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Smithtown Center for Performing Arts

‘Rich Boy, Rich Girl’ starring C. Thomas Howell will be screened at the festival.

By Rita J. Egan

The Global Revolution Film Festival is coming to the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 25 to 27, and North Shore film lovers are in for a revolution of the creative type. The event will consist of 10 two-hour blocks of film showings — each block consisting of a combination of original shorts, documentaries and full-length films.

A scene from ‘I’m Still Here’

Ken Washington, theater director, said the Smithtown Performing Arts Council was approached by the organizers of the film festival, and the theater was fortunate to have the weekend open. “We have been trying to integrate films into our program, and this seemed like a good way to make that happen,” he said.

Filmmaker Andrew Henriques, one of the organizers of the festival along with founder Jamal Blair and Greg Pursino, said the first two years the event was held in Farmingdale, and this year they searched for a new venue.

“We’ve been looking for a while for a festival location that is close to a train station, and the Smithtown theater is just two blocks away,” Henriques said. “And it has access to places that the filmmakers can go right after their screening because a lot of times you want to keep the party going. You’re there with a bunch of friends; you saw an awesome film; you’re high on the applause and getting to see your movie on a big screen, so you want to go someplace … There are so many locations for them to go [in Smithtown] and continue the celebration.”

He continued, “For us it’s important that they have a place to go and talk, network and talk to other directors and just socialize and talk shop. That’s a big part of it.”

Henriques, who grew up in Bellport, said Pursino discovered the theater, and he was impressed when his colleague showed him the location and loved that it had a balcony — something not many theaters have anymore.

“It reminded me of a theater from New York City,” he said. “It’s beautiful inside, and it has so much character. I know other filmmakers and other creative artistic people are going to be blown away by the theater.”

A scene from ‘The Last Warriors’

Henriques said he met Pursino, a fellow filmmaker, at a film festival, and Blair, another filmmaker, through Facebook. The organizers’ motto is “Story Above Stars” a slogan they thought of after attending some film festivals and noticing the poor quality of a few movies even though they featured recognizable actors. Their theory is that many events include movies with famous stars, knowing they will show up for the movie’s screening and draw in audiences.

“We’re not star chasing,” Henriques said.

The Global Revolution organizers choose films from all over the globe with stories that they believe will make audiences think while being entertained.

“We don’t care who is in your film,” Henriques said. “If you have a great film and a great story, you’re in.” He said the organizers chose to include web series in the event, something most film festivals don’t do; and there were no restrictions when it came to submissions. They looked for “a great plethora of fantastic films with unique stories.”

“That’s what we look for mostly,” Henriques said. “Something different; something outside of the typical things you might see in Hollywood that are telling the same old stories and remakes over and over again.”

When judging submissions for the festival six judges look for aspects such as a good storyline, cinematography, production, sound quality and pacing. The filmmaker said they looked for films that made you feel as if you are not watching a movie.

“The more that you are drawn away from the story the less points you get,” Henriques said. “A lot of things can draw you away from a story — bad camera angles, bad acting, bad sound. So, anything that takes away from the story, we start deducting points.”

Henriques said there is no quota for how many films of a certain genre they include. What is presented is based on the quality of the movie. “If we get in all comedies that are better than anything else we get, we’re going to show all comedies,” he said.

However, this year’s festival includes a variety of genres from a film that explores the current worldwide issue of sex trafficking and is inspired by real events, “I Am Still Here,” to Henriques’ romantic comedy “Rich Boy, Rich Girl” that he co-directed with Judy San Roman. The filmmaker said the comedy is the only one in the festival that features a known actor in the states, C. Thomas Howell, who rose to fame with the 1983 movie “The Outsiders.”

‘Cat Planet’ will be screened on Aug. 26.

Ten two-hour blocks of movies will be shown over the three days. Friday’s films will run from 1 to 9:30 p.m. with a networking session for directors, actors and fans at noon. Saturday’s films will be screened from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., while Sunday’s screenings will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. followed by a closing awards ceremony from 7 to 8 p.m. Each block is $10 or $25 for a day pass (good for all films shown on one day) or $60 for a full festival pass (good for all days and all blocks).

Washington hopes that local film lovers will enjoy the new venture at the theater. “We’re honored to be hosting the event and hope it can be enormously successful and become an annual occurrence here in Smithtown,” he said.

Henriques said the mission of Global Revolution Film Festival is to show films that will have audience members thinking after they leave the theater. “My main hope is that they walk away and they have films they can talk about where it just doesn’t disappear five minutes afterwards,” he said. “The experience just continues on.”

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2 East Main Street in Smithtown. For more information, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Film Festival Schedule

Aug. 25

Noon to 1 p.m. : Networking for directors, actors and fans

1 to 3 p.m. {Block 1}

“Vida Muertos”

“End Unsung”

“Two Texas”

“JFK Killer and Motives Revealed”

“I Am Still Here”

4 to 6 p.m. {Block 2}

“Strange Harvest”

“Back Stabber”



“Uncle Chuck”

“Pearl Rain”

“Forgive Me”

7:30 to 9:30 p.m. {Block 3}

“Rich Boy, Rich Girl”

Aug. 26

10 a.m. to noon {Block 1}


“The Last Warriors”

“Full Service”

“The Man with the Western Hat”

“Micro Bites”

“Cat Planet”

1 to 3 p.m. {Block 2}

“Fairfield Follies”

“The F-word”

“A Matter of Seconds”

4 to 6 p.m. {Block 3}

“The Torments of Love”

“The Bake Job”

“Breaking the Silence”



“Madam Trigger”

7 to 9 p.m. {Block 4}

“Power of Prayer”


“The Son, The Father”


Aug. 27

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. {Block 1}

“The Accompanying Dancer”


2 to 4 p.m. {Block 2}


5 to 7 p.m. {Block 3}

“Dual City”

“Cup of Tea”

“Christina Wood Memorial”

“Mirror Image”

7 to 8 p.m. : Closing/Awards Ceremony

Tom Manuel. Photo from The Jazz Loft

By Erika Riley

New Year’s Eve is the holiday to close out the season, and there is no better way to celebrate Dec. 31 than to do something fun for the night. Whether you’re in the mood for music, comedy or to simply see a movie before you head out for the night, the North Shore offers several great ways to spend the evening.


Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre will screen ‘Lion’ starring Dev Patel on New Year’s Eve

The Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington will be hosting a celebration of film on New Year’s Eve. There will be food, drinks, films and friends! First, attendees will have their pick of three films to view before the ball drops including “Jackie” starring Natalie Portman (8:15 p.m.), “Lion” starring Dev Patel (8:30 p.m.) and a third movie that is yet to be announced. After the movie screenings, guests can join the party in the Sky Room Cafe for some delicious food, cake and champagne toasts while viewing the ball dropping in Times Square on a television in the Cafe. Tickets are $40 per person, $35 members, and may be purchased online at www.cinemaartscentre.org or via phone at 631-423-FILM.

Port Jefferson

Paul Anthony will bring his comedy act to Theatre Three on New Year’s Eve

This year, Theatre Three, located at 412 Main Street in Port Jefferson will be offering a comedy show titled “New Year’s Laughin’ Eve” at two different times, featuring some of the biggest names in comedy. The “early bird” show will begin at 6 p.m. and run until 7:30 p.m., and the later show will start at 8 p.m. and end by 9:30 p.m., giving attendees plenty of time to take in a New Year’s party and watch the ball drop after the show. Douglas Quattrock, director of development and group sales and special events coordinator, says that the event is a great alternative for those who don’t want to go out to a bar but still want to go do something. “It’s a great way to kick off the new year and end the holiday season,” Quattrock said. “There’s no better medicine than laughter.”

There will be three comedians at the show, the first being Paul Anthony from Massapequa. Anthony is the host of the Long Island Comedy Festival and the host of the new 50+ Comedy Tour, a group of comedians who are targeting their comedy to a slightly older generation. The second guest is Rich Walker, who has been named the Best Comedian on Long Island two years in a row, has headlined in Las Vegas, and has been featured by the New York Times and the third comedian is Keith Anthony, who has been featured on Showtime, A&E and Comedy Central, and has also headlined his own shows. Quattrock said that while the comedy isn’t for kids, it’s also not brute or offensive. Tickets for the shows are $49 per person at the door, $45 in advance at www.theatrethree.com or by calling 631-928-9100.


The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown will present a New Year’s Eve comedy show titled “Loads of Laughs,” featuring six headlining comics. Of the six comics, Ken Washington of the center said, “The comedians are always top of the line ‘headlining’ comics who have been seen on a variety of different media outlets as well as comedy clubs throughout the area.” Eddie Clark, former cop and current full-time comic, will be in attendance, as well as seasoned comedians Marvin Bell and Matt Burke. Guests can also expect to see Peyton Clarkson, winner of the New York City Laugh-Off, Joe Currie, a member of several bands as well as a comic, and Warren Holstein, club headliner and occasional contributor to SNL’s “Weekend Update.” Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $180 per couple or $90 per person (there is a $10 discount for members) and include a buffet of Italian hors d’oeuvres and light fare as well as an open bar of wine and beer. Dessert will be served during intermission and a champagne toast will be made to ring in the New Year. To order, call 631-724-3700. Note: Show contains adult language.

Stony Brook

The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Avenue in Stony Brook, will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Celebration featuring jazz musician Tom Manuel and the Syncopated Seven from 7:30 to 12:30 p.m. The performance will also showcase guest artist Melanie Marod, who is a modern jazz vocalist who performs regularly around popular clubs in New York City. “What I’m most excited about is just having a wonderful group of people together in such a classy exciting place with such great music, I feel like when you put together great food and great people and great music it’s a guaranteed home-run evening,” said Manuel , who is also the curator and director of the Jazz Loft. Tickets are $150 per person, which includes a buffet dinner catered by the Three Village Inn, cocktail hour and a champagne toast at midnight. To order, call 631-751-1895 or visit www.thejazzloft.org.

A scene from SCPA’s ‘Hairspray.' Photo courtesy of SCPA

By Rita J. Egan

A few mists of hairspray, and a whole lot of talent, transformed the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts into a Broadway theater this weekend. The venue’s production of “Hairspray” opened this past Saturday night to a packed house.

Jordan Hue expertly directs a cast of more than 30 talented musical theater actors. Based on the 1988 movie by John Waters that starred Ricki Lake and Divine, the musical stage production debuted in 2002 and ran for more than six years on Broadway. With music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, the play inspired the release of a second movie in 2007, which starred John Travolta.

Rhythm and blues and 60s-style dance music, combined with a good dose of love and humor, create this coming-of-age tale. Set in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1962, our heroine, Tracy Turnblad, dreams of appearing on a local television dance program called “The Corny Collins Show.” When she finally snags a spot on the show, the plus-sized teenager learns about the injustices in the country, not only when it comes to size but also for non-whites. The determined Tracy then begins a crusade to integrate the production and opens up a completely new world for herself as well as her parents and friends.

The cast of 'Hairspray.' Photo courtesy of SCPA
The cast of ‘Hairspray.’ Photo courtesy of SCPA

The Smithtown production opens as Tracy, played by Noelle Eichenlaub, and the ensemble greet the day with the rousing “Good Morning Baltimore.” The actors set the stage for a high-energy show, liveliness that they sustain right until the very end with the upbeat and infectious “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”

Eichenlaub possesses strong vocals on all her numbers, which include the songs mentioned above as well as “I Can Hear the Bells” and “Welcome to the 60s,” and she captures the sweetness and optimism of Tracy with every note, dance step and line.

Ryan Nolin portrayed Tracy’s mother Edna to the hilt on opening night, and while he may have big shoes to fill with the likes of Divine, Harvey Fierstein and John Travolta playing the role in the past, the actor filled them brilliantly with a great amount of comedic ability. The statuesque Nolin perfectly captures the self-conscious yet strong nature of the loving, protective mother. The actor, who alternates performances with Michael Newman, garnered a huge amount of laughs in all the right places. During the number “You’re Timeless to Me” with Eugene Dailey, a charmingly quirky Wilbur Turnblad, the duo were delightful and received an enormous amount of laughs and applause from the audience.

Michelle Rubino is convincing as anxious and awkward Penny Pingleton, Tracy’s best friend. It’s hard to believe this is the same graceful girl who played Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” on the same stage a few months ago. The versatile young actress showed off her strong vocals during her parts in the songs “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” and “Without Love.”

Michael Marmann, who starred with Rubino in “The Little Mermaid” as Prince Charming, now charms the audience as Link Larkin, the lead male dancer on “The Corny Collins Show” and Tracy’s crush. The actor smoothly channels a 60s heartthrob, and while performing the song “It Takes Two” with his fellow male dance show members, he sweetly sings the ballad like the lead singer of a boy band.

When Tracy encounters Seaweed, played by Dondi Rollins Jr., and the record shop kids in detention, we get to hear smooth, soulful vocals from Rollins on “Run and Tell That.” This is where M.E. Junge’s choreography takes center stage, too. While all the cast members during the show handle the choreography with ease, Rollins and Kordell Hammond, who plays Duane, both display excellent dance abilities.

Amanda-Camille Isaac as Motormouth Maybelle performed a riveting “I Know Where I’ve Been.” When joined by the record shop kids, the song was elevated to gospel-song-like quality, and by the sounds of the immense applause, it seemed the opening night audience agreed.

Denise Antonelle portrays the immoral show producer Velma Von Tussel and delivers the number “(The Legend of) Miss Baltimore Crabs” with the wickedness of a Disney evil queen. The number sets the tone perfectly for what Tracy is up against to integrate her favorite show.

Alexa Brin as Velma’s spoiled daughter Amber is amusingly annoying as Tracy’s arch-nemesis, who not only tries to stand in our heroine’s way to dance on the show but also to win the Miss Teenage Hairspray competition. The actress also shines vocally in the numbers “Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now” and “Cooties.”

Adding even more liveliness and high-powered vocals to the number “Welcome to the 60s” were the Dynamites portrayed by Janelle Primm, Diamond Essence White and Isaac. Lauren Tirado as Seaweed’s sister, Little Inez, also demonstrates great vocals on the songs she’s included on.

Ronnie Green as Corny Collins was smooth and confident. It should be noted that the dance show’s council members played by Samantha Cuomo, David Reyes, Matthew Healey, Samantha Foti, Christian Arma, Caroline Anderson, Tommy Castelli and Lisa Naso, and the record shop kids Tirado, Primm, White, Hammond, Elijah Andrews and Jahlil Burke, as well as the swing members, are as integral to the high energy of the show as the lead characters, and they do not disappoint. Adding to the show’s hijinks were the hysterical Anne Marie Finnie as Penny’s overprotective mom, the jailhouse matron and obnoxious gym teacher, and Erich Grathwohl in the roles of Mr. Pinky and Mr. Harriman F. Spritzer, president of Ultra Clutch hairspray.

The Broadway-quality numbers would not be complete without conductor Melissa Coyle along with musicians Craig Coyle, Brian Schatz, Ray Sabatello, Ricky Enderle and Jim Waddell. Also, congratulations to costume designer Ronnie Green for the fun, vibrant outfits, and scenic designer Timothy Golebiewski for the colorful, versatile set. While leaving the theater on opening night, audience members raved about how wonderful the show was, including one person who said that Smithtown’s “Hairspray” was just as good as a Broadway musical.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E Main Street, Smithtown, presents “Hairspray” until Aug. 28. All seats are $35. For show schedule and more information, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.