As curtains begin to rise on stages throughout the borough, it appears that the second half of the 2005-2006 local theatrical season will be marked not by any clear-cut trend among the plays that have been slated for production (as has often been the case in the past), but rather by the unusually high number of performers who will become particularly familiar to audiences through multiple appearances over the next few months.
Already on the boards is the Parkside Players’ production of Neil Simon’s rarely performed “The Good Doctor,” a tribute to Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Described as “a comedy dedicated to the simple, yet strange stories of human experience,” the play is a complication of several vignettes that poke fun at the characters and mankind.
Under the direction of Pete Mele, the cast includes Jim Gallagher, Rosemary Innes, W. Gordon Innes, Nick Radu, Alison Schwab and Anahid Terjesen.
Remaining performances at Grace Lutheran Church, 103-15 Union Turnpike at 71st Road, Forest Hills, are on Feb. 24 and 25 and March 3 and 4 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors. For more information, call (718) 497-4922.
A musical fable of Broadway based on characters created by Damon Runyon, “Guys and Dolls” will be revived by the Marathon Little Theater Group beginning March 11. Headlining a cast of nearly three dozen are Jean-Ann Kump and Nili Resnick, each of whom will be starred again later in the season, along with Paul Bufano and Bob Alpert.
The Frank Loesser score features such infectious ditties as “Luck Be a Lady,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and the title song.
Dave Shapiro directs; Rhea Arkin serves as musical director (she’ll be heard from again later in the season); and the choreography is being done by Fran Geier, Sherry Markowitz and Jennifer Badamo.
Performances at Marathon Jewish Community Center, 245-37 60th Ave., Douglaston, will be on March 11, 18 and 25 at 8:30 p.m. and March 12, 19 and 26 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15, $13 for seniors and under 13. For tickets, call (718) 428-1580.
“I’m Getting Murdered In The Morning,” the first of two murder-mystery dining experiences on the menu this season, will feature a full dinner, dancing and perhaps a murder or two. Kathy Rollo Ferrara directs a large cast that includes Richard Weyhausen, Todd Wilkerson, Kiera Manikoff, Mark Papdimitriou and Lori Santopetro.
Performances by St. Gregory’s Theater Group will take place at St. Gregory’s, 242-20 88th Ave., Bellerose, on March 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m., and March 18 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 (all-inclusive), $28 for seniors and children; $15 (show only), $14 for seniors and children.
For tickets, call (212) 275-4991.
Next up will be the madcap comedy classic, “Room Service,” the 1937 show by John Murray and Allen Boretz, presented by Theatre Time Productions.
Directed by and starring Kevin Vincent (yes, he, too, will be on the boards again in May), the play focuses on a broke theatrical producer (played by Vincent) who attempts to escape paying off his hotel bill until he mounts a successful Broadway show. Others in the cast include Jim Thomas, Fred Kaminski and James Percival, along with Jonathan Applebaum and Joseph Schweigert, reprising their roles from Theatre Time’s 2001 production.
Performances at the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, 15-43 149th St., Whitestone, will be on March 24, 25 and 31 and April 1 at 8 p.m., and March 26 and April 2 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $14, $12 for seniors. Call (718) 391-8697.
Roald Dahl’s dark 1964 children’s book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” already brought to the silver screen twice, has also been adopted for the stage. In a production featuring new music by Bart Haggerty (who doubles as musical director), the Gingerbread Players will bring to life the story of young Charlie (to be played by Anthony Lenti), who wins a tour of confectioner Willy Wonka’s factory. The cast of 30 includes Scot Williams as the mysterious Wonka and a dozen Oompa-Loompas, who toil away in the factory. Direction is by Stephanie Williams.
Performances at St. Luke’s Church, 85 Greenway South, Forest Hills, will be on March 25 and 26 and April 1 and 2 at 2:30 p.m., and March 25 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, with discounts for groups of six or more. Call (718) 268-7772.
“Audition For Murder,” the season’s second audience participation murder-mystery will keep theatergoers on edge in early April. The Spotlight Players’ production, directed by Roger Gendron, will be accompanied by a catered dinner.
The fun will take place at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 85-15 101st Ave., Ozone Park. Call (718) 843-2837.
Resnick will return to the musical stage as Maria in Beari Productions’ rendition of “West Side Story,” with David Arzberger as Tony, in this classic tale of doomed love. The Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim score includes “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.”
Under the direction of Debbie Bendana, the cast also features Samantha Sheehan as Anita, Mario Robles as Bernardo and Geoffrey Hill as Riff. Alan Kingsley is musical director. Sylvia Walsh provides the choreography.
Performances at Trinity Lutheran Church, 63-70 Dry Harbor Road, Middle Village, will be on April 22, 28 and 29 and May 5 and 6 at 8 p.m., and April 23 and 30 and May 7 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $16, $14 for seniors. Call (718) 736-1263.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of Arthur Miller’s death, Douglaston Community Theatre will present “A View from the Bridge,” the playwright’s tale of lust and betrayal. Direction will be by Russ Camarda.
Performances at Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 44th Avenue off Douglaston Parkway, Douglaston, will be on April 28 and 29 and May 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and May 7 at 2 p.m. Call (718) 423-2109.
Those who prefer their humor on the sophisticated side should revel in Noel Coward’s farce, “Blithe Spirit,” coming to the Free Synagogue of Flushing in May. Mayhem erupts when a married novelist invites into his home an eccentric lady medium, who stages a seance that summons back the writer’s first wife, now “passed over” for seven years.
Headlining the cast are the very busy Vincent and Kump, along with Helen Del Bove, Jennifer DiMatteo, Sharon Levine and John Baratta.
Performances by the FSF Community Theatre Group will be on May 20 and 27 at 8 p.m., and May 21 and 28 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors. Call (800) 260-6789.
Come June, Theatre By the Bay will present the musical revue, “Remember Your Hit Parade 2,” a sequel to the similarly named hit of a few years ago. According to director Lawrence Bloom, the show will be a salute to the songs and moments from the years that “Your Hit Parade” aired on radio and television, plus more recent musical successes.
Musical director will be the in-demand Arkin. Caron Eule will choreograph. Performances at Bay Terrace Jewish Center, 1300 209th St., Bayside, will be announced.