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Staller Center for the Arts

Kevin James. Photo from Staller Center

UPDATE: January 27 show sold out! Second show added on January 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets will go on sale for the second show on Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. 

It’s official! Kevin James is headed to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts’ Main Stage for an evening of comedy on January 27, 2023 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale on Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. For one night only, the King of Long Island comes home in his first Staller Center appearance, blocks away from the streets that built him

“We’re thrilled to bring Kevin James to Staller Center,” says Alan Inkles, Director of the Staller Center, “I’ve been looking forward to hosting him here in his hometown for some time now, and I know this will be a really special show for our audience.”

Since performing his first Stand-up set at Long Island’s East Side Comedy Club in 1989, Kevin James has established himself as a powerhouse actor, writer, and comedian. Discovered at the 1996 Montreal Comedy Festival, he signed a deal with Paramount to develop his own sitcom, The King of Queens. Earning an Emmy nomination for his role, James starred in all nine seasons of the smash hit show, which continues to air daily in syndication. Moving from television to film, James’ iconic roles in the films Hitch, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Grown Ups catapulted him into stardom. He continues to dominate all of these mediums, having starred in the sitcoms Kevin Can Wait and The Crew and the new films Hubie Halloween, Home Team, and Becky, all while lending his voice to the Hotel Transylvania films.

Ranked as one of the 100 greatest stand-ups by Comedy Central, his lauded specials Sweat The Small Stuff and Never Don’t Give Up have solidified James as one of the top comics of his generation. Now, James brings that incisive, irreverent stand-up to the Main Stage in an all-out hilarious evening. Returning to his Stony Brook roots, James will have audiences doubled over in laughter as he comes home- and brings his biting, uproarious wit with him.

Tickets will be available at stallercenter.com on September 15th at 10am.

For more information, call 631-632-2787 or visit www.stallercenter.com.

The 27th annual Stony Brook Film Festival, presented by Island Federal Credit Union, wrapped up with a Closing Night Awards Ceremony on July 30.  The evening recognized the outstanding new independent films screened at the festival, which was held at Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University from July 21 to 30. 

This year’s winners included BerenshteinJury Award for  Best Feature; ContraAudience Award for Best Feature; All That Glitters and Summer of Bees tied for the Jury Award for Best Short; Ousmane — Audience Award for Best Short; Peaceful   Opening Night Feature Award; Lost TransportClosing Night Feature Award; Lentini Opening Night Short Award; and Mila Closing Night Short Award.

In addition, Glob Lessons, directed by Nicole Rodenburg and written by Rodenburg and Colin Froeber, received The Spirit of Independent Filmmaking Award which is given every year to a filmmaker whose work exemplifies the spirit and breadth of filmmaking where the focus is on the art and most often produced with an extremely limited budget. 

This year’s Festival bestowed a special Humanitarian Award on Dr. Gabriel Sara, co-star of and consultant on the opening night feature, Peaceful. A cancer specialist at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai West, Dr. Sara helped launch The Helen Sawaya Fund, a philanthropy program whose mission is to enhance the experience of cancer patients through art and music. 

“The dignity and empathy which Dr. Sara brings to his work became the impetus for Peaceful, a film that touched us all so deeply,” said Alan Inkles, Director of the Stony Brook Film Festival. “We are proud to confer [this award] on Dr. Sara for his vital and important work in improving the lives of cancer patients.”

Highlighting the live Awards Ceremony was a presentation by the filmmakers of Red River Road, winner of the 2021 Spirit of Independent Filmmaking Award. Writer/director Paul Schuyler proudly announced that Red River Road was acquired for distribution by Gravitas Films with the help and support of the Stony Brook Film Festival.

“For over 27 years, filmmakers have continually conveyed to us that we are the most hospitable festival they’ve been to,” said Inkles. “We are able to treat our filmmakers like royalty because we have two constituents in mind when we plan our festivals — our filmmakers and our audience. With the support of Island Federal and many of our other supporters, we are proud to provide a full experience to our audience, bringing together filmmakers and cast members from all over the world to give first- hand accounts of their process.”

During the Festival, the Staller Center announced its Fall 2022 Live Performing Arts season which kicks off on Sept. 23 and includes performances by Michael Feinstein, Katherine McPhee and David Foster, and Vic DiBitetto, among others. Visit www.stallercenter.com for the entire Fall season line-up.

Anthony Famulari in a scene from The Switcheroo. Photo courtesy of Staller Center
Fest to include indie weekend, female directors panel, SBU grads

By Melissa Arnold

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts turns into a movie lover’s mecca when new independent films screen at the Stony Brook Film Festival from Thursday, July 21 to Saturday, July 30. The popular event pairs memorable short films with an array of features you won’t see anywhere else, making it a favorite of moviegoers and filmmakers alike.

Now in its 27th year, the festival will celebrate its return to a fully live experience after some creative adjustments during the pandemic. Over the course of nine days, 38 films from 27 countries will be screened on evenings and weekends. But deciding what to show is no easy task.

More than a thousand films are sent to festival director Alan Inkles each year, he said. With the help of co-director Kent Marks, they go through an intense process of screening, debating, and cutting before the final selections are made.

The resulting collection showcases both shorts and feature-length films in all kinds of styles and genres. Among them is a short sci-fi comedy called The Switcheroo, directed by brothers and Stony Brook natives Ryan and Anthony Famulari. The film will be screened on Sunday, July 24 at 7 p.m. 

“I try not to read anything about a film before I watch it — I owe it to our viewers to not favor anyone, so I’m not going to pick a film just because it’s local. We choose a film because it’s enjoyable,” Inkles explained. “That said, I love that we’ve been able to include Switcheroo and have Long Island represented. Comedy is hard to do, especially for young filmmakers, but this story is so charming, funny, and just really nailed it. And when I read that the brothers were from Stony Brook, I thought it was great.”

The Switcheroo stars Anthony Famulari playing both a heartbroken scientist and his charismatic clone. The clone tries to help his creator land a date, which reveals some surprising and funny secrets.

Cloning was the perfect concept to explore for the brothers, who were living together during the worst of the pandemic and looking for something fun to do.  

“The idea was more of a necessity, considering we didn’t have a crew or a large budget,” said Anthony, 33. “But we wanted to make something that was still enjoyable and interesting. We both gravitate to stories with sci-fi elements, and it was a great solution to the creative challenges of the time.”

The brothers grew up with their own interests, but shared a deep love of movies and storytelling. Both went on to major in journalism at Stony Brook University. While there, Ryan played football and Anthony dove into theater. They also worked together conducting and filming interviews on campus, and wrote film scripts in their spare time.

“Anthony was always a ham, but I didn’t see him act for the first time until college. I found that he was really good at it,” recalls Ryan, 35. “This has been a passion for us for a long time. We’ll go see a movie and then get into a deep discussion about it for an hour after. Our filmmaking is like that too. We’ll wrestle over an idea, but that’s fun for us.”

These days, the Famularis are on separate coasts — Ryan went to grad school for creative writing and is currently living in New York working remotely for a Los Angeles-based animation studio, while Anthony lives in Los Angeles pursuing acting while also working for an animation studio. But they’re still writing together and looking forward to whatever comes next.

“We’re constantly bouncing ideas around, and with each one of our short films, we learn something new and continue to improve,” Anthony said. “At the end of the day, our goal is to create something enjoyable that’s worth people’s time, while pursuing our passions.”

Also of note during this year’s festival is a panel discussion on women in filmmaking, and a weekend celebrating the spirit of American-made indie films.

“We have a lot of female writers and directors represented here, and have since the festival first began,” Inkles said. “It was important for us to feature them in a special way, and provide a unique opportunity for conversation, both among the panelists and with the audience.”

The panel is an exclusive benefit open to those who purchase festival passes. A variety of options are available, including an opening weekend pass.

Many film screenings will also include a question and answer session with the filmmaker. “That’s what makes a film festival so interesting as opposed to just going to the movies — you get the chance to talk with the filmmakers directly and learn more about their process,” Inkles said.

The Stony Brook Film Festival will be held from July 21 through July 30 30 at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook. Individual tickets and premium passes are available. For the full schedule and more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.stallercenter.com or call the box office at 631-632-2787.

This article was updated July 23, 2022.

Catherine Deneuve and Benoît Magimel in a scene from Peaceful. Photo courtesy of Staller Center

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center  for the Arts turns into a movie lover’s mecca when new independent films screen at the Stony Brook Film Festival on evenings and weekends from Thursday, July 21 to Saturday, July 30. The popular festival, now in its 27th year, pairs memorable short films with an array of features you won’t see anywhere else, making it a favorite of moviegoers and filmmakers alike.

Presented by Island Federal, the 2022 Festival lineup offers 38 films from over 28 countries. The Festival kicks off with the North American premiere of Peaceful, starring Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel, and Gabriel A. Sara. A life-affirming drama about acceptance and resilience, Peaceful follows Benjamin, an acting teacher with a terminal illness as he navigates his final months and days. The beating heart of the film comes from Gabriel Sara — a cancer specialist from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan in real-life — who portrays Benjamin’s very humane specialist Dr. Eddé. Catherine Deneuve’s powerful performance as Benjamin’s mother is unforgettable.

“This year’s Festival is somewhat of a family affair, with several real-life family members making films, and members of our Stony Brook family returning,” says Festival co-programmer Kent Marks. “Our Sunday night independent feature, the very touching This is a Film About My Mother, which was shot in Ithaca, New York, stars real-life siblings Tess and Will Harrison and was written and directed by Tess.”

The theme of family continues with the mesmerizing Korean independent film, Seokkarae. Written and directed by Mike Beech, and starring his wife, Jiwon Lee, the character-driven film depicts a quiet twenty-something attempting to keep the family business going despite tough odds. Jungle is another such collaboration, written by real life partners Claudia Verena Hruschka and Kieran Wheeler, with Wheeler directing and Hruschka giving a gut-wrenching performance in this hard-hitting short from Australia. 

From Australia to Stony Brook, The Switcheroo is co-directed by Stony Brook brothers Ryan and Anthony Famulari. Made for next to nothing during COVID, this hilarious comedy has the brothers serving as the entire crew, with Anthony cast in the very funny role of a man and his clone. Two more co-directors are sisters Austin and Westin Ray with their UK-based quiet thriller Before Seven. The Ray’s, Festival alums from 2014, served as directors, writer (Westin) and composer and cinematographer (Austin). Another SBFF festival alum is John Gray, who won the audience choice award for his 2020 film Extra Innings, and is back this year with the intriguing family drama The Little Drummer Boy.

Women will take center stage at this year’s SBFF, both in front of and behind the camera. SBFF’s opening and closing night features and shorts were all helmed by female directors. In all, 17 of the Festival’s 38 films were directed by women. Two films, Kitchen Tales and Before Seven, were made with nearly all-female crews. 

The Jackie Stiles Story and Nasima are two completely different documentaries about female athletes from the middle of nowhere — a small Kansas town and a small seaside village in Bangladesh — who both beat the odds and made a huge impact in their respective sports of basketball and surfing. 

There are heroines from all walks of life, whether in the New Zealand drama The Justice of Bunny King, the Israeli epic Image of Victory, the Albanian thriller Vera Dream of the Sea, or the American indie Peace in the Valley, all of which feature knock-out performances by their lead actresses.

Reflecting on current issues, two films in the Festival, Olga and Berenshtein both take place in and around Ukraine, and both are from times when the Ukrainian people faced down an oppressive regime — whether it be from the Nazis or their own government.

Mila, a must-see short film on SBFF’s closing night, is a debut effort by writer/director Cinzia Angelini and made by 350 animators from 35 countries, who volunteered their services to help Angelini get her story made after all major studios turned it down. Inspired by events of the 1943 Trento bombing in Italy, this heart-warming story depicts a young girl who has lost everything but still clings to hope. 

The closing night feature, Lost Transport, is a powerful and deeply moving film set during the final days of World War II, uniquely told from a female perspective. When German soldiers abandon a deportation train, leaving the fate of its occupants in the hands of advancing Russian troops, three women from vastly different backgrounds, set aside their differences, working together to survive.

“The diversity of filmmakers is a hallmark of Stony Brook Film Festival, with student filmmakers, seasoned pros, and nine first-time directors represented this year,” says Festival Director Alan Inkles. “We are very excited to have filmmakers from all over the world join us in-person this year for their premiere screenings. Our audience can gather in a huge theater with Long Island’s largest screen, to see movies the way they were meant to be seen. Not only are these films not available on any streaming format, but you also get to hear directly from the filmmakers themselves, ask them a question at our live Q&A, and even vote for your favorite.”

For 27 years, the Stony Brook Film Festival has hosted 549 filmmakers from 78 different countries, featured nearly 55 World Premieres and over 75 U.S. premieres. In total, the Festival has screened almost 1100 independent films from all over the world. The Festival kicks-off with an Opening Night Party and closes with an Awards Ceremony and Closing Night Party.



Thursday, July 21 at 8 p.m.

Feature: Peaceful, France

Short: Lentini, United States


Friday, July 22 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Olga, Switzerland, Ukraine,  France

Short: Kitchen Tales, United Kingdom


Friday, July 22 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Glob Lessons, United States

Short: Before Seven, United States


Saturday, July 23 at 4:30 p.m.

Doc Feature: The Jackie Stiles Story, U.S.


Saturday, July 23 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Contra, Germany

Short: The Little Drummer Boy, U.S.


Saturday, July 23 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Peace in the Valley, U.S.

Short: Elevate, United States


Sunday, July 24 at 4:30 p.m.

Documentary Feature: Nasima, U.S.


Sunday, July 24 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Berenshtein, Israel & Ukraine

Short: The Switcheroo, United States


Sunday, July 24 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: This is a Film About My Mother, U.S.

Short: North Star, United States


Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Hit the Road, Iran

Short: Summer of Bees, Finland


Monday, July 25 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Seokkarae, Korea

Short: Saving Elodie, United Kingdom


Tuesday, July 26 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Hard Shell, Soft Shell, France

Short: Almost Winter, United States


Tuesday, July 26 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: The Justice of Bunny King, NZ

Short: The Dress, United States


Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Image of Victory, Israel

Short: Milk, United Kingdom


Wednesday, July 27 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: The Test, France

Short: Free Fall, France


Thursday, July 28 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Haute Couture, France

Short: Jungle, Australia


Thursday, July 28 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Sons of the Sea, South Africa

Short: Ousmane, Canada


Friday, July 29 at 7 p.m.

Feature: Vera Dream of the Sea, Kosovo & Albania & Republic of Macedonia

Short: All that Glitters, United Kingdom


Friday, July 29 at 9:30 p.m.

Feature: Black Box, France & Belgium

Short: Aysha, Germany



Saturday, July 30 at 8 p.m.

Feature: Lost Transport, Netherlands & Luxemborg & Germany

Short: Mila, United States



10:30 p.m.

Ticket information

All screenings are held at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook in the 1,000-seat Main Stage theater. Festival goers can choose from a Gold Pass, Festival Pass, or Individual Pass. Passes start at $20. All passholders will hear from filmmakers throughout the Festival and have the opportunity to rate and vote on favorite films to help choose the winners of this year’s Festival. 

Gold Passholders receive entry to all films, VIP reserved seating, a Stony Brook Film Festival swag bag, discounts at local restaurants and businesses, access to Opening and Closing Night After Parties, filmmaker Q&A’s, and the Closing Night Awards Ceremony. Festival Passholders receive entry to all films and guaranteed seating for sold-out films, filmmaker Q&A’s, access to the Closing Night Awards Ceremony, discounts at local restaurants and businesses, voting for Audience Choice Award, and a Stony Brook Film Festival Passholder gift. For more information or to order, call 631-632-2787 or visit stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement on June 24.

Photo from Staller Center

In their only New York appearance, 16-time Grammy award-winning musician, composer, and producer David Foster and acclaimed singer, television and Broadway star Katharine McPhee will bring their viral Instagram sensation “The Kat & Dave Show,” direct from their living room to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts for one live show, Thursday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.

In her first appearance at the Staller Center since 2010, McPhee will perform some of her biggest songs from American Idol, Smash, and Broadway’s Waitress. ‘The Kat & Dave Show” will also showcase Foster’s hit songs created for countless music legends including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Dolly Parton, Chicago, Hall & Oates, Gloria Estefan, and many others.

“We are thrilled to welcome back Katharine McPhee and for the first time, David Foster,” said Alan Inkles, Director of Staller Center for the Arts. ‘The Kat & Dave Show,’ their ‘quaranstream’ Instagram Live concerts, delighted legions of fans during the early days of the pandemic. The combination of these two powerhouse entertainers is sure to be a treat for our audiences.”

Tickets for “The Kat & Dave Show,” starting at $62, are on sale online at www.stallercenter.com. For a limited time, ticket buyers can receive 10% off by using code KAT10DAVE. 

'The Queen's Cartoonists'

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook welcomes The Queen’s Cartoonists to its Recital Hall on Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m. See projected cartoon classics paired with a tour-de-force of the Swing Era’s zaniest and most creative music, written and or adapted for classic cartoons. Fun for the whole family!

The Queen’s Cartoonists play music from both classic cartoons and contemporary animation. Their performances are synchronized to video projections of the original films, and the band leads the audience through a world of virtuosic musicianship, multi-instrumental mayhem, and comedy. Behind the project is the goal of presenting a concert for everybody – regardless of age, gender, or familiarity with the concert hall.

Tying this diverse concert together are comedic anecdotes involving the cartoons and their composers. The band is on a musical mission of equal parts performance, preservation, and education. Expect the unexpected from the repertoire that includes the Golden Age of animation, cult cartoon classics, modern animation, and elements of a musical circus!

Since their inception in 2015, The Queen’s Cartoonists have brought their unique sound to performing arts centers in over 20 states, and have opened for the New York Philharmonic. The 6 members, all currently living in Queens, New York, are world-class professional musicians. The band has been featured in numerous major publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Mashable, and on NPR.

Tickets are $52 to $60. To order, call 632-2787 or visit www.stallercenter.com.

See video of a performance here.

Renowned New York City based dance company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook on Saturday, Feb. 5 for a spectacular evening on the Main Stage featuring their two newest full length pieces performed on the same program for the very first time, in celebration of Black History Month. The show starts at 8 p.m

Under the artistic direction of dance Icons Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, (both former principal dancers with ALVIN AILEY DANCE and star choreographers), COMPLEXIONS will perform two monumental pieces, “WOKE” and LOVE ROCKS”, born out of the current crisis’ we are facing in the world. Through dance, COMPLEXIONS confronts this moment in time and the question of what it means to exist in today’s society and how we connect in spite of it.

“WOKE” is a physical reaction to the daily news. A bold and dynamic socially conscious one act ballet featuring the full company that examines our humanity in conjunction with today’s political climate.

LOVE ROCKS, which also features the full company, is set to the powerful music of Grammy Award-winner Lenny Kravitz. It is a fun, thrilling and moving dance and a tremendous compliment to “WOKE”.

Dancing these two pieces together in the same program is a challenge for the company. Complexions Dance is working overtime through extreme pandemic conditions to create this unique program for the Staller Center as they present it to the University community and greater Long Island region.

Tickets range from $42 to $58. For more information or to order, visit www.stallercenter.com,  call 631-632-ARTS or email [email protected].

Major Sponsors are News 12 – Campolo, Middleton & McCormick – Danfords Hotel & Marina – Friends of the Staller Center – Hilton Garden Inn – Island Federal – Jefferson’s Ferry – Renaissance – Stony Brook Medicine – Suffolk County – WLIW – Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation.


The Staller Center prioritizes the safety of its patrons, staff and students, and will enforce strict Covid-19 protocols for the Fall 2021 season. At this time, visitors must show proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event (children ages 12 and under are exempt when accompanied by a parent or guardian who meets the requirements). Additionally, each audience and staff member must wear a mask while inside the venue. All audience members will be advised to not attend if they feel unwell, have symptoms of Covid-19 or have recently been exposed to someone with the disease.

With these guidelines, the Staller Center ticket policy for return or exchange of tickets will be liberalized to accommodate patrons who cannot attend due to the above.


Complexions Contemporary Ballet was founded in 1994 by Master Choreographer Dwight Rhoden and the legendary Desmond Richardson with a singular approach to reinventing dance through a groundbreaking mix of methods, styles and cultures. Today, Complexions represents one of the most recognized, diverse, inclusive and respected performing arts brands in the World. Having presented an entirely new and exciting vision of human movement on 5-continents, over 20-countries, to over 20-million television viewers and to well over 300,000 people in live audiences, Complexions is poised to continue its mission to bring unity to the world one dance at a time.

Complexions has received numerous awards including The New York Times Critics’ Choice Award. It has appeared throughout the US, including the The Joyce Theatre and Lincoln Center in NYC, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Paramount Theatre/Seattle, The Music Center/Los Angeles, Winspear Opera House/Dallas, The Cutler Majestic Theater/Boston, The Music Hall/Detroit, and has toured extensively around the world to venues including The Bolshoi Theater, The Kremlin, The Mikhailovsky Theater, and the Melbourne Arts Center.

The company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. Whether it be the limiting traditions of a single style, period, venue, or culture, Complexions transcends them all, creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of our world—and all its constituent cultures—as an interrelated whole.

Together, Rhoden and Richardson have created in Complexions an institution that embodies its historical moment, a sanctuary where those passionate about dance can celebrate its past while simultaneously building its future. In the 27 years since its inception, the company has continued to awaken audiences to a new, exciting genre with their singular approach of reinventing dance and contemporary ballet. Their work has borne witness to a world that is becoming more fluid, more changeable, and more culturally interconnected than ever before—in other words, a world that is becoming more and more like Complexions itself.

With stunning gifted dancers and powerful choreography, Complexions has been hailed as a “matchless American dance company” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Companies like Complexions are game-changing: they’re forging a path for what ballet can be instead of what it historically has been.”- The Guardian

Seiskaya Ballet principal Lara Caraiani and guest artist Blake Krapels will dazzle when they perform the elegant Sugar Plum Pas de Deux. 

The Seiskaya Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a perennial holiday favorite on Long Island, returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook for a six-performance run from Dec. 16 to 19. This classical ballet rendition has earned praise from critics and audiences alike. 

Hailed as Long Island’s most lavish “Nutcracker,” the Seiskaya Ballet production of the classic holiday ballet is a truly international collaboration beginning with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous score. Sets and several costumes were designed by Poland’s Margaret Piotrowska whose highly respected work in Polish television and stage productions has garnered wide praise. 

Directed by founder Joseph Forbes, scenery was executed by Scenic Art Studios which has been credited with painting over 300 Broadway shows. The imaginative and unusual sculptures utilized in the Seiskaya Ballet’s production were the brainchild of creative artist Matt Targon. Choreographed by celebrated Russian-born Valia Seiskaya, this acclaimed production is imbued with bravura dancing, energy and endearing charisma.

The cast will be led by BalletX standout, guest artist, Blake Krapels (Cavalier) plus Seiskaya Ballet’s award winning Principal Dancers Lara Caraiani, Kyra Allgaier, Rachel Bland and Maya Butkevich.

Performances will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. 

Tickets are $40 for adults, $34 children and seniors and $30 for groups of 20 or more at the Staller Center Box Office at 631-632-ARTS and at www.nutcrackerballet.com. (Attended box office hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and two hours prior to all performances. Online seat selection is available for all shows.)



By Melissa Arnold

There’s nothing quite like the energy of a live performance, especially if it’s been almost two years since your last show.

The Staller Center for the Arts on the campus of Stony Brook University is as eager to welcome audiences back as showgoers are to be there. Following an abbreviated but otherwise successful fall season, their upcoming spring lineup will feature a wide mix of dancing, theatrical performances and comedy.

“I had a lot of theatrical events planned for the fall, but when we scheduled them earlier this year, we had no idea what the rules were going to be for health and safety,” said Alan Inkles, the Staller Center’s director. “So we decided to focus more on bands for the fall and concentrate on theatrical performances in the spring. It’s been smooth, and everyone is just glad to be out and enjoying the theater.”

It’s a special year for the center’s quartet-in-residence. The Emerson String Quartet recently announced they will retire in 2023 after more than 40 years of performing as one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles. They’ll be presenting two concerts this spring on Jan. 26 and April 18.

For a quarter of a century, the Broadway rock opera Rent has broken down taboos as it chronicles a group of friends fighting poverty, discrimination and addiction in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. This fall the cast kicked off their 25th Anniversary “Farewell Season of Love” tour which will include a performance at the Staller Center on March 3.

“You never know when you’re going to be seeing a show for the last time, and with something as iconic and well-known as Rent, we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to see a wonderful, high-quality touring production,” Inkles said.

Grace, skill and beauty are all on display this season with two unique dance companies. Complexions Ballet Company pushes the boundaries of traditional and contemporary styles while tackling a variety of topics, from current events to diverse cultures and renowned musicians. Look out for “Love Rocks” during the Feb. 5 show, which celebrates the music of Lenny Kravitz.

Dance-illusionists MOMIX return to the Staller Center on April 2 for “Viva MOMIX,” a two-act collection of dance vignettes using light, shadow and props to create stunning effects. The vignettes will take the audience on a magical journey that showcases the greatest moments in the company’s 40-year history.

If you’re looking for something interesting for kids, consider The Queen’s Cartoonists on April 5. These jazz and classical musicians will take you on a crazy romp, playing live music to accompany cartoons projected onscreen above them. The cartoons are from a variety of time periods and countries, allowing audience members of any age to enjoy old classics and new discoveries.

“The Queen’s Cartoonists is a 7 p.m. show, which gives families a chance to enjoy it without staying out too late — it’s always great to introduce kids to live and orchestral music by letting them see it up close,” said Daria Carioscia, Staller’s director of development. “They’ll be performing in our recital hall, which provides a great perspective from wherever you’re sitting, and the cartoons playing behind them will be entertaining and fun for everyone.”

Carioscia also recommends the high-energy, New Orleans jazz sounds of The Hot Sardines on March 19, as well as the May 7 appearance by The Doo Wop Project. If you’ve ever wondered what the music of Jason Mraz and Maroon 5 would sound like if the Jersey Boys sang it, look no further. Both shows are heavy on audience participation, so get ready to sing and dance along. It’s a great time to introduce kids to different genres and eras of music they may have never heard before, she said.

A few more events round out the season: 

■ March 12: 2022 Gala, including performances by Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma. Regular tickets are sold out. Become a Gala Supporter to receive VIP tickets.

■ March 30: “Starry Nights,” an evening of music featuring cellist Colin Carr and Stony Brook University musicians

■ April 21: “Queen of the Flute” Carol Wincenc

■ April 22: Comedian, satirist and Grammy nominee David Sedaris

Of course, the Staller Center staff and performers all love to see their shows sold out. But when that’s not possible, they get creative and offer a seat to those who might have never seen a live performance before.

“We’ve been working really hard to fill the theater, and on the nights where we have unsold tickets, we give them away to local school districts, Stony Brook students, and other populations who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to attend,” Carioscia explained. “Ultimately, we want to make the arts accessible to as many people as we can. It’s good for the community, and a full house also changes the energy in an exciting way for our performers.”

The staff knows that there is still some understandable concern in the community about crowds and public events, and they are dedicated to helping audiences feel safe. Masks are required in the center, as well as either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. No time frame is required on testing. Additionally, concessions are not being sold at this time to limit the need to remove your mask.

“We recognize that everyone is in their own place regarding what they feel comfortable doing right now. People will come back when they’re ready, and we’re going to be fair with what we’re asking from our audiences as far as safety,” Inkles said. 

“It’s been smooth, and everyone is just glad to be out and enjoying the theater. We’ve spent the last 2 years stuck inside at home, watching movies on big screen TVs. We want to give people the energy of live performance, the opportunity to have a night out and spend time together and connect again. You can’t duplicate that experience with Netflix or HBO. There’s nothing else like it.”

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts is located at 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook. Tickets for the Staller Center’s Spring 2022 season are on sale now. A 10 percent discount is offered on all shows through Dec. 12. For more information, visit www.stallercenter.com or call 631-632-ARTS (2787) or email [email protected].

All photos from Staller Center for the Arts.

A scene from 'Eurydice'
Matt Aucoin
Liv Redpath

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook presents a lecture and recital by award-winning composer Matthew Aucoin titled “Primal Loss: Four Hundred Years of Orpheus and Eurydice in Opera” in the Recital Hall on Thursday, Oct. 28 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Aucoin will discuss his opera Eurydice premiering at the Metropolitan Opera in November 2021, the influences of playwright Sarah Ruhl and the history of Orphic operas. Soprano Liv Redpath will perform selections from the play. Free.

Proof of vaccine or valid exemption required for all attendees.

See stallercenter.com/contact/Covid for details.

Sponsored by the English Department, the Office of the Provost, the Music Department, the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook, The Hellenic Center, the Graduate Student Organization, the Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, the Walt Whitman Birthplace, and the Walt Whitman Initiative.

For more information, www.stonybrook.edu/hisb