JCDA has been in business for over 35 years. The school provides the atmosphere and training that will nurture both the potential artist and the recreational dance student who studies only for the inherent rewards of self-discipline, confidence, physical fitness and a greater appreciation of movement and music.
The design of St. Aedan’s—the crown jewel of Saint Peter’s PAC’s network of event spaces—all but guarantees world-class bookings. With all the majesty of the 1,200-seat cathedral’s intricate brickwork and dazzling stained-glass windows bearing down on it, the stage seems to demand talent big enough to match the space’s grandeur. Throngs of polished marble pillars and golden angels flank internationally acclaimed musicians, choirs, and comedians. Several more modern venues also dot the campus, including an arena, several more intimate theaters and performance cubbies, and a new cabaret space backed by the Manhattan skyline.
Harbor Lights Theater Company ushers in accessible, inventive, and thought-provoking theater productions to the Staten Island community, reeling in top-level actors from the immense talent pool of New York City. With Broadway standout and artistic director Tamara Jenkins at the helm, the 2011 season kicks off with Craig Lucas's Marry Me a Little, the story of two lonely neighbors struggling through life in their tiny studio apartments without realizing that their soul mate is just a few walls and a cat-call away. This musical features songs by famed lyricologist Stephen Sondheim, so astute listeners may recognize memorable ditties from shows such as Saturday Night, A Little Night Music, Follies, Company, and more.
To cap off its 2011–12 season, J City Theater finds comic relief in the stages of grief with its production of the biting and bittersweet British romp The Memory of Water. The female-led ensemble piece surveys eccentric sisters Mary, Teresa, and Catherine as they quibble in preparation for their mother’s funeral. Quips fly at a machine-gun clip as the estranged siblings circle around childhood memories, strained romances, and the old wounds their mother's death has opened. Trying desperately to hold the trio together with her more-developed sense of responsibility, the unhappily married Teresa finds tightly wound expression in Rosalind Ashford, whose voice and acting chops have graced countless TV programs, audiobooks, and voiceovers. J City artistic director Sandy Cockrell steps into the role of middle child Mary as she struggles with memories of the son she placed for adoption at age 14.
In town for one performance only, The Fab Four—The Ultimate Beatles Tribute sends audiences on a time-bending trip to the 1960s soundtracked by the lads from Liverpool’s greatest hits and die-hard fan favorites. Emceed by an actor channeling Ed Sullivan, the multimedia production boasts a talented cast showing off their uncanny impersonations of John, Paul, George, and MacGyver. Live note-for-note re-creations of the group’s classic hits include renditions of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” and “Hey Jude.” With three costume changes, the show covers the Beatles' developing style, from the early days through Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to their brief stint as country band Uncle Ringo and the Hungry Blues. The touring production plays the palatial St. George Theatre, where the baroque furnishings offer plenty of murals, tiled fountains, and sculpted figures to keep eyes entertained before the show.
A bullying incident escalates to all-out domestic warfare in Mile Square Theatre’s production of God of Carnage, a searing comedy that interrogates the assumed disparity between childish and adult behaviors. Penned by French playwright Yasmina Reza, the play centers on a pair of couples who meet under the pretense of civility to discuss a quarrel between their 11-year-old boys. The parents’ quest for resolution gradually deteriorates into a psychological head-butting contest, culminating in the moment when their inner toddlers break out pacifiers for a soft-sworded duel to the end. An outstanding cast of stage veterans draws laughter with a convincing performance, committing to the chaos while audience members chuckle and shift uncomfortably in their chairs.