New Year Brings New Theater to East End Stages

Selection from the poster for HTC's "4000 Miles."
Selection from the poster for HTC’s “4000 Miles.”

January is a great time of year to head out to see local theater on the East End — three local theater companies are opening new shows this month.

First up this winter is “4000 Miles,” Amy Herzog’s comic drama that won the Obie Award for Best New American Play and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, at the Hampton Theatre Company. The play opens on Jan. 12 and runs through Jan. 29.

In “4000 Miles,” Ms. Herzog creates a truthful and touching portrait of the often contentious but loving relationship between a crusty, old-style lefty grandmother, Vera Joseph, and her rudderless, new-style lefty grandson, Leo Joseph-Connell.

"4000 Miles"
“4000 Miles”

The play opens with Leo’s impromptu 3 a.m. arrival at his grandmother’s Greenwich Village apartment, baggage-laden bike in tow. As a reluctant overnight stay turns into weeks and the story behind his arrival is revealed, the two unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder, and ultimately reach each other.

The Pulitzer Prize citation for “4000 Miles” described the play as “a drama that shows acute understanding of human idiosyncrasy.”

Robert Simonson, in a Playbill article on the Pulitzer finalist, noted that critics found the “naturalistic tapestry” of this “gentle, warm drama … touching, compassionate and authentically felt.”

The cast of “4000 Miles” features three Hampton Theatre Company veterans and one newcomer. Playing Vera Joseph is HTC artistic director Diana Marbury, last seen as Grandma Kurnitz in the 2016 production of “Lost in Yonkers.” Ben Schnickel, last on the HTC stage in the roles of Jim, Tom and Kenneth in “Clybourne Park” in 2015, has the role of her grandson Leo.

Amanda Griemsmann, who appeared most recently as Nina in the 2016 HTC production of “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike,” play’s Leo’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Bec. Newcomer Samantha Herrera, a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse, plays Amanda, a girl Leo brings home from a bar.

HTC Executive Director Sarah Hunnewell directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.

“4000 Miles” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from January 12 to January 29, 2017 with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. There will also be an additional matinee performance of “4000 Miles” on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 2:30 p.m. prior to the regular 8 p.m. evening performance.

New this season, the HTC is offering $15 discount tickets for audience members 35 and under. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1.866.811-4111.

“The Money Shot” in Southampton

"The Money Shot"
“The Money Shot”

January’s theater continues in Southampton beginning Jan. 19 with Center Stage’s production of “The Money Shot,” an acid-tongued showbiz satire by Neil LaBute, which made its Off-Broadway debut in the fall of 2014 at the Lucille Lortel Theater.

Karen and Steve are glamorous movie stars with one thing in common: desperation. It’s been years since either one’s had a hit, but the latest movie by a hot shot European director could change that.

The night before filming a big scene (that seems destined to assure them a spot back on the pop culture radar), Karen, her partner Bev, and Steve and his aspiring actress wife Missy meet in order to make an important decision: how far will they let themselves go to keep from slipping further down the Hollywood food chain?

Sexy, daring, darkly hilarious―and Neil LaBute’s first officially billed comedy―The Money Shot “lands as sharp and hot as a paparazzo’s camera flash in a starlet’s eye,” according to Center Stage.

Neil LaBute’s plays include “Reasons to Be Pretty,” “Reasons to Be Happy,” “The Shape of Things,” “The Break of Noon,” “Fat Pig” and “The Mercy Seat,” among others. 

Performances will run January 19 to February 5: Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm on the stage of The Levitas Center for the Arts, 25 Pond Lane, Southampton, across from Agawam Park.  General admission is $22 and student (under 21 with ID is $12).  Group rates, -brunch/theater and dinner theater packages available at www.scc-arts.org or by   calling 631-287-4377.  Reservations are encouraged.

“Almost, Maine” in Mattituck

Performances of “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani are set for Jan. 20 through Feb. 5 at the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck.

Almost, Maine — a town that’s so far north it’s almost in Canada — almost doesn’t exist because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it’s just … Almost. One winter night, while the northern lights shimmer above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways. Hearts are broken; love is lost, found and confounded. And life for the people of Almost, Maine, will never be the same.

Show times are 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 20, 21, 27, 28, Feb. 3 and 4, and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, Jan. 22, 29, Feb. 5.

Call 631.298.6328 for tickets, which are also available online here.

The NFCT’s annual Variety Show will also take the stage in early January, filled with magic, dance, comedy sketches, instrumental music, dramatic readings and scenes.

Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6 and 7, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8. All Variety Show proceeds go to the NFCT scholarship fund for local high school seniors.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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