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The Play’s The Thing: Elmont’s Broadhollow worth trip to Nassau

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You should also know that the name of the highway to JFK is pronounced "Van Wick," that our street addresses have dashes in them, and when you send a letter to someone in Queens, make absolutely sure you include the community name, not the borough. Once you learn all that, you may soon be one of us.So I'm following a full moon along Hempstead Turnpike, passing Belmont Race Track, and there I am at the Broadhollow Theatre in Elmont, brand new at the public library with 430 seats, chatting up Laura Wallace-Rhodes. I first met Laura in the early 1970s before she became hyphenated, a leading light with the Fresh Meadows Community Theatre. She was a mere child back in the day (I, of course, still am). My take on her then was that she was a real dynamo, energetic and decisive. And fellas, she's still got it, along with that Lauren Bacall voice.Laura is billed as Broadhollow's associate artistic director, but it looks like she does just about everything in Elmont, not the least of which is directing almost all of the shows. These include a number of shows for children, the most recent being "Madeline's Christmas," particularly rewarding for Laura. "In a few years, a lot of these talented kids will be in our adult productions," she predicts. Another mainstay at Elmont is Stephen F. Jurgens, the house manager, who warms up the audience and sometimes appears on stage, not so long ago as Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady."Broadhollow is the big dog in theater on Long Island, performing all year long at three different venues: BayWay Arts Center in East Islip, the Studio Theater in Lindenhurst (where they do more "edgy" stuff) and their new location in Elmont (which takes the place of the Centre Stage at Molloy College in Rockville Centre). Just closed at Elmont was "Swingtime Canteen," highly praised by our Arlene McKanic in last week's edition, but it reopens in just a couple of weeks at BayWay. It's got a lot of great songs from the World War II era, and features a major talent in the person of Jennifer Hope. Launched in 1972 by Jerry & Patricia Zaback, Broadhollow has a lot going for it, including a five-show subscription series with an average ticket price of only $20. Their Web site is www.broadhollow.com and their phone numbers are 631-581-2700 or 516-775-4420. And with the Elmont location just a few minutes off the Cross Island, with plenty of parking, it's certainly convenient for Queens theatergoers.After a successful acting career in New York and Los Angeles, Laura finds her work for Broadhollow "very satisfying, doing what I love and getting paid for it." Of all her credits she is most proud of a documentary film she co-produced and wrote, "Alois Brunner Ð The Last Nazi," where she learned how evil is often overlooked for political reasons, especially meaningful to her since her late father, Joseph Wallace, was a World War II veteran.So I'm heading back to Queens, still following that full moon, and singing (or trying to) from one of the biggest hits of that era, so evocative of separation and loss of a loved one: "I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you." (Music by Sammy Fain and words by Irving Kahal Ð good to know next time you're on Jeopardy.)Contact Ron Hellman at RBH24@Columbia.edu.

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