We need your help — Support your hometown newspaper by making a donation.

Oceansiders to take the stage at Madison Theatre


Oceansiders will perform numbers from famous musicals at Molloy College’s Madison Theatre with South Shore Theatricals on July 21.

For many of them, it will be one of several shows they’ve performed in with the group under the direction of Bruce Bider, music teacher and spring musical director in the Oceanside School District.

South Shore Theatricals, which Bider started about eight years ago, brings together students, adults and theater professionals to perform locally throughout the year. In addition to Oceanside residents, students from Plainview and Northport participate.

Each summer, the group performs at Madison Theater. This year’s showcase is “The World Goes ‘Round,” a musical revue of composers Fred Ebb and John Kander, who wrote musicals such as “Chicago,” “New York, New York” and “Cabaret.”

While it’s not a “book show,” or a performance that tells one narrative, the collection of 30 songs strings together seamlessly for an upbeat frenzy of dancing and singing.

“They act through the singing,” Bider said. “Each song tells its own story.”

The show features a mix of solo and group performances. Actresses Alexa Green, who played Glinda in the Los Angeles/San Francisco company of “Wicked,” and Michelle Mallardi, who played Belle in Broadway’s “Beauty and the Beast,” will guest star in the South Shore production.

At their July 2 rehearsal, South Shore members gathered in a practice room at Molloy College and ran through some numbers. “I like the challenge of learning music and choreography,” said Chris Long, 15, of Oceanside, who has been performing with South Shore for six years.

Chris’s sister, 11-year-old Alexa Long, sang with South Shore for the first time in the December holiday revue at the Long Beach Public Library. This will be her second show and first summer showcase with the group. Her brother inspired her to try out, and the two sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” together for her audition, she said.

“Alexa was always sitting in the audience [during rehearsals], waiting for her and her brother to be picked up,” Bider said, “and she had that look in her eyes, like ‘I wanna be up there [on stage.]’”

Father and daughter Ed and Julia Sollinger, of Oceanside, also “followed in each other’s footsteps” and found themselves performing together with South Shore, Bider said.

Ed always had an affinity for theater growing up, but hasn’t performed to an audience since before Julia, 20, was born. Julia has been performing since she was young, and as Ed drove her to rehearsals and practiced with her in the living room, he started “getting the itch” to perform again, he said. With South Shore, he finally “had the opportunity and the courage to jump back in,” he said.

The performers dispersed for vocal warm-ups and run-throughs of “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” and “The Rink.” They sang with imaginary coffee cups in their hands and danced with invisible roller skates on their feet as Bider accompanied on piano. Assistant stage manager and high school student Alyssa Calabrese, stage manager Denise Hagan and co-producer Frank Ambrosini watched from the sidelines.

“They’ve all worked hard,” said Hagan, who has been with South Shore Theatricals since it started. In addition to rehearsing about five hours per week since May, the cast practices independently with videos at home, Hagan explained.

She then went back to figuring out how she’d get cardboard coffee cups, roller skates and Sara Lee dessert boxes as props for the show.

For tickets to “The World Goes ‘Round,” visit madisontheatreny.org.