Tag Archive | "Bay Street Theater"

Hudson Galardi-Troy

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HUDSON TROY ABRAMS ARTISTS

Hudson Galardi-Troy was bitten by the theater bug when he played Dill in “To Kill A Mockingbird” at Bay Street three years ago. Since then he’s gotten himself an agent, been in countless plays, and has again landed a part in this year’s production of the same play – but this time as one of the leading roles, Jem. The 11-year-old spoke to us about his love of acting and some of his hopes and dreams for the future.

 By Mara Certic

What was it about that first performance that made you want to keep on acting?

Well, playing Dill was my first real performance, so when I went on I realized it was really fun. I just get this good feeling when I’m on stage. With everyone watching you it can get sort of pressure-ish, in a good way. So I just said “I want to do more of this,” so we went into the city and got me an agent and then we were sending me out to some auditions. I changed agents a few times and now I’m with Abrams Artists Agency and they’re really good.

Your mom, Susan Galardi, played Miss Maudie in “To Kill a Mockingbird” when you were Dill and now she’s your acting and singing coach. How do you like working with her?

It’s fun. I mean, I get to rehearse at home, so it’s not like I’m with someone I don’t know, so I don’t hold back. Like if I’m getting a singing lesson, maybe some people would be nervous but since I’m with my mom it’s just like “Oh hey, Mom!”

Literature LIVE is designed specifically for middle and high school students. How has being in the performance helped you learn about the book?

Well when I was first in it, in third grade, my mom read me five pages of the book every night until we finished it, which took a long time. But even though there are some bad words, and it’s from a time that wasn’t very nice, I felt that I was learning about the time period way before we started learning about that in school. So when we ended up studying that time in school it really helped me.

How does it feel to be back in the role that got it all started?

It’s a different director so it has a different sort of take and the other actors are very different. Playing Dill in “To Kill a Mockingbird” three years ago was really the first time I was in a play. Since then I’ve been in readings in the city, I got offered to go on the tour for Broadway, around the country, I’ve done my mom’s theater camp, I did readings called “Ashes and Ink” and “The Silent and the Beautiful” and I did “Galapagos”—I was a tortoise.

Right now, what would be your dream role to play?

Well, I know I’m too young to play the role but I really, really, really want to be in “Les Mis,” as that Javert guy. I also told my agent I want to be on “Modern Family,” but kind of as a joke. I really want to be on a sitcom. I just auditioned for a show on Nickelodeon, it’s a TV show based on the movie, “School of Rock,” and the call backs are next week. It would be for two months in L.A.

How much time do you spend at home in Sag Harbor versus travelling to the city?

Right now I’m not going to any auditions unless it’s really, really big, because I’m in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and I don’t have time. But after that, after “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I’ll go to the city for maybe one or two a week.

How do you strike a balance between your acting and being a kid?

If I get offered a role we make a list of pros and cons, so like: you’ll get a lot of money, but you’ll have to stay away from your friends, stuff like that. But normally, when I get home from school I take a 20-minute break, so that can be reading or playing outside. Then I get all of my homework out of the way. And then after that I can have a friend over, and we can go outside or go swimming. I like hanging out with my friends, I surf, I snowboard, I play a lot of sports. And I like to swim, I really like to swim.

To Kill a Mockingbird will be at Bay Street Theater until November 29. For more information or to reserve tickets call (631) 725-9500.

 

Mockingbird Brings Literature Alive at Bay Street Theatre

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Thomas Schiavoni, Jemma Kosanke, Carolyn Popp and HudsonTroy in "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Thomas Schiavoni, Jemma Kosanke, Carolyn Popp and HudsonTroy in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

By Annette Hinkle

Chloe Dirksen narrates as the older Scout in Bay Street Theater's "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Chloe Dirksen narrates as the older Scout in Bay Street Theater’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Getting kids to connect with great literature isn’t as easy as it once was. These days the simple book vies for attention in an increasingly competitive world against the likes of video games, online streaming and social media.

Fortunately, Bay Street Theater has designed a sure fire way to get kids excited about the classics. Each fall, the Literature Live! program takes a classic novel that is typically part of middle or high school curriculums and brings it to life on the stage.

Now in its 6th year, this year’s Literature Live! offering is Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The play runs November 7 to 29 with weekday performances for school groups and weekend shows for the general public.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is the story of Atticus Finch, a small town lawyer and the father of two young children, Scout and Jem, who becomes embroiled in controversy when he takes on the case of Tom Robinson, a local black man accused of raping a white woman. Passions and prejudice run deep in Depression-era Maycomb, Alabama, where the story is set. Atticus, a widower who is raising his children with the help of his housekeeper, Calpurnia, not only speaks frankly with them about the sensitive nature of the case he has taken on, but also tackles the issue of prejudice via the open hostility directed toward them all as a result, all while carefully avoiding the fostering of hatred and intolerance in his own children.

It’s a powerful piece of literature and director Joe Minutillo is in a unique position to turn it into a theatrical offering that is both educational and entertaining. For close to 35 years, he worked as a teacher in the Eastport/South Manor school district where he taught the classics, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” to his students.

“If you took a poll of English teachers — and teachers in general — they would probably say this is one of the best novels to teach,” says Mr. Minutillo. “The narration throughout the story is so colorful, as is the way Harper Lee describes things. It’s almost impossible not to get the flavor of that time period in the south.”

“The thing about this play, it’s such a great opportunity to teach not just the literature part of it, but that time period of our history which is kind of ugly,” concedes Mr. Minutillo.

And it’s not entirely behind us.

Though the novel is more than 50 years old, Mr. Minutillo notes it remains as relevant as ever given the racial tensions that have boiled over in recent months in places like Ferguson, Missouri where an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer in August.

“This is still happening,” says Mr. Minutillo. “I think teachers see that and realize the importance of it today. It’s not over. There is still so much work to be done on acceptance — whether it’s about race, religion or sexual preference.”

Because it is geared toward school-age audiences Mr. Minutillo has just 90 minutes to tell the whole story of the novel. For that reason, he has decided to rely on the narrator to fill in the gaps where characters and scenes can’t be included. In this production, that narrator is the adult Scout (played by Chloë Dirksen) who reflects back on the seminal events of her childhood and puts them into perspective.

It’s a bit of a departure from the script in which the Finch’s neighbor, Miss Maudie, is the narrator. But Mr. Minutillo felt strongly that because the book is written as a recollection of the grown up Scout, it made sense from an educational perspective to use her as the narrator’s voice.

“Everything I say is straight from the book – it’s the most gorgeous prose and so exciting to speak Harper Lee’s words,” says Ms. Dirksen, a resident of Sag Harbor who remembers reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” when she was 13. Though she hadn’t read the book since, the voice of Scout has stayed with her.

“There’s something special about the way this character is reflecting on her loss of innocence at a time when her world went from being quaint and small to the bubble bursting,” says Ms. Dirksen. “She comes to understand not just the darkness, but her father and what a hero he was.”

Atticus Finch is, indeed, one of the most iconic characters in American literature. Which means Scott Eck, the New York City-based actor who is playing Atticus, has some big shoes to fill.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the actor,” admits Mr. Eck. “It’s a lot to live up to from the literary, theatrical and historical standpoint. Atticus is a man who’s aware enough of the conditions of segregation to know what he’s up against.”

Yet he’s a character who is willing to stand up for what he believes in, even if it means putting his own children at risk.

“One of the great things Bay Street does is choose plays for their literary series to get the conversation started,” says Mr. Eck. “Theater is one of the best educators we have. If one student has his or her thinking changed by coming to this play, then it’s worth the whole run.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird” runs November 7 to 29 at the Bay Street Theater. The cast includes Chloë Dirksen, Cooki Winborn, Jemma Kosanke, Carolyn Popp, Rob DiSario, William Sturek, Jessica Mortellaro, Joe Pallister, Hudson Troy, Thomas Schiavoni, Scott Eck, Chauncy Thomas and Al Bundonis. In addition to weekday shows for school groups, public performances are offered at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There will also be Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on November 15, 22 and 29. Students are admitted free with a valid ID and adults are $25. Call (631) 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org for tickets.

Masters of the Telecaster Come to Bay Street Theater

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GE Smith

GE Smith

By Emily J. Weitz

Jim Weidner

Jim Weidner

To understand the jam that is set to unfold at Bay Street Theater this weekend, you must first understand the Telecaster guitar as an instrument. Introduced to popular culture in 1950 by Fender, this solid-body electric guitar broadcasted its sound in a way that no other instrument had. The Telecaster has been a choice instrument of Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, and George Harrison, and has contributed greatly to the sound and history of rock and roll.

Jim Weider, former member of The Band, will be one of the three Telecaster virtuosos playing on Saturday. He first heard the instrument in the 1950s.

“I saw it with guys like Jim Burton, who played with Elvis,” recalled Mr. Weider, “and Steve Cropper, who played with Otis Redding.”

He was drawn to the sound, which had a distinctive ring to it.

“It’s harder than a Gibson, though,” he said, “because it has a longer scale length. You have to work harder to get notes to ring out of it.”

He committed himself to the instrument, and has become one of only a select group of musicians to be endorsed by Fender. He explores the range of sounds a telecaster can produce.

“There’s the clean twang,” he said, “to the distorted feedback through classic Fender amps. What made these classic tunes is the sounds and tones of these instruments.”

Mr. Weider, who played with The Band for 15 years and has since played with a variety of groups including the Midnight Ramble Band with the late Levon Helm and Larry Campbell, first decided to put together a show devoted to the telecaster guitar just for fun.

“It was Roy Buchanan’s birthday,” he said, “and he really inspired me on the telecaster.”

Larry Campbell with wife and fellow musician Teresa Williams.

Larry Campbell with wife and fellow musician Teresa Williams.

Mr. Weider first heard Buchanan, who’s considered a pioneer on the instrument, doing psychedelic feed on the telecaster in 1971, and was blown away by it. So for Buchanan’s birthday one year, he thought he’d bring together a few great telecaster players.

“I called up GE Smith to see if he wanted to do it,” he said, “and being a total tele player and great musicologist, he jumped aboard, and it was fantastic. It started growing.”

GE Smith led the Saturday Night Live Band for ten years, and has also toured with Bob Dylan. Together, Jim Weider and GE Smith have done many shows together over the decades since that birthday party, and they’ve experimented with the third player. At Bay Street, they’ll bring in Mr. Campbell, a band mate of Weider’s from the Midnight Ramble Band and a master telecaster player himself.

Larry Campbell is a three-time Grammy Award winning producer who plays many instruments, including the Telecaster. He also toured with Bob Dylan and has played with other artists like Judy Collings, Levon Helm, Sheryl Crow, BB King, and Willie Nelson.

“GE is one of the best I’ve heard on the planet,” said Mr. Weider, “and Larry too. The Telecaster is great for country, blues, rock and roll, and R and B. so each of us pick four or five songs and we go from one to the next with some solos.”

The backup band, which was Levon Helm’s backup band, consists of drums, bass, and keyboards. Together, they play classic songs that really allow the telecaster to shine.

“It’s no pressure, not all on one guy,” said Mr. Weider. “There are enough players that we can really throw it around and jam. We always try something we haven’t tried.”

The Telecaster, Mr. Weider says, is an expressive instrument, and that’s what comes across in these shows.

“More than just playing the tunes and rocking it up,” he said, “it’s about getting the real tones. Telecasters cut through the sound. You can really hear them… You have to experience it.”

The Masters of the Telecaster will give Sag Harbor precisely that experience on Saturday night 8pm at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. Taylor Barton, a singer/songwriter who learned to play among the likes of Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia, will open for them. Tickets are $35 and are available online at baystreet.org or at the box office – 725-9500.

 

“Judy Gold: 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother” Comes to Bay Street Theater

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Judy Gold; Leslie E. Bohm photo.

Judy Gold; Leslie E. Bohm photo.

By Annette Hinkle

As a stand-up comedian, Judy Gold has gotten a lot of mileage out of Jewish mothers — particularly her own.

“I’m pretty sure I’m a comedian because of her contribution,” admits Ms. Gold. “I didn’t get a lot of affection, but she’s really funny, my mother, and says things that are so outrageous I’d be a fetal position if I didn’t laugh about it.”

Yes, the image of the neurotic, overprotective, self-sacrificing Jewish mother may be fertile ground for good humor, but Ms. Gold — A Jewish mother herself to sons Henry, 18, and Ben, 13 — wondered if there might be more to the matter beyond the punch line.

That part of the story is told in “Judy Gold: 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother,” Ms. Gold’s one woman show which she brings to the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Saturday, October 11.

“It’s the story of me becoming a mother,” explains Ms. Gold, an actress and writer who took home two Emmy Awards for writing and producing “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” “Initially, I wanted to see how I fit into that stereotypical Jewish mother role. I was always criticized by the Jewish press for promoting a stereotype. But it’s not exactly a stereotype if it’s coming out of my mother’s mouth.”

So Ms. Gold and playwright Kate Moira Ryan hit the road in an effort to meet with a cross-section of Jewish mothers to see if their philosophies, motivations and relationships were similar to her own. Over the course of five years, they traversed the country talking to 50 Jewish women about their lives and experiences as spouses and mothers.

“We interviewed women all over and they were so not like each other,” says Ms. Gold. “It was an incredible journey, I can’t even tell you.”

Ms. Gold and Ms. Ryan turned those interviews into a book titled “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.” Ms. Gold’s monologue, based on the book, premiered Off-Broadway in 2006 at the Ars Nova Theater in New York City. In it, Ms. Gold assumes the identity of many of the women she interviewed. The show won the 2007 GLAAD award for Outstanding New York Theater and while she is well-known for her comedic abilities, Ms. Gold notes there are some seriously poignant moments in this piece.

“It’s funny, but it’s also intense,” she explains.

Among the Jewish mothers Ms. Gold and Ms. Ryan met in their travels was a group of ultra Orthodox women living in Queens. Ms. Gold recalls that the husband of one of the women stood by the stairwell all evening listening to their discussion.

“When we were leaving, he said ‘I’ve known most of these women for over 40 years, and I feel like I now know them for the first time,’” says Ms. Gold.

The reason for that was simply because no one had thought to ask them the questions before.

“I feel it wasn’t like an interview to psychoan1alyze them, but an opportunity for them to tell their side of the story,” says Ms. Gold. “I felt like for the first time in a long time, if ever, these women were being asked about their lives instead of their kids or their husbands’ lives.”

One Orthodox woman shared a story about her daughter who was dating a man she didn’t approve of.

“She was so mean to the guy they broke up,” says Ms. Gold. “From the mother’s point of view this was the best thing she could do for the daughter.”

But when Ms. Gold interviewed the daughter, she told her that she never forgave her mother for driving the man away.

Mothers insinuating themselves in their children’s relationships came up more than once in her travels, and Ms. Gold tells another story of a mother who virtually disowned her son after he married and had children with a non-Jewish woman.

“She cut it off and sat Shiva as if they were dead,” says Ms. Gold. “A few years later, the mother was waiting in a doctor’s office with another woman who had little kids with her. She commented on how well behaved the kids were. The doctor came out and yelled for Mrs. Hoffman, and they both got up.”

“She realized those were here grandkids and that woman was her daughter-in-law,” adds Ms. Gold. “She never went to that doctor again.”

And she never talked to her son and daughter-in-law or saw her grandchildren again.

While the women all had very unique and personal stories to share, Ms. Gold found there was one common denominator among them all.

“When we did the interview at a home, they always had food,” says Ms. Gold who adds that the show also includes extremely moving stories shared by Holocaust survivors and their children.

It’s hardly the sort of material one would expect from a stand-up comedian, but Ms. Gold stresses that this monologue offers audiences a much different experience.

“I love doing standup, but I have more dimensions than just telling jokes,” says Ms. Gold. “In a comedy club you have to keep them laughing every 30 seconds. But when you go in a theater, people are sitting and ready to listen.”

And with “25 Questions For A Jewish Mother,” audiences will get an earful. While the show offers an in-depth look at one very specific demographic, Ms. Gold is pleased to report that it has universal appeal.

“So many people come up to me and say ‘I’m not Jewish, but I have the same mother,” says Ms. Gold. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s a story many people can relate to.”

“Judy Gold: 25 Questions For A Jewish Mother” is Saturday, October 11 at 8 p.m. at Bay Street Theater, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor. Tickets are $59 to $89. Call 724-9500 to reserve or visit baystreet.org.

Bay Street Theater to Make Sag Harbor Funnier this Weekend

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Joe Vecsey

Joe Vecsey, organizer of Bay Street Theater’s “All Star Comedy Show” this weekend.

By Gianna Volpe

When it comes to this weekend’s HarborFest, one “marina” in town will harbor chuckles and snickers rather than cabin cruisers and sailboats, and that is New York-based comic Marina Franklin, who will headline the first fall installation of Joe Vecsey’s “All Star Comedy Show” this Saturday, September 13, at Bay Street Theater at 8 p.m.

Ms. Franklin, a 15-year veteran of stand-up comedy, has appeared everywhere from Jay Leno to Chappelle’s Show. This weekend, she returns to Sag Harbor for her second “All Star Comedy” performance.

“I’ve also been there before working with Tom Papa, which was my first introduction to the theater,” said Ms. Franklin of her first visit to Bay Street. “Then Joe Vecsey booked me there last summer and they wanted to have me back, so I’m happy to return.”

Mr. Vecsey, another New York-based comic whose podcast “The Call Back” includes interviews with some of the industry’s brightest stars, said the upcoming event, which will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, reflects an expansion of the theater’s offerings.

“The person that came up with the idea was [Bay Street Theater's managing director] Gary Hygom,” Mr. Vecsey said about adding a second date to the annual “All Star Comedy Show.”

“He saw the show was getting more successful, so he said, ‘Why don’t we try one during HarborFest when people are in town and Sag Harbor’s more crowded. Then maybe you can get a DJ to incorporate music into it a little bit.’”

Mr. Hygom has long championed comedy at Bay Street Theater, according to Mr. Vecsey.

“Gary Hygom was the one who took me on when he hadn’t even seen me do comedy yet; the guy I’ve worked with from the very beginning,” Mr. Vecsey said of his creation of the show four years ago. “He really took a chance on the whole idea…I didn’t even need to rent the theater upfront, which is what you’d usually have to do for something like this.”

Mr. Vecsey, who will be the show’s least experienced comic performer at four years in the industry, said he is thrilled both with the show’s success and his ability to build a comedic bridge between Sag Harbor and the city.

“I’m really—obviously—happy that they would add a second show because it shows that it’s improving and becoming more successful,” said the 25-year-old stand-up comedian. “I’m also excited to bring comedy out there…With me being in the comedy scene in New York, I’m able to bring a very high caliber of comics…Not everyone can get certain names to come all the way out there.”

Mr. Vecsey, whose parents own a home on Shelter Island, said he initially sought to create the variety show to couple a quality venue with the rising stars of comedy in New York.

“I saw that the theater didn’t have a show for anybody who wasn’t a headliner, so I pitched them the idea,” he said. “This all star show features well-established up-and-coming comics that you may not have heard of or who are not necessarily famous just yet.”

Besides Ms. Franklin and Mr. Vecsey, comics who will perform at the theater’s variety show this Saturday at 8 p.m. include Akaash Singh and Giulio Gallarotti, comics who have both been featured on various MTV programs.

“As a kid I always wanted to try [stand-up comedy], but was too scared,” Mr. Gallarotti said of his long-standing passion for the oral art of stand-up. “Then while working in the city after I graduated from college, I signed up for a show and invited all of my friends so I couldn’t back out.”

That was five years ago. This weekend, the 28-year-old comic will perform at Bay Street Theater for his first time.

“I told Joe Vecsey I wanted to perform out there because when I was in college I used to go out to Amagansett all the time to teach tennis lessons,” he said.

Part of Bay Street Theater’s appeal to comedians lies in the mere fact that it’s a theater, according to Mr. Vecsey.?“The theater is such a cool, prestigious place to perform,” said Mr. Vecsey. “There’s not an overwhelming amount of venues that comedians like to perform at that are really nice and – obviously – Bay Street is one of them. No one who comes to the theater to perform is disappointed.”

Ms. Franklin received her master’s degree in theater from Syracuse University, which she said, makes her partial to theater-based performances, adding her career in stand-up comedy was born from a frustrating lack of theatrical outlets during her post-college move to New York City.

“I’m a person who’s always loved being on stage and I had people telling me I was really funny, so I veered off from theater and started doing stand-up,” she said.

Ms. Franklin, who has performed everywhere from South Africa to Australia, said her background in the fine arts make performances at Bay Street Theater a particular treat.

“Since it’s on a stage, usually the set is still there from the previous show, so that’s always fun because it’s not just you and a curtain,” she said. “And then the audiences that usually come to Bay Street come because they’re eager to see shows, so it’s not like in comedy clubs where people are out drinking and it may be a last-minute decision or they’re from other countries. Bay Street…is a little more localized to the Hamptons and people who are really into theater.”

East End Weekend: Highlights of August 22 to 24

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Dean Taylor Johnson, MARILYN. Courtesy Monika Olko Gallery.

Dean Taylor Johnson, MARILYN. Courtesy Monika Olko Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Sick of the beach? That’s strange, but luckily there’s ample else to do around the East End this weekend. Here are our weekend highlights:

 

Introducing his latest body of work, Dean Johnson will show “Living Legends” at the Monika Olko Gallery, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The show, which features iconic figures in “living pieces,” of mixed media, always changing LED light panels composed of plexi-resin, pigmented inks, film and encaustic wax dyed with oil paints. The Sag Harbor gallery is sponsoring a fundraising event to benefit the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center‘s Southampton office as part of the opening reception.

The Monika Olko Gallery is located at 95 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call Art Curator and Gallery Manager Wafa Faith Hallam at (631) 899-4740.

 

Dougenis, Abstract Rubber Plant (Blue), c. 1977, watercolor on Arches, 25 x 13 inches. Photo by Gary Mamay.

Dougenis, Abstract Rubber Plant (Blue), c. 1977, watercolor on Arches, 25 x 13 inches. Photo by Gary Mamay.

At the Peter Marcelle Project in Southampton, Miriam Dougenis will show her early selected watercolors, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Known primarily for her contemporary oil on canvas landscapes, characterized by her unique style and the use of familiar locations around the East End, the local artist is also an award-winning watercolor artist. The exhibition, on view from August 23 through September 9, showcases examples of her earliest watercolors from the 70′s and 80′s.

The Peter Marcelle Project is located at 4 North Main Street in Southampton. For more information, contact Catherine McCormick at (631) 613.6170.

 

Before you head to Sag Harbor Saturday, stop by Marder’s in Bridgehampton where there will be free, live music from 3 to 5 p.m. A string trio in the garden will play classical music featuring Vivaldi, Bach and select composers. The concert is free of charge and all are welcome.

Marder’s is located at 120 Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton. For more information, call (631) 537-3700.

 

Stages presents “The Wind in the Willows” at the Pierson High School auditorium this weekend, with performances on Friday, August 22, at 7 p.m., Saturday, August 23, at 4 p.m., and Sunday, August 24 at 4 p.m.

Based on the English children’s classic by Kenneth Grahame, “The Wind in the Willows” follows the comedic story of Mr. Toad and his friends, McBadger, Rat and Mole, as they go on the classic, hilarious adventures.

Mr. Toad in his infamous motor car.

Mr. Toad in his infamous motor car.

Helene Leonard will direct the full-length musical production, an original version of the script that was written for television by her late father, Jerry Leonard. Mr. Leonard wrote the music and lyrics along with John Petrone, and there is additional music by Larry Loeber.

All tickets are $15. For reservations, call (631) 329-1420.

 

 

At Duck Creek Farm in East Hampton, Amagansett artist Christine Sciulli will show “Quiet Riot,” an immersive site-specific projection installation presented by the John Little Society.

The installation will be open to the public by appointment and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m. through September 20.

In her primary medium of projected light, Ms. Sciulli “asks us to consider the potential of simple geometry by projecting these forms onto a network of materials that fragment and expand on their structures.

The installation will be in the John Little Barn at Duck Creek Farm, located at 367 Three Mile Harbor to Hog Creek Road (enter and park at north access to Squaw Road) in East Hampton. For more information on the artist, visit sound and vision or vimeo.

 

BLACKOUT at Bay Street. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

BLACKOUT at Bay Street. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

In the second installment of the new BLACKOUT at Bay Street, Bay Street Theater will feature a cabaret evening of performers from its latest hit, “My Life is a Musical,” on Friday, August 22 and Saturday, August 23.

The cabaret performance is complimentary for those who attend the 8 p.m. Mainstage production of the musical and $15 for those only attending the cabaret at 11 p.m.

BLACKOUT, an evening of cabaret and comedy, will feature the performers singing both musical theater and rock songs. For more information on BLACKOUT at Bay Street, call the box office at (631) 725-9500.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 15 to 17

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"Pont de Tournelle" by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

“Pont de Tournelle” by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Art, films, and alternative energy; there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend:

 

“Water 2014″ opens at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor on Saturday, August 16, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

The annual exhibition features contemporary and classic photography “depicting life in and around the most powerful force of nature,” said the gallery. Dan Jones, Karine Laval, Herb Friedman, John Magarites, Blair Seagram, Tulla Booth, Anne Gabriele and Jay Hoops will show their work at the gallery, which is located at 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

 

Furthering on your water weekend, visit the Parrish Art Museum for the Maritime Film Festival, a 70-minute screening of short film selections, on Friday, August 15, at 7 p.m.

The program includes a brief talk by artist Duke Riley, a live musical performance and a special sampling of Sag Harbor Rum.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.

 

Hosted by Alec Baldwin, the Hamptons International Film Festival presents “Last Days in Vietnam,” on Saturday, August 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The documentary, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy,  follows United States soldiers during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, when the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled.

A question and answer session will follow the screening, which will be held at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call the box office at (631) 324-4050.

 

The East End Climate Action Network will host its first annual Sustainability and Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday, August 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the grounds of Miss Amelia’s Cottage in Amagansett Village.

The event features exhibitions from leading companies in the sustainability and renewable energy fields, as well as informal lectures from energy and environment experts, local food and fun games and other activities for kids. Local artists will perform at the end of the day.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read "The Tempest" at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read “The Tempest” at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

There will also be opportunities to get involved in local sustainability and climate change efforts, including solar energy consultations, beach clean-ups and membership sign-ups for local environmental groups. For more information, visit Renewable Energy Long Island.

 

Celebrating the launch of The Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative, Bay Street Theater will present two outdoor staged readings of The Tempest starring Tony award-winner John Glover as Prospero, on August 16 and 17.

On Saturday, the first performance is a VIP benefit held on a private waterfront estate on Shelter Island. The evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails followed by a 7 p.m. reading, includes a reception with the cast.

Sunday’s reading, which is open to the community free of charge, also starts at 7 p.m. at a thus far undisclosed location. There will be bleacher seating, although guests are encouraged to bring chairs, picnics and blankets. The reading will take place as the sun sets, with the stars coming out as Mr. Glover reads Shakespeare’s most beloved plays.

For more information, call the Bay Street box office at (631) 725-9500.

Review: “My Life is a Musical” at Bay Street Theater

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Photo by Lenny Stucker.

Brian Sills, Wendi Bergamini, Howie Michael Smith, Danyel Fulton and Adam Daveline in Bay Street Theater’s production of “My Life is a Musical.” Photo by Lenny Stucker.

By Dawn Watson

The musical is one of those things that theatergoers either love or hate. For some, there’s nothing more transcendent than immersing themselves in the combination of spoken dialogue, singing, acting and dancing. For others, the entire construct rings false, somewhat hokey and attempts and fails to push beyond the limits of suspending disbelief.

“In real life, people don’t burst into song,” a character critical of the genre said early in Act One during the sold-out Saturday night performance at Bay Street Theater. Exactly.

“My Life is a Musical,” making its world premiere in Sag Harbor, is one show that is guaranteed to make a fan of everyone who sees it. Gently poking fun of the genre, the musical comedy tells the story of Parker, played by Howie Michael Smith, a likable but shy everyman who hears and sees people excitedly singing, dancing and carrying on instead of what they are really doing, which is talking, walking, and acting normally. The rub: Parker hates musicals.

Turning the Broadway form on its ear, “Musical” allows those who watch it to feel very much that they are in on the joke.  Charming, clever, and full of heart, style and verve, the Adam Overett (he brilliantly wrote the musical comedy book, music and lyrics) and Marlo Hunter (she directed and choreographed) production is sure to be a smash. I predict that it will be the next big thing to hit the Great White Way.

The writing is tight and laugh-out-loud funny. The musical numbers are catchy and enthusiasm provoking. The pacing between serious and outrageous scenes is impeccable. The characters are likable and relatable. And the cast, of which there are no bold-faced names, is absolutely superb.

Smith in particular, a talented triple threat that looks like a blend of Jason Biggs, Ben Stiller and Bradley Cooper, is perfection as Parker. He’s the socially awkward underdog who audience members find themselves rooting for before he even opens his mouth, and then that much more so once he does.

Playing JT, his love interest, Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone is pitch perfect as a tone-deaf rock and roll band manager. She’s plucky and full of passion, just what Parker needs in order to grow and accept himself and his perceived flaws. Monteleone, who has a phenomenal voice, particularly shines in “Someone Else’s Song,” where she beautifully belts out that she can’t sing a lick.unnamed-2

Deeper level fun poking comes in the form of The Zeitgeist’s band lead singer, Zach, a pretty-boy hack who is the recipient of Parker’s musical-inspired songwriting talents—a Christian de Neuvillette to Parker’s Cyrano de Bergerac if you will. Justin Matthew Sargent, who starred in Broadway’s “Rock of Ages,” totally nails the intellectually challenged rock star persona, to great comic effect. He’s thoroughly watchable.

The most entertaining character was Randy, an overly dramatic 1940s-era film noir-esque gumshoe, who had the best lines and the funniest setups of the entire play. Robert Cuccioli, a veteran actor with considerable stage experience, hammed it up in a way that was beyond brilliant. Think Adam West playing himself as the Mayor on “Family Guy.” His fast-talking antics included insisting that Parker meet him at 1 a.m. at a bar called “Midnight” and at another called “The Corner,” which was located in the middle of the block. Cuccioli’s portrayal of Parker’s foil had me laughing so hard that I was crying many, many times throughout the night.

The multi-talented supporting cast—which includes Wendi Bergamini, Adam Daveline, Danyel Fulton, and Brian Sills—was amazing. Keeping count of the dizzying number of characters (though my favorite was Sills’s bellhop) and super hot quick changes was impossible but each was memorable and mesmerizing. And each and every one of actors in the show gave it with gusto.

Every single detail of this production—from the cheeky set to the cleverly utilized musicians, and far, far beyond—is an absolute winner. And judging from the very enthusiastic response of the audience on Saturday night, I’m definitely not alone in my thoughts. As the entire cast sings in the musical finale, “It’s the kind of show that I love.” Nobody could say it any better than that.

Bay Street Theater Brings World Premiere of “My Life is a Musical” to Sag Harbor

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A rehearsal photo taken at the New 42nd Street Studios in NYC with the cast of "My Life is a Musical:" Danyel Fulton, Wendi Bergamini, Howie Michael Smith, Adam Daveline, Brian Sills, Justin Matthew Sargeant, Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone, Robert Cucciolo. Photo by Barry Gordin.

A rehearsal photo taken at the New 42nd Street Studios in NYC with the cast of “My Life is a Musical:” Danyel Fulton, Wendi Bergamini, Howie Michael Smith, Adam Daveline, Brian Sills, Justin Matthew Sargeant, Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone, Robert Cucciolo. Photo by Barry Gordin.

By Tessa Raebeck

Parker has lived his entire life seeking solitude, trying to hide his affliction from the rest of the world. He doesn’t make new friends, he doesn’t have romantic relationships and he most certainly does not want to join the local chorus.

Parker, a straight-laced accountant, is suffering from a rare condition that makes his entire life take the shape of a musical. Bay Street Theater’s latest play, “My Life Is a Musical,” follows Parker’s struggle as he tries to navigate a world in which everywhere he goes people are singing, dancing, and going through life with an energy that is only found in musical theater—which he happens to despise.

The musical, written by Adam Overett and directed and choreographed by Marlo Hunter, “both real rising stars in musical theater,” according to Bay Street’s artistic director Scott Schwartz, will have its world premiere in Sag Harbor.

Director/choreographer Marlo Hunter, playwright Adam Overett and music director Vadim Feichtner. Photo by Barry Gordin.

Director/choreographer Marlo Hunter, playwright Adam Overett and music director Vadim Feichtner. Photo by Barry Gordin.

The play opens on a normal—and thus strange—day in the life of Parker, who quickly sees the order through which he controls his affliction turned upside down when his accounting firm sends him to work for none other than a rock band.

“Of course, it’s his worst nightmare,” Ms. Hunter said in an interview on Friday, July 18, “because he has to be around music all the time and he won’t have any idea what’s going on.”

With his company’s future hanging in the balance, Parker accepts the position.

In a structure similar to “Cyrano de Bergerac,” the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand, the play follows Parker’s struggle to discern between what is song and what constitutes a person’s inner thoughts.

“He hears the truth of their emotion in the song,” explained Ms. Hunter.

Although the proximity to music is what terrifies Parker, in the end, it is what helps him to see the value of his affliction.

“It’s about how this person struggles with and ultimately embraces the thing about him that he thinks makes him a freak, which is a very universal theme,” the director said.

“We all have things about ourselves that we feel don’t fit in or we’re not comfortable with,” Mr. Schwartz said. “This show explores that life from a wonderful, musical land.”

The cast, which Ms. Hunter called “sensational,” has appeared in celebrated shows including “Evita,” “Hair” and “The Lion King.”

It stars Howie Michael Smith as the confused Parker, and Robert Cuccioli, who plays the rising rock star Zach, with Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone and Justin Matthew Sargeant playing other the principal roles.

The ensemble, “the hardest working people in show business,” according to Ms. Hunter, features Wendi Bergamini, Adam Daveline, Danyel Fulton and Brian Sills. They play over 70 characters between the four of them.

“It’s pretty astounding what they do,” Ms. Hunter said of the cast, “and they have to sing, dance and have broad comedic ability—they were hard to find.”

The show’s music is as varied as the ensemble’s roles.

“We really run the gamut stylistically,” she said. “It’s not all just traditional musical theater. There’s some pop, rock in there.”

Through Mr. Cuccioli’s character Zach, who Parker hears singing like a musical theater star, Mr. Overett shows how musical theater moments get transformed into rock songs.

Mr. Overett, Ms. Hunter and Mr. Schwartz agree this is a show for both people who love musicals and people who hate them.unnamed-5

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people in previous readings or in our workshops who have said, ‘I don’t usually like musicals, but I love this,’” Ms. Hunter said, adding she thinks both sides of the audience will walk away from Bay Street with a love—or at least an appreciation—for musicals.

The show addresses the aspects of  musicals that bother people while celebrating them at the same time.

“The form of musical theater, there’s an aspect of it that is—it’s larger than life—and in some ways, that feels inaccessible to people, because it seems insincere in its grandeur. But that’s also what other people love about the form—that it requires such a suspension of disbelief,” Ms. Hunter said.

“The beauty of the way Adam has written this show,” she added, “is that it may not seem realistic but he’s written us characters who are very real and very accessible and a story line that is incredibly heartfelt.”

“My Life is a Musical,” Ms. Hunter said, delivers the big production and entertaining numbers of a musical, but with “real heart and a strong core.”

“This is the kind of show that in your career you hope you find and I’ve been lucky enough to have found it,” the director said.

“My Life is a Musical” opens Tuesday, July 29, and runs through Sunday, August 31, at the Bay Street Theater, located at the corner of Bay Street and Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. For more information or tickets, call (631) 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties” Brings Belly Laughs to Bay Street

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Richard Kind in "Travesties" at Bay Street. Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Richard Kind in “Travesties” at Bay Street. Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

By Tessa Raebeck

Strip teases, pie fights and Lenin. The three don’t normally go hand in hand, but playwright Tom Stoppard brings them together in “Travesties.”

The Tony award-winning comedy is running through July 20 as the second production in Bay Street Theater’s main stage season, called a “season of revolution.”

The play is told through the memory of Henry Carr, an elderly man who was a British consul in Zurich in 1917 during World War I. Mr. Carr reflects on his participation at the time in an amateur production of Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, in which (in Mr. Stoppard’s take on it) he worked alongside some of the early 20th century’s most influential figures: James Joyce, Vladimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara.

“What it really gets at,” Bay Street’s artistic director Scott Schwartz said of the play when the season was first introduced this winter, “is the sort of passion and fire and revolutionary spirit of these guys as they’re trying to meet girls and trying to have a great time in Zürich at this time.”

When you think of Lenin in 1917, in the heat of the empire’s collapse and subsequent community revolution in Russia, you don’t necessarily imagine him spending his time trying to meet girls, but Mr. Stoppard expertly humanizes even his most notable characters with humor.

“It’s one of the most bracing theatrical challenges to be a part of—full of brilliance and fun—overflowing with ideas and using all the elements; knockabout humor, song and dance, the ‘theatre’ of theatre, to create a whirligig of intriguing ideas,” Gregory Boyd, the artistic director for the Alley Theatre in Houston, who is directing Bay Street’s production, said in an email interview.

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

“There isn’t another play like it—unless it’s another Stoppard play. He is unique,” added the director.

A Czech-born British playwright, Mr. Stoppard was 2 years old when he moved with his family to England to escape the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. He was knighted in 1997 and the next year won an Academy Award for “Best Original Screenplay” for “Shakespeare in Love,” which he wrote with Marc Norman. He has also won four Tony Awards.

Written in 1974, “Travesties” has been performed in productions across the world. The play won the United Kingdom’s Evening Standard Award for “Best Comedy of the Year” in 1974 and in 1976 both a Tony Award and a New York Critics Award for “Best Play.”

“Stoppard,” Mr. Boyd said, “is writing about art and artists, revolution and revolutionaries and how they collide. James Joyce, Lenin and Dadaist artist Tristan Tzara were indeed in Zürich during World War I, but it is the playwright’s genius that brings them all together through the eyes and erratic memory of a minor civil servant, as he (Henry Carr) looks back over his life.”

“It’s dealing with the whole question of how art and change interact in our lives,” said Mr. Schwartz, adding that “Travesties” is the “centerpiece” of Bay Street’s summer season.

Having directed or produced over 100 new productions from writers as varied—and renowned—as Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee, Mr. Boyd is no stranger to the stage. There’s already one “Travesties” production under his belt; he directed the comedy several years ago at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.

“He’s a brilliant director,” Mr. Schwartz said. “I’m so excited to bring his vision to the theater.”

As Bay Street’s artistic director, he added, he would like to “bring great directors in from around the country and perhaps eventually around the world.”

Richard Kind, noted for his roles on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Spin City,” returns to Bay Street, where he serves on the Board of Trustees, for his role as Henry Carr, who, like the legendary figures he hangs out with, was a real person in Zürich at the time.

Actors Michael Benz, Carson Elrod, Aloysius Gigl, Isabel Keating, Julia Motyka, Emily Trask and Andrew Weems are also in the cast.

“The cast we have is a wonderful group—and working with them on this marvelous script is the most enjoyable part of it,” said Mr. Boyd. “Stoppard asks that the actors be comedians, but capable too of giving full voice to the brilliant language.”

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Photo by Jerry Lamonica.

Credited for shaping stream of consciousness and other techniques of the modernist avant-garde movement, Joyce is in the middle of writing Ulysses during the time of the play. Tzara, a French avant-garde poet, essayist and performance artist, is busy creating art and poetry that gain him notoriety as a leader of Dadaism and Lenin is planning to overthrow one of the world’s largest empires, which has been in power for nearly 200 years.

But then Mr. Stoppard comes in, and—although the figures are still their distinguished selves—they are flanked by the wild theatricality of his writing, with an almost burlesque style of humor.

“I love the Bay Street Theater space—and ‘Travesties’ uses it in an interesting way, I think. From toy trains to pie fights, there are a lot of moments that come together in a fresh way,” said Mr. Boyd.

“It’s a wonderful conceit of a ‘small’ man hoping to achieve some meaning in his life through his association with these three giants,” the director added. “The play is full of comedy, gorgeous language, exhilarating ideas—and some real heart, too. That combination is very hard to resist.”

“Travesties” opened Tuesday, June 24, and runs through July 20 at Bay Street Theater, located on the corner of Main and Bay streets in Sag Harbor. General admission tickets range in price from $60.75 to $75. The “Student Sunday” matinee allows high school and college students to attend the 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays for free. A $30 ticket is available for those under age 30. For tickets and more information, visit baystreet.org or call the box office at (631) 725-9500.