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Jason Allyn

By Julianne Mosher

What if Snow White, Cinderella and Briar Rose didn’t get their happy endings? Snow White would have been poisoned by the apple, Cinderella forever a maid and Briar Rose would sleep until eternity. These fairy tales have had dozens of interpretations each throughout the years, but one thing is common — there is always a happily ever after. 

But Theatre Three is taking it a step further and switching it up. Making its world premiere, The Mystery of the Missing Ever After, written by Jeffrey Hoffman, Douglas J. Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel, brings in a bit of mystery with a lot of original music. 

Directed by Sanzel, the show starts off with what the three princess’ lives looked like after the final chapter closed. Cinderella (Veronica Fox) runs a show emporium, Snow White (Julia Albino) has opened a laundry service with the dwarves and Briar Rose (aka the Sleeping Beauty and played by Cassidy Rose O’Brien) has a successful meditation business, helping other fairytale and folklore creatures calm down. 

They live with their princes, Adrian, Basil and Constantine (all performed by Sean Amato) who each have their own quirky personalities but support their wives. 

In town, we’re introduced to other members of the community including the formerly evil Rumpelstiltskin (Steven Uihlein) who says he changed his ways and now helps children by buying them food and toys. Alice — formerly of Wonderland and played by Louisa Bikowski — now runs a retrieval agency, Alice’s Wonderland Wonders, and her colleague, the White Rabbit (Jason Furnari) struggles with severe anxiety and seeks out help from Briar Rose. 

As the play goes on, the princesses’ start to realize odd things happening — apples appearing out of nowhere, Briar falling asleep at any given moment and Cinderella loses her beautiful blue gown (one of many stunning costumes courtesy of Jason Allyn), transforming into her former self wearing an apron covered in ash. Soon after, their princes begin to forget who they are. That being the final straw, the three then decide that they need to figure out what is going on and why.

Along the way, they meet other favorite characters from different children’s books including Peter Pan (Liam Marsigliano), Little Red Riding Hood (Gina Lardi) and Puss in Boots (Kaitlyn Jehle), just to name a few. 

With the help of families in the audience, the mystery of the stolen happily ever after is solved — and it’s quite the surprise of who’s behind it. 

With a solid score of 12 original songs, written by Hoffman and Quattrock, and performed by this stellar cast, there is something for everyone here. Although it’s caters to young children, parents and older siblings will not be disappointed, either. 

So, get your glass slippers on and head down to Theatre Three in Port Jefferson to see this unique, fun, entertaining and awesome play. Stop by the lobby on your way out for a group photo with the cast.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents The Mystery of the Missing Ever After through June 15. Costumes are encouraged. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

Spring has sprung in Port Jefferson and that means the return of one of Theatre Three’s most popular children shows, The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Brent Erlanson with music by Kevin F. Story, the original musical is based on the characters and stories created by Beatrix Potter and is too cute for words.

When the lights dimmed at last Saturday’s show, all the children in the audience shouted “It’s starting!” and settled in to watch eight uber talented actors — Sean Amato (Peter Rabbit), Kyle Breitenbach (Benjamin Bunny), Elizabeth Ladd (Mrs. Rabbit), Cassidy Rose O’Brien (Flopsy), Julia Albino (Mopsy), Courtney Gilmore (Cotton-Tail), Gina Lardi (Mrs. McGregor) and Liam Marsigliano (Mr. McGregor) — bring the mischievous adventures of Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny to life just in time for Spring Break.

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 carrots, lettuce, peas, parsley and string beans.

When his patience grows thin, the farmer, who’s “a meanie with a temper like a bear,” makes it his mission to stop these bunnies once and for all. At first, Peter is caught but manages to wiggle out his socks and shoes and jacket and hat to escape. The second time Peter is not so lucky. Will he become rabbit stew or will his family come to the rescue?

Directed by Steven Uihlein, the show has so many wonderful moments. When Peter sneaks off to the garden, his sisters go searching for him and ask the audience members if they’ve seen him. (“He’s right behind you!”) When Peter returns home after losing his clothes, he recounts the story and the entire scene is retold in slow motion as Mrs. Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail watch from the sidelines.

The wonderful song and dance numbers, choreographed by Sari Feldman and accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, are terrific with special mention to “One More Time Around,” “Run, Peter, Run” and the fun hip-hop number, “Peter’s Socks.” The final number incorporates all of the songs in a super mega-mix extravaganza. Costumes by Jason Allyn, from the bunnies’ spring dresses in pink, purple, green and red to their white bunny tails, pull it all together perfectly.

Don’t miss this show — you and your kids are guaranteed to love it. Meet the entire cast in the lobby after the show for photos.

Sponsored by Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents The Adventures of Peter Rabbit through April 27.

Saturday Apr. 20 & 27 @ 11:00 am
Wednesday Apr. 24 @ 11:00am
Thursday Apr. 25 @ 11:00am
Friday Apr. 26 @ 11:00am

Duration: One Hour

Children’s theater continues with a brand new production, The Mystery of the Missing Ever After, from May 25 to June 15 followed by Raggedy Ann & Andy from July 5 to 27 and Pinocchio from Aug. 2 to 10. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com. 

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 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. 


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 Stephanie Giunta

Almost 180 years ago, Charles Dickens gave us the immortal gift of A Christmas Carol, which has become a pillar of holiday culture and a reminder to hold the spirit of the season near and dear. 

Port Jefferson’s Main Street, already adorned with wreaths on the lamp posts in preparation for its 27th annual Charles Dickens Festival, was only trumped by Theatre Three’s warmth and inviting decor during last Saturday’s opening night performance of the holiday classic. Carolers, singing familiar tunes before the show, further ignited the magic of Christmas in the air. 

Revisited, adapted, and never told quite the same way twice, Theatre Three’s version transports the audience back to 19th century England for an introspective, festive excursion that touches hearts and minds in a profound way. Jeffrey Sanzel, the show’s executive artistic director who doubles as the stingy curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge, reinvents the show each season, bringing a unique twist and newfound beauty to the timeless tale. 

Sanzel’s versatility is remarkable; his expressive nature and ability to portray a character with such complex, emotional layers is exceptional. Along with the power of his reprimands, I could feel Scrooge’s sardonic “Good Afternoon!” down to my bones. I felt like I was being asked to leave the office along with his chipper and persistent nephew, Fred Halliwell (Sean Amato) and warm and loving clerk, Bob Cratchit (Ray Gobes Jr.) on Christmas Eve. Both Fred, joyful and optimistic, and Bob, loyal and dedicated, are talented bookends who symbolize the redemption, compassion, and transformative power of the Christmas spirit over even the harshest of humans. 

The Fezziwig duo, played by the talented Stephen T. Wangner and Ginger Dalton, are the essence of fanciful charm. Their playful interaction and bubbly nature personify the merriment of the season. I could smell their mince pies, plum porridge, and zest for life from a mile away. In tandem, daughter, Belle Fezziwig (Julia Albino), wonderfully captures Scrooge’s heart, but pivots beautifully to letting him go to his newfound love: money.

A flawless performance from the three spirits is not to forget. Cassidy Rose O’Brien is angelic as the Ghost of Christmas Past, walking Scrooge through a painful review of his mistakes and heartbreaks, including the loss of his relationship with Belle, and the deaths of his older sister, Fan (Alexa Eichinger, Brooke Morrison) and partner, Jacob Marley (Steven Uihlein). 

I was particularly enthralled with the scene in which townspeople are asking Scrooge to “Buy” or “Sell.” There are so many overlapping dialogues intersecting at once, providing the audience with a line of sight into Scrooge’s psyche, and how he may be processing the key occurrences of his past simultaneously. It was brilliant.

The Ghost of Christmas Present (Wangner) has a belly laugh that echoes throughout the theater, yet showcases the firm, tough love Scrooge needs to realize the gravity of matters at hand.

Lastly, I mouthed “wow” when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Amato) appeared on stage. What a vision! The scenes that follow produce a scared-straight version of Scrooge that even he didn’t know existed. 

I would be remiss in mentioning the short scene featuring Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge’s housekeeper (Dalton), in which she was inebriated on his gravesite. Her quick wit and boisterous mirth adds an unexpected and appreciated twang of comedy to the performance.

Randall Parsons and Jason Allyn truly bring 19th century England to Port Jefferson through beautiful production design and authentic costuming. The audience is transported through time with spine-tingling special effects by Robert W. Henderson Jr., and Brad Frey injects jollity into the atmosphere with signature Victorian carols and hymnal tunes. 

When I first saw A Christmas Carol about 20 years ago, I remember being impressed with Scrooge and the cast because they made the story feel so real. Through an adult lens, it was even more apparent. Somehow, Sanzel and the cast are able to draw out a variety of emotions, connecting you not only to Christmas, but the treasures of giving of yourself to those less fortunate, being kind to others, and finding happiness. It’s a show that plays on the heartstrings in so many different capacities, reminding children and adults alike of what is most important during the holidays.

Theatre Three makes Christmas spirit feel so tangible that you can wrap it up in a box with a big, red bow. Bravo to Sanzel and the cast for bringing something so wonderful to life! Be sure to stick around post-performance for a photo memento with Scrooge. The $5 charge contributes to the theater’s scholarship fund.

CAST & CREW: Julia Albino, Jason Allyn, Sean Amato, Karin Bagan, Steven Barile Jr., Kyle M. Breitenbach, Mairead Camas, Shannon Cooper, Ginger Dalton, Alexa Eichinger, Angelina Eybs, Sari Feldman, Griffin Fleming, Brad Frey, Julie Friedman, Christina Gobes, Ray Gobes Jr., Skye Greenberg, Tim Haggerty, Kathleen Arabelle Han, Robert W. Henderson Jr., Patrick Hutchinson, Zach Kanakaris, Linda May, Brooke Morrison, Cassidy Rose O’Brien, Randall Parsons, William Roslak, Jeffrey Sanzel, Finn Thomas, Isabela Thomsen, Melissa Troxler, Steven Uihlein, Addyson Urso, Stephen T. Wangner, Cassidy Worrell, Kaylin Zeidler and Stanley Zinger

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “A Christmas Carol” through Dec. 30. All tickets are $25 in November and range from $25 to $40 in December. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

See a trailer of the show here.

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 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

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.

The cast of A Kooky Spooky Halloween. Photo by Peter Lanscombe/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Heidi Sutton

Theatre Three was at full capacity last Saturday morning as families with young children came to celebrate the spookiest season with the return of the wonderful musical, A Kooky Spooky Halloween. 

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

But Abner has a secret — he’s afraid of the dark! The only person who knows his secret is his best friend Lavinda the Witch (Danielle Pafundi) who gives him a nightlight and promises to help him get settled in.

Abner’s first day of haunting is on Halloween and he comes upon Ma Aberdeen (Ginger Dalton) and her boarders the perplexing Petersons — Paul (Liam Marsigliano), Penelope (Stephanie Moreau) and their son Pip (Sean Amato) — and Kit Garret (Samantha Fierro), a girl who “just came from a small town to a big city with a suitcase in her hand and hope in her heart,” stuffing goodie bags for trick-or-treaters in the kitchen.

In one of the funniest scenes in the show, Abner tries out a series of spells, making the group stuff the bags in double time, dance, do jumping jacks, sing, spin like a top, quack like a duck and stick to each other. Just as he is about to undo the last spell, fellow graduate ghost with a grudge Dora Pike (Beth Ladd) appears, steals his medallion of invisibility and nightlight and heads to the bottom of Black Ridge Gulch, the deepest, darkest gorge in the entire world (where it’s really, really dark). Now visible, Abner must convince the sticky strangers to help him get his medallion back. Will he succeed or will his fear of the dark take over?

With the message that everyone deserves to be understood, director Jeffrey Sanzel has assembled an incredible cast to tell this sweet story, with action, suspense, hilarious hijinks, Halloween jokes, and all around fun. The amazing costumes by Jason Allyn, special effects, futuristic lighting and the catchy songs, accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, with special mention to “It’s Ma Who Makes the Toast” and the great rap number “A Need for Speed,” tie it all together for the perfect holiday treat. Your kids will love it!

Ghost pumpkin souvenirs will be sold before the show and during intermission and costumes are encouraged. Meet the entire cast in the lobby on your way out for a keepsake photo.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents A Kooky Spooky Halloween on Oct. 15 and 22 at 11 a.m. and Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. Running time is one hour and 10 minutes with intermission. Children’s theater continues with Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 19 to Dec. 30. All seats are $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

Magic mirror on the wall,

Who is the fairest of them all?

It’s Snow White of course and now children of all ages can come see a hilarious retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson through June 18. 

Based on the story by the Brothers Grimm with a nod towards Disney, the production — written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin F. Story —  is a delight to watch.

All the elements of the classic fairy tale are here: the evil queen, the magic mirror, the seven dwarfs, the handsome prince, the poisoned apple and, of course, the beautiful Snow White. Even though Walt Disney’s original 1937 version had several scary moments, this show, directed by Sanzel and featuring an all adult cast, infuses humor and silliness into every scene, keeping the mood light and upbeat.

Aria Saltini is wonderful as the sweet Snow White who infuriates the wickedly vain evil queen, played by Elizabeth Ladd, because she “is sooooo nice!” Saltini’s rendition of “I Love It All” and Ladd’s follow-up “I Hate It All” are terrific.

As the Mirror, Steven Uihlein plays his role with just the right amount of sarcasm as he answers the burning question, “Who is the fairest of them all?” over and over. His rendition of “I’ve Got Those ‘I’m-Just-a-Mirror-on-the-Wall’ Blues” is reflective.

Although the names are different, the dwarfs have the personalities of the original Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey, and keep the audience in stitches. Special mention must be made of Dana Bush as the very funny Iggy (aka Dopey) who can’t remember what happened a minute ago, and Jason Furnari as Froggy (aka Doc) who has a hard time corraling his fellow dwarfs.

Kyle Breitenbach is perfectly cast as the handsome Prince who is on a quest to save a damsel in distress when he meets Snow White. The chemistry between Breitenbach and Saltini is fun to watch as they try to hide their identity from each other, and their duet, “I Think I’m in Like with You,” is very sweet.

Special mention must also be made of the exquisite costumes. Designed by Jason Allyn, they look like they’ve jumped right off the pages of a children’s book.

With the overall message to be true to oneself, this fairy tale production will keep audiences entertained from beginning to end. Meet the entire cast in the lobby after the show for a group photo. 

Theatre Three, 412 Main St. Port Jefferson presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on June 4, 11 and 18 with a special sensory sensitive performance on June 12. All performances begin at 11 a.m. and costumes are encouraged. Children’s theater continues with Puss-In-Boots from July 8 to 30. All seats are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.