10/31/13 10:33am
10/31/2013 10:33 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The North Fork Community Theatre will present ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ at its Mattituck theater.

North Fork Community Theatre presents ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,’ beginning Friday night at 8 p.m.

For more information and a slideshow, check out northforker.com.

09/15/13 10:00am
09/15/2013 10:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Charlie Scheer, member of the North Fork Community Theatre board of directors, in front of the two original stained-glass windows long believed to be broken.

When North Fork Community Theatre volunteer Charlie Scheer removed the building’s rotting marquee for repairs last month, he thought he’d find a lot of broken glass.

That’s because, he said, people said that over the years, while building sets, they’d hear the “tinkling” of breaking glass as they nailed into the plywood that covered a window on the Mattituck theater’s front wall, behind the marquee.

As Mr. Scheer and his son, David, worked with a bucket truck and a sawzall to remove the marquee — piece by piece — more and more of a stained-glass window was revealed.

“I kept saying, ‘It must be broken further up,’ ” Mr. Scheer, a member of the theater’s board of directors, recalled during an interview last week in front of the window. “It’s quite the surprise.”

The colorful window, more than 15 feet tall, has an intricate design that includes religious symbols: a cross and crown and alpha and omega. The window has suffered only minimal damage, only a few nicks and a small hole toward the bottom that’s believed to have been created by a squirrel. Mr. Scheer believes the squirrel had been trapped there for a very long time because he found its petrified remains.

A second, smaller stained-glass window uncovered during the renovation also appears to be in good condition.

The theater occupies a former church on Old Sound Avenue, near Love Lane, and the 19th-century structure is undergoing its most intensive renovation since an arsonist set fire to the back of the building in the mid-1980s, Mr. Scheer said. Since then, theater officials have offered scholarships to local students as a way to thank the community for helping them rebuild after the fire.

The amateur theatrical group, which started in Greenport about 56 years ago, moved to its current location in 1961.

Last year, with the help of donations from community supporters, the group was able to purchase the building from Mattituck Presbyterian Church for $465,000. Then last month, the theater received financial support from Emilie and Michael Corey. The couple donated $100,000 outright to help fund the theater’s much-needed renovations and agreed to match all other donations, up to $300,000, through December 2015. That means as much as $700,000 could go toward the theater’s “Building on Tradition” renovation campaign.

“The outside is the first thing we worked on and a treasure pops up,” said NFCT president Mary Motto Kalich. “It’s a really good talisman that good things are coming.”

Ms. Kalich said the window’s trim will be painted white when Bryan Danstrup, owner of Bryan Danstrup Custom House Painting in Riverhead, repaints the building’s exterior this month.

Another marquee or sign will also be constructed, since the old one couldn’t be salvaged.

As the theater’s board continues to discuss the newly discovered windows’ future, Mr. Scheer said he’s visited local churches to learn how they protect their stained-glass features.

“Personally, I’d like to see them preserved,” he said. “It would be a shame to see them destroyed.”


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.”


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.

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.