2007-07-13 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance Cool Summer Evenings Filled with Song

Rockaway Artists Alliance
Cool Summer Evenings Filled with Song

Commentary by

Susan Hartenstein

RAA Contact Info: Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; e-mail: rock art116@aol.com; website: www.rock awayartistsalliance.org.

Reminder: Artsplash Submission Deadline Soon

Two Calls To Artists:

ARTSPLASH 2007: RAA's annual juried multi-media cultural event is a major showcase for a full spectrum of visual, literary and performing artists. Deadline for receipt of entries: July 25, 2007. Exhibition dates: September 8- October 7, 2007. Opening reception: September 16, 2007.

Gifted 2007: RAA's Annual Member Group Show:

Location: sTudio 6 at Fort Tilden, Rockaway, Queens, New York. Eligibility: Open to RAA members only (membership is $25). Deadline for receipt of entries: October 4, 2007.

Dates: November 18- December 16, 2007. Opening reception: November 18, 2007. For both shows: For details and additional information, please contact RAA. See above for contact information. Full prospectuses and entry forms may be downloaded from: www. rockawayartistsalliance.org.

The Summer Moons Free Concert/ Entertainment Series: When: every Thursday evening through August 30. Start time: 7 p.m. Where: RAA's outdoor Rockaway Moon Stage (if rain: indoor stage in sTudio 7) in Fort Tilden. Come with the family, friends, beach chairs and/or blankets (some seating available if you get there early enough) and your favorite cool drinks.

Who: July 19: Open mike for musicians - acoustic instruments only. July 26: The talented Zeps - performing in four rap groups: Point Dot Period, That Freak Show, New York Rhyme Exchange and Sickmania. Plus live rock bands: Indaculture, Push for Coin and Smite.

The Rockaway Theatre Company production of "South Pacific" began its run with a weekend of almost sold-out performances - for good reason. Audience members emerged from the theater with raves and songs bursting out of them. "South Pacific" is a classic Tony-winning musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, innovative giants of 20th Century musical theater.

RTC's production is entertaining, moving, ultimately uplifting and loaded with talent. As Navy nurse Nellie Forbush, Catherine Leib brings a charm and lovely voice to the character. Bruce Rebold, in the role of planter Emile de Becque, fills each and every corner of The Post Theater with his rich, deep, flawless baritone. His interpretation of "This Nearly Was Mine," a brilliantly sensitive and stirring lament for what might have been, brought tears to my eyes.

The extraordinary Kathy Valentine, who brings the stage to vibrant life anytime she steps onto it, plays Bloody Mary. I have had the pleasure of working with Valentine on more than one occasion. Her voice, talent and generosity are amazing. Robert Fahn's Luther Billis can be added to his already brimming list of wonderfully entertaining, impishly clever characterizations. Andrew Harwood brings great appeal and conviction to the role of Lt. Joseph Cable. Kudos to Jennifer Seto for stepping in at the last minute to fill the role of Liat. The sweet, likeable personality she presents is perfect as Cable's young lover. "Hats off" to director John Gilleece, musical director Walter Birkhold, the orchestra and the entire cast and crew for giving this community another wonderful musical production to enjoy.

Of course, special mention must be made in this column of the artists who designed and created the lush scenery and sets. I don't have the room to name them all, but James Cantirino and John Russo designed them and many built and painted them. Geoff Rawling created the Bali Ha'i and shoreline designs (and, rumor has it, those amazing tattoos). There are many technical, managerial and support people in the Rockaway Theatre Company, who do not receive the onstage applause, but who work long, long hours to make a successful production like this possible. Be sure to read your programs when you attend, so you will know who they are. They deserve our thanks and admiration.

Remaining "South Pacific" performances: July 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 8 p.m.; July 15 at 2 p.m. For tickets: 718-850-2450.

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