Tags Posts tagged with "Heidi Sutton"

Heidi Sutton

By Heidi Sutton

When the Brothers Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, they probably had no idea that stories such as the cautionary Hansel and Gretel, would have such staying power. While Disney hasn’t gotten its hold on it yet, the folk tale has held its own over the years, most famously through opera (by composer Engelbert Humperdinck), and with recent revivals on the big screen (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and the even darker Gretel & Hansel). 

Now Theatre Three takes us back into the forest for a light-hearted and funny original retelling of Hansel and Gretel with a big surprise at the end that’s sure to satisfy every child’s sweet tooth. 

Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Douglas Quattrock, with a brand new score by Quattrock, it follows Hansel and Gretel who are living with their father, a woodcutter, and detached stepmother. The family is starving and the stepmother blames the children. She gives her husband an ultimatum: “Either dump them in the forest or dump them in the forest!” The children overhear and gather white rocks to guide them back home. When her plan fails, the stepmother takes the reins and leads them back into the forest. This time Hansel leaves a trail of breadcrumbs (he eats the rocks by mistake) and the children become lost. 

As Gretel goes to find a path home, Hansel is kidnapped by Scrimshaw and Harvis, henchmen working for a child-eating witch who lives in a candy house. The witch promptly gets to work fattening Hansel up with cake, cookies and donuts. When Gretel trys to rescue him, the witch puts her to work cooking and cleaning. When the witch gets too close to the oven, Gretel has a decision to make. Will she push her in or find another way to get out of this mess?

Jeffrey Sanzel directs a brilliant adult cast of six in this delightful retelling of the beloved story. While the story of Hansel and Gretel isn’t all lollipops and gumdrops — after all, there is a wicked witch who preys on children — there are no scary moments in the show and everyone learns a lesson about the importance of family.  Nicole Bianco is perfectly cast in the dual role of stepmother and witch and delivers her lines softly, albeit sarcastically (“These kids are monsters!”), and never raises her voice. Her opening solo, “Stepmother’s Lament,” is hilarious.

Michelle LaBozzetta as Gretel and Eric J. Hughes as Hansel give standout performances. LaBozzetta’s character is strong-willed, confident and brave while Hughes plays a  carefree, clueless and sweet little brother. Their duets, “Stones Along the Way” and “Hansel’s Dinner” are perfectly executed. Steven Uihlein in the unpopular role of the father who goes along with his wife’s plans, does a fine job, as always. His character’s guilt in his solo “Lost” and at the end of the show is palpable. 

Although not part of the original story, Darren Bruce Clayton and Ryan Worrell, in the role of Scrimshaw and Harvis, entertain the audience by incorporating the Charleston, ballet and hip hop in their dance numbers, “Out of Step” and “Harvis and Scrimshaw.” What a treat!

The end result is a charming and imaginative production of Hansel and Gretel that should be added on your family’s to do list. Stay for a meet and greet with the cast in the lobby after the show.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Hansel and Gretel on March 7, 14 and 21 at 11 a.m. and March 15 at 3 p.m. with a sensory-sensitive performance on March 8 at 11 a.m. Children’s Theater continues with The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 8 to 25 and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves from May 23 to June 6. All seats are $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Photos by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Heidi Sutton

What inspires you? Perhaps the color blue? From now through March 21, the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James is featuring a unique juried exhibit centered around this calming color. Titled Inspirations in Blue, it highlights the talents of 46 artists from Long Island and beyond with 57 pieces in mediums including acrylic, ink, colored pencil, mixed media, oil, pastel and watercolor. 

The call for entries challenged artists to enter artwork that reflected the captivating power of the color blue, and how it has enhanced the subject, theme or mood of the artwork. Allison Cruz, executive director at the Mills Pond Gallery, credits her staff member Irene Tetrault with coming up with the original idea of using a color.

“Blue represents the sky and sea. It is associated with freedom, imagination, sensitivity … I have seen many shows about colors and knowing how common the color blue is, especially in local landscape paintings, but I wanted this exhibit to look just a bit deeper into the color,” she explained.

The result was overwhelming. “We received over 183 pieces for this show! The exhibit was only posted locally,” said Cruz. “Sometimes I wish I had double the space to fill in the gallery so we could accept more work! On a whole, most entries were Long Island artists (or past Long Islanders who heard about the exhibit). There is such an abundance of talent on Long Island and we are so lucky to have so many wonderful spaces to show their work!”

Cruz is pleased with the result. “It is a beautiful show to look at … very pleasing to the eye. Viewers will find exactly what the call for work asked for: entries may range from serene landscapes to vibrant abstracts and anything in between,” she said.

Exhibiting artists include Lucia Alberti (Smithtown), Amal (Port Jefferson), Tina Anthony (Northport), Shain Bard (Huntington Station), Ernest Bellico (East Northport), Karen Bennett (Medford), Ivy Michelle Berg (Smithtown), Marlene Bezich (Middle Island), Joyce Bressler (Commack), Linda Ann Catucci (St. James), Gail L. Chase (Stony Brook), Donna Corvi (Montauk), Karin J. Dutra (Port Jefferson), Paul Jay Edelson (Poquott), Ellen Ferrigno (Port Jefferson), Vivian Gattuso (Ronkonkoma), Rhoda Gordon (Port Jefferson Station), Joyce Greenbaum (Smithtown), Jan Guarino (East Northport), Maria Hansson (Ronkonkoma), David Herman (East Meadow), Katherine Hiscox (Commack), James Kelson (Stony Brook), Lynn Kinsella (Brookhaven), John Koch (Hauppauge), Liz Kolligs (Glen Cove), Terence McManus (Mount Sinai), Margaret Minardi (Northport), Roni Murillo (Valley Stream), and Gail Neuman (Islip Terrace).

Also exhibiting are Robert Roehrig (East Setauket), Irene Ruddock (Stony Brook), Anita Schnirman (Kings Park), Joan Schwartzman (Maryland), Joan Sicignano (Central Islip), Gisela Skoglund (Kings Park), Mike Stanko (Valley Stream), Irene Tetrault (East Meadow), Susan Trawick (East Setauket), Oxana Uryasev (Port Jefferson), Nicholas Valentino (North Babylon), Mary Ann Vetter (St. James), Don Weber (Freeport), Nancy Weeks (East Setauket), Patty Yantz (Setauket) and Theodora Zavala (East Meadow).

The winners were announced at an artist reception on Feb. 22. First place was awarded to Gail Neuman for “Birches in Blue,” second place went to Karin J. Dutra for “Pria do Norte.” Honorable mentions were Shain Bard for “Birches in Blue Bottle,” Karen Bennett for “Tis the Season,” Marlene Bezich for “Your Colors,” Liz Kolligs for “Little Guide in Deep Winter,”  Margaret Minardi for “Summer Blue” and Nicholas Valentino for “Shades of Blue.”

Because of all the positive feedback, Cruz is considering a similar theme in the future. “I’m already thinking about one with a much less common color! We really like to challenge artists to stretch themselves … to try something new.”

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present Inspirations in Blue through March 21. Up next is Hand Drawn:  A Juried Exhibition of Drawings opening April 25. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Heidi Sutton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos by Peter Lanscombe/ Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Stock photo

By Heidi Sutton

Chocolate, roses, heart-shaped notes — what’s not to like about Valentine’s Day? This sweet celebration, which happens every year on February 14, is all about spreading the love. Still don’t have plans for this special day? Check out these 14 events happening right in our own backyard.

1. Paint Night at Muse 

Muse Paintbar, 134 Main St., Harbor Square Mall, Port Jefferson will host a Paint Night from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Painting of the night will be ‘Lover’s Notch.’ $35 per person. Call 631-938-7800 to reserve your spot.

2. Williams Honor in concert

Join the Northport Arts Coalition for its Starlight Coffeehouse concert featuring Williams Honor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 270 Main St., Northport at 7:30 p.m. Comprised of singer/songwriter Reagan Richards and songwriter/producer Gordon Brown, the group is the Jersey Shore’s first ever country duo. Doors open and open mic sign up is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at www.northportarts.org, $20 at the door.

3. Beatles love songs

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown welcomes The Cast of Beatlemania in concert at 8 p.m. Enjoy the most famous love songs written by the Beatles. Bring a date for this beautiful Valentine’s Day performance. Tickets are $50. Call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org to order.

4. An evening of jazz

The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Avenue in Stony Brook presents “Here’s to the Ladies!” featuring The Jazz Loft All Stars, with Ray Anderson, on trombone; Tom Manuel on cornet/vocals; Peter Coco on bass; Steve Salerno on guitar; and Chris Smith on drums. Two performances will be held – one at 6 p.m. and another at 8:30 p.m. The venue will supply the live jazz music, champagne and chocolate. You supply the romance. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, and $30 for students. To order, call 631-751-1895 or visit www.thejazzloft.org.

Photo from CAC

5. ‘Casablanca’ at the CAC

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine. The Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington invites all lovebirds and lonelyhearts to spend Valentine’s Day with them revisiting a classic, “Casablanca,” at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person, $15 members and includes a reception with champagne and chocolate-covered sweets. Call 631-423-7610 or visit www.cinemaartscentre.org to order.

6. WinterTide concert 

The Port Jefferson Village Center, 101-A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson presents a groovy Valentine’s Day concert with the Grand Folk Railroad from 7:30 to 9 p.m. as part of its WinterTide series. Free. Questions? Call 473-5220 or visit www.gpjac.org.

7. Grounds and Sounds concert

Grounds and Sounds Cafe, UUFSB, 380 Nicolls Road, East Setauket hosts a concert featuring Martin Swinger at 8 p.m. With a three octave vocal range and a talent for writing award-winning songs, Swinger is a veteran of 40 years of performing award-winning original songs, traditional and contemporary Americana music as well as swing and jazz standards. Tickets are $15 per person, available in advance at www.groundsandsounds.org or at the door. For more information, call 631-751-0297.

8. An evening with Sal ‘The Voice’

The Suffolk Theater, 118 E. Main St., Riverhead presents an evening of wine, song, and the flawless vocals of Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti at 8 p.m. Influenced by the classic crooner sounds of Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, Valentinetti took the nation by storm on America’s Got Talent. Tickets are $65 per person. To order, call 727-4343 or visit www.suffolktheater.com.

Photo by Michael DeCristofaro

9. ‘Million Dollar Quartet’

Catch the 8 p.m. performance of “Million Dollar Quartet” at the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport. The popular show, now extended to March 8, features a treasure trove of hits from Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley including  “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk The Line,” “Hound Dog,” “Who Do You Love?” and “Great Balls of Fire.” Tickets are $75 per person. To order, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

10. Valentine Challenge 

Harmony Vineyards, 169 Harborview Road, Head of the Harbor presents a Valentine Challenge at 8 p.m. Lovers, friends and wine drinkers are invited to join them for a fun night of trivia, charades, puzzles and a whole lot more! No more than 4 to a group. Winners will receive a bottle of wine and a gift card. Photo booth and surprises! Free admission. Email Nita@harmonyvineyards.com or call 631-291-9900 to sign up!

11. HeARTS for ART

Fall in love with art at the HeARTS for ART Valentine’s Day event at the Heckscher Museum, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pick up a heart and explore the art in the Museum. Fall in love with a piece of art! If you like, decorate your heart however you wish — write your name, the name of the artwork or artist, or describe what made you fall in love. Snap a photo of your heart placed beneath your artwork crush, post it to your favorite social media site, and make sure to tag with #heckschermuseum and #heartsforart. The Museum will repost select photos on social media! Free with museum admission. Call 631-351-3250.

12. Comedy with Ron White

Comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White, who first rose to fame as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour phenomenon, heads to the Paramount, 370 New York Huntington at 7 p.m. Over the past 15 years, White has been one of the top grossing stand up comedians on tour in the country. For ticket information, call 631-673-7300 or visit www.paramountny.com.

13. Valentine dinner dance

Time to put on your dancing shoes! East Wind Long Island, 5720 Route 25A, Wading River presents a Be My Valentine Dinner Dance in the Grand Ballroom from 7 to 11 p.m. Enjoy a four hour premium open bar, live DJ music and a four course dinner including heart shaped ravioli and surf and turf. $69.95 per person for table for two seating. For reservations, call 631-929-6585.

14. Tribute to Buddy Holly 

The Bellport Playhouse, 215 S. Country Road,  Bellport presents “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” at 8 p.m. featuring over 20 of buddy holly’s greatest hits including “That’ll Be The Day,” ‘Peggy Sue’, ‘Everyday’, ‘Oh Boy’, ‘Not Fade Away’, ‘Rave On’ and ‘Raining In My Heart’, plus Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’ and the Big Bopper’s ‘Chantilly Lace’. For tickets, call 631-286-1133 or visit www.thegateway.org.

 

By Heidi Sutton

Excitement was in the air last Sunday as the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport presented the premiere of Disney’s Frozen Jr. The audience at the sold-out show was dotted with little Elsas dressed in blue-green gowns complete with crowns, necklaces and dolls all eagerly waiting for a glimpse of the snow queen. And believe me they were not disappointed. 

With music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez with book by Jennifer Lee, the show is based on the 2018 Broadway musical version of Disney’s Frozen complete with all the same popular songs from the 2013 animated movie including “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?,” “For the First Time in Forever,” “Love Is an Open Door” and “Let It Go.” The result is a lovely morning of live theater. 

The story follows Elsa and Anna, two sisters who are princesses in the kingdom of Arendelle. The elder of the two, Elsa, was born with magical powers that allow her to control and create ice and snow. When she doesn’t know how to control her powers and accidentally hurts Anna, she becomes afraid and withdraws from the world, shutting out her sister in the process. Fast forward 10 years and it is time for Elsa to inherit the throne, but on coronation day her magic unintentionally causes Arendelle to be frozen in an eternal winter. When she is accused of sorcery, she flees into the mountains to hide. Can Anna help her sister and free Arendelle from this spell?

Directed and choreographed by Steven Dean Moore, the professional young cast, ranging in age from 10 to 17, do a fantastic job portraying this tale of true love. Along with Anna and Elsa, Kristoff the ice harvester, Sven the reindeer, Olaf the snowman, Prince Hans, the Duke of Weselton and Oaken who runs Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post also make an appearance.

A magical touch is the animated projections on a screen in the background depicting different locations in the Kingdom of Arendelle including the inside and outside of the castle, the snowy mountains and Elsa’s ice castle. Costumes, designed by Laura McGauley are perfect, from Princess Anna and Elsa’s pretty gowns to the furry vest and antlers for Sven. 

Catch this performance if you can – your little prince or princess will love you for it. Meet the cast in the lobby on your way out.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Frozen Jr. through March 1. All seats are $15. Children’s theater continues with Pinkalicious the Musical from March 28 to May 3. For more information or to order, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

The cast: AnnaBelle Deaner, Raquel Sciacca, Ava Cahn, James Tully, Shannon Dugan, Mia Campisi, Rachel Zulawski, Katie Dolce, Olivia Freiberger, Lizzie Dolce, Amelia Freiberger, Caprice McGuckin, Shane McGlone, Justin Frank, Ryan McInnes, Max Lamberg, Meaghan M. McInnes, Casey Beltrani and Emma Sordi

All photos by Corinne Wight

By Heidi Sutton

Do you have a case of the winter blues? A surefire cure is a visit to the Winners Fine Art Showcase, currently on view at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James through Feb. 15. The gorgeous exhibit features the works of local artists Ross Barbera, Kyle Blumenthal, Julie Doczi and Liz Kolligs, who won the 2018 Members Showcase, along with Cliff Miller who took first place in the 2019 Water, Water Everywhere exhibit. The artists were selected by juror Dawn Lee, art curator of the Omni Gallery in Uniondale, professor and chair of the art department at St. Joseph’s College, and coordinator of the artist-in-residency program at Fire Island National Seashore. An artist reception was held on Jan. 25.

According to STAC’s Executive Director Allison Cruz, the annual exhibit was created over 30 years ago “to allow the public to experience a larger body of work from winning artists.” Each artist chose from 6 to 14 of their favorite pieces to showcase and then Cruz was tasked with the design aspect, filling four gallery rooms and the center hall on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion.

“That is my favorite part of the show … those days before when I get to spend time with the works and figure out how each piece might be best presented in what space,” she said. “It’s a challenging puzzle but so satisfying and I really learn so much about the artist during this time.” 

The executive director is proud of the end result. “I think this is an impressive exhibit. There is such a wide variety of painting styles and mediums and techniques by five accomplished artists … and all from Long Island! Viewers should easily connect with the works in this show.”

While completely unintentional, much of the artwork shares a common theme − the beauty of Mother Earth. “I love the threads of nature that run through almost all the works in this show,” said Cruz. “Each artist clearly has a love and respect for the natural world. Although their work is very different in style, medium and color palette, that theme is strong throughout the show. That does not usually happen in a Winners Show but when it does it is just wonderful. It makes for a strong exhibit.” 

A perfect example of this is “Mountain Mallards” by renowned illustrator, portrait artist and muralist Cliff Miller. Beautifully executed, it is sure to be a conversation starter (yes, it is an oil painting; no it is not a photograph!). The Seaford resident has several other pieces in the show including a jaw-dropping Western-themed portrait titled “Desperado” and a humorous oil on gesso panel piece titled “The McDivots,” which features a golfer riding an alligator to the next tee.

Pastel lovers will be drawn to Julie Doczi’s delicate landscapes including “Croatian Stream,” “Connecticut Marsh” and one of the artist’s favorite, “The Lavender Harvester.” In her artist statement, the Port Jefferson Station resident said, “My journey into painting as an adult began when I encountered the medium of pastel. I began to find my view of the world around me opening up in a way never experienced before. It is a joyous experience to put these perceptions onto paper, to capture a scene and ultimately have it achieve its own unique identity.” Doczi’s “First Bloom” depicting a blue morning glory is simply stunning.

If you have a soft heart for horses, you’ll love the large equine oil on canvas paintings of Liz Kolligs including “A Herd of Your Own,” “Reflection” and “Bell – A Portrait.” The artist also has several beautiful wildlife paintings on display including “At the Edge of the Woods” and “Mill Neck Creek.” As a lecturer and demonstrator of equine painting techniques and anatomy throughout Long Island, the Glen Cove resident has truly perfected her art.

Perhaps the most unique art represented in the exhibit is by Kyle Blumenthal, who also has the most pieces in the show. Drawing inspiration from nature, her large 3-D paintings made from fabric, including several from her “All the Future Is in Today” series, explore the ocean and the Earth in an abstract manner. 

“I like to see my work float in midair,” the Stony Brook resident said in a recent interview with TBR News Media. “More and more of my paintings have started to come away from the wall as if to free themselves from restrictions and straight edges.”

Rounding out the exhibit are the massive landscape paintings of Ross Barbera. Created in acrylic on canvas and watercolor on paper, Barbera “strives to create images that communicate a sense of beauty, painterly integrity, and capture specific places in terms of time, light, space and texture,” according to the Ronkonkoma resident’s artist statement. One can’t miss the 48- by 72-inch winter-themed piece, “The Athabasca Glacier, Alberta Canada” or the eye-popping “Bonnie’s Summer Garden.”

“These talented artists are making passionate statements about the things they value in this world but in a gentle way,” said Cruz. “There is so much room for wonder!”

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Winners Showcase through Feb. 15. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Heidi Sutton

One of Theatre Three’s most important offerings, in my opinion, is its children’s theatre series. Each show teaches a moral lesson — don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t be a bully — while introducing young audiences to live musical retellings of wonderful fairy tales including “Cinderella,” “Pinocchio,” “Hansel & Gretel” and its latest offering, “Little Red Riding Hood: A Tale of Safety for Today.” The adorable show opened last Saturday and runs through Feb. 22. 

While it follows the Brothers Grimm version closely, the story is used as a tool to teach “stranger danger” in a most effective way. Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin F. Story, the musical centers around a little girl named Amanda Sally Desdemona Estella Barbara Temple, although everyone in town calls her Little Red Riding Hood because she always wears the red cape her Granny Beckett made for her. 

When her grandmother sends Little Red Riding Hood’s mother a letter complaining “no one ever comes to visit. I might as well get eaten by a wolf!,” Amanda and her twin sisters, Blanche and Nora, head over the river and through the woods to bring her some Girl Scout cookies. Halfway there, Little Red Riding Hood tells her sisters to go back home because Nora is nursing a terrible cold. Now alone, she encounters a stranger (William “Billy” de Wolf) and commits a series of safety mistakes, placing her grandmother and herself in a dangerous situation.

Director Jeffrey Sanzel leads an adult cast of six who have the best time acting out this clever script.

Steven Uihlein serves as storyteller and does a terrific job introducing each scene, giving his own opinions and interrupting the show when he deems it necessary. Uihlein also plays numerous supporting roles, including a policeman, doctor and mailman.

Nicole Bianco is perfectly cast as Little Red Riding Hood, although she does love saying her long name a bit too much! Lol! Krystal Lawless tackles the challenging role of the forgetful Mrs. Temple with ease. Constantly mixing up her children’s names and attempting to make a cup of tea for Nora out of feathers, wrenches, sticky notes, etc. she draws the most laughs. 

Kyle Breitenbach has much fun in the role of the Wolf, who is all bark and no bite. Special effects make his stomach rumble and he is always asking the audience if they have any steak or a bone on hand. One of the best scenes is when the Wolf chases Granny Beckett around the bed, and when she steps away, he goes around many times more before he realizes she’s gone.

Michelle LaBozzetta has the most exhausting role in the show, skipping on stage as Blanche, turning the corner and reappearing as her twin sister Nora, hunched over and suffering from a cold. What a workout! LaBozzetta is so convincing that young children will not make the connection. 

But it’s Ginger Dalton as Granny Beckett who steals the show. Dripping with sarcasm, she pulls out all the stops to try to get her family to visit her and even fakes getting sick. Her solo, “Who’s at My Door?,” is superb.  

During the last 10 minutes of the show, the actors discuss the safety mistakes that Little Red Riding Hood made, including talking to strangers and giving out her grandmother’s address, and what she should have done instead.

The musical numbers, accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, are fun and catchy, especially “Little Red Riding Hood” and the tap dance number “To Granny Beckett’s House We Go.”

The great story line, the wonderful songs and the important message it conveys makes this show a perfect reason to catch a performance. Meet the entire cast in the lobby after the show for photos.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents “Little Red Riding Hood: A Tale of Safety for Today” is for ages 3 and up through Feb. 22. Children’s Theatre continues with “Hansel & Gretel” from Feb. 29 to March 21, “The Adventures of Peter Rabbit” from April 8 to 25 and “Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs” from May 23 to June 6. Tickets are $10 each. For more information or to order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Photos by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Artwork from local artists add beauty and warmth

By Heidi Sutton

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson recently completed an extensive renovation of its 2 South patient unit, designed to further reduce the risk of infection and increase patient comfort. The unit, which was named for New York Cancer & Blood Specialists thanks to its generous donation, officially reopened with a ribbon-cutting celebration on Jan. 6. The project was largely supported through community donations totaling close to $1.7 million.

Opened in 1973, 2 South, which primarily treats cancer patients, now features single-bed rooms for improved patient outcomes and privacy. Enhancements include new showers and enlarged bathrooms, a new nurses station, a patient family lounge and a serenity room for staff. 

One of the highlights of the newly renovated floor is the installation of 43 pieces of art that adorn the hallway walls. Titled “Wonders of Nature,” the pieces were chosen by curator Irene Ruddock. “My goal was to create a peaceful and serene environment that might provide a sense of spiritual healing. I looked for paintings that touched the soul and will provide comfort and solace for patients, staff, and visitors,” she explained. 

Twenty-nine local artists from LIMarts, the Setauket Artists and the North Shore Art Guild donated original works to add beauty and warmth to the unit including Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Joan Bloom, Kyle Blumenthal, Renee Caine, Anthony Davis, Bart DeCeglie, Julie Doczi, Lily Farah, Marge Governale, William Graf, Peter Hahn, Celeste Mauro, Judith Mausner, Lorraine McCormick, Ed McEvoy, Eleanor Meier, Rick Mundy, Karen Miller O’Keefe, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Joseph F. Rotella, Irene Ruddock, Ty Stroudsburg, Maria Lourdes Velez, Victoria Westholm and Patricia Yantz. 

“I will always to grateful to all the artists who, with their dedication to art, wished to share their gifts with Mather hospital,” said Ms. Ruddock.  

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook hosted an artist reception for its latest exhibit, Anything Goes!, on Dec. 6. The exceptional exhibit features artwork created by 104 participating members of LIMarts, the LIM’s special membership initiative for artists. 

Joshua Ruff, deputy director at the Long Island Museum, welcomed the artists and guests to the reception.“It’s quite amazing and impressive how, just within a space of a few miles, we have such incredible talent. I think this is our best show yet − it’s colorful, it’s wonderful.” Most of the artwork is for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the museum’s exhibitions and programs. The show is on view in the museum’s Visitors Center through Jan. 5. 

For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

The Northport Chamber of Commerce hosts a day of fun at Northport Village Park on Nov. 3 (rescheduled from Oct. 27) featuring hayrides, music, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, costume contest and refreshments. File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Dear Readers,

Happy Halloween! We’ve rounded up some of the best Halloween events on the North Shore for families with young children. From a Halloween Festival at the picturesque Stony Brook Village Center, to a spooktacular costume parade down Lake Avenue in St. James, to trick-or-treating inside the Smith Haven Mall and a variety of trunk-or-treats, there are plenty of choices this season.

Haunted Garden

Sachem Public Library, 150 Holbrook Road, Holbrook presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from Oct. 25 to 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The legend lives on as the Headless Horseman rises each night in the library’s Haunted Garden! Come for a scare and a snack and hold onto your head! Weather permitting. Free. Call 588-5024.

Family Fun Day

The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook hosts a Family Fun Day on Oct. 27 from noon to 4 p.m. Come in costume and enjoy pumpkin painting, trick or treating, crafts and a special family performance by the magic of Amore. Free. Call 751-0066.

Halloween Festival

Heritage Trust invites the community to its annual Halloween Festival at the Heritage Center, 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Road, Mount Sinai on Oct. 26. The event will run in two sessions, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m. Have fun with pumpkin picking and decorating, unlimited game playing, fun raffles, prizes and much more. Registration is $10 and required for all participants (no walk-ins, parents and guardians are not required to register). Each registrant will receive a snack and beverage along with a goodie bag and pumpkin to decorate and take home. Don’t forget to wear your costumes! Call 509-0882 or visit www.msheritagetrust.org.

Haunted Hatchery

Calling all ghosts and goblins! Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor invites the community to join them for a not so scary Haunted Hatchery on Oct. 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. Receive a treat as you trick or treat. Wear a costume and have fun! Admission is $6 adults, $5 seniors and children ages 3 to 12. Call 516-692-6768.

Boo Bash Family Fun Day

Smith Haven Mall, Moriches Road, Lake Grove will host a Boo Bash Family Fun Day in Center Court on Oct. 26 from noon to 3 p.m. Come in costume and enjoy an afternoon filled with crafts, activities, goodies, giveaways,  spooktacular fun and surprises with Vampirina. Call 724-8066.

Halloween Festival at SCCC

Join Suffolk County Community College, 533 College Road, Selden for its 33rs annual Halloween Festival on Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Babylon Student Center. Enjoy entertainment, carnival booths, crafts and lots more. Free. Call 451-4376.

Halloween at Wardenclyffe

New! Join the Tesla Center at Wardenclyffe, Shoreham for a supercharged Halloween celebration on Oct. 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. Featuring the wonders of Nikola Tesla, the master of technology and wizard of electricity. Enjoy a Monster Mash robotics competition, a Halloween Tech Parade, storytelling, activities, entertainment, food, vendors and more. Tickets are $15 adults, $13 seniors/students, $5 ages 5 to 12, free for ages 4 and under. To purchase, visit https://teslasciencecenter.org.

Haunted Wail-ing Booseum

The Whaling Museum, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor hosts its biggest event, Haunted Wail-ing Booseum, on Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with spooky (and not so scary) games, creepy crafts and lots of fun activities. See live critters in Dr. Gellerman’s Spooky Zoo and make your way through the mysterious museum maze! Admission is $15 child, $6 adults. Call 367-3418.

Halloween Hayride

he Northport Chamber of Commerce hosts a day of fun at Northport Village Park, 1 Bayview Ave., Northport on Nov. 3 (rescheduled from Oct. 27) from noon to 4 p.m. featuring hayrides, music, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, costume contest and refreshments. Call 754-3905 or visit www.northportny.com.  

Port Jeff Village Harvest Fest

Port Jefferson Village presents its 10th annual Harvest Fest throughout the village on Oct. 27 from noon to 5 p.m. Attractions will include a Chowder Crawl, costumed dog parade, Scarecrow Alley, marshmallow roasting, haunted walking tour, farmers market, festive harvest crafts, live music and woodcarving.Call 473-4724 or visit www.portjeff.com.

Spooktacular Parade

The Community Association of Greater St. James will present a Spooktacular Parade on Oct. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. Little ghosts and goblins should gather at Lake and Woodlawn avenues in St. James by noon for a contest, prizes and fun!

Trick or Treat at the Heckscher

The Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington offers free museum admission for children in costume and their families from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Make an art activity at the Create Your Own Activity Station, pose with spooktacular props at the Selfie Station, make a magical digital action painting and explore the museum’s exhibits. Call 351-3250.

Safe Trick-or-Treating

Join the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove for a spooktacular, safe trick-or-treating environment for all of your little ghouls and goblins on Halloween Day, Oct. 31 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at participating retailers. **Participating stores will have an orange pumpkin displayed in their window. Call 724-8066.

Halloween Festival

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosts its annual Halloween Festival at the Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main St., Stony Brook on Oct. 31 from 2 to 5 p.m. Trick or treat in the shops and restaurants, take part in a costume parade, and enjoy games galore. Free. Call 751-2244.

Halloween Costume Parade

The Town of Huntington will present its annual children’s Halloween Costume Parade starting at Gerard Street in Huntington Village on Oct. 31 from 4 to 5 p.m. Children of all ages (and their parents or guardians) are welcome to dress in costume and walk in the parade. Parade route will move east down Gerard Street and south down Wall Street, ending where Wall Street meets Main Street. Village merchants will pass out candy to trick or treater’s. For info, call 351-3112.

Trunk-or-Treat events

Kids Clubhouse of Suffolk at Cornerstone Bible Church, 324 Jayne Blvd., Port Jefferson Station invites you to wear your costume and join them as they go from trunk to trunk for a fun, safe, family event on Oct. 31 from 3 to 5 p.m. Enjoy music, games and peanut-free treats. Call 675-1615.

Lake Ronkonkoma United Methodist Church, 792 Hawkins Ave., Lake Grove welcomes all families to celebrate Halloween at its 3rd annual Trunk-or-Treat on Oct. 26 from noon to 2 p.m. Children will trick or treat for candy and other goodies in the church’s parking lot where cars will be decorated with festive themes. Complimentary refreshments will be served. Call 588-5856.

Join the Commack United Methodist Church, 486 Townline Road, Commack for a Trunk-N-Treat event on Oct. 26 from 3 to 5 p.m. Rain date is Oct. 27. Questions? Call 499-7310.

Three Village Church, 322 Route 25A in East Setauket, hosts a Trunk or Treat event on Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. with trick or treating at decorated car trunks, a bounce house, crafts, games and more! Call 941-3670.

*All number in 631 area code unless noted.