Members of the Island Park Theatre Group are the epitome of community theater — resilient, relenting and ready for their well-earned bows! And they’ve had more than their share of drama and tragedy offstage in the last year as well.
Just as the cast was deep into rehearsals for their Fall 2012 production of “Smokey Joe’s Café,” Hurricane Sandy hit — and it hit their community hard.
“We stayed home the night of the storm, and were forced to the second floor apartment of our two family home when the water came into the house,” recalled Dana Feminella, who plays Mrs. Tevee in the group’s newest production, “Willy Wonka — the Musical,” set to open this Friday. “We lived there with my parents for four months while we rebuilt our home,” said Feminella, who also co-produces “Wonka.”
Get a golden ticket!
What: The Island Park Theatre Group stages six performances of “Willy Wonka — The Musical” starting this Friday and running for two weekends.
Where: Lincoln Orens Middle School, 150 Trafalgar Blvd., in Island Park.
When: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-16, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 17, 2 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22-23, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 24, 2 p.m.
Tickets: Adults, $20, Children under 14, $10, senior citizens and groups of 10 or more, $10. At the door, or call (516) 554-6295 to purchase reserved seats.
“Like everyone else in the community, we had no electricity, heat or hot water for weeks. Thankfully, we had a generator to provide some power, and kerosene heaters to keep warm. It was difficult, but we managed. We consider ourselves fortunate.”
And she’s right — some others fared much worse, but in the true tradition of “the show must go on,” and after a few months getting back on their feet — just barely for some — “Smokey’s Joe’s” did go on with a slightly smaller cast but a bigger sense of community and a meaning of family.
And this is family theater at its finest — Feminella is in the play with her 12-year-old daughter Marissa, who plays the gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde.
“Performing is a passion we share,” said Feminella, of herself and Marissa,
“and Island Park Theatre Group is part of our extended family. We look forward to the performances every year.”
Andrew Upbin and his son, Benjamin Upbin, also live in Island Park. Ben, 10, is a fifth-grader at Lincoln Orens Middle School, where the shows are staged.
“We lost all of our belongings, and were displaced until the middle of February,” the elder Upbin said. “It’s been a slow time getting our house back together, but we are back now and we will keep going forward. We were lucky to have a fantastic landlord.”