Cultural Arts Playhouse has been fostering the development of up-and-coming actors for more than 15 years. At its Musical Theatre and Acting Academy, students from 1st–12th grade hone their on-stage skills by taking classes on singing, acting, and improvisation under the tutelage of an experienced teacher. Kids get to show off these skills in full theatrical productions, with main-stage shows opening up auditions to the entire community so people can see their neighbors' acting chops and dusted-off fake skulls. Cultural Arts Playhouse alumni have found success in New York and throughout the country, appearing in HBO's The Sopranos, and such Broadway productions as Les Miserables and Aladdin.
The Long Island Puppet Theater amazes audiences with a cast of colorful marionette puppets, each with a story to tell. Its shows cater to audiences aged one and up and include familiar characters including The Little Mermaid. Special events encourage kids to play with Barbies or dance alongside Cinderella and Batman, whereas traveling shows bring interactive fun to the tristate area with pirates and jungle animals. In addition to performances, the theater also offers private themed parties for special occasions, such as a birthday or day you transform from a wooden puppet into a real boy or girl.
The third annual Woodlands Folk Festival celebrates the centennial anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth with a daylong lineup of venerable folk artists. Headliner Christine Lavin pulls material from her stack of 20 solo albums and compilations, combining virtuosic guitar plucking with a clarion voice that pivots between soulful, sad songs and witty commentaries, often with a topical edge. Greg Greenway croons out his frustrations during "Sick and Tired" and strums gentle melodies on his acoustic guitar during “Highway 4am,” a song that evokes the calm of early morning after a long night of doing donuts in an ex’s lawn. A separate family stage courts kid-friendly acts such as Robbi Kumalo, who entertains youngsters with energetic jazz, pop, and worldly music. Activities such as instrument making, face painting, and henna tattoos round out the day's fun, interactive attractions.
Windows on the Lake blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, lending a serene, pastoral air to everything from Thanksgiving dinners to weddings. Two stories of floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Lake Ronkonkoma and the grounds that hug it. Manicured gardens beckon diners for a post-prandial stroll among colorful foliage and babbling brooks.
Those grounds also usher brides and grooms to the outdoor gazebo, where they say their vows and wrestle for the title of "Head of Household." In the Rainbow Room, however, the line between indoors and outdoors seems to vanish altogether. A ceiling painted like the sky looms over a hardwood dance floor ringed with white-clothed tables—and the illusion extends to the pastoral murals that alternate with the room's floor-to-ceiling windows.
Ballet Long Island, a nonprofit professional ballet company that focuses on bringing affordable ballet performances to its community, has been doing just that since 1985. The consummate dancers, many of whom have studied in the organization’s training and education programs, unleash performances throughout the year across several stages, from Disney-themed shows such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to original numbers.
The Governor's locations are ranked among 10Best's Editor's Picks for live Long Island entertainment; they have featured some of the best-known names in the business, such as Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, and Jerry Seinfeld. Upcoming performers include Mike Yard with Eric Tartaglione at McGuire's, Andy Pitz at the Brokerage, and Greg Fitzsimmons at Governor's. Check the schedules to find out which club will make you laugh so loudly area birds will be too scared to sing for days.