From The Artists Studio by Susan Hartenstein
Visitors to the highly successful Rockaway Theatre Company production of "Guys and Dolls" are discovering that not only are they going away whistling the tunes, they are leaving the theater whistling the scenery as well. Indeed, the scenery is itself a work of art worth the price of admission (which is, by the way, a very reasonable $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors.)
This background to the tuneful Frank Loesser musical is the collaborative effort of members of the Rockaway Theatre Company (RTC) and the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA). RTC’s John Battaglia, Joe Canizio, Apryl Green, Tony Homesy and George Hoffner and RAA’s James Cantirino and Geoff Rawling have created a colorful, joyful backdrop that visually opens up the production. It perfectly compliments and enhances Loesser’s bright music and lyrics and the clever book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Of course, the scenery is only one of the reasons to see this production of "Guys and Dolls." John Gilleece’s imaginative direction, the wonderful singing, particularly by lead actors Apryl Green, Scott Battaglia, Donna Gueren and Les Kraft, Lorraine Lambert’s choreography and Peggy Vivino’s costumes are a few of the others. So, come join the crowds flocking each weekend to Fort Tilden’s Post Theater. Remaining performances are through August 19 -- Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on August 19. RTC’s next major production will be Ira Levin’s nifty mystery, "Deathtrap." More about this in a later column.
"Music, Art & Poetry for a Midsummer’s Day." On Saturday, August 18 from 12 – 3 p.m. at sTudio 6 Fort Tilden, Gateway NRA, the Rockaway Artists Alliance holds a special opening reception for its latest member exhibition, "Summer 2001." The afternoon will feature standards, jazz and show tunes from popular local musicians and singers who have performed at various venues around the city. Included on the bill, is the incredibly talented and versatile Apryl Green, one of the stars of "Guys and Dolls." Invited poets who will be reading their work include Tinker Literary Magazine editor-in-chief and former associate editor of The Wave newspaper, Aaron Zeidman. An open mike for poets should bring interesting ingredients to the mix. Refreshments will be served.
The works in "Summer 2001" reflect the increasingly diverse membership of RAA – diverse both artistically and culturally. The talent in the organization continues to expand. The exhibition, presented in conjunction with Gateway National Recreation Area, runs from August 18 through September 22. Gallery hours are Saturday 12 – 5 p.m., Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free to both the reception and the exhibition. For further information please call 718 474-0861 or email RockArt116@aol.com.
Are you a fan of Rockaway’s own Gerald Bair? This very talented singer/songwriter will be making several appearances in the New York area over the next few weeks. Friday, August 26 from 5 – 9 p.m. he is appearing at the New Irish Circle, 102nd Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Saturday, August 18 at 11 p.m. he will be at the Blackwater Inn, 112-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Also on this date he will host and play at an acoustic show at Sunwater Grill, Dune Road, Hampton Bays as part of the Hamptons Music Festival. Sunday, August 12 and Tuesday, August 21 from 6 – 10 p.m. Bair will perform at Otto’s, 27 Woodcleft, Freeport, Long Island. Tuesday, August 14 catch him at Rocky Sullivan’s, 129 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. Bair plays at Connolly Station in Malverne, Long Island.
Apryl Green is the lead singer in a terrific band called Daddy Rhythm and the Blues Club. Saturday, August 11 they are playing at PJ Curran’s at 217 Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park. Downtime (that means "starting time" to all us reeeeally pretentiously hip cats) is 10:30 p.m. I hope you have noted how brilliantly everything eventually ties together in this column. No applause, please. Just return here again next week. Bye for now.
"Riis Clock"- watercolor painting by Martha Killian- one of the works of art being displayed by RAA members at Tiberio Dimare Restaurant.