For the third year in a row, The Playhouse at on Main Street will play host to the on March 30, 31, and April 1, featuring a mix of 25 comedies and dramas written by Long Island playwrights.
Organized by theme, Friday’s plays are entitled “Accentuate the Positive.” Saturday night’s program highlights “The Human Condition” and Sunday afternoon celebrates “April Fool.” As in years past, each program will culminate with the presentation of The Rising Star Awards.
Saturday’s matinee, which centers around the theme of “Combating Bullying”, consists of plays written and acted primarily by Long Island teenagers. The show is free to the public, and will also feature a live performance by singer-songwriter Marla Lewis, whose song, “Leap of Faith,” is included on the CD, “All About Bullies…Big and Small!” which won a Grammy Award for Best Children’s Recording. A video public service announcement created by Rich Vernillo, of Smithtown, NY, will also be presented.
Lewis will also take part in a panel discussion on bullying after the performance. She will be joined by teenage author and activist Jamie Isaacs, of St. James, NY, whose recent book In Jamie’s Words shares her experiences as a victim of bullying in elementary and middle school. Teacher Scott Starkey, author of How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying, will round out the panel.
Donations will be collected at the Saturday matinee to benefit The Bully Project, a collaborative effort among four charitable foundations dedicated to transforming communities to places where empathy and respect are valued by all.
The Saturday evening performance will honor the late Douglas MacLeod, Long Island author and playwright and a public relations manager for Newsday, by producing his play “Interview.” The play focuses on the difficulty that a long-married couple has to deal with when faced with the past.
“Doug was such a vital inspiration to so many local playwrights, actors and directors,” said Jo Ann Katz, co-founder of the Festival. “We are excited to honor his influence by offering this production of his play.”
Katz, an accomplished advocate for community theater on Long Island, is also the founder of the Northport Reader’s Theater, which meets each month at St. Paul’s to bring recently written plays off the page for the first time. Before his death, MacLeod was a fixture at the Reader’s Theater.
“I have so many fond memories of Doug and his participation at our meetings; his love and passion for what he wrote were inspiring for all of us in the room,” Katz recalled. “One of the most special moments was when his son-in-law, actor John Shea, came to our meeting to read Doug’s one-act play, "Way Out Here." Later John came back and did the play as a formal staged reading for the Northport Arts Coalition at the Northport Public Library. All of Doug’s friends from Newsday and his family were there to see it – it was a full house. But what really made it special to me as a director was seeing the joy in Doug’s face as he watched his work being done for the first time on stage – it’s something I’ll never forget. So, to co-direct Doug’s work one more time for the festival is a thrill and an honor.”
Admission is $20 for the Friday and Saturday evening performances which begin at 7:30 p.m., as well as the Sunday performance at 3 p.m. An all-Festival pass is available for $50. For more information on ticket availability, call (631) 223-8053.