2011 Summer Stage Preview

Long Island’s oldest resident professional theater, now in its 60th season, mixes laughs and chills in its remaining summer offerings. Both second-stage shows are comedies: Muriel Resnik’s durable 1964 hit Any Wednesday (May 27-June 26) about a man, his mistress and her would-be boyfriend; and the intriguingly titled Murray Schisgal work, The Rabbi and the Toyota Dealer (July 8-Aug. 7), which Arena previously staged in 1989. On the mainstage, A.R. Gurney’s popular comedy Sylvia (May 20-June 12) shows a new doggie becoming man’s best friend—but his marriage’s worst enemy. In the darker-shaded I Ought to be in Pictures (Sept. 9-Oct. 2), Neil Simon reunites a jaded screenwriter with the teenage daughter he abandoned when she was a child. For an even bleaker test of familial bonds, there’s Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge (July 15-Aug. 7). And for the mystery minded, there’s the suspenser Guilty Conscience (June 17-July 10) and the aptly titled, Murder Among Friends (Aug. 12-Sept. 3).
Arena Players, 296 Route 109, East Farmingdale, (516) 293-0674, http://www.arenaplayers.org

Best known for impersonating presidents on Saturday Night Live, Darrell Hammond takes on a decidedly less airbrushed figure, Truman Capote, in the one-man show, Tru (May 31-June 26). That’s followed by Christopher Durang’s dark comedy, Betty’s Summer Vacation (July 5-31), featuring veteran comic actress Veanne Cox. The season closer is the delightful musical, Enter Laughing (Aug. 9-Sept. 4), based on Carl Reiner’s novel and movie. Don’t be surprised if this one, most recently resuscitated by off-Broadway’s York Theatre Company, reaches Broadway in a season or two. And Rent fans—we know you’re out there—might want to check out the concert debut of original stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp in Adam & Anthony Live! June 13.
Bay Street Theatre, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor. (631) 725-9500, http://www.baystreet.org

Audiences have one more week to catch BroadHollow’s mounting of the classic Pajama Game (Elmont, May 21-June 5), and then it’s time to plunge into the cute comedy of Bermuda Avenue Triangle (BayWay, June 25-July 10) by the Lovers and Other Strangers duo, Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna. A Chorus Line follows (BayWay, July 16-July 31/ Elmont Aug. 6-21), while Elmont also romps with Lend Me a Tenor (July 9-24) and warbles with A Grand Night for Singing (Sept. 17-Oct. 2), the Rodgers and Hammerstein-based revue.
BroadHollow, 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont • 265 East Main Street, East Islip • (631) 581-2700, http://www.broadhollow.org

Wonder how Airport Playhouse is doing now that they’ve merged with Creative Ministries out in Oakdale? Catch their summer musicals, which include the zany Broadway hit, Xanadu (June 10-26), Bye Bye Birdie (Aug. 13-Sept. 4) and, most intriguingly, Barry Manilow’s Copacabana (July 9-July 31), which never quite made it to Broadway despite numerous tries more than a decade ago.
CM Playhouse, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale. (631) 218-2810, http://www.cmpac.com

Although theater will be in short supply here this summer, those in search of comedy/variety can catch The Catskills in Dix Hills, July 9, July 23 and Aug. 6.
Dix Hills PAC at Five Towns College, 305 N. Service Road, Dix Hills (631) 656-2148, http://www.dhpac.org

Can’t get to Broadway to see Brian Bedford’s hilarious Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest? Then come to Guild Hall June 2 for a high-def, live simulcast of the show at a fraction of the cost. (You’ll also want to keep your eye on the irrepressible Santino Fontana as Algernon.) Theater-on-TV fans will also want to see Zoe Wanamaker in the National Theatre staging of The Cherry Orchard, streaming live from the UK, July 7.
As for actual onstage performers, June 8-26, comedian Colin Quinn brings his well-received Broadway solo, Long Story Short, to the Drew; while on July 3, Judy Blazer and Eric Michael Gillett offer the cabaret evening, Strike up the Pit Band: Broadway in a Patriotic Mode, just in time for Independence Day. For star power, it’s hard to beat the July 8 staged reading of Peter Shaffer’s penultimate play (to date), The Gift of the Gorgon, which will feature Alec Baldwin, Jerry Stiller, Melissa Errico and Richard Easton.
For the younger set, Guild Hall has several KidFEST events, including visits from the Paper Bag Players (July 13) and the Squirm Burpee Circus (Aug. 10).
Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. (631) 324-4050, http://www.guildhall.org

Instead of waiting for fall to do heavier material, Gateway starts the summer with froth but gets darker as the season goes on. June 1-18 brings the Gershwin revue, ‘S Wonderful, which is followed by the musical version of the movie hit, Legally Blonde (June 22-July 9) and a Patchogue mounting of the zestfully silly, Spamalot (July 13-30). But then the clouds darken for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-winning Sunset Boulevard (Aug. 3-20), and the summer closes with Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece of revenge and Grand Guignol, Sweeney Todd (Aug. 24-Sept. 11).
Gateway Playhouse, 215 South Country Road, Bellport. (631) 286-1133, http://www.gatewayplayhouse.com

Though The Enchanted April is most famous as a film, the material goes way back to a 1922 novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. Matthew Barber’s recent theatrical adaptation of the comedy played on Broadway in 2003, but Hampton Theatre Company is instead tackling Kane Campbell’s version (May 26-June 12), which debuted at Broadway’s lost Morosco Theatre in 1925.
Quogue Community Hall, 125 Jessup Ave., Quogue. (631) 653-8955, http://www.hamptontheatre.org

New York’s long-running family troupe, Theaterworks USA, visits June 5 with Charlotte’s Web, while grownups can catch singer-actress-scion Lucie Arnaz showing off her “Latin roots” June 18.
Jeanne Rimsky Theater, 232 Main St., Port Washington. (516) 767-6444, http://www.Landmarkonmainstreet.org

Sure, Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls is a safe and familiar choice to start the summer (Thru June 19), but who can argue with near-perfection? Those seeking a more contemporary confection can catch Hairspray (July 7-Aug. 28). Both musicals are PG, but if your littler little ones are craving a show, too, TD Bank’s Youth Theater Series is offering The Wizard of Oz (Thru June 19).
John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport. (631)-261-2900, http://www.johnwengemantheater.com

Class differences and bad omens make for absorbing bedfellows in Willy Russell’s musical drama, Blood Brothers (May 28-June 26), which debuted in London’s West End in 1983, was revived there in 1988—and has played non-stop ever since.
Merrick Theatre and Center for the Arts (aka “The Stage”) 2222 Hewlett Ave, Merrick. (516) 868-6400, http://www.Merricktheatreandcenterforthearts.com

Did you really think we could get through this article without coming within six degrees of Kevin Bacon? Footloose, the underrated Broadway tuner, dances into Mattituck July 28-Aug. 14.
NFCT, 12700 Old Sound Avenue, Mattituck. (631) 298-4500, http://www.nfct.com

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more cleverly staged piece than The 39 Steps, a farcical reworking of an old Alfred Hitchcock film that chugs into Smithtown April 30-June 26. Carousel, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, follows (July 9-Aug 28). Too bad Billy Bigelow didn’t get marital advice from Rob Becker, author of the super-popular solo comedy, Defending the Caveman, which plays Sept. 10-Oct. 2. Finally, if Broadway’s Rain hasn’t satisfied your cravings for the Fab Four, The Cast of Beatlemania brings a bit of Abbey Road to East Main Street, Sept. 3-4.
Smithtown Center, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown. (631)-724-3700, http://www.smithtownpac.org

An old-fashioned musical comedy with some delightful new wrinkles, The Drowsy Chaperone visits Theatre Three May 14-June 18.
Theatre Three: 412 Main St, Port Jefferson. (631) 928-9100, http://www.theatrethree.com