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Theatre Three

Join Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson its 15th annual New Year’s Laughin’ Eve at 6 p.m. (early bird show) or 8 p.m. (prime time show) with comedians Paul Anthony, Bryan McKenna, Maria Walsh and Chris Roach. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with laughter and hilarious fun! Tickets are $65 for the early bird show, $75 for the prime time show. 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 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.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will hold an open cast call for Tick, Tick … BOOM! on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. and Saturday November 18 at 1:30 p.m. 

Prepare 32 bars from the song of your choice in the style of the show (you may sing from the score). Readings from the script. Callbacks to be determined. Please bring picture/resume. Performance stipend of $40/performance. Rehearsals begin late December 2023. Performances will be held on the Mainstage from February 17 to March 16, 2024.

Before Rent, there was Tick, Tick… BOOM!. This autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer of Rent, is the story of a composer and the sacrifices that he made to achieve his big break in theatre. Containing fourteen songs, ten characters, three actors and a band, tick, tick… BOOM! takes you on the playwright/composer’s journey that led to a Broadway blockbuster.

His girlfriend wants to get married and move out of the city, his best friend is making big bucks on Madison Avenue and, yet, Jon is still waiting on tables and trying to write the great American musical. Set in 1990, this compelling story of personal discovery is presented as a rock musical filled with instantly appealing melodies and a unique blend of musical theatre styles.

Everyone will love this youthful, endearing and thoughtful piece, and will surely embrace the universal ideal of holding onto your dreams through life’s most difficult challenges. Tick, Tick… BOOM! features a three-person cast showcasing strong pop/rock singers and allowing performers to make creative character choices.

Director: Jeffrey Sanzel   Musical Director: Jeffrey Hoffman   Production Stage Manager: Melissa Troxler

THEATRE THREE is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. As such, we encourage performers of all races and ethnicities, gender identities, sexualities, and abilities to attend every audition. 

Casting:

JONATHAN. Male identifying, mid 20s to mid 30s. A struggling composer on the brink of his 30th birthday; strong narrator. A music geek with awkward tendencies; self-reflective. Michael’s roommate and Susan’s boyfriend; ability to play basic piano is preferred but not required. Pop-rock bari-tenor; written vocal range: top A4, bottom A2

SUSAN. Female identifying, mid 20s to mid 30s. Jonathan’s girlfriend; uninhibited and dynamic; nurturing, loving and supportive but growing increasingly frustrated with Jonathan’s pre-occupation and lack of commitment. Same performer plays a number of additional character roles requiring terrific comic timing. A dancer or strong mover preferred. Strong belt; written vocal range: top D5, bottom A3

MICHAEL. Male identifying, mid 20s to mid 30’s. Jonathan’s best friend from childhood; helpful, kind, funny, successful. Also doubles multiple roles. A friendly, welcoming presence. Warm bari-tenor; written vocal range: top Gb4, bottom Bb2

 

For more information, call 631-928-9100 or click here.

Jeffrey Sanzel returns as Ebenezer Scrooge for the 39th annual production of 'A Christmas Carol' at Theatre Three Photo by Steven Uihlein/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Melissa Arnold

Sure, it’s freezing outside and there’s probably a million things you need to do before the holidays arrive. But here’s a thought: before hunkering down to binge watch the newest Hallmark movies, why not enjoy some live entertainment?

Whether it’s an old classic or something new, local theaters have plenty of options for spreading holiday cheer. Here are just a few.

Community Playhouse of Northport presents ‘Elf’

Perhaps no modern character embodies the Christmas spirit more than Buddy Hobbs, famously played by Will Ferrell in the 2003 blockbuster Elf. The musical adaptation has all of the zany antics from the original film, along with fun music and some plot differences that make for a fresh experience even if you’ve seen the film.  

Life at the North Pole is all Buddy the Elf has ever known. He doesn’t know that he’s really human, raised by elves far away from his birth family. When he learns the truth, hyperactive Buddy sets out on an epic journey to find his father in New York City. Elf is a heartwarming and hilarious tale of self-discovery and family ties.

Budd (Gage Deoquino) and Jovie (Maeve Barth-Dwyer) star in ‘Elf.’ photo by Suzie Lustig

“There’s a timelessness to Elf, and Buddy has a way of charming people and making everyone feel good. Even though there’s a Christmas theme, it’s really about coming together as a family and I think everyone can relate to that,” said producer Suzie Lustig. 

Now in its 2nd season, the Community Playhouse was founded by a group of theater families who wanted to keep those traditions alive in Northport. The cast of Elf is comprised of 50 actors, giving as many people as possible the chance to get involved.

“Our youngest performer is 6 and the oldest is around 75, so there are opportunities for everyone. The relationships and connections that we’ve made are so important — we’re intentional about mentoring young performers and making everyone feel like they have a chance to grow here,” Lustig said. “Elf really fits into what we try to do with all of our shows — a multi-generational cast and a story that you can bring the entire family to. Live theater is fueled by the interaction between the performers and the audience; their enthusiasm and their laughter is what makes it such a fun and magical experience for everyone. We may be a streaming generation now, but there’s no replacement for being with a group of people and being entertained in person.”

If you go: Elf show dates are Nov. 9, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19 at the Brosnan Theater, 158 Laurel Avenue, Northport. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. An opportunity to meet the cast, including Santa, will precede Sunday performances at 1:30 p.m. Visit www.communityplayhousenorthport.org or call 631-683-8444 for tickets.

The Minstrel Players of Northport present  ‘A Christmas Carol’

Ask five people about their favorite version of A Christmas Carol and you’ll probably get just as many answers. Charles Dickens’ classic novella has spun off countless adaptations for the stage and screen, and it’s even common for small-town productions to add their own special touches.

Money-hungry Ebenezer Scrooge couldn’t care less about the Christmas season — he’s got no family and it hurts his business. But then he’s visited by three ghosts who show him how his bad attitude affected him and others in the past, present and potential future. It’s a deeply moving story about the choices we make, facing consequences and seeking forgiveness.

At The Minstrel Players, siblings Ray and Tara Palen were inspired to combine elements from their favorite versions of A Christmas Carol while writing their adaptation. This year’s narrator role will be split into two parts, with a male and female actor each taking a turn to tell the tale.

“In our show, we run the whole gamut of Scrooge’s life. We take a close look at his time in boarding school, including his falling in love for the first time and the end of that relationship. Ultimately, Scrooge falls in love with money instead,” said director Tricia Ieronimo. “I think the general message of hope and redemption, and seeing the change of heart for someone as crotchety as Scrooge, really resonates with audiences.”

The production has run successfully for nearly 20 years, with both audiences and actors returning regularly.

“The cast is up to 33 people now, with new adults and new children getting involved. We love welcoming new faces, whether they’re acting or helping out at the theater, and watching our audiences grow as well,” Ieronimo said. “We’ve really become a family over the years and that comes through in our productions.”

If you go: A Christmas Carol will be held at 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, and at 3 p.m. Dec. 10. Minstrel Players perform at the Houghton Hall Theatre at Trinity Episcopal Church, 130 Main St., Northport. For tickets, call 516-361-7232 or email [email protected].

Theatre Three of Port Jefferson presents ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Barnaby Saves Christmas’

From left, Sean Amato as Fred Halliwell and Jeffrey Sanzel as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 39th annual production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Theatre Three.
Photo by Steven Uihlein/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Theatre Three has a longstanding tradition of performing “A Christmas Carol” each year since 1984. In fact, executive artistic director Jeffrey Sanzel has played the role of Scrooge more than 1,500 times — and he’s not tired of it yet.

“I’ve said these lines literally thousands of times, but we’re always working with new people who are bringing their own readings to their roles. Sometimes a line will strike me differently than it has before, which changes my thought process,” Sanzel said. 

The full group of 28 actors is split into two casts. The 10 adult actors will appear in every show, while the younger actors will alternate. Several of the cast members have played in the show for many years, and some have even gone on to take adult roles after making their debut as children.

They have also put their own creative spin on Dickens’ storyline.

“The script is re-adapted every year, so it’s always evolving. Sometimes it can take several years for an idea to take shape and eventually work its way into the show. What’s great is we have people come year after year because they want to see what’s different. It’s always fresh and new.”

Please note, no children under 5 are permitted at this show.

If you go: A Christmas Carol runs from Nov. 11 to Dec. 30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson. Tickets are $25 per person in November; $40 adults $32 seniors and students in December. To purchase tickets, visit www.theatrethree.com or call (631) 928-9100.

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If you’re looking for something lighter, Barnaby Saves Christmas has become a holiday classic in its own right since its debut performance at Theatre Three in 2004. This original children’s production was written by Douglas Quattrock, the theater’s artistic associate and director of development.

In the early 2000s. Quattrock spent some time helping out in the sales office and found that they were always getting calls asking about a show for younger children.

“I play piano and I’ve always loved writing songs, so I had this idea to write about Santa’s littlest elf. It’s a story I would tell to my nieces and nephews when they were growing up,” Quattrock recalled. “After the first performance in 2004, [Theatre Three executive artistic director] Jeffrey Sanzel started working on it with me, and the script continued to evolve into what it is today. The camaraderie between Barnaby and Franklynne is really special, and there’s a powerful message about never giving up.”

Barnaby, the littlest elf, has always been told he’s too small to make a difference. But when trouble strikes at the North Pole, it’s up to Barnaby and his pal Frankie (the littlest reindeer) to stop Christmas from being canceled. The hour-long show is a sweet and magical story of self-confidence, friendship and resilience. Barnaby even gets to meet a Jewish family on his journey, who teaches him about Hanukkah and believing in miracles.

“Doug puts his whole heart into this show. It’s like Rankin and Bass caliber – beautiful, funny, heartwarming, with catchy music and a wonderful message that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can make a difference,” Sanzel said. “There are kids who have grown up seeing it and it’s one of our best-received children’s shows, which is why we bring it back year after year.”

If you go: Barnaby Saves Christmas runs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson. All seats are $12. To purchase tickets, visit www.theatrethree.com or call (631) 928-9100.

Smithtown Performing Arts Center presents ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)’

Some people love classic holiday movies and make it a tradition to watch them annually. But if you’re looking for a fun twist on those old favorites, the Smithtown Performing Arts Center (SPAC) has you covered.

This year’s holiday production, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some), was actually chosen for practical reasons.  

“We’re putting on a production of Frozen Jr. [for kids] during the winter, so we also wanted to do a show for adults that could run in the evenings while using the Frozen stage and set,” explained Kelly Mucciolo, managing director of SPAC. 

Productions like these are also known as “trunk shows” because they can be performed on any stage, feature a small cast, just a few props and little to no set decoration.

This three-man show introduces the audience to three burned-out actors that are sick of repeatedly performing A Christmas Carol year after year. They vent their frustrations to the audience before deciding to take matters into their own hands, piecing together a madcap performance that includes all of your Christmas favorites, carols, seasonal traditions from around the world and more.

“This is an off the cuff-style collection of every Christmas story you’ve ever heard of, put together in a very silly and slapdash way so you get a little bit of everything,” Mucciolo said. “This is such a happy time of year, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. I think this show is a fun way to spend an evening and get away from some of the hustle and bustle while still being out with your family.”

Come prepared for a little audience participation and maybe even some singing. 

Please note, this performance is recommended for ages 12 and up.

If you go: Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 23 at the Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown. Tickets are $32 for adults, with discounts for students and seniors. For showtimes and to purchase, visit www.smithtownpac.org.

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 Julianne Mosher

Theatre Three kicks off its 53rd season with the award-winning musical The Prom. Set in current day New York City and Indiana, The Prom brings humor and color to an important issue facing the nation — LGBTQIA rights.

Let me explain. Expertly directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, this high energy show starts off with four narcissistic Broadway stars who receive a terrible review about their latest play and their personalities. In order to gain positive feedback to counteract the reviewer’s comment of them being self-obsessed, they learn a trending news story happening in Indiana: a lesbian high school student was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to their prom which incited a riot of the local townspeople. 

The actors, Dee Dee Allen (Linda May), Barry Glickman (Ryan Nolin), Angie Dickinson (Sari Feldman) and Trent Oliver (Brian Gill) – along with the public relations rep, Sheldon (Jason Allyn) hitch a ride west to “selflessly” help the high schooler, Emma (Jae Hughes) gain back her prom. 

Set in a small town with big religious and conservative values, Emma is ostracized, bullied and is blamed for the school board cancelling the prom…until the stars show up dripping in glitter and voicing their opinions with their big personalities and  sharing with the world how they are helping Emma. 

With standout performances by Hughes, they make you feel strong emotion for the drama they are going through in the show. While the play has many highs, a lot of laughs and catchy musical numbers, the show will bring you to tears – especially if you know someone who has gone through a struggle with acceptance.

Interestingly, several details from The Prom were actually based on real-life events. In 2010, Mississippi student Constance McMillen was not admitted into her prom with her girlfriend – and the parents there also tried to separate the straight kids from the LGBTQIA students.

McMillen went to court. Her case was taken by the ACLU and was awarded a payment of $35,000 from the school district that hurt her. They then implemented a non-discrimination policy. 

But while Hughes’ emotional journey, and the main purpose of this show, is heavy and starting of a movement, you can appreciate May, Nolin, Feldman, Gill and Allyn’s silly, charismatic personalities to lighten the mood. You’d actually believe they are Broadway stars with their stellar performances. In fact, everyone on the stage from the main characters to the ensemble deserves constant standing ovations for their professionalism and talent. Even the smallest roles were noticed.

Throughout the show, secrets are unveiled, twists are made and conflict ensues, keeping the audience engaged from start to finish. The set design, by Randall Parsons, is completely reminiscent of a high school auditorium – especially when it gets decorated for the big dance. Allyn and Joe Kassner’s costume design are also impressive. The big personalities of the Broadway stars required a lot of glitter and that’s exactly what they had. Plus, Rico’s Clothing, based in Center Moriches, donated the men’s formal wear for the show. 

All in all, the show is something you could watch over and over, laughing and crying (in a good way!) every time. Theatre Three’s The Prom is an important play that will make people think the following: We are all human, love is love, and “I wish I had a friend like Barry to help me dress up for my prom!”

Don’t miss this one.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents The Prom on the Mainstage through Oct. 21. Tickets are $40 adults, $32 seniors, $20 students, and $20 children ages 5 and up. To order, please call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

The first of eight documentaries will be 'Rather' on Sept. 18 — At the age of 92, iconic journalist Dan Rather reflects on his career that spans seven decades.

By Tara Mae

Whether there is too much or never enough of it, time may either soften memories with nostalgia or sharpen remembrances with accrued insight. Through art and action, the Fall 2023 Port Jefferson Documentary Series (PJDS) highlights the intricacies of this dynamic both onscreen and behind-the-scenes. 

On specific Monday evenings between September 18 and November 13, at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson and John F. Kennedy Middle School, 200 Jayne Blvd., Port Jefferson Station, the award-winning doc series will share eight distinct stories.  

Encompassing reflections on a career well-chronicled; a quickly encroaching catastrophe; a calamitous crisis averted; or, a curious occurrence, screenings will be followed by Q&As with guest speakers. Tom Needham, executive producer and host of “Sounds of Film” on WUSB, will once again serve as moderator. 

“Our setup has not changed either behind-the-scenes or in how we choose the documentaries,” said PJDS co-director Lyn Boland. “We assess production values, whether it is a good story, and if it is available to film festivals instead of streaming — we want it to be new. We also prefer films where the director is available to talk in one sense or another.”

Now in its 38th season, the PJDS, which began in 2005, excavates tangible accomplishments and existential inquiries. In interactive interviews with documentarians, it seeks answers from those who first sought to ask the questions. 

Sponsored by Maggio Environmental and Wellness; Covati & Janhsen, CPAS PC; and Port Jeff Storage,  the season opens with Rather, a film that examines Dan Rather’s ongoing seven decade journalistic career and his continued dedication to making a difference.

We Dare to Dream traverses the triumphs and trials of 29 elite athletes. Deprived of their home countries, they strive for international success while preparing to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as part of the International Olympic Committee’s Refugee Olympic team. (This event will also feature a pre-show concert at Port Jefferson Methodist Church by pianist Jacqueline Schwab.) 

Time Bomb Y2K revisits when, on the verge of a new millennium, the world feared that all of technology was about to have a nervous breakdown on New Year’s Day. 

Between the Rains covers a 4 year period when record low rainfall in Kenya caused a reckoning for children caught in a culture being eroded by climate change.

Israel Swings for Gold traces the trajectory of Israel’s baseball team as it makes it Olympic debut in 2021.

Rolling Along recounts Bill Bradley’s revelatory professional career as informed by his personal ethos: Rhodes Scholar, champion New York Knicks recruit, and noted New Jersey senator.  

Maestra showcases the melodious moments and discordant dilemmas women face as they compete in the world’s only all-female conducting competition. 

Lastly, A Revolution on Canvas investigates the intriguing disappearance of more than 100 “treasonous” paintings by contemporary Iranian artist Nickzad Nodjoumi. 

(For dates and times, please see Film Schedule below.)

Each documentary is selected by one of the “film ladies,” as Lyn Boland, Wendy Feinberg, Barbara Sverd and Honey Katz are known. They present their choices to the PJDS board. Top contenders from those viewings are shared with three esteemed longtime volunteers, Denise Livrieri, Yvonne Lieffrig, and Debbie Bolvadin, who then also vote on the films. 

“It is important to have a wide variety of people choosing films; we know we each have private preferences that we always gravitate towards. If you do not have a wide group, you may leave out some of your audience,” Boland said. “We are lucky that our audience really trusts us. They know that we are invested and looked into the films personally, so we feel the documentaries are special to include.”

According to Boland, once the films are chosen, securing the rights to them and gaining access to the speakers is a game of cat and mouse. So, the hunt is on as soon film festivals announce their lineups. The Series’ cast of characters divides and conquers, attending screenings and identifying potential contenders for PJDS. 

“Once I have focused on a film I would like to present, the fun of the chase begins! Nailing down films, dates, directors or producers, and working out schedule conflicts are issues we have to contend with when programming a series. So, it [helps] when you have a connection to anyone associated with the film,” explained Sverd.  

Such relationships have been forged and nurtured over the years with different producers and directors who have previously shown their work during the Series. Rather and Time Bomb Y2K come from creators who screened earlier films through PJDS. Between the Rains and Rolling Along were acquired through Sverd’s and Feinberg’s respective personal connections. 

“I am looking forward to seeing many of our repeat guests and also the new folks who will be attending the films this season,” said Feinberg.

In addition to making contacts and advancing the films, each member brings their individual skill sets, contributing what best aligns with their interests and industries, including law, event planning, education, and graphic design. Primary and paramount requirement for joining the team — it is looking for new volunteers — is simply being a film buff.  

That passion translates to the audience, which includes familiar faces and new fans.

“In this day and age, with so much available to see and watch, it is just great that people appreciate the kind of experience that we offer,” Boland said.

Individual tickets are $10 (cash only) at the door, a combination ticket for the concert and documentary on is $15, or in advance at www.portjeffdocumentaryseries.com.

FILM SCHEDULE
A scene from ‘Rather’

◆ The Fall 2023 season kicks off with a screening of Rather at Theatre Three on September 18 at 7 p.m. Guest speakers will be Co-Producer Taylor Wildenhaus and Sarah Baxter, Director of the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting. Co-sponsored by the Stony Brook University School of Communications & Journalism and the Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting. 

‘We Dare to Dream’

We Dare to Dream will be screened at Theatre Three on October 2 at 7:30 p.m. Preceded by a special concert featuring pianist at First United Methodist Church, 603 Main St., Port Jefferson at 6:30 p.m. Guest speaker via Zoom will be Director Waad Al-Kateab. Sponsored by Danfords Hotel & Marina and The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club.

‘Time Bomb Y2K’

◆ Next up is Time Bomb Y2K at Theatre Three on October 9 at 7 p.m. Guest speakers will be Co-Directors Brian Becker and/or Marley McDonald.

‘Between the Rains’

Between the Rains will be screened at JFK Middle School on October 16 at 7 p.m. Guest speakers will be co-director Andrew H. Brown via Zoom and Dr. Dino Martins, CEO of the Turkana Basin Institute. Co-sponsored by the Turkana Basin Institute of Kenya and its affiliate, Stony Brook University.

‘Israel Swings for Gold’

◆ The season continues with Israel Swings for Gold at JFK Middle School on October 23 at 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be Co-Director Jeremy Newberger. Co-sponsored by North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jefferson Station and Temple Isaiah in Stony Brook.

‘Rolling Along’

◆ A special screening of Rolling Along will be held at JFK Middle School on October 30 at 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be former U.S. Senator and screenwriter Bill Bradley in person.

‘Maestra’

Maestra heads to JFK Middle School on November 6 at 7 p.m. Guest speakers will be Director Maggie Contreras via Zoom and Melisse Brunet, Conductor and subject in the film. Sponsored by Danfords Hotel & Marina and The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club.

‘A Revolution on Canvas’

◆ The season concludes with a screening of A Revolution on Canvas at Theatre Three on November 13 at 7 p.m. Guest speakers will be Co-Directors Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder. Sponsored by Danfords Hotel & Marina and The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club.

For more information, call 631-473-5220 or visit www.portjeffersondocumentaryseries.com.

 

Theatre Three's 'A Christmas Carol' cast of 2022. Photo courtesy of Theatre Three

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will hold Young People’s auditions (ages 8–17) for its 39th annual production of the holiday classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. 

They will be double-casting nine roles (for a total of eighteen young people). Readings are provided. A Christmas carol (“Christmas Is Coming”) will be taught. Rehearsals begin late September and are weeknights (beginning at 7 p.m.); Saturdays (mornings or afternoons); and Sundays (mornings, afternoons, or evenings). Young people must appear in half of the performances, including the student matinees. Performances will be held from Nov. 11 to  Dec. 30, 2023.

 For full details visit http://theatrethree.com/auditions.html. For more information, call 631-928-9100.

By Heidi Sutton

Every five years or so, Theatre Three reaches deep into its vault of scripts and pulls out a gem. This time it’s Alice’s Most Decidedly Unusual Adventures in Wonderland, an original musical based on the colorful characters sprung from Lewis Carroll’s imagination for his 1865 much-loved children’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass in 1871. The show opened on Aug. 4 to a packed house.

With the message to be true to yourself and to find your own voice, this year’s production, written by Jeffrey Sanzel, features a brand new score by Douglas J. Quattrock, exquisite costumes by Jason Allyn and a cast of over 35 actors who seamlessly play multiple roles.

Directed by Sanzel, the show opens on a rainy day at Camp Carroll Woods. The campers are bored and the camp counselor tries to keep them entertained indoors with a sing-along. A white rabbit suddenly appears but only one of the campers, Alice (Jillian Sharpe), can see him. In a curious pursuit, she tumbles down a rabbit hole and ends up in Wonderland where her “unusual adventure” begins.

With The Cheshire Cat (Kiernan Urso) always in the shadows, a strong-willed Alice must match wits with a list of bizarre characters as she takes part in a “What’s My Name?” contest with The Caterpillar (Heather Rose Kuhn); joins a tea party with The Mad Hatter (Steven Uihlein), The March Hare (Kaitlyn Jehle) and The Dormouse (Hazel Kamath); catches a ride with The White Knight (Liam Marsigliano); meets Tweedledee (Kaitlyn Jehle) and Tweedledum (Heather Rose Kuhn); and is invited to a game of croquet by The Queen of Hearts (Ginger Dalton), all while trying to catch up with The White Rabbit (Ava Garcia) and find her way home. When the kingdom’s tarts go missing, Alice is accused of stealing and must stand trial. Will she find her voice in time? 

Of course, a show like this would not be possible without the supporting cast — members of Theatre Three’s summer acting workshops play numerous roles including campers, contestants in a game show, flowers and a deck of playing cards.

The music and dance numbers, accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock, are terrific, especially “Here” with Alice and The Cheshire Cat; “Tea!” by the Mad Hatter, “Song of a Very Sad Knight” by The White Knight; “A Question of Belief” by Alice, and “Let the Good Times Roll” by The Queen of Hearts (“Nothing cheers me up like a good clean chop!”)

Full of whimsy and loaded with riddles, the play is a lot of nonsense, as Alice would say, but it sure is fun to watch as it gives a fresh feel to the story of the adventurous little girl following that dutifully late white rabbit through a maze of imaginative vignettes. Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for a keepsake photo.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Alice’s Most Decidedly Unusual Adventures in Wonderland on Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. and Aug. 12 at 11 a.m and again at 2 p.m. Children’s theater continues with A Kooky Spooky Halloween from Oct. 7 to 21 and the holiday classic Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30. All seats are $12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.