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JWE puts on a not-to-be-missed show

The moment you enter the John W. Engeman Theater (JWE) at Northport, you know you’re going to have a wonderful evening.Could it be the free valet parking right outside the theater that catches your fancy? Or is the warm ambience of the Green Room’s Piano Bar and lounge, resembling a Manhattan Bar on the Main Street of Northport Village? Serving the finest drinks, wines and beers before and after each performance, drinks can be ordered in the magnificent amphitheater itself by waitresses serving in the adjoining lobby.I’ve been there twice so far, last year when JWE performed Oliver and my granddaughter made her debut in a professional theater andthis time’s for Miracle’s opening night.

I bring this to your attention because although I saw evening performances both times, last year we arrived early to have a pre-dinner show. Northport is full of great restaurants within walking distance of the theater and reservations are a must. The JWE theater makes it the cultural center for northern long island, where great Broadway productions are performed all year round, I’m looking forward to the JWE production of “Fiddler on the Roof” come April. I’m a lover of musicals, especially those that stand the test of time.

A great musical stands on its own merit and doesn’t need a Gertrude Stein, Ethel Merman or Mary Martin to sell it. That’s why I love to see musicals%u2026all you need are talented actors, singers and dancers with great directors.

A wonderful plus to seeing a Broadway production at JWE is the ability to meet and drink with the performers after each show. The actors have to return to Manhattan by a chartered bus each evening and they unwind with a drink or two at the end of each show relishing in the compliments they receive from their new found fans.For instance, the little star Gianna LaPera came to sit next to me in the lounge seating in the lobby.She was eating hungry after a great performance and was attempting to bite into her sandwich. I leaned over to her just as she was about to take a bite and I told her “You were great1 you were better than Natalie Wood was in the original movie.”Her mouth dropped, her eyes opened wide and while putting back her sandwich on her plate, said “Thank you” and ran off to find her mother in the crowd to tell her of my compliment.Her mother came over later to thank me and tell me how excited she was with my compliment.I found out that she lives in Brooklyn Heights near MetroTech, where the Courierl Life Chain of newspapers headquarters are, and told her to watch out for my revue in the Brooklyn Graphic or to go on line www.yournabe .com and search Carmine Santa Maria or Big Screecher to bring up my revue in the column.

I also complimented Laurie Wells who starred as Gianna’s mom, and Dale Hensley who literally played the mad psychiatrist.My granddaughter Alexa went to bring the Big Kris Kringle to her Real Santa Claus to take a photo. Kenneth Cavett has a great voice and stature assures you that he is the real Kris Kringle, even though he is without his Red Suit throughout the musical.I explained to him that Alexa was my first grandchild and she always suspected I was her Santa, but was smart enough not to say anything to her younger brother Michael or parents. I mentioned that when she first went to Nursery school when she was four, I volunteered to bring my Brooklyn “Real Santa” persona to her Nursery Christmas show in Long Island.I sat in the audience in the last row at the start of the show and then run to the put on my Santa Garb to make my Ho Ho Ho entrance. Immediately recognizing my very loud Ho Ho Ho, she looked at me on stage, then looked at the last row to where I was sitting to see if her Poppy was still there.I chuckled under my beard when I saw the light bulbs lit on in her brain, she knew! Kenneth laughed at the Christmas vignette and said that Alexa is something special!

Take this Santa’s tip and go on line to order your tickets www.EngemanTheater.com or call 631 261-2900, and really have a Merry Christmas!

Screech at you next week!

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