05/22/15 5:30am
05/22/2015 5:30 AM

It feels so good to be warm again, doesn’t it? Leaving the bedroom window open at night and not having a frozen nose when you wake up in the morning is such a joy. The strawberries, however, are going to be a little late this year due to the cooler spring temps but they’re looking good. In the meantime, eat your spinach, asparagus and lettuce. (more…)

05/22/15 5:00am

Rusty Kransky (from left), Kelsey Cheslock and Brett Chizever play Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot in ‘Camelot,’ running through May 31 at the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck.

Proposition: “Camelot” has always been one of my favorite musicals; it had been quite some time since I’d seen it on stage, so I was looking forward to seeing North Fork Community Theatre’s current presentation. Resolved: I was not disappointed.

“Camelot,” with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, is based on the novel “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White. It is the story of King Arthur who, when he meets his intended bride, Guenevere, is inspired to be the most wonderful king who ever sat on a throne. In an era when the rules support the concept of “might is right,” with knights fighting and pillaging, he conceives the idea of a civilized world of “might for right” and chivalry, with knights protecting honor and justice.

Arthur creates the legendary Round Table, which becomes renowned across the land. This attracts the radically religious Lancelot, who travels from France to devote his life and soul to serve Arthur. Most of us know what happens to Camelot when Guenevere and Lancelot fall in love. If you don’t, well, you will just have to see the play.

Richard Gardini plays Arthur’s teacher, Merlyn, with much more youthful vigor than you would expect from his ancient appearance. But then again, Merlyn is growing backwards — “youthening” — and can “remember the future.”

Peter Peterson portrays Mordred, the bastard son who arrives to stir up trouble in the court, with swagger and sneer, and he offers his wickedly twisted take on life in his solo “The Seven Deadly Virtues.”

King Pellinore is an old friend of Arthur’s who wanders into the realm lost and homeless, and Rick Peters provides depth to this robust but daft “Pelly.”

Marilee Scheer brings a comical touch to the traditionally evil Morgan LeFey, who is easily led by Mordred with his lure of tasty treats. Young Ben Eager, as both a page and Tom of Warick, is adorable and earnestly focused.

Three key knights are portrayed perfectly by Matt Tuthill (Sir Dinadan), Kyle Breitenbach (Lionel) and Patrick O’Brien (Sagramore) and provide excellent choral support, as do Kelly Cassidy, as Lady Anne, and Jen Eager, Joyce Stevens, Aria Saltini and Victoria Carroll as ladies in waiting.

See more photos here.

The ultimate success or failure of any production of “Camelot” ultimately falls to the triad of leads, and those here are more than up to the task.

Kelsey Cheslock is lovely as Guenevere. Her voice is angelic and she imbues the queen with a playful, youthful energy. Brett Chizever brings is own sublime voice to the table as he always does, but plays Lancelot as a bit more of a clown. He does, however, still offer the intensity and polish we have come to expect in all his work. Singing together, they bring on the goosebumps.

Rusty Kransky has played Arthur before in other local productions, so I expected a fine performance from him. I found his take on Arthur this time around more subtle, moving and satisfying than ever. It doesn’t really need saying, but I will anyway — his singing is as much a pleasure as always.

The combined efforts of director Caroline Ciochetto, Mr. Kransky as assistant director, rehearsal music director Nancy Deegan and production music director Jeff Wentz have contributed to this most enjoyable production, with its fine acting and singing across the board, and producer Babette Cornine has put together a terrific theatrical team. The orchestra is skilled and complements the singers nicely. Diane Peterson outdoes herself with the costume design, which is beautiful and realistic. The set by Dee Martin and lighting design by David Scheer also enhance the illusion.

Proposition: You enjoy theater that combines quality performances and beautiful music with humor, action and romance. Resolved: You make sure you don’t miss NFCT’s production of “Camelot”!

North Fork Community Theatre
12700 Old Sound Ave., Mattituck
Performances continue Thursdays-Sundays through May 31. Show times: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 298-NFCT (6328) or visit nfct.com.

05/19/15 8:00am
05/19/2015 8:00 AM
(L-R) United Healthcare’s Juliette Serrano and Robert McBrien; Pat Celli, United Healthcare Community Plan of New York president; Riverhead Councilman James Wooten; Sister Margaret Smyth; Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter and Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy. (Credit: courtesy)

(L-R) United Healthcare’s Juliette Serrano and Robert McBrien; Pat Celli, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of New York president; Riverhead Councilman James Wooten; Sister Margaret Smyth, North Fork Spanish Apostolate executive director; Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter; and Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy. (Credit: courtesy)

Sister Margaret Smyth had no idea thousands of dollars of private grant money was up for grabs.

She only found out when she got a call a couple of weeks ago announcing that the sister’s organization, the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, had just won $25,000.

“You didn’t have to apply for it; they just called me up and told me we got it,” Sister Margaret said. “I was like, ‘Wow!’ ”

The United Healthcare Community Grant will be used to expand health care offerings from the Apostolate — which serves Hispanic and poor communities from Riverhead to Greenport.

The money will also be used to send children to summer camps, as well as pilot a Spanish literacy program for undereducated immigrants, Sister Margaret said. The funding matches nearly a quarter of the organization’s usual budget.

“[United Healthcare] appreciate all that goes on, so they selected us to get this,” she said. “It’s a huge amount.”

Sister Margaret’s organization was one of four chosen in New York State, said United Healthcare spokesperson Maria Gordon Shydlo.

“When I was doing research I couldn’t believe how much work she does in the community,” Ms. Shydlo said. “She’s just like a rock star.”

The North Fork Spanish Apostolate was the only local organization to be awarded a grant.

The funds set aside for health care programs will help cover co-pays for needy residents, as well as prescription medication that may otherwise be too expensive, she said. The Apostolate’s program is open to all, she added.

“Not just the Spanish community, but the [whole] community,” Sister Margaret said.

The Apostolate also sends needy children to summer camps like the 4-H camp in Baiting Hollow or to sleepaway camps. Last year, about 50 kids were given the opportunity.

“We’re looking for kids who can really use a week [at camp],” Sister Margaret said. “[We] try to expose them to more than just being home in the house all the time. And the kids love it.”

The Spanish literacy program, which would yield a certification that can help those seeking employment, will be organized through the Mexican consulate and offered in Riverhead.

“We have many people who don’t read and write their language,” she said. “They never had the opportunity to really go to school.”

Though many immigrants on the North Fork are not Mexican — most are Guatemalan or Salvadoran — a certification from the program will be recognized in countries outside of Mexico.

The Spanish Apostolate’s new grant comes after the organization moved last year to new offices at St. John the Evangelist’s Church. More than 60 volunteers help with the program, Sister Margaret said.

“I can always use more,” she said. “We continue to grow and grow and grow.”



05/16/15 6:00am
05/16/2015 6:00 AM

• “Message on a Bottle,” an exhibit of sketches by East Hampton artist Scott Bluedorn, will open with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s Greenport location.

Several of Mr. Bluedorn’s surreal sketches have been used as labels for the brewery’s recently released bottles. The show, which will also include other, unrelated work, will run through July 20.  (more…)

05/15/15 7:00am
05/15/2015 7:00 AM

I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day. If you’re fortunate to still have your mom in your life make sure to appreciate her every day. I really miss my mom but take comfort in knowing she celebrated with her mother in Heaven. I spent the day with one of my “other” mothers, Marsha Mickoliger, and my BFF, Michele. I’ve known the Mickoligers since I was 4 and, although I don’t have a sister of my own, I have four great women in my life that I consider my sisters. (more…)

05/14/15 6:00am
05/14/2015 6:00 AM

PBMC Auxiliary chairwomen Thelma Booker and Lyn Tyler, and the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge No. 1742, hosted a community fundraiser called “Dress to Impress” April 26 at the lodge. In attendance were Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Riverhead Free Library director Joy Rankin, PBMC director Jo Fehling and vice president of Human Resources Monica Rauls, former LOOM governor Vincent Passantino, and newly elected LOOM governor Michael Sinning. (more…)