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Josie McSwane

By Julianne Mosher

A heart-filled tale of friendship and adventure headed back to Theatre Three this week with their latest children’s theater production of Raggedy Ann & Andy — also known as “Friends and Friends and Friends.”

Based off of characters created by Johnny Gruelle, this special and unique tale, written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin Story, brings these two lovable rag dolls to life in a comical musical that the family is sure to enjoy.

Directed by Sanzel with musical direction by Doug Quattrock, the show starts off at the Tiwilliger sisters’ toy shop where they specialize in creating toys that come to life to bring joy to children in need. They hear of a little girl named Marcella who is ill and decide to make a brother for one of their favorite toys, Raggedy Ann (played by Isabella Scarpa), named Andy (Will Logan).

However, the toymakers, Martha (Gina Lardi) and Abby (Louisa Bikowski) have an evil brother, Mortimer (Steven Uihlein) who wants to use his family’s magic selfishly and to not use it to help local boys and girls. Casting a spell and with the help of his (reluctant) sidekick Rose Carpet (Emilia Guzzetta), the evil Mortimer steals Andy’s heart and the toys team up to get it back.

With the help of the tin soldier (Jason Furnari), the clown (Ryan Van Nostrand), the lion (Liam Marsigliano) and the queen doll (Julia Albino), the group heads to find Mortimor and retrieve Andy’s heart. Through a quest full of twists and turns, the audience waits to see if Andy will go back to his lovable self so he and Ann could help Marcella feel better.

Choreographed by Josie McSwane, the show is full of catchy tunes with themes of friendship, loyalty and love as the actors dance along. This musical will also show children the importance of friendship and how it’s nice to help when a friend is in need. 

And the best part is, while the show is geared for younger audiences, adults can reminisce about their own childhood toys thanks to Jason Allyn’s costume design — Raggedy Ann and Andy’s outfits are to a T, looking as if they just came off the shelves at the store.  Plus, the cast is available in the lobby after the show for photos. It’s a great afternoon out that is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s faces.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Raggedy Ann & Andy on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. through July 27. Children’s theater continues with Pinocchio from Aug. 2 to Aug. 10 and A Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 5 to Oct. 19. All seats are $12. 

Theatre Three will also present a special program, The Silly Sorcery Showcase on July 21 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $20. 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. 

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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.

By Julianne Mosher

Theatre Three was brimming with excitement last Saturday morning as families with young children came to celebrate the spookiest season with the return of a local favorite, 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 has retired. Along with his classmates, he’s given his diploma and his medallion of invisibility, and is sent off to work. 

While at the boarding house gearing up for his first shift, Abner tells his best friend, a witch named Lavinda (Cassidy Rose O’Brien), his deepest, darkest secret – he’s afraid of the dark and he’s not sure how he’ll be able to haunt Ma Aberdeen and her guests. Luckily, Lavinda is a great friend, and she hands him a nightlight and a helping hand to help boost his confidence. 

But lurking around the corner is one of Abner’s classmates, a fellow ghost named Dora Pike (Josie McSwane) who is jealous that Abner was assigned the boarding housed that she so desperately wanted to haunt. Acting like a bit of a bully, she steals his nightlight, his medallion (that he needs for his hauntings!) and rushes off. 

Luckily, Ma Aberdeen (Ginger Dalton) and her boarders, the Petersons — Paul (Liam Marsigliano), Penelope (Gina Lardi) and their son Pip (Sean Amato) — and Kit Garret (Julia Albino), a girl who “just came from a small town to a big city with a suitcase in her hand and hope in her heart,” are ready to help Abner get his medallion back and undo a spell the spiteful Dora Pike put on the boarders, despite being afraid of him at first. 

Let the shenanigans ensue. For a full hour, with a 15-minute intermission, we watch the story unfold while learning more about Abner and all his new friends. 

With colorful costumes and catchy songs, (the one about toast will be stuck in your head for days), this production directed by Jeffrey Sanzel is an adorably perfect way to start the Halloween season. Kids of all ages will love the silly personalities on stage, and parents will appreciate the “punny” jokes that are sprinkled throughout acts one and two. 

But not only does it provide big smiles and a good laugh, the message of friendship and acceptance is something every family will enjoy the holiday. Costumes are encouraged for audience members and the entire cast waits in the lobby on your way out for a keepsake photo.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents A Kooky Spooky Halloween through Oct. 21. Children’s theater continues with Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30 and Jack and the Beanstalk from Jan. 20 to Feb. 3. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. While Scrooge undergoes a transformation on the Main Stage with A Christmas Carol, Barnaby the Elf is busy making sure all the Christmas presents are delivered on time in the adorable children’s musical, Barnaby Saves Christmas. The show opened last Saturday and runs through Dec. 30. 

Written over 18 years ago by Douglas Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel with music and lyrics by Quattrock, it remains  as relevant as ever with the ultimate message that “every day is a golden opportunity to be better than you used to be.”

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s workshop at the North Pole is a flurry of activity. Head elf Sam (Josie McSwane) and fellow elves Blizzard (Michelle LaBozzetta) and Crystal (Kaitlyn Jehle) are busy putting the final touches on the Christmas presents and loading them on the sleigh. A fourth elf, Barnaby (Ryan Worrell), is the newest trainee and has been given one task by Santa (Sean Amato) — to make a little stuffed bear with dark blue pants, buckles on his shoes and a bright yellow vest. 

When it’s time to deliver the presents to all the good little girls and boys, Barnaby is left behind with Mrs. Claus (Danielle Pafundi). He soon realizes that Santa has left the stuffed bear behind and convinces Blizzard’s fawn Franklynne (Samantha Fierro) to find Santa and “save Christmas.”   

On their adventure they crash land on the roof of the house of Sarah (Danielle Pafundi) and her nephew Andrew (Sean Amato) and learn all about Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights. They also come across S.B. (spoiled brat) Dombulbury (Steven Uihlein), a Scrooge in his own right who has stuffed up all the chimneys with coal with his partner in crime Irving (Jason Furnari), in order to ruin Christmas and has hypnotized Crystal and Blizzard to help him. With the help of his friends, Barnaby will save the day but just wait until you see how!

Directed by Sanzel, the entire cast does an incredible job telling this heartwarming story. The wonderful songs, accompanied on piano by Quattrock, are just lovely, with special mention to Worrell’s solo “Still With a Ribbon on Top,” Pafundi’s solo “Miracles” and Amato’s solo “Within Our Hearts.”

Gorgeous costumes that sparkle and shine for the holidays by Jason Allyn, the incredible lighting by Steven Uihlein and the great choreography by Sari Feldman tie it all together with a beautiful holiday bow. I can think of 100 reasons to go see this show but I will only give the first — it is an unforgettable experience the entire family will love. Elf and reindeer souvenirs will be sold before the show and 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 on Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24, 28, 29 and 20 at 11 a.m. Children’s theater continues with The House That Jack Built from Jan. 21 to Feb. 4, 2023 and Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 22 to March 18, 2023. All seats are only $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

Looking for something to do with the kids on a hot and humid summer day? Allow me to recommend an afternoon of live theater. And with a princess, a prince, a wicked fairy and a spinning wheel, Theatre Three’s latest offering, the premiere of the timeless tale of Sleeping Beauty, will surely fit the bill. Oh and did I mention there’s A/C?

Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Douglas J. Quattrock, the musical follows the storyline closely but goes one step further in questioning why the wicked fairy put a curse on the princess ultimately causing her to fall asleep for one hundred years. Is she just plain evil or was it all just a misunderstanding?

Directed by Sanzel, a cast of 7 adult actors along with 26 preteen and teen actors from Theatre Three’s Dramatic Academy present this charming re-telling of the most wonderful fairy tale of all.

King Gilder and Queen Gwen have sent out invitations for Briar Rose’s first birthday party. While the good fairies Aurora and Lily receive theirs, the wicked fairy Algabrine does not. Insulted, she crashes the party and as her “gift” to the little princess, she casts a spell that Briar Rose will prick her finger on a spinning wheel on her 18th birthday and die. When she leaves, Lily, who has not given her gift yet, changes the spell to have Briar Rose fall into a deep sleep for one hundred years only to be awakened by her one true love.

The king decries that all spinning wheels be destroyed. But there’s always one somewhere, isn’t there?

Steven Uihlein serves as narrator and uses flashbacks to tell the story and to teach an important lesson along the way. Here we meet Algabrine when she was kind and sweet and witness the moment things take a dark turn. A nice touch.

Cassidy Rose O’Brien is perfectly cast as Briar Rose. Strong-willed, confident, thoughtful and kind, she is the perfect fairy tale heroine  and quickly becomes the audience favorite as does her counterpart, a terrific Kiernan Urso as Prince Constantine. Accompanied on piano by Quattrock, their duet, “When I Close My Eyes,” is magical. 

Aria Saltini and Heather Rose Kuhn are wonderful as fairies Aurora and Lily, as is Marianne Schmidt as Cecelia, Constantine’s mother. Josie McSwane knocks it out of the park as Algabrine and has the best entrance I’ve ever seen, thanks to the incredible sound effects and lighting. Costumes by Jason Allyn are the icing on the birthday cake.

The preteen and teen supporting cast play numerous roles throughout including singing and dancing and several have lines (great jokes!). For many, this is their first time performing in front of an audience and it is an amazing opportunity to hone their craft and all did an amazing job. 

With only three performances left,  order your tickets now. And if you reserve seats in the center section of the theater, you will be in for a special treat!

Take a keepsake photo with the cast in the lobby on your way out.

Cast: Steven Uihlein, Cassidy Rose O’Brien, Area Saltini, Heather Rose Kuhn, Josie McSwane, Kiernan Urso, Marianne Schmidt, Maggie Abcug, Kate Marin, Courtney Pearsall, Guiliana Vavalle, Jared Acevedo, Marlaina Baessler, Alissa Boryushkina, Mia Caputo, Aiden Choudhary, Tara Choudhary, Kelsie Curran, Erin Curtin, Ava Garcia, Kathleen Han, Faith Hennessy, Carissa Kaplan, Chloe Kelly, Sophia Kosinski, Amelia Lappe, Hailey Polanish, Lyla Reyes, Michael Rotundo, Francesca Scott, Sophie Weeks, Emilyanne Williams and Rebecca Williams.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Sleeping Beauty on Friday, Aug. 12 at 11 a.m. and Saturday, Aug. 13 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Children’s theater continues with A Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 8 to 22 and 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

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Theatre Three in Port Jefferson has a brand new children’s show and it’s over the rainbow!

First published in 1900 as a children’s book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, the story of Dorothy Gale and her three travel companions in the Land of Oz has given rise to many sequels, spin-offs and adaptations including radio shows, musicals and the iconic 1939 MGM film starring a 16-year-old Judy Garland.  

Now Theatre Three presents a brand new take on the classic tale with the world premiere of the family-friendly musical Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz. While the message stays the same, the show features over 10 original song and dance numbers as it travels down the Yellow Brick Road.

We first meet Dorothy at the L. Frank Baum Central School in Harrison Corner. As the editor of the Baum Bugle, she is on deadline trying to get the paper out when a big storm approaches. A wind knocks her down and when she awakens she finds herself in Munchkinland. 

Her news stand has landed on the Wicked Witch of the North causing her demise. When confronted by the Wicked Witch of the West, 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 the way 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, the cast of nine adult actors embrace the wonderful script and run with it. Incredibly all of the scenes from the iconic movie are there: the talking apple trees, the poppies, meeting the Wizard, the flying monkeys, the Winkies and the melting scene, with several actors playing multiple roles.

With a wonderful singing voice, Katie Lemmen is perfectly cast as the sweet yet determined Dorothy who learns many lessons on her journey. Sari Feldman knocks it out of the park as the limber Scarecrow with a great tap dance number titled “I Think” and Steven Uihlein is excellent in the role of the Tinman who keeps rusting up. 

However, it is Finn MacDevitt, in the role of that fraidy-cat Lion terrified of his own tail, who draws the most laughs and is simply divine. His “I’m a Lion” solo is terrific.

Toto, played by the incomparable and adorable Shay Francis Feldman, makes a well-behaved appearance in the first and final scene. 

Stephanie Moreau and Josie McSwane make a wicked good pair as Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West, Jason Furnari is a wise Wizard, Liam Marsigliano is a hilarious Winkie and Heather Rose Kuhn’s winged monkey is charming.

The song and dance numbers choreographed by Sari Feldman and  accompanied on piano by Douglas J. Quattrock are energetic, creative and fun with special mention to “Pitta-Pat” and “Poppies!”

The astounding special effects with the lighting and sound, the awesome props (wait until you see the crystal ball!) coupled with the impressive polished costumes by Jason Allyn are the icing on the cake.

A fun afternoon for the entire family, Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz is a wonderful reminder that “there’s no place like home!”

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz through March 26. Children’s theatre continues with The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 16 to May 7 and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from May 28 to June 18. All seats are $10. For more information or to order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

By Heidi Sutton

Every five years or so, Theatre Three’s Children’s Theatre reaches into its vault filled with scripts and pulls out a gem. This time it’s a musical twist on the classic story of Puss In Boots. The show opened on Jan. 16.

Although there have been many versions of the European fairy tale over the centuries, the most well known is The Master Cat or Puss in Boots from The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault in 1697. When Puss was reintroduced in Shrek 2 in 2004, a whole new generation was smitten.

Now the clever ‘tail’ returns to Theatre Three’s MainStage with a fresh score and choreography and does not disappoint. Written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Douglas J. Quattrock, the show was first performed in 1991 and has withstood the test of time.  

In the kingdom of King Vexmus, a kind-hearted young man named Christopher lives on a farm with his father and his two brothers, Shank and Amos. Every day his brothers force him to work the fields while they take naps. When their father dies, Shank and Amos inherit the farm while Christopher gets his father’s cat Puss and is promptly kicked out. 

With no food, money or a place to live, Christopher begins to lose hope until he discovers that Puss can talk. He confides in the cat that he has fallen in love with the king’s beautiful daughter, Princess Anafazia, who he met briefly when her entourage drove past the farm (in a great flashback scene). Puss agrees to help in the name of love and hatches a scheme to have Christopher pose as the rich and mysterious Marquis of Carabas to win Anafazia’s heart. Will everything go as planned? Will there be a happy ending?

Directed by Sanzel, the fast-paced show is wonderful on so many levels. Steven Uihlein is perfectly cast in the role of Christopher and also serves as storyteller. His plight gains the sympathy of the audience right away. Liam Marsigliano and Jason Furnari make a great comedic team as Amos and Shank. Their futile attempt to farm the land after Christopher leaves is hilarious. 

Michelle LaBozzetta, in the role of Puss, the cat of all trades, steals the show with her energetic and flamboyant personality. In one of the cutest scenes, her character acquires her famous boots by causing a ruckus outside Shank and Amos’s door. 

Sanzel and Josie McSwane are excellent in the roles of the bickering King Vexmus and Queen Ida (or should I say Queen Ida and King Vexmus) who in the end agree to disagree. Haley Saunders is terrific as the spoiled Princess Anafazia, who quickly reveals that this royal’s beauty is only skin deep. Rachel Max as Ida and Louisa Bikowski as Missy, the no nonsense wives of Shank and Amos, and Heather Rose Kuhn as the sweet Julia, Princess Anafazia’s lady-in-waiting, are a fine supporting cast.

Choreographed by Sari Feldman and accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, the 12 musical numbers are the heart of the show, with special mention to the duets “Puss in Boots” with Puss and Christopher and “Take a Moment for Yourself” with Puss and Julia, and the lively group number, “Song of the Marquis of Carabas.”

The charming costumes, designed by Jason Allyn, from the royal gowns in shades of lavender complete with wigs and crowns to the peasant garb in hues of brown, tie the story together perfectly. And wait until you see Puss’s fierce and fabulous outfit! 

This special show doesn’t come around often. Catch a performance before it’s gone.

Running time is one hour and 20 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. Meet the entire cast in the lobby on your way out for a keepsake photo.

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Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Puss In Boots on Jan. 22, 29 and Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. and Jan. 23 at 3 p.m. Children’s theatre continues with Dorothy’s Adventures In Oz from Feb. 23 to March 26 with a sensory friendly performance on Feb. 27 and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit from April 16 to May 7 with a sensory friendly performance on April 24. All seats are $10. For more information or to order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com

 

 

By Heidi Sutton

The holidays have officially arrived with the return of Barnaby Saves Christmas at Theatre Three. Celebrating its 17th anniversary, the endearing musical, written by Douglas Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel, tells the tale of a little elf named Barnaby and his reindeer friend Franklynne’s quest to save Christmas. 

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s workshop is a flurry of activity as elves Sam, Crystal and Blizzard make last minute preparations before they join Santa and his reindeer in delivering presents. The newest elf, Barnaby, is busy finishing a special request from Santa — a little stuffed bear with dark blue pants, buckles on his shoes and a bright yellow vest. 

When everyone else leaves on Santa’s sleigh, Barnaby soon realizes that the stuffed bear has been left behind and convinces Franklynne the littlest reindeer to help him track down Santa and give him the present.   

Along the way they meet Sarah and her nephew Andrew and learn about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, and try to foil villain S.B. Dombulbury and his partner in crime Irma’s plan to steal Christmas by stuffing up all the chimneys with coal.

While the script, score and lighting are pure perfection, director Jeffrey Sanzel has added other elements to the show to keep it fresh and exciting. This year the gorgeous new costumes by Jason Allyn take center stage with revamped choreography by Sari Feldman and the final scene is streamed live on Facebook.

This year’s stellar cast of nine adult actors put on a great show. Eric J. Hughes is back as Barnaby, a little elf “whose dreams are twice his size.” Sari Feldman returns as a feisty Franklynne, a role that was originally written for her back in 2004. Jason Furnari (the original Barnaby) is hilarious in the role of head elf Sam while newcomers Josie McSwane (Blizzard the Elf) and counterpart Katie Lemmen (Crystal the Elf) spend most of their time being hypnotized by S.B. (Spoiled Brat) Dombulbury (an incredible Steven Uihlein). Still yearning for a song-writing career, audience favorite Dana Bush is back as Irma for the 17th year in a row.

Rounding out the cast, a phenomenal Phyllis March reprises her dual role as the forgetful Mrs. Claus and Sarah and newcomer Finn MacDevitt tackles the role of Andrew and Santa Claus with ease. 

The most wonderful parts of the show are the musical numbers by Douglas Quattrock with special mention to Hughes’ solo “Still With a Ribbon on Top,” “Miracles” by March (accompanied on guitar by MacDevitt) and the rousing finale, “Wouldn’t You Like to Be Like Barnaby?”

With the special message that Christmas lies within our hearts, the show spreads holiday cheer for children and adults alike. Add this one to your wish list.

Souvenir elves and reindeer are available for purchase before the show and 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. 26. Children’s theater continues with Puss-In-Boots from Jan. 15 to Feb. 5, 2022 and a brand new production of Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 23 to March 26, 2022. All seats are $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.