Long Island’s famed Gateway playhouse in Bellport Village is back after having survived the state’s unprecedented pandemic restrictions and shutdowns.
Though Broadway won’t open until Sept.14, The Gateway is offering Broadway-caliber shows right here in Suffolk County all summer.
And they are doing so at 100-percent capacity.
At least, for those who show a vaccination card or digital vax pass.
“We’re opening sooner than most places,” said Paul Allan, who is the executive artistic director at the nonprofit theatre, which opened in 1950 at its Bellport campus and started with professional shows in 1962.
“Since a 100-percent vaccinated audience is allowed, we’re going forward with a full season,” Allan said, adding that running a professional theater with audience members 6-feet apart just wasn’t feasible.
“We’re really excited to get back to doing what we love,” Allan said. “And we’ve been doing it for so many years. It’s a thrill to be able to get the audiences back into the theater.”
The Gateway is steeped in history, which you can read about here. But the playhouse operators never faced a challenge like this pandemic.
The lights went out in Bellport on March 15, 2020, after Murder on the Orient Express, as the pandemic began to rage in New York.
But this is where working in the creative fields helps: The playhouse’s management had to get creative if the theatre were to survive. That meant their acting classes shifted briefly to Zoom, before moving outdoors for the summer.
The stagehands also built a huge outdoor movie screen for drive-in nights while using the theater projectors to screen classic hits.
Even the immensely popular Halloween attraction, Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse, was reimagined as a haunted driving trail at Southaven County Park in Brookhaven, which also proved to be hugely popular.
Add in a couple fundraising drives, and The Gateway is still with us, ready to entertain the next generation of Long Islanders.
So without further ado, here’s the lineup for the summer season.
Our pick is Newsies!
The Gateway is a brand partner of greaterlongisland.com.
Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
June 19 – Aug. 3 at Gateway Playhouse
A Chorus Line held the record as the longest running show on Broadway for 15 years and heralds nine Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Director and Best Choreographer, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. An audition of a lifetime – A Chorus Line: High School Edition celebrates both the glamour and grind of 17 talented dancers, and is the musical for everyone who’s ever had a dream of making it in showbiz.
The unforgettable score features such classics as “What I Did for Love,” “One,” “I Hope I Get It” and more! With its celebration and true-to-life depiction of performers and their struggle to achieve greatness on the Broadway stage, A Chorus Line has earned unanimous praise as one of the true masterpieces of live theater and is one of the biggest smash hit musicals to ever play on the Great White Way.
As a part of its education programming, A Chorus Line: High School Edition will be comprised of 24 of the top students of The Gateway School of Performing Arts aged 12-18 years old. All the students went through a rigorous audition process after honing their crafts in classes such as acting, singing, dancing and audition technique to name a few. Many former students of the school have gone on to star on Broadway, Network Television shows and feature films. Click here for tickets.
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
July 14 – July 31 at Gateway Playhouse
A brand new musical journey to a new tomorrow – It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice… or take a stand… or turn around and go back. These are the stories and characters of today, the Songs for a New World.
The first musical from Tony Award winner, Jason Robert Brown (Parade, Bridges of Madison County), this moving collection of powerful songs examines life, love and the choices that we make. Brown transports his audience from the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to a ledge, 57 stories above Fifth Avenue, to meet a startling array of characters that range from a young man who has determined that basketball is his ticket out of the ghetto to a woman whose dream of marrying rich nabs her the man of her dreams… and a soulless marriage.
With a small, powerhouse multi-ethnic cast and a driving, exquisitely crafted score that runs the gamut of today’s popular music, Songs for a New World is a great way to bring the next generation into the theatre. Click here for tickets.
Book by COLIN ESCOTT and FLOYD MUTRUX
Original Concept and Direction by FLOYD MUTRUX
Inspired by ELVIS PRESLEY, JOHNNY CASH, JERRY LEE LEWIS and CARL PERKINS Aug. 4 – Aug. 21 at Gateway Playhouse
The Tony® Award-nominated musical MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is set on December 4, 1956, when an extraordinary twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET brings that legendary December night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations that is both poignant and funny.
Relive the era with the smash-hit sensation featuring an incredible score of rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits, performed live onstage by world-class actors and musicians. Showcased hit songs include “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and more. Click here for tickets.
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Jack Feldman
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Based on the Disney film written by Bob Tzudiker and Noni White.
Aug. 25 – Sept. 11 at Patchogue Theatre
Disney’s Newsies carries the banner! Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right!
Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, Newsies features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots). Featuring the now classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” and “Santa Fe,” Newsies is packed with non-stop thrills and a timeless message, perfect for the whole family and every audience. Click here for tickets.
Created by Jeff Boyer
June 18 – 19 at The Gateway Playhouse
Bubble Trouble! Jeff Boyer takes bubbles to the max in this one man bubble extravaganza. Mixing comedy, music and interactive bubble magic, he engages and delights audiences of all ages. A bubble volcano. Bubble roller coaster. A kid in a bubble? Jeff Boyer takes bubbles to the max. It’s the craziest, most creative bubble show around. Jeff juggles bubbles, sculpts and builds with bubbles, makes fog-filled bubbles and more. A hit…anywhere there’s air! Click here for tickets.
based on the book by Frank L. Bomb and MGM film starring Judy Garland
Aug. 6 – 21 at The Gateway Playhouse
Based on the classic MGM film made famous by Judy Garland, it includes the beloved songs “Over The Rainbow,” “Munchkinland (Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead),” “If I Only Had A Brain/A Heart/The Nerve,” “We’re Off To See The Wizard (Follow The Yellow Brick Road),” “The Jitterbug,” and “The Merry Old Land of Oz.” Click here for tickets.
BEST OF THE EAGLES
Aug. 28 at The Gateway Playhouse
Best of the Eagles was established in 2012 by guitarist/vocalist Joe Vadala and a group of professional musicians who individually have an auspicious pedigree, are passionate about their love of the Eagles music and who have all worked with numerous national touring artists. BOTE is the most exact interpretation of the music of the Eagles in America, bar none!
Each member mirrors his counterpart in the Eagles instrumentally and vocally. However, this is no simple copy band or impersonator act but rather a group of excellent musicians who expertly and authentically re-create the songs, the music, the vocals and the magical aura of one of America’s greatest rock bands.
After selling out many venues in the region including the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University, BOTE looks forward to sharing a great night of Eagles hits. Click here for tickets.
YELLOW BRICK ROAD
Tribute to Elton John
Aug. 29 at The Gateway Playhouse
There is no other performer who looks and sounds so much like Elton John, nor does any tribute artist that provides the experience of being at an actual Elton John concert, the way Gerald Brann and Yellow Brick Road.
Brann not only bears an uncanny resemblance to the international superstar, complete with his mannerisms and gap-toothed smile, but he meticulously recreates Elton John’s vocal stylings and piano playing to the letter.
To truly capture the essence of the piano man himself, Brann dresses in custom-tailored replica costumes and Elton’s trademark sunglasses. Click here for tickets.
show blurbs provided by The Gateway