BWW Reviews : The Engeman’s VANYA & SONIA & MASHA & SPIKE

Christopher Durang’s Tony winning play Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike is certainly one for the books for Northports’s John W. Engeman Theatre. The gorgeous Long Island venue has mounted a wonderful incarnation running through March 8th and boasts an extraordinary cast.

Leading the superb Richard T. Dolce directed company are Laurie Dawn as Sonia, Stephen Mark Lucas as Spike, Kevin Pariseau, as Vanya, and film and television star Sean Young as Masha.

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The zany story revolves around siblings Sonia and Vanya who still live in their childhood home and reminisce how they really haven’t lived. Their parents are gone and it’s just the two of them. Their actress sister Masha, on the other hand, travels the world and lives glamorously. They are all around fifty years of age, but Masha ends up in a relationship with twenty-something Spike. Hilarity abounds when Masha and Spike visit Vanya and Sonia unexpectedly.

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Dawn is brilliant as Sonia exuding a sassy yet juvenile aura. Mr. Lukas is very funny as Spike with a self-indulgent vibe. Mr. Pariseau is excellent as Vanya particularly during his understandable, but intense monologue in Act Two. And Ms. Young was stunning as Masha with her entertaining snooty demeanor. Everyone’s performance was truly marvelous.

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Also a highlight – and rounding out the cast – is Isabel Santiago (Cassandra) and Megan Yelaney (Nina). Cassandra is Vanya and Sonia’s part time gypsy like housekeeper. Ms. Santiago was hilarious in her wild clothes – Tristan Raines does the costumes for this production – and gives her “doom is imminent” predictions. Ms. Yelaney is adorable as Nina with a more subtle but effective comedy.

Additionally, Jonathan Collins’ set is outstanding. The tale takes place in the living room of their house. A blue hue with lots of décor dressings makes a homey, suburban feel. This is enhanced beautifully with Kate Ashton’s lighting and Laura Shubert’s spot-on sound design.

And so, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike is indeed another hit for the John W. Engeman Theatre. Even though the characters are somewhat gloomy, this is a comical story and a production with a divine cast. Don’t be a “turkey” and miss this show.

Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike is presented by the John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island, through March 8th. By Christopher Durang, Directed by Richard T. Dolce, Scenic Design by Jonathan Collins, Costume Design by Tristan Raines, Lighting Design, Sound Design by Laura Shubert, Wig Design by J. Jared Janas, Prop Design by Bryan Prywes, Casting by Joy Dewing & Holly Buczek, Production Stage Management by Bethany Sortman. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

All photos by Michael DeCristofaro

January Newsletter : Happy New Year

Happy New Year! 2014 was a successful and joyful year at The John W. Engeman Theater. Thank you once again for your support and we hope you have enjoyed your experiences here.

In 2014, each of our productions were wonderful, from the gripping family drama of “Other Desert Cities,” to the suspense and plot twists of “Deathtrap,” and the passionate and unforgettable true story of “Evita!” Let’s not forget our most recent production, “A Christmas Story,” which was tremendously well received and garnered wonderful reviews.

This year, we were also able to bring 35 performances of 10 different shows for our Special Events Series. I am still laughing from Shut Up, Sit Down and Eat! We will be expanding our offerings with our Special Events Series in 2015. We will kick off the Series in February with performances of the American Jazz Songbook by a world class jazz trio. We will follow that up later in the month with one of the hottest rising comic ventriloquists in the entertainment industry – John Pizzi.

I am so happy to start 2015 with a bang! “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” was the Tony Award Winner for Best Play in 2013. This hysterical comedy is a mixture of sibling rivalry, regret, lust and love. The New York Times has called this play “Deliriously Funny!” We are excited to welcome famed actress Sean Young (“Blade Runner,” “No Way Out,” “Stripes”) in the role of Masha. I personally cannot wait for this show to start!

Last but not least, keep your eyes open for your Renewal Package later this month. With your Renewal you will receive 4 complimentary Virtual Vouchers for our 2015 Special Events Series. As you know, during this process you will be able to request seat changes. These seat changes are on a first come first serve basis and are not guaranteed, but we will try our hardest to accommodate your needs. Additional instructions can be found on your Renewal Card.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I wish you a wonderful new year filled with abundance, joy, and lots of cherished moments. May 2015 be your best year yet! Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Best,
Jackie

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