to 29 and Cinderella from May 27 to June 17. All seats are $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

Each time I go to review a children’s show at Theatre Three I am amazed at what I witness; from the performance of an original musical, to the audience reaction, to the lessons that are learned, to meeting the cast at the end of the show. Last Saturday’s production of The House That Jack Built was no exception. 

Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Douglas J. Quattrock, the play features seven stories inspired by the Brothers Grimm and Aesop’s Fables. It originally opened in 2007 but has been revamped with a brand new score and dazzling lighting design. The end result is pure entertainment. 

Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, and starring Sean Amato, Samantha Fierro, Jason Furnari, Kaitlyn Jehle, Danielle Pafundi and Steven Uihlein, the show opens where six friends are hanging out in a beach cottage on a rainy day. Bored, they decide to have some fun and after reciting the timeless nursery rhyme, The House That Jack Built, they invite the audience to visit “some special places to see some special faces.” They proceed to act out The Lion and the Mouse That Returned a Favor, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Town Mouse and Country Mouse, Henny Penny, Stubborn as a Mule, The Tortoise and the Hare and The Bremen Town Musicians. 

While all of the stories are wonderful, one of the best is The Fisherman and His Wife where the fisherman (Jason Furnari) catches a magical fish (played to the hilt by Steven Uihlein) who agrees to grant him a wish if he is released back into the ocean. After wishing for a beautiful home, his wife (Danielle Pafundi) gets greedy and sends the fisherman back to ask for a castle, to be king and then to become the Lord of the Sun and the Moon. But it all ends with one too many wishes.

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse is almost too adorable for words. The Town Mouse (Steven Uihlein with a Brooklyn accent) visits his cousin (Samantha Fierro in a Southern accent) in the country but finds it very boring. Before leaving, he invites her to visit him in the city. Shortly after arriving, the Country Mouse is bombarded with sensory overload and dangers lurking at every turn. Oh, did I mention this story is acted out entirely in rhyme? 

But the audience favorite hands down is the hilarious rendition of The Tortoise and the Hare. Bullied by the Hare (Sean Amato) “You have two speeds; slow and stop,” the Tortoise (Jason Furnari) challenges the Hare to a race. Sprinting through the theater, the Hare decides to take a nap in one of the seats. As much as they try, the audience cannot wake him and the tortoise, cheered on by the kids, meanders through the aisles and back on stage with a big grin to cross the finish line in slow motion. Great stuff.

The actors take turns narrating the stories while the remaining cast quickly changes costumes and act out the parts. A nice touch is the audience participation — helping to be waves in the ocean in A Fisherman and His Wife, and raising their index finger every time the actors say ‘I have an idea’ in The Bremen Town Musicians — which keep the young audience captivated at the edge of their seats.

Utilizing the mainstage set of The Sweet Delilah Swim Club, superb lighting design by Steven Uihlein, original rap songs arranged by Ryan Alvarado, expert piano accompaniment by Douglas J. Quattrock and the cute costumes by Jason Allyn tie everything together. 

Funny, clever , brilliant and beautifully executed, The House That Jack Built is not to be missed. Your children are guaranteed to love it.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St. Port Jefferson presents The House That Jack Built through Feb. 4. Running time is one hour and 20 minutes with one 15 minute intermission. Children’s theater continues with Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 22 to March 18, The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 5 to 29 and the classic fairytale Cinderella from May 27 to June 17. All seats are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.