2005-09-23 / Community

RTC’s ‘Rockaway Café ‘05’ Music And Fun

A Wave Review

The band sings a capella.The band sings a capella. The first two performances of Rockaway Theatre Company’s annual musical revue and variety show, Rockaway Café ’05 were greeted with “much-deserved” standing ovations last week at the Post Theater. The Rockaway Café was first performed in 2002 and proved to be such a hit that it became an annual institution at the Rockaway Theatre Company.

Each year the show features songs of a popular musical genre interpreted and presented by the incredibly talented members of this amazing company. The songs are presented along with skits, dances and often hilarious interpretations, which have made the show a favorite with regular RTC audience members.

Guitarist Heather ZabrickiGuitarist Heather Zabricki Rockaway Café’ 05 has proven to be every bit as exciting and entertaining as the revues of previous seasons. This year the focus of the music is on famous “Piano-men”. The show covers some of the greatest hits of Billy Joel, Elton John, Ray Charles, Barry Manilow and Billy Preston. There is also a rockin’ first Act finale featuring a medley of Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis tunes which has the entire audience on its feet dancing to the music.

Piano Man Rich Louis-PierrePiano Man Rich Louis-Pierre The songs are presented with the Rockaway Theatre Company’s unique spin which makes each number appear new and fresh, no matter how old it actually may be.

The backbone of the show is RTC’s totally awesome band led by Walter Birkhold and his wailing sax. The band also features Rob Fahn on drums, Jeff Arzberger on bass, Ryan King on trumpet, and the lovely Heather Zabrocki on flute and lead guitar.

“The Stranger.”“The Stranger.” Fronting the group are two phenomenal piano-men, RTC’s own Michael Finnegan and Richard Louis-Pierre whose musical virtuosity simply must be heard to be appreciated.

Classic tunes like “Yellowbrick Road”, “Tiny Dancer”, “The Stranger”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Just The Way You Are” “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”, “She’s Always A Woman” “Copacabana” and “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” are presented by some really fine singers and a fantastic troupe of dancers,owing in large part to the immense creativity of RTC Choreographers Nicola DePierro, Lorraine Lambert and Gabrielle Mangano.

“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.”“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.” The incredible cast is far too large to mention individually but features many Café regulars as well some excellent newcomers.

Each performance of the show is hysterically unique and features surprises for both audience and cast, thanks to the comic antics of RTC’s resident clown, Frank Caiati, who emcees Act II in the very humorous persona of Dr. Frank Freuder.

John Gilleece, the director of the Rockaway Café, is delighted with the fantastic audience acclaim the show has received on the first weekend of the run. He also wishes to remind anyone, who has not yet seen the show, of a very special performance of Rockaway Café ’05 : “The Carol Jasper Memorial Benefit to aid the North Shore Animal League America.” This is the second year of an annual event by which the Rockaway Theatre Company donates the proceeds of one performance to the largest “No-Kill” Animal Shelter on the east coast. North Shore is dedicated to rescuing and placing homeless and abused animals in loving homes.

Presently all expendable personnel and mobile vans have been dispatched to Louisiana and Mississippi and are engaged in rescuing animals displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Working with the Humane Society of America, NSAL rescue vans have already taken in over 150 animals from this devastated region, some of which will be available for adoption in the lobby of the Post Theatre on the night of the Benefit performance.

Gilleece urges patrons to come and see the show this Friday evening. September 23, “The North Shore Animal League is RTC’s Pet Project. We sincerely hope to have an exceptional showing and to raise a sizeable donation for this very worthy cause”

However, if for any reason, you are unable to get to the benefit performance, you can still catch Rockaway Café ’05 on September 22, 24, 30 and Oct. 1, 7 and 8 at 8 PM. There will also be a matinee on September 25, at 2 PM.

The heated/air-conditioned Post Theatre is located at Fort Tilden, GNRA in Breezy Point, N.Y. and is easily reachable by car or bus. The theater features handicap accessibility and plenty of Free Parking. Tickets at $20.00 for adults and $15.00 for Seniors and Children are a definite theatrical bargain. Reservations are a must and can be made by calling the RTC Hotline at 718-850-2450. Interested theatre-goers are advised to call immediately.

RTC Reservations Manager, Peggy Page warns, “Due to the extreme popularity of this show, seating for all performances is already extremely limited. Don’t risk being turned away... call now”

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