Queens arts groups set to provide high-quality performances throughout year

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With a new year dawning, and the spectacular arts successes of 2002 now part of the past, Queens is bearing down for a remarkable 2003.

With an exhibit of some of the best art of the 20th century preparing to open in February at MoMA QNS, great plays and musicals on deck in our community theaters, professional performances lined up at our colleges, a new season dawning at Queens Theatre in the Park and much more in store, 2003 looks to take off on a higher note from where 2002 ended.


“Matisse Picasso” will open Feb. 13, and run for 13 weeks at the Museum of Modern Art’s new Long Island City home.

The exhibit has been shown at the Taft Gallery in London and the Picasso Museum and National Museum of Modern Art at the acclaimed Pompidou Center in Paris, where it wraps up its run this month.

Since the pair’s first meeting in the winter of 1905 at the home of Leo and Gertrude Stein, Matisse and Picasso influenced each others’ work, though they branched out in different directions. The exhibit is designed in such a way as to show the similarities and influences of the two artists’ pieces, often showing a piece by one artist accompanied by similar earlier or later pieces by the other.

The exhibit will be the first by either of these Post-Impressionist masters in Queens. Tickets for viewings, which will be scheduled at predetermined, staggered times, are available at MoMA QNS, 33rd Street and Queens Boulevard; and at the MoMA Design Stores in Manhattan, 44 W. 53rd St. and at the intersection of Spring & Crosby Streets in SoHo. Tickets can also be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 212-307-5577 or online at

Community Theater

Queens’ community theaters were busy in 2002, and are already buzzing with what is in store for 2003. These theaters have, for decades, produced high-quality performances on shoestring budgets with amateur actors to the delight of theater fans throughout the borough. With some of the two dozen community theater groups already preparing for their spring season, high drama seems to be on producers’ minds.

Beari Productions, which runs out of Trinity Lutheran Church in Middle Village, will have the community theatre standard “Steel Magnolias” in February and March.

The Outrageous Fortune Theatre Company, which is based out of Queens Theatre in the Park, will present the Queens premiere of “The Cripple of Inishmaan” in March and April.

The Parkside Players of Grace Lutheran Church, on Union Turnpike in Forest Hills, will present “Crimes of the Heart” in February and “Something’s Afoot” in May.

Theatre Time productions, based out of First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone on 149th Street, will present the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Rope.”

The FSF Community Theatre Group, which operates out of the Free Synagogue of Flushing on Kissena Boulevard, will hold a tribute to its past productions in May and June to honor its 30th anniversary.

Most theaters are on hiatus for the holidays, and will announce their plans for the 2003 season in the Qguide by the end of January.

Performing Arts Series

Queensborough Community College will not miss a stride transitioning from 2002 to 2003. Its Professional Performing Arts Series brought national tours of music, dance, theater and musical theater to Bayside time and again in 2002. This year will be no different.

Tango Buenos Aires, one of the top dance troupes of Argentina, hits the stage for Valentine’s Day;

A Big Band Dance Party, featuring the Jivin’ Lindy Hoppers of London, will get the audience dancing Feb. 23;

An American classic composer, George M. Cohan, will be celebrated on stage with “George M!” March 2nd;

The Dicapo Opera Theatre will present “Il Pagliacci,” the classic opera of jealousy, passion and despair, March 8th; and

Frank Gorshin, who is currently starring on Broadway in a one-man show about George Burns, will bring his “Las Vegas Act” to Bayside as he is accompanied by a four-piece band.

And all that happens before the first day of spring.

To find out more about the Queensborough Community College Professional performing Arts Series, call 718-631-6311 or go to

Queens Theatre in the Park

The main stage for theater in the borough will start the new year with a double-whammy by one contemporary playwright and the best playwright ever.

Studs Terkel’s “American Dreams: Lost and Found,” which has been praised by The New York Times as “the best of Terkel’s works,” will be presented by the Acting Company, a group of actors culled from Julliard’s drama division. Terkel’s ability to create realistic characters combined with the outstanding performing talents of the Acting Company is sure to be the a highlight of the theater’s season. Performances are Jan. 11-14.

And if that’s not good enough, the Acting Company will return a week later for a production of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” the classic ideological duel between the pessimistic Jacques and the upbeat Rosalind. The classic play will run Jan. 16-19.

Other performances coming up at Queens Theatre in the Park are:

The operatic talents of Maria Callas will come to the theater March 14-23 with Lorraine Serabian taking the role of the diva;

The modern Aregentine dance troupe the Limón Dance Company will come in for a weekend in March; and

Direct from the Borscht Belt, comedian Jackie Mason will bring his stand-up act to the theater for five nights April 25-29, but get tickets fast because the first three nights are already sold out.

For more information, or to get tickets, call 718-760-0064.

As always, the Qguide will work throughout 2003 to present the most up-to-date information on upcoming arts and entertainment events in the borough. So go see a play, stare at a painting, listen to great music and keep on dancing.

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