Stepping Out

A cloak and dagger ‘first’ for My Father’s Place

Rock venue’s rebirth inspires a Halloween whodunit

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Back in the day, one of the greatest of the great ‘go to’ places on Long Island for rocking out was My Father’s Place in Roslyn. The brainchild of Mike “Eppy” Epstein, it wasn’t just a prime watering hole for post-teens, it was a historic launching pad for popular entertainment in America — from which the likes of Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Tom Petty, The Ramones, The Police, and Aerosmith rose to fame.

Part of Epstein’s secret — according to My Father’s Place lore — was to book only original talent, no cover bands.

Fast forward three decades, to today’s My Father’s Place —now comfortably reopened in its new location at the Roslyn Hotel — and you’ll find the pitch is not quite the same.

“Welcome back to the Good Old Days” proclaims the combined music/dinner theater venue and “search for new music with an added taste of nostalgia.”

“[We’re] rockin’ stories from the original My Father’s Place while rollin’ into some new memories,” management states on their website. That means a combination of long-established acts (Loudon Wainright III, Billy Cobham, Chris Smither), comedy shows (Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling, Teddy Smith), tribute bands — and for the first time at My Father’s Place, a comedy-murder mystery play.

“A Cloak and a Dagger: Murder at the Halloween Spook-tacular,” premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 30, presented by the Slayer Players Theatre Company, This group of theater people, conceived by Susan Potter Weppler, has been centered up to this point at The View Grill (at the Glen Cove Golf Club).

The whodunit tells of a ‘70s rock icon named Rick Dagger, who has dropped out of civilization for 35 years only to return to the “public eye” with a 42-show tour that kicks off at, of course, My Father’s Place.

How does supper club murder/mystery fit into that mix? Just fine, says Epstein.

“Today’s My Father’s Place is like Carnegie Hall,” says the legendary club owner. “It’s a theatrical facility with incredible sound. You can do anything from comedy and lectures to blues, rock and more in it.” Besides, adds Epstein, the venue was home to theater back in the day, too.

“We did “The Fantasticks” in ‘72; we did a National Lampoon touring show in ‘73. From time to time we would have theatrical acts. Anything can be done if you have a theater space.”

According to co-writer Kevin Horton, of the Slayer Players, the show is perfect for today’s My Father’s Place “mainly because of the script,” Horton, who along with his daughter Samantha is a member of the cast, explains that “a murder takes place at My Father’s Place and the characters have to figure out who did it.”

“Kevin and I wrote this play specifically for My Father’s Place,” adds Fred DiMenna, co-writer. “It’s a complete original and there’s never been a murder mystery in the history of the legendary club. So it’ll be a night of firsts for sure! And for one character, a night of lasts!”

The Slayer Players mounted their first stage production on April 1, 2017 at The View Grill. To date, the group has performed 15 shows, including four at The View Grill, but has also begun to expand beyond their home base. Slayer Players has performed at Sea Cliff Manor, the Glen Cove BID Holiday Festival, fundraisers and private parties.

“One of our goals has been to branch out from The View, our base location, to reach people beyond the Glen Cove area,” says DiMenna.“My Father’s Place is probably still too close, but it’s good exposure. A nice venue, much bigger, which is a little more challenging but a good opportunity. And besides, the main thing is to honor the history of the place.”

That’s something that “A Cloak and A Dagger” offers up in spades. True to the nostalgic storytelling, which management at My Father’s Place encourages, the plot contains numerous references to rock music and the legendary artists who have performed at the historic rock ‘n roll palace over the years.

While the entertainment goal is to provide plenty of laughs, rock n roll, and a little murder thrown in, the message of the show goes beyond simple entertainment, according to DiMenna.

“I’m always frustrated when people say you can’t go home again,” adds DiMenna. “I like when I see the past being able to be recaptured. My Father’s Place has an incredible history, and while this is a different place, it’s still Eppy. He’s proof that you maybe can’t come home but at least you can come close to it.”

For the 2019 version of My Father’s Place, what could be better than that?

The performance has been combined with venue’s Halloween bash, so the audience is encouraged to come in costume.

Tickets are $45 , however, those who arrive in costume, will receive a $5 rebate at the door. The show begins at 8 p.m., doors open two hours prior. For tickets and information, visit www.slayerplayers.com or www.myfathersplace.com.