In this, the winter of our discontent, most of us in Queens aren’t getting out much. Snow is everywhere, it’s tough to get your car on the road, and when you get back home, where do you park it? And walking isn’t much easier, especially when you have to cross the street.
Of course, none of this is really a concern to our intrepid theater folks, who take it on faith that the show must go on. They have to rehearse, learn their lines and blocking and develop their character, and they have the need to perform. So it’s up to the rest of us to see what those crazy Queens troupes are up to. Without a doubt, it will be worth the effort, tearing yourself away from TV reality and awards shows, skipping the news of the day and rewarding yourself with the unique pleasure of live theater.
In a week or so the Parkside Players opens its latest production, a backstage comedy called “Amateurs” by Tom Griffin. (This little-known playwright is near and dear to The Outrageous Fortune Company – he wrote our very first play, “The Boys Next Door”.) Perhaps most intriguing — certainly according to her husband — will be the first stage appearance in six years of Malini Singh McDonald, the major force behind the adventurous Black Henna Productions.
Later this month the local theater company with the longevity record, the Douglaston Community Theatre, introduces us to “Independence,” a drama by Lee Blessing, about a mother and her three daughters. And what could be more dramatic than that?
Dinner theater occasionally shows up locally, courtesy of The Killing Company, traveling throughout the country for over 17 years, specializing in comedy murder mysteries while you enjoy food and drink. Recently they were at Riccardo’s in Astoria, and next month they’ll be at Villa Umberto in Elmont. You might want to check them out for your next private party.
After a lengthy absence, Theatre Time Productions returns in March at a new venue with the classic jury drama “12 Angry Men.” Another group that skipped a beat, Theatre A La Carte, will be back in action with a play I love to write about, “Arsenic and Old Lace.” It seems the public can’t get enough of the homicidal Brewster sisters, who first made their appearance in 1944.
Which leads us to “Annie” — does a season go by without seeing those down-and-out orphans who turn the tables on the grown-ups? The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts just closed a production, St. Andrew Avellino Church has it scheduled in the spring, but coming up next is Theatre By The Bay’s version, with the 11-year-old Isabel Robin in the title role. Noteworthy about this Bayside group’s production are a couple of matinees that will provide complimentary tickets for children from disadvantaged families, and one offering special treats for all young Annies who show up in a red-and-white dress costume.
And let us not forget our favorite bilingual company, the Thalia Spanish Theatre, which right now is in the midst of eight weekends of “You Tango,” billed as a world premiere tango extravaganza. This group always delivers the goods, and what better to warm you up than the sight and sound of those Latin dancers and singers?
Since it’s always risky to mention a few names while leaving out a number of others, let me just say that I know St. Gregory’s Theatre Group is working on the fabulous farce “Noises Off,” the Rockaway Theatre Company is always up to something worthwhile, and the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, well they’re keeping that a secret from me — the point being that I’ll be glad to give any group a shout out, just drop me an e-mail and let me know what you’re doing.
Contact Ron Hellman at RBH24@Columbia.edu.
©2011 Community News Group
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