Guest Appearance Marks End Of 'Rockaway Café '08'
The Rockaway Theatre Company performed the final show in a threeweek run of the annual musical revue, Rockaway Café on Sunday, October 5. This year's Café was a salute to the music of Queens native Paul Simon, which included songs recorded during his solo career as well as many from his years with Art Garfunkel. A diverse cast ranging in age from six to over sixty recreated great tunes like "Mrs. Robinson," "Homeward Bound," "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover' and "The Sound of Silence" to a sold-out crowd. Choreographers Catherine Lieb and Amanda Millwater were successful in getting the entire cast of more than 50 people on stage dancing. By the final encore, "Late in the Evening," audience members were dancing as well.
Legendary rock DJ Pete Fornatale made a special guest celebrity appearance during the final matinee. Fornatale, who is well known as a classic rock DJ in New York, first with WNEW FM and presently with WFUV Fordham radio, is the author of a biographical book entitled Simon and Garfunkel-Bookends. This makes the work of Paul Simon, particularly the Simon and Garfunkel duo, what some may call "Fornatale's Forte." When DJ Pete heard that the Rockaway Theatre Company was doing a tribute show, he called the producer, Susan Jasper, to reserve tickets for the final performance.
Midway through the show Fornatale got on stage, and after a bit of a banter with Emcee Frank Caiati, told the audience about his special affection for Rockaway Beach. He also praised the production, the band and the talented performers and agreed to remain in the theater after the show to sign autographs for cast and audience members. RTC soundman John Henshon met disappointment when he found out that the few copies of Simon and Garfunkel-Bookends that Fornatale had brought along, were gone. "You don't understand, this guy has a special place in my heart," stated Henshon. "Some of the best days of my life were spent listening to him on the radio." Upon hearing this statement, Fornatale immediately offered to send Henshon a personal copy.
The Rockaway Theatre Company extends its heartfelt gratitude to a Rock and Roll icon and an all-around "Nice-Guy" for helping bring a very successful production to a memorable conclusion and making it "special" to all those involved.