08/11/13 2:20pm
08/11/2013 2:20 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Dan Yaiullo, center, leads a song and dance in a scene from Oklahoma!

A couple has given $100,000 to help fund renovations at the North Fork Community Theatre building in Mattituck.

On top of that, Emilie and Michael Corey have pledged to match all other donations to the theater, up to $300,000, through December 2015. That means as much as $700,000 could go toward rehabbing the facility.

The theater’s president, Mary Motto Kalich, called the donations “inspiring.”

“This really inspires all of us to work together and contribute,” Ms. Kalich said. “It makes it easier, if you will, for the community to say, ‘Hey, now my $100 is really $200.’ They are reaching out in a tremendous way to help us do these renovations to the theatre.”

The Coreys were not available for comment this week but, according to published reports, Ms. Corey is a retired social worker and Mr. Corey is a retired managing director of JP Morgan. The couple has a home Riverhead Town and ties to the East End and New York City.

The money will be used to purchase and install a new cesspool, curtains, as well as lights and rigging for the theater. The structure was built in the 19th century as a church and has been used for performances since 1957. The theater’s 166 chairs — hand-me-downs from the 1980s, Ms. Kalich said — will also be torn out and replaced for an estimated cost of $35,000. The theater’s exterior will be painted and re-shingled.

“The curtain has some sort of tape on top of it because there’s a big rip in it,” Ms. Kalich said. “You make do and you fix what you can.”

This isn’t the first major donation the theatre has received. Last year, with the help of donations from community supporters, the group was able to purchase the building itself from Mattituck Presbyterian Church for $465,000. The amateur theater group had been leasing the theater since 1961.

“We had never really done much fundraising before,” Ms. Kalich said. “Then we realized we needed to buy the building. About five years ago we started a campaign, reached out to the community and received wonderful support from a wide variety of people.”

ryoung@timesreview.com

07/23/13 5:00pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Sydney Campbell of Southold plays sorority sister Elle Woods in  North Fork Community Theatre’s production of “Legally Blonde,” which opens Thursday.

“Legally Blonde,” the musical based on a novel by Amanda Brown and a 2001 movie, is this summer’s Youth on Stage presentation at North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck.

 

The story takes sorority sister Elle Woods (Sydney Campbell of Southold) from UCLA to the halls of Harvard in pursuit of love and a law degree. The NFCT production is directed by Jessica Raven and produced by Susan Hedges, with musical direction by Jacob Boergesson and choreography by Meagan Schmid.

Performances are Thursdays through Sundays, July 25 to Aug. 11. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. A free reception will start at 7 on opening night, Thursday, July 25.

Saturday, Aug. 1, will be a special “Think Pink” night, with all refreshment stand proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Tickets are $20. Go to nfct.com or call 631-298-NFCT (6328).

03/07/13 2:00pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Brett Chizever plays the title role in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ which debuts tonight at the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck.

The North Fork Community Theatre will present ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with lyrics by Tim Rice, tonight through Sunday from March 7 to 24 at its location on Old Sound Avenue in Mattituck. The family-friendly musical is based on the story of Joseph from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. The show has little spoken dialogue; it is completely sung-through and features universal themes and catchy music.

A narrator guides the show, encouraging children to dream while she tells the story of Joseph, another dreamer, who exhibits a talent for interpreting dreams and telling the future. Joseph’s brothers are envious of his coat of many colors, a symbol of their father’s obvious preference for him.

Evening shows begin at 8 p.m., with a free pre-show reception on Thursdays, and Sunday matinees start at 2:30 p.m. Jessica Raven is director and choreographer, Jennifer Kennedy is musical director and Mary Motto Kalich is producer/assistant director. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at nfct.com or by calling 298-6328.

01/09/13 8:00pm
01/09/2013 8:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Jacob Boergesson and Becca Mincielli sing ‘Romeo and Juliet’ from the musical ‘Reefer Madness’ during last weekend’s variety show at the North Fork Community Theatre.

Song, dance and comedy filled the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck last weekend. The 22 acts for the annual variety show, which featured three performances, helped benefit the NFCT’s scholarship fund.

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11/12/12 3:59pm
11/12/2012 3:59 PM
The "On Golden Pond" cast, from left: Noah Ludlow, Thomas Cardisco, Rusty Kransky, Che Sabalja, Marion Stark and Bill Kitzerow.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO
The “On Golden Pond” cast, from left: Noah Ludlow, Thomas Cardisco, Rusty Kransky, Che Sabalja, Marion Stark and Bill Kitzerow.

What is more pleasant than visiting a glimmering pond in the woods, pinkish at dawn, golden all the afternoon and russet at dusk? Its placid surface seems created for contemplation.

In 1978, a 27-year-old Ernest Thompson used such a setting for his pleasant, placid play that he surprisingly titled “On Golden Pond.” It is a lovely play, as unsurprising as its title and it is given a lovely, unsurprising presentation at North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck.

Aristotle said drama depends on plot, but many distinguished people dispute him. There is no plot in “On Golden Pond.” It is all character and ingratiating conversation.

The father, Norman Thayer, is a crusty, crotchety senior, suspicious of foreigners (especially Jews), but as well played by Rusty Kransky, his tongue-in-cheek sharp wit allows him to get away with it — or did 34 years ago when the play was first produced.

Ethel, his honest and sensible wife, is played by Marion Stark with abundant good humor and charm. In one of the sweetest moments of the play, while Thayer is busy insulting people to keep them at a distance, Ethel tells him, “You are the sweetest man in the world and I am the only one who knows it.”

Their daughter, Chelsea, beautifully played by Che Sabalja, calls her father Norman, but her mother Mom. She complains gently that her father never made any close contact with her. When she comes for a visit, she brings her fiancé, honestly played by Tom Cordisco, and her prospective stepson, 10-year-old Billy, well played by Noah Ludlow.

The youngster is the one who finally thaws Thayer’s heart to genuine affection and Norman learns to live anew. This may sound like TV-style tidiness, but the audience is charmed and cheered by it. The director, Robert Horn, and the cast escape a disastrous dive into what one critic called “the deep end of weepitude.”

Whatever the play, brand new or a classic, an actor’s greatest magic is the ability to surprise. The turns an actor’s emotions can take, the waves of nostalgia a line washes over us, a scene nudging a memory or two of our own — these are the actors’ secret weapons. At one point in the play, Ethel and Chelsea surprise and elate us by breaking into an old camp song. It comes seemingly out of nowhere with utter naturalness. Charlie, the mailman, delightfully played by Bill Kitzerow, also surprises with his manic laugh and spaniel-like desire to please.

The movie, based on the play “On Golden Pond,” featured Henry Fonda and his daughter, Jane. Over the years, these two stars had made no secret of their estrangement, but they became reconciled during this filming, much in the same way Thayer and Chelsea did. Jane’s father died shortly after.

The American master of nature writing, Henry David Thoreau, shared with the character Thayer a poor opinion of his fellow men and avoided them when he could. He wrote: “I went to Walden Pond to front the essential facts of life and see if I could learn what it had to teach. We must learn to re-awaken ourselves by holding an infinite expectation of the dawn.” It’s a good reminder after the havoc of Hurricane Sandy.

Performances continue through Nov. 18. For tickets, visit nfct.com.

09/25/12 3:30pm
09/25/2012 3:30 PM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Pastor George Gaffga hugs Mary Motto Kalich, campaign chair, as Lauren Sisson, NFCT secretary; Deanna Andes, vice president; Marilee Scheer, theater board member and Jeff Strong, church trustee, look on.

A gathering took place Tuesday morning in front of the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck to mark the ownership transfer of the theater building on Old Sound Avenue from the Presbyterian Church to the theater organization.

The Rev. George Gaffga, church pastor, blessed the building, a former church, and thanked those who shepherded the process along, including church trustee Jeff Strong, who spearheaded efforts to sell the building to the theater and Riverhead Town Justice Richard Ehlers, who the Rev. Gaffga said on his own time “did the legal legwork” needed to complete the transaction.

Last week the NFCT formally acquired the building, where it has staged productions since 1961, from the Presbyterian Church.

The pastor joked that now that the theater was legally separate from the church, it could now perform “Oh! Calcutta!,” a racy sketch series featuring nudity.

Mary Motto Kalich, the theater’s campaign chair, thanked the Rev. Gaffga and the church for all of their support throughout the years and presented him with an NFCT hat and 10 gift certificates for tickets to any upcoming NFCT show.

09/20/12 12:00pm
09/20/2012 12:00 PM

GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | Mary Motto Kalich was presented with flowers at the reception celebrating The North Fork Community Theatre’s purchase of its longtime playhouse. Ms. Motto Kalich chaired the group’s fundraising efforts, which exceeded $500,000 in less than four years.

No one, except maybe a few old-time theater enthusiasts, remembers The North Fork Community Theatre’s first play at Greenport High School in 1957. Few people can even recall the next few years, when the troupe performed its plays at what is now known as Poquatuck Hall in Orient.

For most local residents it would be hard to picture the theater company anywhere but at its current home on Old Sound Avenue in Mattituck.

Now they won’t have to.

The building where The North Fork Community Theatre has performed its plays since 1961 is officially property of the group, nearly four years after it learned its lease with the church that previously owned the building would not be renewed.

“This is permanent now,” said Mary Motto Kalich, who chaired the campaign to raise the more than $500,000 necessary to purchase the building. “This is not just for me and not just for my kid. This is for many generations beyond us.”

The North Fork Theatre Company closed on the building just after 4 p.m. Tuesday at a law office in Riverhead, less than two weeks after receiving the $13,000 donation that put it beyond its fundraising goal. The group had raised more than $100,000 since May and more than $200,000 this year.

North Fork’s most recent 20-year lease with Mattituck Presbyterian Church expired this month. In 2008, the church, which had allowed the theater company to use the building essentially rent free for more than 50 years, said it no longer wanted to continue the friendly arrangement.

“They were very gracious all these years,” said Marilee Scheer, who delivered the toast at a reception at the theater Tuesday. While the idea of a group with very little fundraising experience coming up with enough cash to purchase the property was daunting, Ms. Scheer said she knew the group could do it.

“The building itself has such a magical karma that I never doubted it,” she said of the theater building, which had been owned by the church since 1830.

Raising the money necessary to purchase the building and its surrounding property was phase one of The North Fork Theatre’s fundraising goal. Now the group will begin phase two, which includes making sure they have enough cash for deferred maintenance. While the board hasn’t yet determined what the next step is, president Bob Beodeker said phase two could include replacing the seats and other improvements to the theater.

Mr. Boedeker said that for now everyone’s just pleased to be able to continue calling the theater home.

“We’re very appreciative of all the people who made this possible,” he said. “It wasn’t just a few large donors. It was lots of people making all kinds of contributions of 100 dollars, 500 dollars, 1,000 dollars.”

In all, nearly 700 different people donated money to the effort, which began just as the economy started to tank.

“The community gave repeatedly, over and over, at a time when it was most difficult to do so,” said Ms. Motto Kalich, who began performing at the theater in 1985, when she was just 13 years old. “They really love this place and they wanted to make sure it was still here.”

Immediate past president and current treasurer Mike Hipp was one of five people who attended the closing Tuesday, a larger group than banks usually see at those types of proceedings.

“This was a bigger deal for us,” he said. “Now, we’ll always have a permanent home.”

gparpan@timesreview.com

07/24/12 4:00pm
07/24/2012 4:00 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | North Fork Community Theatre presents “South Pacific” beginning Thursday.

North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck sets sail for Bali Ha’i in this year’s Youth on Stage production of “South Pacific,” opening Thursday.

This classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, set in an island paradise during World War II, features unforgettable songs — including “Some Enchanted Evening” and “There is Nothing LIke a Dame” — and a cast of unforgettable characters, from spunky nurse Nellie Forbush to mysterious planter Emile de Becque, sly souvenir dealer Bloody Mary and lovestruck Lt. Cable.

The story is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by James Michener. The cast of 14- to 22-year-olds is directed by Bob Beodeker; Jake Boergesson is musical director/assistant director, Lucille Naar-Saladino is choreographer and Sherry Beodecker is producer.

Performances are set for July 26-29 and Aug. 2-5 and 9-12. Show time is 8 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday; Sunday matinees start at 2:30 p.m. An opening night reception starts at 7 p.m. All tickets are $20. Order online at NFCT.com or call 298-6328.

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KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTOS