East End Beacon

The Play’s The Thing: Spring Community Theater Season Kicks Off

Three new community theater productions open this month.
Three new community theater productions open this month.

The East End’s community theaters are deep into rehearsals for three intense shows opening in March.

The first show to open this spring is the North Fork Community Theatre’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” based on the comic strip “Peanuts,” by Charles M. Schulz.

In Clark Gesner’s 1967 musical, the whole gang is here: bossy Lucy is hopelessly in love with piano prodigy Schroeder, who doesn’t give her the time of day.  Blanket-toting Linus gives philosophical witticisms, Snoopy is daydreaming in the doghouse, and the “blockhead,” himself, Charlie Brown, is in rare form. Whether you’re keen to fly with the Red Baron, moon over the Moonlight Sonata, or just do your best to find “Happiness,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a crowd-pleasing classic.

The show opens March 8 and runs through March 25, with showtimes Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m., with an opening night reception March 8 at 7 p.m.

Jason Rios will play Charlie Brown, Leah Kerensky will play Lucy, David Lopez plays Snoopy, Ryan Nowak plays Linus, Ben Eager plays Schroeder and Kat Motlenski plays Peppermint Patty. This production is directed by Manning Dandridge, with musical direction by Marguerite Volonts and choreography by Chelsea Chizever. Jennifer Eager serves as producer.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, and student rush tickets may be available for $20 beginning 10 minutes before each performance. To buy tickets, call the box office at 631.298.NFCT or visit nfct.com.

Center Stage at Southampton Cultural Center will present Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” from March 9 through 25, with performances on Fridays through Sundays at 7 p.m, and Sunday matineés at 2 p.m.  in Southampton Cultural Center’s Levitas Center for the Arts.

Michael Disher directs. Amanda Jones musically directs.

Long ago in a small French kingdom, a disguised enchantress transforms a selfish prince into a hideous beast. He has limited time to learn to love – and be loved – by the tempestuous and headstrong Belle.

The Disney musical stage adaptation includes all the beloved inanimate objects: Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip, et al.

The iconic Alan Menken/Howard Ashman score includes “Be Our Guest,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Gaston,” “Home,” “Belle,” and many more.

This production stars Marco Barrila, Daniel Becker, Michael Casper, Julie Crowley, Bethany Dellapolla, Gabriel DiFrancesco, Jonathan Fogarty, Adam Fronc, Joey Giovingo, Eli Jones, Katrina Lovett, Pamela Morris, Tom Rosante, Michaal Lyn Schepps, Anna Schiavoni, Alyssa Semken, Amanda Summers and Darren Ottati as The Beast and Mary Sabo as Belle.

General admission tickets are $28. Student tickets (under 21 with ID) are $15. Tickets may be purchased online at www.scc-arts.org or by calling 631.287.4377.

“The Boys Next Door,” a poignant comedy by Tom Griffin about four men with various mental disabilities living in a group home, will be the third play of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 2017-2018 season, opening on March 22 at the Quogue Community Hall and running through April 8.

In brief vignettes over a roughly two-month period, the play offers humorous commentary on the lives of the four men and their chief caretaker, the social worker Jack Palmer, who is struggling with the decision of whether to move on to a new job.

Hyperactive Arnold Wiggins is an obsessive compulsive, practically non-stop talker who works as a janitor at a movie theater. Norman Bulansky is a middle-aged man with mental disabilities whose job at a doughnut shop has contributed to a weight problem. His would-be girlfriend Sheila lives in a different group home.

Lucien P. Smith is an African-American man who faces extremely debilitating mental disorders. Despite the fact that he cannot read, he insists on checking out armloads of books from the library. The fourth member of the household is Barry Klemper, a 28-year-old man with schizophrenia who believes he is a pro golfer and gets highly agitated over small things. A turning point in the play revolves around a visit from Barry’s long absent abusive father.

Called “a funny and touching play” by the Theater Mirror, “The Boys Next Door” was described in New York Times reviews as “emotionally appealing” enriched by “revealing, deeply sympathetic portraits.” In a Times review of the 1988-89 Studio Theater production in New York, critic Leah D. Frank wrote that “the play offers us a chance to see the lives of people who are struggling to get along and who are, in that respect, not all that much different from the rest of us.”

The cast of “The Boys Next Door” features HTC veterans Matt Conlon as Arnold Wiggins and Jessica Howard as Sheila. Scott Hofer plays Norman Bulansky, Dorian M. O’Brien is Lucien P. Smith, and Spencer Scott has the role of Barry Klemper. Social worker Jack Palmer is played by Paul Velutis.

The role of Barry’s father is played by Mike Boland. Two other HTC veterans, Catherine Maloney and Bob Kaplan, play three roles each. HTC board vice president Ed Brennan directs.

“The Boys Next Door” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from March 22 to April 8 with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.. There will be no performance on Easter Sunday, April 1. On Saturday, March 31, there will be two performances: at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. An additional 2:30 p.m. matinee performance will be held the final weekend of the production, on Sat., April 7, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance. To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1.866-811.4111.

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