I was at a town hall meeting at PS 114 Friday June 7th at which we were broken up into groups to summon the ghost of Rockaway Future. Someone came up with, “A world class theater that would put on plays that would attract people from all over the city.” “We already have the Rockaway Theatre Company, a world class theater that puts on Broadway quality shows,” I chimed in.
The next morning I joined a group of volunteers under the direction of chief carpenter, set builder, tech advisor and do everything and anything guy, Tony Homsey, to help rebuild the guts of the Sandy-ravaged stage in preparation for an upcoming inspection by the Parks Department at Gateway National Park. If it passes, Tony will lead a volunteer crew all day Saturday, June 15th, to put down the plywood to cover the stage (come on down and bring a tape measure and hammer). There is a rush to get the stage ready in preparation for the July 19 opening of “Rockaway Café, The Comeback “which will focus on storm-related music in Act 1. Act 2 will focus on the light at the end of the tunnel as the RTC storms back from the abyss of Sandy, “the first performance in our new updated theater,” said Susan Jasper, one of RTC’s mainstays.
OK, at the risk of being branded an RTC Kool-Aid drinker, I believe shows at the RTC are often at a highly professional level. As one of the RTC videographers I get to see every show multiple times and am thrilled at every single performance. The final show of last season was postponed and forced to be moved to a church in Howard Beach last March in much modified form but was still a wowser. Many Howard Beachers were seeing the RTC in action for the first time and were blown away by the talent.
There will be ten benefit performances over three weekends beginning July 19th (Friday, Saturday nights at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.). Proceeds will be used to cover the considerable costs of rebuilding the severely damaged theater. Auctions and raffles will be held and any individuals and merchants willing to donate items can contact Susan Jasper at email@example.com.