Tag Archive | "Southampton"

East Hampton, Southampton Town Budgets Due

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The weeks of discussions and negotiations over annual budgets are coming to an end on Thursday, November 20, when the town boards of East Hampton and Southampton will be required by state late to adopt their 2015 operating budgets.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell has proposed a $71.5 million budget, which will require a 3.2-percent tax rate increase for those who live within East Hampton Village and a 2-percent tax rate increase for those residing outside of it.

This translates to a $14.32 increase for a house valued at $550,000 outside the village and $23.08 for one within the village boundaries.

Still, East Hampton’s preliminary budget is more than $300,000 below the state-mandated tax levy cap. Although some have criticized the high revenue estimates in the budget, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli reviewed the preliminary budget earlier this month and deemed the revenue and expenditure projections in the tentative budget as reasonable.

In Southampton Town, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has presented yet another budget with a zero percent tax levy increase. Her $88.5 million budget includes money to hire six new police officers over two years.

The board has been under pressure from the Southampton Town Trustees and the Highway Department to include more money in their budget lines.

Each town included $100,000 in their budgets for their wastewater management plans and $25,000 each for the South Fork Behavioral Health Care Initiative.

The Southampton Town Board will adopt its budget when it meets at 11 a.m. today, Thursday, November 20. The East Hampton Town Board is scheduled to adopt its budget at its regular meeting tonight at 6:30.

East End Funding in County Budget

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Suffolk County’s proposed $2.89 billion operating budget will including funding for a number of East End initiatives, according to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.

Among other things, the budget includes additional money for East End police departments, funding for an East End teen suicide prevention program, and new positions to improve water quality and respond to the Lyme disease epidemic.

An additional $3 million from county sales tax revenue will be earmarked over the next three years for East End municipalities that have their own police departments. A disproportionate amount of sales tax has always gone to the Suffolk County Police Department, which only serves western towns, according to Mr. Schneiderman, who has lobbied for a greater contribution to East End departments since joining the legislature.

Legislator Schneiderman said he was able to secure $50,000 for a South Fork teen suicide prevention program that will also receive funding from Southampton and East Hampton towns as well as several local school districts. The program will be administered by a new mental health consortium formed by the Family Service League in conjunction with Southampton and Stony Brook hospitals.

The county budget also includes $500,000 to expand Sunday bus service to additional routes and for longer hours into the evening. Previously, only about 20 percent of bus routes had Sunday service.

Mr. Schneiderman said in a press release that he was also able to secure additional funding to add positions, so the county can take more water samples and investigate ground water contamination. He also said he secured funding for an entomologist to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce Lyme and other tick-borne illness in the county.

The adopted budget will now go back to County Executive Bellone who will have the opportunity to veto any amendments made to his originally proposed $2.89 billion budget.

CVS Challenges Southampton Planning Board Decision

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CVS

By Mara Certic and Stephen J. Kotz

CVS Caremark and BNB Ventures IV have filed suit against the Southampton Planning Board last week over its October 9 decision to require an environmental impact study for a proposed pharmacy in Bridgehampton.

The property in question is owned by BNB Ventures IV and had previously been the subject of a site-plan approval for a 9,030-square-foot building. The two-story building was approved for several different retail uses as well as potential residential uses.

When rumors circulated earlier this year that the pharmacy giant was eyeing the busy corner of Montauk Highway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike for a new store, Bridgehampton residents reacted angrily, first through the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, which called on the town to step in and prevent the application.

Later, an organization called Save Bridgehampton Main Street was spun off from the CAC to raise money to fight the project by conducting its own traffic study and hiring an attorney.

When CVS made its plans official in July by applying for a special exception permit to occupy the building, which is now under construction at the site, Bridgehampton residents staged protests at the site.

On October 9, the planning board voted unanimously to require an environmental impact statement for the CVS proposal, reversing an earlier decision to not require one for the original site plan.

Southampton Town Planner Claire Vail, who made the recommendation that the board adopt what is called a “positive declaration” under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, told the board a CVS at the busy corner would have adverse effects on both traffic and community character.

John Bennett, who represents CVS Caremark and BNB Ventures IV, expressed frustration at the board’s decision. He warned the board at the time he thought the decision was “textbook arbitrary action.”

He said on Monday he hoped to have a judge direct the planning board to process the application through its regular site-plan and special exception procedures and not require “a full-blown environmental impact statement.”

“The building that’s there now had a traffic study and they gave it a building permit,” Mr. Bennett said.

Mr. Bennett said the first thing he insisted on when he began representing CVS Caremark was that it conduct a traffic impact study. That study, he said, showed the pharmacy would not create a traffic disaster at the intersection, as many had worried. In fact, he said, the study showed there would be 50 fewer trips into the site per hour, than if the lot were to house multiple tenants.

“When they talk about actions that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment, they’re talking about 50 homes that are not connected to a public sewer or a public water system,” Mr. Bennett said in a phone interview on Monday.

“Moving a new tenant into a building under construction is not likely to have a significant impact,” he said.

The suit contends that CVS “is politically unpopular with some as not ‘high end’ enough for the Bridgehampton hamlet and has resulted in the town agencies bending to political pressure.”

The only difference, it continues, between the first site-plan and the new one is that “one tenant, as opposed to two, will occupy this already approved, under construction building.”

The suit says it is a simple “quirk” in the town code that requires retail uses of between 5,000 to 15,000 square feet to obtain a special exception permit in the Village Business district.

Furthermore, the suit contends that the town referred the application to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in a bid to stall it from proceeding.

Although the town board is not named, the suit charges that its decision to hold a public hearing on proposal that would tighten the requirements for a special exception permit “demonstrates the clear illegal and purely political agenda of the respondent board and of the town officials.”

The code amendment, which among other things, would have required that an applicant demonstrate a need for the proposed development before a special exception permit could be issued, has been tabled by the town board.

The appearance of Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst at a recent Bridgehampton CAC meeting also caught the attention of the suit. At that meeting, Ms. Throne-Holst discussed the rebirth of the Bridgehampton Gateway project, the long stalled development of commercial properties on the south side of Montauk Highway across from the Bridgehampton Commons. She asked members what type of community benefit they would like to see if the town were to designate it a Planned Development District.  Several in the group immediately responded that it would make a better location for a proposed CVS.

“Further, and remarkably, the Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst appeared at a public meeting and discussed an alternative site for the CVS proposal, thus, creating a significant potential injury to petitioner established real property right,” the suit said.

On Wednesday, Dennis Finnerty, chairman of the planning board, said he was unable to comment on pending litigation. Carl Benincasa, attorney for the planning board, also declined to comment on the suit.

Ordering Out To Eat In

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South Fork & Spoon food concierge service has partnered with farm-to-fork caterer Ango to deliver complete (and organic) Thanksgiving dinners to your door.

South Fork & Spoon will set the table place flowers, and select the wine before dropping off a dinner in casserole dishes, not flimsy aluminum serving trays, prepared by Ango.

The menu, which features products from a variety of local vendors, includes roasted turkey and stuffing, sweet potato gnocchi, cauliflower gratin, sour cream and scallion scones and much more, including hors d’oeuvre platters.

Ango and South Fork & Spoon can even provide a Feast and Football platter, which has an assortment of classics including pigs-in-a-blanket, mini-shepherd pies, deviled eggs and house-made soft pretzels with a cheese dipping sauce perfect for the young ones and those who are glued to the television watching football

Pricing starts at $130 for the turkey and $55 up for the sides. Deliveries can be made November 25, 26 or 27, from Southampton to East Hampton. There is an additional delivery fee for Montauk.

Visit southforkandspoon.com for more information.

Seasonal Food Shines at Long Island Restaurant Week

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The Living Room Chef Mathias Brogie. Eric Striffler photo.

The Living Room Chef Mathias Brogie. Eric Striffler photo.

By Gianna Volpe

November is upon us, meaning time again to taste three courses of some of the South Fork’s finest for less than $30.

Long Island Restaurant Week now comes but twice a year—the pre-fixe promotion designed as a culinary stimulus for those who stay in the edible business off-season—saw it’s dates double in 2011 due to popular demand. The week is now featured in April, in addition to November. It was founded, and continues to be run by executives at the East Hampton-based Wordhampton Public Relations.

Nine South Fork restaurants are listed as participating in Long Island Restaurant Week between November 2 through November 9, including The Cuddy and Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, Almond and The Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, Cowfish and Rhumba in Hampton Bays, The Living Room at c/o Maidstone The 1770 House in East Hampton, and The Patio in Westhampton Beach.

Reservations are encouraged for restaurants that allow such as the dates tend to fill up quickly.

“Just last night I had a little anxiety dream of like, ‘Oh my god, Restaurant Week’s tomorrow, we have 150 on the books and I don’t have staff,” joked Jason Weiner, the executive chef/owner of the participating Almond Restaurant in Bridgehampton, “It’s all good though—we get to see a lot of new faces, make some new friends and see some old friends, so it’s great.”

Regular menu items are often available as part of the price-fixe plated dinners and though many participating restaurants create dedicated menus for all of Long Island Restaurant Week, Chef Weiner said he likes to change things up at Almond.

“We’ll basically do a different miniaturized version of the regular menu every night,” he said. “A lot of places do low cost items that they can produce en masse, which is a fine way to do things as long as it tastes good, but the thing about Restaurant Week is you often get folks who don’t often come to your restaurant for the rest of the year…so I figure the best way to get them to understand who we are is to give them a taste of what our regular menu is about; that’s our approach to the week.”

Chef Weiner said he focuses on using local ingredients for his menu – “slightly whimsical” spins on classic dishes—counting Pike’s Farm and Marilee Foster in Sagaponack; Tom Falkowski’s Bridgehampton potato farm and Amber Waves in Amagansett among those local purveyors to provide him with produce.

“It’s all about ingredients,” said Mr. Weiner. “I’m lucky enough to be on the East End of Long Island, where even now my cauliflower, my celery, my cabbage, my Brussels sprouts; the greens and potatoes, are all coming locally.”

Almond’s restaurant week menus will feature such dishes as its Lamb braciole with bitter greens and polenta raviolini and a variety of steaks, including marinated hangar steak, a grass-fed flat iron steak and a 13-ounce New York strip, which may be chosen for a slight upcharge.

“We’ll also do one of our two soups, one of which is a smoked oyster and cauliflower soup,” he said. “We get our oysters from our friends over at Montauk Shellfish Company and our cauliflower comes from Pike’s Farm.”

Almond isn’t the only restaurant that will rely heavily on its regular menu to outline its restaurant week offerings. East Hampton’s The Living Room, restaurant of luxury hotel c/o The Maidstone, will derive its menu entirely from its regular fare.

“We want to give a representation of what we do year-round, not just something done specifically for that week,” said The Living Room’s restaurant manager Adam Lancashire. “We want people to have a three-course meal that will be available to them both the week after and the week before…We will be telling everyone that comes, ‘These dishes haven’t been watered down and we haven’t gotten a cheaper product to put it together; we stuck with our philosophy.”

The Living Room’s entrees will include its popular new poached cod and a beef Bourguignon Mr. Lancashire suggested enjoying with a glass of pinot noir.

“We’re very excited to be part of restaurant week,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to show people what you offer year-round.”

If you’re searching for short ribs, try the participating Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor as director of operations Eric Peele counted the dish among its planned restaurant week menu.

“We may rotate in and out a hangar steak, but we’ll always have fish on the menu,” Mr. Peele added. “Our standard far is what popular, like our rigatoni Bolognese and salmon.”

Long Island Restaurant Week begins November 2 and runs through November 9. For more information, visit longislandrestaurantweek.com. 

“The World Goes ‘Round” Brings Kander & Ebb to Southampton Cultural Center

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The cast of “The World Goes ‘Round, the Songs of Kander and Ebb.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

The cast of “The World Goes ‘Round, the Songs of Kander and Ebb.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

By Annette Hinkle

The legendary songwriting duo of Kander and Ebb have been responsible for some of the biggest hits on Broadway in the past half century. Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb first began their collaboration back in 1962, and in the years that followed, the pair wrote a prolific number of songs and scores including “Cabaret,” which is currently enjoying a revival on Broadway in the old Studio 54 space, “Funny Lady,” and, perhaps their most memorable (and biggest) hit, “Chicago.”

And because he has been denied the rights to produce “Chicago” time and time again (it’s been 17 consecutive years, but who’s counting) this fall, Michael Disher, director of Center Stage at Southampton Cultural Center, decided to approach the challenge from a totally unique angle by bringing the music of Kander and Ebb to the stage in an entirely different form.

“The World Goes ‘Round, The Songs of Kander & Ebb” kicks off Center Stage’s new season and the production is playing at the Southampton Cultural Center now through November 9. The show takes its title from a tune the songwriting team wrote for Liza Minnelli in the 1977 film “New York, New York.” That film’s title song, also included in the show, was, of course, a standard by Frank Sinatra.

Those expecting a night of musical theater filled with plot structure, intriguing narratives and a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again kind of experience may be disappointed. In fact, this production is not a structured play, but rather, a musical revue. Which means that audience members who can’t get enough of wall to wall song and dance numbers will get their fill and then some.

In this show, there are no sets, precious few props and the costumes consist of a simple selection of basic black wardrobe pieces. The songs of Kander and Ebb are the stars here, and to pull it off, Mr. Disher has assembled a varied cast of 10 singers and dancers, some of whom are admittedly more comfortable in the song and dance role than others. They include Richard Adler, Isabel Alvarez, Holly Marie Dunn, Sharon Mulvaney, Jaclyn Randazzo, Mary Sabo, Jack Seabury, Kyle Sherlock, Josephine Wallace and Edna Winston.

And though you won’t get the whole play, the music of “Chicago” is well-represented in this production with “All That Jazz,” “Class,” “Mr. Cellophane” and “Me and My Baby” all in the line up. Also expect songs from “Funny Lady,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and yes, Sinatra’s signature song, “New York, New York.”

Also expect to hear some long forgotten numbers that only true Kander and Ebb fans are likely to know, including a lovely rendition of “Colored Lights” offered by Ms. Dunn from “The Rink,” one of their less successful Broadway plays, and “My Coloring Book,” a song that comes not from a musical, but rather Barbra Streisand’s second album recorded in 1963. In this production, the number is performed sweetly by Ms. Randazzo.

Despite the fact that Kander and Ebb wrote their material in the last half of the 20th century, some of their numbers feel oddly dated today in an “aw, shucks” kind of way. Younger audience members may not always appreciate the sappy nature of some of the duo’s more sentimental pieces, but in some cases, that dated quality works well here. Particularly impressive in the first act is “There Goes the Ball Game” from “New York, New York.” Performed in this production by a trio consisting of Ms. Randazzo, Ms. Dunn and Ms. Alvarez, the singers’ Andrew’s Sisters-esque treatment of the song, with harmonies that are stellar, is evocative of another era in the best of ways.

But ultimately this revue show is at its best (and most dynamic) with numbers like “All That Jazz” when the whole cast gets into the act with more compelling staging and dance moves (thanks to choreography by Mr. Disher and Bethany Dellapolla).

Act Two begins on a particular high note with the versatile Ms. Sabo offering a very fun rendition of “Ring Them Bells” (from “Liza with a Z”). This narrative song tells the story of a young woman from Riverside Drive who travels the world in search of Mr. Right, only to meet the boy next door, literally, on a beach in Dubrovnik. The whole cast gets in on the act on this one as well, and the addition of ankle and wrist bells, along with the cleverly written lyrics and expressive singing by Ms. Sabo, add great charm to the piece.

There are fine moments too where multiple songs are offered at once to great effect. This technique is particularly effective when Mr. Seabury, Ms. Dunn and Ms. Sabo perform as a trio by offering up “We Can Make It” (from “The Rink”), “Maybe This Time” (from “Cabaret”) and “Isn’t This Better” (from Funny Lady”) simultaneously.

Mr. Seabury continues to shine in the final numbers of the revue, which ends on a high note with music from “Cabaret” in which he assumes the role of the Master of Ceremonies, first with “Money Money,” followed by the show’s title song. Finally there comes, “New York, New York” itself with a Sinatra-inspired imitation that is spot on.

What else could you possibly imagine ending the evening with? And when it comes to revisiting the music of Kander and Ebb, what more could you possibly want?

Center Stage at SCC presents The World Goes ‘Round, the Songs of Kander and Ebb through Sunday November 9, at SCC’s Levitas Center for the Arts. Karen Hochstedler is musical director. Other Kander and Ebb shows represented in the revue include “Woman of the Year,” “The Happy Time,” “Flora, The Red Menace,” “The Act” and “70, Girls, 70.” Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on the stage of The Levitas Center for the Arts, 25 Pond Lane, across from Agawam Park in Southampton Village. General admission is $25 (students $12). Group rates are available and reservations are encouraged by calling (631) 287-4377 or visiting scc-arts.org.

Do the Time Warp at The Suffolk Theater

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RockyHorror

Do a bit of a mind flip, and enter a time slip, with The Suffolk Theater’s presentation of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” followed by a Halloween After-Party, on Friday, October 31 at 8 p.m. The Suffolk Theatre is located at 118 East Main Street in Riverhead. There is a $20 bar/restaurant minimum to join in the madcap mayhem. For reservations or more information, call (631) 727-4343 or SuffolkTheater.com.

Wandering Through Alan’s Maze at the Parrish

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Maze, 1981 – 1982 Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe 87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

Maze, 1981 – 1982
Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe
87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

By Annette Hinkle

As an artist, Alan Shields came of age at a time when the art world was questioning the relevance of painting. The declaration that “painting is dead” is one that has surfaced periodically throughout history, which is why in the early 1970s when the future of the medium looked murky, Mr. Shields wasn’t afraid to take painting off the wall and define it by a whole new set of parameters.

His response? To totally reimagine the way in which audiences experience painting.

Maze, 1981 – 1982 Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe 87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

Maze, 1981 – 1982
Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe
87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

Mr. Shields, a long-time resident of Shelter Island, died at his home in 2005 at the age of 61. This weekend, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill opens “In Motion,” a touring exhibition featuring several works by Mr. Shields, many of which could best be described as sculptural paintings. The exhibit is curated by Jill Brienza, a longtime friend of Mr. Shields who also curated “Alan Shields: A Survey,” a traveling museum exhibition of the artist’s work. For this show, she has assembled a select group of Mr. Shields’ three-dimensional paintings, as well as a video of a dance piece and on-screen animation that speak to the concept of movement in his art.

Among the pieces on views is “Dance Bag,” a cone-like sculptural work comprised of colorfully painted strips of canvas suspended from a single point which attach to circular tubing, and “Ajax,” a similarly constructed piece that takes the form of a giant cylinder.

But perhaps no piece addresses the concept of movement more literally than “Maze,” Mr. Shield’s monumental 1981 work which takes painting off the walls and literally turns it into the walls themselves through a series of painted panels suspended from a grid-work of aluminum piping. In “Maze,” visitors are not only permitted, but encouraged to wander through the spaces defined by the canvas walls.

“When you walk through it’s an incredible experience,” says Ms. Brienza. “You’re seeing so many of Alan’s paintings and are surrounded on all sides — including in front and back of you. It’s a different kind of painting, a real painting – then you go back and find your way out.”

“It’s magical,” she adds.

Through her friendship with Mr. Shields, Ms. Brienza came to understand his desire to see his work travel. Despite its seemingly complex form, “Maze,” she notes, is designed to do just that.

“Alan studied engineering and you can tell. He left instructions, a very simple drawing of how to put it together,” explains Ms. Brienza. “There are no stretcher bars. It was a decision he made to put in a duffle bag. It’s rolled canvas, metal poles that connect and Velcro.”

Because the maze is interactive, it stands to reason that other artists have found ways to incorporate movement into the piece itself. Among the imagery on view at The Parrish is “Into the Maze,” a 2012 video of an original dance choreographed by Stephen Petronio using eight dancers from his company. In the piece, dancers explore “Maze” while wearing body pieces that were also created by Shields — though they were not specifically created for the dance. In conjunction with the exhibit, on Friday, November 7, the Stephen Petronio Company will be on hand to offer a live 20-minute performance of “Into the Maze” at The Parrish with a Q&A with Petronio to follow. Five more dance performances by the company follow throughout the day on Saturday, November 8.

Viewers of Mr. Shields’ work will find that it defies the notion of traditional painting not only through form, but through his use of non-traditional materials as well — things such as cotton belting, glass beads and wire. A native of rural Harrington, Kansas, Ms. Brienza explains that in his formative years Mr. Shields was exposed to what traditionally would be labeled women’s work — skills like sewing and quilt making. But the domestic arts served him well in his professional life and became an important part of his artistic vision.

“With Alan, his life and art practice weren’t separate. They were totally intertwined,” explains Ms. Brienza. “Quilting was a big part of family tradition… farming was a big part as well and he meshed that into his work. He had a sewing room, a bead room, a separate green house.”

“You would see this big tall guy working at a sewing machine,” adds Ms. Brienza. “Alan didn’t care about what others around him did – he did his own thing.”

This philosophy may help explain why Mr. Shields wasn’t particularly interested in being an active player in the New York art world. Instead, his most productive years were spent on Shelter Island where he settled into a quiet life that allowed him to make art and become an integral part of the local community. Mr. Shields was actively involved on Shelter Island. Ms. Brienza notes he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, served on a number of committees and helped out at the Shelter Island School by teaching art. He even worked as a ferry captain on the North Ferry, plying the waters between Shelter Island and Greenport.

“People were clamoring for his work, but he wasn’t interested in being in a scene,” says Ms. Brienza. “He moved to Shelter Island when he was quite young – and that surprised people. He didn’t have an interest in hanging out all night networking. He would fish, grow his own vegetables and make art the way he wanted to make it.”

“He cared about the environment and cared about community,” adds Ms. Brienza. “He was very true to he is, and never changed his work to fit into what people might want.”

“Alan Shields: In Motion,” October 26 to January 19, Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. Special members-only opening reception on Saturday, November 1 at 5:30 p.m. (reserve at 283-2118 ext. 181). New members welcome to join that evening.

On Sunday, November 2 at 11 a.m. curator Jill Brienza will talk about Alan Shields’ work in The Curator’s View ($10, free for members, students and children).

“Into the Maze” by the Stephen Petronio Dance Company will be performed live on Friday, November 7 at 6 p.m. (followed by a Q&A with Stephen Petronio and interactive “tours” guided by the dancers) and on Saturday, November 8, the 20-minute dance will sbe performed on the hour from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information visit parrishart.org. 

“Harvey” Watches Over The Hampton Theatre Company

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John Kern and Matthew Conlon.  TOM KOCHIE photo.

John Kern and Matthew Conlon. TOM KOCHIE photo.

By Annette Hinkle

This weekend, the Hamptons Theatre Company kicks off its 30th anniversary season with a production of “Harvey,” Mary Chase’s 1945 Pulitzer Prize winning comedy.

Which may help explain why last week, director Diana Marbury was running around like crazy hunting down a seemingly random list of unrelated items.

“I’m looking for Zippo lighters and a 1940s chair — it can be older than the 1940s, just not newer,” explained Ms. Marbury who, after nearly 30 years of association with HTC, freely admits to having several “starring sofas” in her home of various styles.

“My house is very eclectic,” she confides.

Chalk it up to another day in the life of a small town community theater company —one in which all involved jump in to do what it takes to get the job done — including the play’s director, for whom it isn’t unusual to be scouring the area for props.

“We all wear so many hats in the theater, it’s such a small group of people who make this happen,” says Ms. Marbury, who is also HTC’s artistic director. “It’s a miracle really.”

When HTC began, it was a community theater without a real home. Instead, productions were presented wherever space could be found. These days, the HTC is the resident theater at the Quogue Community Hall and the company now produces five shows between October and June. Because of its commitment to the community, the company has developed a loyal following and audiences appreciates the fact that HTC sticks around long after the summer folks flee for the winter.

“When we’re coming to the end of one show, we’re auditioning for the next,” says Ms. Marbury. “With the instant gratification people get these days through channel surfing, theater has fallen a bit by the wayside for many people. We’ve been very fortunate because the theater, as it stands today, has a great group of supporters who come to see every show.”

If live theater is the antithesis to on-demand entertainment, then as a play, in many respects “Harvey” is similarly a throwback to simpler times.

Amanda Griemsmann, Pamela Kern and John J. Steele, Jr.  TOM KOCHIE photo.

Amanda Griemsmann, Pamela Kern and John J. Steele, Jr. TOM KOCHIE photo.

“We thought this play was appropriate for the 30th season because it’s a wonderful classic,” says Ms. Marbury. “People are familiar mainly with the movie version, but plays are just so more intimate than film. People feel more of a connection in theater than film.”

“This is a very appealing play because it has such wonderful characters in it,” explains Ms. Marbury. “The basic story is very endearing and touching.”

The play tells the story of Elwood P. Dowd (played in this production by Matthew Conlon) a good natured, but somewhat eccentric man whose constant companion is an invisible six-foot rabbit named “Harvey” which, in Celtic mythology, is what would be referred to as pooka, something like a spirit animal.

“The idea is that you have this being watching over you and letting you know what’s happening next and how it affects the various people around you,” explains Ms. Marbury. “Elwood is kind of an everyman character. He’s very simplistic. He can never have too many friends and is very open to people. This spirit of Harvey has opened people up to him in terms of acceptance and makes people curious and open to discovery.”

As a result, Harvey becomes a devise used by Elwood to test the character of the people he encounters. Those willing to indulge Elwood’s fantasy by accepting the existence of Harvey prove themselves as empathetic and compassion beings. But one individual definitely not amused by the presence of Harvey is Elwood’s own sister Veta (played by Pamela Kern). She worries that Elwood’s over-active imagination will scare away potential suitors for her daughter Myrtle Mae (played by Amanda Griemsmann). As a result, Veta seeks to have her brother committed.

“‘Harvey’ is a test of sorts,” notes Ms. Marbury. “Watching the effects of Harvey on all the various people Elwood encounters is fascinating. There’s this wonderful spirit of being able to be free and not so be so based in reality all the time.”

The play comes to a head at the sanitarium where Elwood is taken to be “cured” of his rabbit delusions. When the medical professionals assure Veta they can make Elwood “normal” with a simple injection, Veta realizes that Elwood, even with his delusional flaws, is at heart a far better human being than most of those whom society would label normal. It’s an endearing message of love and acceptance that Ms. Marbury thinks the audience will appreciate.

“It’s a very warm human story and very simple,” she says. “It’s not a big body farce, it’s a kind of feel good play that warms the heart and brings a big smile to your face. Hopefully there will also be a lot of good laughs.”

Hampton Theatre Company’s production of “Harvey” runs October 23 to November 9 at the Quogue Community Hall, 125 Jessup Avenue. Shows are Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. The Hampton Theatre Company offers special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Southampton, Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Tickets are $25 ($10 students). Visit hamptontheatre.org for tickets or more information or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.

The cast also includes John Kern, Sebastian Marbury, Krista Kurtzberg, Russell Weisenbacher, John J. Steele, Jr., Doug O’Connor, Catherine Maloney and Martha Kelly. Set design is by Sean Marbury with lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.

 

 

Fourth Annual Sustainability Forum

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Southampton Town’s Sustainable Advisory Committee will host a public forum on green power on Thursday, October 30.

The event, entitled “Green Power: Renewable Energy for Southampton’s Future” is intended to educate the public on regional energy issues.

Co-chairs of the Sustainability Committee, Dieter von Lehsten and Scott Carlin will moderate the event. Three speakers have been invited to make presentations during Thursday’s forum. The first of the three is Clint Plummer, vice president of development for Deepwater Wind. Deepwater Wind is an offshore wind developer which is working on a proposed wind farm 30 miles off the coast of Montauk, called Deepwater ONE. John Franceschina, PSEG-LI’s manager of  Residential Efficiency Programs will discuss energy efficiency and renewable programs available for Long Islanders. Then Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island and a member of the committee’s East Hampton counterpart, will discuss East Hampton’s energy plan and its relevance to Southampton.

Following their presentations, speakers will answer questions from the public. The committee will also seek public input for recommendations for 2015 committee activities and suggestions for the town.

The public forum will run from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hampton Bays Community Center, located at 25 Ponquogue Avenue, just south of Montauk Highway. For more information visit southamptontownny.gov/sustainable