The Village Tattler Review

A Dream of A Musical at Engeman Theater in Northport

Richard Todd Adams as Don Quixote and Carlos Lopez as Sancho Panza in Engeman’s Man of La Mancha. Photo by Michael DeCristofaro.

September 23, 2018
By Claudia Wheeler

This impossibly entertaining musical, from the first strum of the guitar to the moving finale, brings the classic Cervantes masterpiece set in 16th century Spain to life on the stage. Man of La Mancha will run through October 28, 2018, at Northport’s John W. Engeman Theater. It is a dream of a musical complete with moving songs such as “The Impossible Dream,” and “Dulcinea,” and it will especially please lovers of history and romance. Considered one of the world’s most popular musicals, Engeman’s Man of La Mancha exceeds its aim to entertain through the telling of the adventures of a delusional Spanish Knight who is on a quest to restore chivalry to the world and claim his lady love Dulcinea.

Engeman’s version is emotionally stirring, particularly led by such a talented group of actors. Richard Todd Adams is mesmerizing as Don Quixote (Engeman Theater: Jekyll & Hyde (2007); Broadway: The Woman in White, The Pirate Queen, CATS; National Tours: Les Miserables – Jean Valjean, Javert, The Phantom of the Opera – The Phantom, Raoul). His leading lady Janet Dacal is perfectly cast as Aldonza. She is beyond enthralling with a voice that is truly beautiful as well as powerful. Dacal’s credits include: Broadway, In the Heights – Nina, Carla; Wonderland – Alice; Regional: The Sting at Paper Mill Playhouse. The fabulous sidekick, Sancho Panza, is brilliantly acted by Carlos Lopez who hits the comedic lines perfectly and is a familiar face from many TV and film appearances in “The Sopranos,” “Law and Order,” “Guiding Light,” “All Fired Up,” “What Would You Do?” “Brooklyn Sonnet,” “Stepford Wives,” “Death Wishes,” and “Late Phases.” Lopez also appeared as the Barber on Broadway’s Man of La Mancha. His other Broadway credits include: Grease – Sonny, Annie Get Your Gun – Tommy Keeler, Wonderful Town – Speedy, A Chorus Line – Mike and Paul.

Man of La Mancha is produced by RICHARD DOLCE the Engeman Theater’s Producing Artistic Director and directed by PETER FLYNN (Engeman Theater: Man of La Mancha (2008); NY Theater: Curvy Widow at Westside Arts Theatre, Born Yesterday at Maltz-Jupiter Theatre; Regional: Ragtime and 1776 at Ford’s Theatre, Chess with Josh Groban & Julia Murney, Andrea Martin: Final Days Everything Must Go). The choreographer is DEVANAND JANKI (Engeman Theater: Man of La Mancha (2008); Off-Broadway: Zanna, Don’t!, Junie B. Jones, Henry and Mudge, The Yellow Brick Road, Skippyjon Jones, This One Girl’s Story, Cupid and Psyche, Love & Real Estate, Romantic Poetry; Lincoln Center: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland). The Musical Director is JULIANNE B. MERRILL (NY Theater: A Man of No Importance, Parade; Regional: Smokey Joe’s Café, Matilda; International: Into the Woods).

The cast of Man of La Mancha at Northport’s Engeman Theater. Photo by Michael DeCristofaro.

The cast also includes: ENRIQUE CRUZ DEJESUS, JUAN LUIS ESPINAL, DIEGO GONZALEZ, GARFIELD HAMMONDS, DEVEN KOLLURI, STEVEN LIBERTO, PHYLLIS L. MARCH, NORA MOUTRANE, CODY MOWREY, JOSHUA WAYNE OXYER, NANDITA SHENOY, BRUCE WINANT, and MORGAN ANITA WOOD.

 

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Village Tattler Review: Once Musical Captivates at Engeman Theater

The Village Tattler
Claudia Wheeler
January 28, 2018

Once more, Engeman Theater in Northport captivates audiences with its latest production of Once in which the cast also serves as the orchestra and a bar is set at center stage. I was truly blown away by the exquisiteness of the music and talent in this very special and unique production. Once runs through March 4, 2018, and if I am able I will see it more than once. It is a must-see theater experience, and when Engeman touts its productions as Broadway on Main Street, they really aren’t kidding; it’s evident with Once. As a ticket holder, you are invited for a drink up at the bar on the stage pre-show or during intermission, which has a delightful way of making you feel like you are part of the production.

Just like the 2007 movie by John Carney, music and lyrics for the musical are by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, including the Academy-Award winning song “Falling Slowly.” The book for the musical was written by Enda Walsh.

The incredible cast (several of whom also performed in Once on Broadway/National Tour) is directed and choreographed by Trey Compton. He has worked at Engeman as the Associate Director of Gypsy, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Twelve Angry Men, The Music Man, Evita, The Producers, West Side Story as well as Off-Broadway productions of YANK! and White’s Lies.

This production of Once, which I had the delight of experiencing on opening night, had the audience enthralled from the very first note on the violin. Winner of 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Once is truly original theater—an atypical and complex love story. It feels more like seeing a live strings concert in a pub (that cozy, personal experience) than traditional musical theater. In the story, the main guy and the main girl connect through music but are bound to other partners. Somehow, despite being from very different worlds, they come together and remind everyone not to give up on your dreams, and that even when life is very complicated, there is still hope.

The cast of Once features Barry Debois as the Guy (National Tour: Once; NYC: The Shape of Things, The Wedding Singer, The Seed of Abraham, Pilgrims of the Night, Deployed; Regional: Midtown Arts Center, Media Theatre, The Armory Theatre, Players Guild Theatre, Cassidy Theatre, Kathleen Howland Theatre, Rivertree Players, Carnation City Theatre) Andrea Goss plays the Girl . Her credits include Broadway: Indecent, Cabaret, Once, Rent; National Tours: Cabaret (Sally Bowles); Regional: Baltimore Center Stage, TUTS, Alliance, McCarter, CTG/Kansas City Rep, North Shore, MUNY, Syracuse Stage; Film: “Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway.”

The amazing ensemble, who play their own instruments on stage, features: Billy Cohen, Annabelle Deaner, Elisabeth Evans, Ryan Halsaver, John Thomas Hays, Stephen Mcintyre, Rachel Mulcahy, Ryan Michael Owens, Terry Palasz, Bristol Pomeroy, Sam Saint Ours, Sophia Lily Tamburo, Douglas Waterbury-Tieman and Lauren Wright.

 

Read online: http://villagetattler.com/2018/01/28/musical-captivates-northports-engeman-theater/

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Village Tattler Review: Jekyll & Hyde Triumphs at Engeman Theater

The Village Tattler

Claudia D. Wheeler

March 30, 2017

 

The John W. Engeman Theater has not ceased to amaze audiences with its fantastic 2016-2017 season. Jekyll & Hyde is no exception. The amazing nineteenth-century period costumes, off-the-charts talent, and chemistry between the actors is worthy of a second visit to this show, which runs through Sunday, April 30, 2017. The musical will play the following performance schedule: Thursdays at 8:00pm, Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:00. Some Wednesday and Sunday evenings are available. Tickets are $76 on Saturday evenings, $71 all other performances and may be purchased by calling (631) 261-2900, going online at www.EngemanTheater.com, or by visiting the Engeman Theater Box Office at 250 Main Street, Northport.

Set in nineteenth-century London and based on the classic novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, the musical Jekyll & Hyde features a score of pop rock hits from multi-Grammy and Tony-nominated Frank Wildhorn and double Oscar and Grammy winning Leslie Bricusse. It’s a tale many of us know well of two men, a doctor and a madman, and the two women who love them. This production is produced by Richard T. Dolce, the Engeman’s Producing Artistic Director, and directed and choreographed by Paul Stancato (Engeman Theater: Sound of Music, Hairspray; Broadway: The Wedding Singer (Asst. Choreo.), The Lion King (Res. Director); National Tours: Flashdance (Dir/Choreo), Jekyll & Hyde (Dir/Choreo), The Wedding Singer (Dir); International: House of Dancing Water (Artistic Director), New York; Regional: NYMF, Beckett Theater, Minetta Lane, Flatrock Playhouse, Palm Beach Dramaworks and the Zipper Theater). Musical direction is by Kristen Lee Rosenfeld (National Tour: Spring Awakening; NYC: Band of Angels, Divided – Composer). TheAssociate Director is Dana Iannuzzi (National/International Tour: Flashdance; NYC: ICON, The Cobalteans, Divided).

Acting and vocal recognition must go first to Nathaniel Hackmann, who plays both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with such astounding passion, giving the role more than 100 percent. The transformation scene from Jekyll to Hyde is mesmerizing and a particularly hard scene to pull off for any actor. Hackmann just soars in this production as the story unfolds, lending a believable and emotional depth to the character, as he portrays a man coming apart at the seams due to his own experimentation and his wish to play God. His vocals are of particular note, as Dr. Jekyll in “This is the Moment,” and with his romantic interest Emma in “Take Me As I Am,” but also as Hyde in “Alive” and with the character Lucy in “Dangerous Game.” It would be worth going to the production a second time just to listen to Hackmann’s impressive vocals.

Hackmann makes his Engeman debut in this production. Credits include Broadway/National Tours: Les Miserables (Valjean, Javert u/s), Paint Your Wagon (Steve); Regional: Beauty and the Beast at MUNY (Gaston), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Oliver!, Sweeney ToddA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumCarousel, Ragtime, Into the Woods, Camelot, Sanders Family Christmas, Bye Bye Birdie).

Also of note are both leading ladies making Engeman debuts, who play characters Emma Carew and Lucy Harris–Liana Hunt and Caitlyn Caughell, respectively. They each are cast perfectly in their roles. Hunt gives just the right amount of sweetness and caring to her role as Emma, Dr. Jekyll’s fiancée, whose beautiful soprano voice shines in her duet with him, “Take Me As I Am.” Hunt’s credits include Broadway: Newsies (Katherine), Mamma Mia! (Sophie); National Tours: Wicked (Nessarose), Mamma Mia! (Sophie); Regional: Private Lives at Riverside Theatre, Les Miserables at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Beauty and the Beast at Jean’s Playhouse.

Caughell’s performance as the prostitute Lucy is right on the mark,  with powerful vocals, especially notable in “Someone Like You” and “A New Life,” songs that any actress/singer would dream to have the chance to perform. Here the duality of good and evil meets up in Jekyll & Hyde. Jekyll first meets Lucy at The Red Rat, where Lucy is a bar girl. They are drawn to each other and Jekyll gives her his number before he leaves the bar, letting her know that she can rely on his help should she need it. Lucy becomes dangerously involved with Mr. Hyde.

The cast also includes a fantastic ensemble who perform in many well-choreographed numbers, including “Facade,” with Lucy in “Bring on the Men,” and of particular note, “Murder, Murder,” on the streets of London. The ensemble includes Danny Arnold, Ryan Bloomquist, Joey Calveri, Lily Dickinson, Lauren Gobes, Laura Helm, Deven Kolluri, Megan Koumis, Rebecca Kuznick, Tom Lucca, Jake Mills, William Mulligan, Bronson Norris Murphy, Blake Price, James D. Schultz, Teresa Whitt, and Jeff Williams.

Performing as a creative team, the amazing scenic design is by Stephen Dobay with costume design by Kurt Alger, lighting design by Keith A. Truax, sound design by Laura Shubert, and casting directors, Scott Wojcik and Holly Buczek of Wojcik/Seay Casting.

 

Read online: http://villagetattler.com/jekyll-hyde-triumphs-northports-engeman-theater/

Village Tattler Review: Anything Can Happen at the Magical Mary Poppins at Engeman Theater

Village Tattler

December 12, 2016

Claudia D. Wheeler

 

A magical show the whole family can enjoy awaits you at The John W. Engeman Theater in Northport this holiday season. Based on the classic Disney film, Engeman brings the story of the mysterious nanny to life on the stage. Mary Poppins will follow the following performance schedule from now through Saturday, December 31, 2016: Thursdays at 8:00pm, Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:00 and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:00pm. Some Wednesdays and Sunday evening are available.

Directed and choreographed by Drew Humphrey (Engeman Theater: Thoroughlly Modern Millie, A Chorus Line, White Christmas), the cast of this magnificent production features Analisa Leaming as Mary Poppins (Broadway: The Kind and I, On the Twentieth Century). Leaming beams with just the right touch and attitude in the most delightful way. She brings the character of Poppins to life with a wonderful presence and rich, melodious vocals and makes you believe in the magic as she flies effortlessly across the stage on several occasions. Leaming alone is worth seeing the show for, and bringing the kids to see, but she is also accompanied by a talented cast: Luke Hawkins plays Bert (Broadway: Xanadu, Cirque du Soleil, and Banana Shpeel); Liz Pearce as Winifred Banks (Broadway: Billy Elliot and National Tours of Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seussical), as well as David Schmittou as George Banks, who delighted audiences as the narrator in A Christmas Story at Engeman in 2014.

This amazing cast also includes: Katherine Lafountain as Jane Banks and Chris Mckenna as Michael Banks, as well as Matthew Baker, Charles Baran, Luca Bergin, Jane Blass, Chris Brand, Linda Cameron, Samantha Carroll, Dena Digiacinto, Sophia Guarnaschelli, Alicia Hemann, Becky Grace Kalman, Sophia Kekllas, Oren Korenblum, Ben Russell-Lynch, Suzanne Mason, Meaghan Mcinnes, Danny Meglio, Courtney Moran, Peter Surace, Bronwyn Tarboton, Moore Theobald, Michael Verre, and Jacqueline Winslow.

We are entertained throughout the show by the magical Mary Poppins who shows up to care for Jane and Michael Banks and brings everyone on adventures with chimney sweeps, shopkeepers, and other characters. The dances are well choreographed numbers performed by skillful performers (many having performed on Broadway and Off Broadway). We remember all the catchy songs from the movie, which will get stuck in your head again for days: “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Feed the Birds,” “Step in Time,”  “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Jolly Holiday,” and  “Anything Can Happen.”

The Creative team features  Jason Simms (Scenic Design), Kurt Alger (Costume And Wig Design), Zach Blane (Lighting Design), Laura Shubert (Sound Design),Gayle Seay And Scott Wojcik Of Wojcik/Seay Casting (Casting Directors), Kristie Moschetta (Props Design), and Sean Francis Patrick (Production Stage Manager).

Mary Poppins is produced by Richard Dolce, the theater’s Producing Artistic Director and musically directed by Michael Hopewell (NYC: Once We Lived Here, Billy Bishop Goes to War, and Rent).

Tickets are $76.00 on Saturday evenings, and $71 all other performances and may be purchased by calling (631) 261-2900, by visiting the Engeman Theater Box Office at 250 Main Street, Northport or visit www.EngemanTheater.com to purchase tickets or see a complete show schedule and what is up next at Long Island’s only year-round professional theater company.

 

Read online: www.villagetattler.com/anything-can-happen-magical-mary-poppins-northports-engeman-theater

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