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Ha!

by: Rich Orloff
at The Community Synagogue Theater Company
 
Directed by: Tom Rocco                 Stage Management by: Jane Ronis
Technical Direction: Ben Hegarty
Starring:
 
Steve Brustien
Melissa Chernosky
Heather Clark
Spencer Cohen
Dave Franklin
 
Eden Franco
Jeff Grossman
Matt Kaplan
Amanda Kowalczuk
Allison Merims
 
Lauren Moschetta-Gilbert
Caryn Ronis
Jane Ronis
Joel Ronis
 
 

Executive Producer: Lori Zlotoff

Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.
(www.playscripts.com)

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HA! is a collection of Rich Orloff's three most popular one-act comedies, including Oedi (a spoof of Oedipus Rex), The News from St. Petersburg (a Chekhovian parody), and The Whole Shebang (which asks the question, "What if the entire universe was simply one student's science project?"). Together the three pieces create a hilarious full-length show.

OEDI

 

Oedipus

Shawn Masia

Tiresias

Matt Kaplan

Creon

Dave Franklin

Jocasta

Caryn Ronis

Town Crier

Jane Ronis

 

NEWS FROM ST. PETERSBURG  
Fyodor Jeff Grossman
Anya Heather Clark
Sasha Spencer Cohen
Nikolai Joel Ronis
A Cow of noble birth Jane Ronis

 

THE WHOLE SHEBANG  
The Student Eden Franco
Professor A Allison Merims
Professor B Lauren Moschetta Gilbert
The Dean Melissa Chernosky
Harvey Steve Brustein
Edna Amanda Kowalczuk

Who's Who


Cast

Dave Franklin

Creon (Oedi)
Matt Kaplan

Tiresias (Oedi)
Shawn Masia

Oedi (Oedi)
Caryn Ronis*

Jocasta (Oedi)
Heather Clark

Anya Bogdonovna (The News from St. Petersburg)
Spencer Cohen*

Sasha (The News from St. Petersburg)
Jeff Grossman*

Fyodor Ivanovich (The News from St. Petersburg)
Joel Ronis*

Dr. Nikolas Gregorievich Shubin (The News from St. Petersburg)
Melissa Chernosky*

Dean (The Whole Shebang)
Steve Brustien

Harvey Doe (The Whole Shebang)
Eden Franco*

The Student (The Whole Shebang)
Amanda Kowalczuk

Edna Doe (The Whole Shebang)
Allison Merims*

Professor A (The Whole Shebang)
Lauren Moschetta-Gilbert

Professor B (The Whole Shebang)
Tom Rocco

Director
Ben Hegarty*

Technical Director
Jane Ronis*

Stage Manager, Town Crier, Bessimka the Cow, Announcer
Lori Zlotoff*

Executive Producer
*

Denotes Synagogue Member

Creative Team

Tom Rocco

Director
Jane Ronis

Stage Manager
Allison Merims

Marketing and Communications
Ben Hegarty

Technical Director
Diane Heiman

Assistant Stage Manager
Anna Pevzner

Dialect Coach for The News from St. Petersburg
Spencer Cohen

Technical Support
Melissa Chernosky

Producer
Brett Grossman and Samantha Craig

Front of House
Lori Zlotoff

Executive Producer

Meet the Company


Dave Franklin (Creon (Oedi))

Dave Franklin is no stranger to the stage. He has been a writer/performer for the Red Stocking Revue, which benefits CancerCare for over 16 years. He is also the vocal coordinator for the Paper Bag, an annual rock show that takes place at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh, and has been performing with the ensemble for 15 years. His Community Synagogue credits include Bye Bye Birdie and The Music Man. Dave has also done various productions in town with the Port Washington Play Troupe.

Matt Kaplan (Tiresias (Oedi))

Matt is excited to be performing in HA!, his fourth show with TCSTC. He was previously seen as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family, the Constable in Fiddler on the Roof and Marcellus in The Music Man. Matt was an Acting minor at Washington University in St. Louis, and performed in a number of community theatre productions in his home town of Fair Lawn, New Jersey. By day, Matt is an attorney with Abbott, Bushlow & Schechner LLP, practicing personal injury, employment, copyright and trademark law. Huge thanks to Lori, Tom, Jane and everyone else who brought this show together and allowed us to have a bit of normalcy during this crazy time.

Shawn Masia (Oedi (Oedi))

Shawn is thrilled to make his Community Synagogue Theatre Company debut performing in his first play. He has previously appeared on stage with his daughter Averie as a Party Scene Guest and Herr Silberhaus in Frank Ohman’s New York Dance Theatre productions of The Nutcracker Ballet. Shawn is a neurologist and lives in Port Washington with his wonderful family. He thanks the entire company and the talented directors for teaching and supporting him. Thanks to Jeff Grossman for inviting him to audition for OUAM! He thanks Averie and Matthew for being such amazing kids and for their daily inspiration. He especially wants to thank his wonderful wife Valerie who he loves dearly for all the extra time and effort she has spent caring for and carpooling the kids and just being awesome as without her support this would not have been possible.

Caryn Ronis* (Jocasta (Oedi))

Caryn is thrilled to be back at TCSTC, where she has been seen as Mae in Bye Bye Birdie, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man, Golde in Fiddler in the Roof, and Grandma in The Addams Family. Some of her favorite roles include Joanne in Company, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Mistress Quickly in the Merry Wives of Windsor, and everything she did at Serendipity Children’s Theater in LA. Caryn is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity, and has appeared in professional theater, commercials, film and television in Pittsburgh, LA and NY. Big love to Ralphie, the Other Half of the Orange.

Heather Clark (Anya Bogdonovna (The News from St. Petersburg))

Heather is so honored and excited to be performing with her fabulous Community Synagogue Theater Company family again! Last year she took great joy in preparing for the role of Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress, though COVID side-tracked our performance. In 2019, she played Alice Beineke in The Addams Family with CSTC. Previous roles from the distant past include: Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Maria in West Side Story, Rapunzel in Into the Woods, and Mallory Kingsley in City of Angels. Heather is so grateful for the generous and loving support of her husband, Benjamin, and the buoyant enthusiasm of her two little men, Quinton and Asher -- love to you all! Thank you to all the amazing family and friends who have come out or signed on to enjoy the culmination of our hard work and support our efforts to bring excellent theater to our community despite the hardships these last many months have brought.

Spencer Cohen* (Sasha (The News from St. Petersburg))

How fabulous to be performing for you again and working again with this dynamite, delightful, talented cast, director and stage manager! With TCSTC I played Lurch in the Addams Family Musical, and the Rabbi in Fiddler in the Roof. I have appeared Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, on TV (Law & Order), and in community and live radio theatre. I also choreographed stunts and stage fights. I have a B.A. in Drama & Theatre from Queens College. So please, sit back, relax and allow us to put a smile on your face after this long dry spell as we all welcome back live theater. Shout out to Linda, Erin and Trevor for putting up with my shtick for acting.

Jeff Grossman* (Fyodor Ivanovich (The News from St. Petersburg))

Jeff is excited to once again be taking the stage with The Community Synagogue Theater Company in this production of Ha! Jeff has previously appeared with TCSTC as “normal dad” Mal Beineke in The Addams Family, bottle-balancing Innkeeper Mordcha in Fiddler on the Roof, River City Mayor George Shinn in The Music Man, and advocate-for-a-cheerful-expression Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie. Other favorite community theater roles include The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. Jeff would like to thank everyone involved in the production for their creativity and inspiration, and also would like to thank his wonderful and supportive wife and daughters.

Joel Ronis* (Dr. Nikolas Gregorievich Shubin (The News from St. Petersburg))

Joel is happy to be continuing his residence with TCSTC in the role of Dr. Gregorievich in The News From St. Petersburg. Joel was blessed to have played the roles of Uncle Fester and Lazer Wolf in the company's productions of The Addams Family and Fiddler on the Roof. Mr. Ronis is further blessed to have worked and played alongside his dear friend Gina who left us last year.

Melissa Chernosky* (Dean (The Whole Shebang))

Melissa has been with The Community Synagogue Theater Company since it’s inaugural production of Bye Bye Birdie in 2016. She is so excited to be able to be back on stage with her theater family for this production. Past performances include Bye Bye Birdie, Fiddler on the Roof, Addams Family, and (but-for-covid) Once Upon a Mattress. Thank you Tom for this opportunity, for your confidence in me, for your support, for continuing to push me outside my comfort zone, and for helping me become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Much love to Jeff, Ayla and Hudson ❤️

melissac_0707
Steve Brustien (Harvey Doe (The Whole Shebang))

Steve is thrilled to reconnect with The Community Synagogue Theater Company. After playing Tevye, in " Fiddler on the Roof " with this group, it was great to see so many friendly, familiar faces. He is grateful to Tom for the opportunity to portray Harvey, as well as, the support provided. Special " Thanks " to Lori for her leadership, Jane for managing all the details, and, Diane for always helping. Kudos to the " Shebang " players, it's a pleasure sharing the stage with all of you talented ladies. Bravo to the rest of the " Ha " cast members. Steve appreciates all the friends & family that put up with his " shtick ". Hugs & Kisses for Chook, Annetta, Matthew & Susie. An open arrangement means I share my love and my bed with both, Roxy and Mary. You two are the BEST!

@LIactor
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Eden Franco* (The Student (The Whole Shebang))

Eden Franco is so happy to be performing again with TCSTC, and is even more excited to be performing in-person! Previously, she starred as Wednesday Addams in TCSTC's production of The Addams Family, and as Princess Winnifred in Once Upon A Mattress, which was cancelled due to COVID. Other credits include Hildy Esterhazy in On The Town (Port Summer Show), Matron "Mama" Morton in Chicago (Schreiber Theatre Company), Sebastian in The Little Mermaid (STC), and Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables (ACANY). She is currently a student at New York University studying Vocal Performance with a concentration in Musical Theatre. She would like to thank her family for their endless love and support through everything, and the production team and cast of TCSTC for giving her the opportunity to perform again! Lots of love!

@edensfranco
Amanda Kowalczuk (Edna Doe (The Whole Shebang))

Amanda is thrilled to be making her Community Synagogue Theatre Company debut as Edna in "Ha!" Theatre has always been an important part of Amanda's life, from childhood through college and beyond when she had the opportunity to perform off-Broadway as Lucia in "My Big Gay Italian Wedding." Amanda received her Master's degree in Drama Therapy from NYU and believes that theatre has the power to heal, transform and bring welcome change to our lives. She'd like to thank Lori for the opportunity to become part of this company, and her family for their love, support and encouragement!

Allison Merims* (Professor A (The Whole Shebang))

Allison is excited to be part of TCSTC again this year! Past favorite roles include: Mama Euralie in Once on this Island and Grandma Rosie in The Wedding Singer. Thank you to her TCSTC family for a wonderful, albeit challenging at the start when virtual, experience. Thank you to Tom, Jane, Diane, and Lori for this opportunity. All her love to Mom, Dad, and Zack who support her from NC.

Lauren Moschetta-Gilbert (Professor B (The Whole Shebang))

For her 50th birthday, Lauren tried something something new and auditioned for a show with TCSTC. That was four years ago and she's never looked back! She is ever grateful for all she has learned and the friendships made in this wonderfully supportive community.

laurenbmg42
Tom Rocco (Director)
As a performer, Tom has been seen on Broadway (most notably as Uncle Ernie in The Who's Tommy), off Broadway and in two original national tours. He is also a MAC Award-winning cabaret artist, having performed several one-man shows in NYC...most recently, Restless Soul Syndrome. He is the director of the 2020 documentary film, A Disney, Jr. Chronicle, and his first play, Capsized Cabaret, recently had its debut...performed on Long Island by the Mineola High School Drama Club. This is Tom's third production as director with this company and he's had a fantastic time tackling a non-musical with this talented and funny cast.
Ben Hegarty* (Technical Director)

Ben Hegarty is the Technical Director for this production of Ha! He is a student at Adelphi University studying Theatre Design/Technology. This past year at Adelphi, Ben worked on shows including This Odd Geometry of Time, A Christmas Carol, Almost, Maine, and Talking With…. In 2020, Ben graduated from Schreiber High School where he was a part of the Schreiber Theatre Company. While at Schreiber, Ben worked as the Projections Designer for Radium Girls and Chicago, as well as the Assistant Director for A Christmas Story and the Technical Director for Newsies. Ben continues to work with the Schreiber Theatre Company, most recently as Technical Director of High School Musical JR. In addition to the work at Schreiber, Ben is also the Technical Director for Curtains Up, the elementary school theater program in Port Washington. There he has most recently worked on Peter Pan JR., The Lion King JR., and Annie JR. Ben looks forward to continuing his work in the world of theater.

@benhegtech
Jane Ronis* (Stage Manager, Town Crier, Bessimka the Cow, Announcer)

Jane has happily stage managed every show that The Community Synagogue Theatre Company has produced. The company has brought her back with old friends from her years in Pittsburgh and many new cherished friendships. Jane spent many years as the Production Stage Manager at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre as well as years on the road here and abroad stage managing opera. In New York Jane has stage managed for Equity Library Theatre, Manhattan School of Music, The Ensemble Theatre and Playwrights Horizons. Currently Jane is proud owner of Chef for a Night, a boutique catering company for homes and event spaces.

@chefforanight
Lori Zlotoff* (Executive Producer)

Lori's love of theater and community has inspired The Community Synagogue Theater Company to grow and evolve since its inception in 2016. There is little she loves more than bringing the arts to the people and the people to the arts. This was her first production that she produced and did not act in, and missed it very much. A return to the stage is in her future!


Donors

A huge set of Thank You's to:

HEARTS and the Gina Farasciano Community Theater Grant

Gina Farasciano was the best of The Community Synagogue Theater Company - her heart and soul poured into everything we did - from mastering dance steps in rehearsal, to shining on stage on opening night to organizing an epic cast party - she loved the theater and she loved the people and she loved the energy.  We will miss her terribly, but know that her legacy will live on through all of us.  https://www.heartspw.org/

 

 

SuperStar Supporters:

Heather and Benjamin Clark

Diane and Howie Heiman

Melissa and Jeff Chernosky

Brett and Marc Grossman 

Esther and Dan Tanenbaum

 

Supreme Supporters:

Lori and Jacob Zlotoff

Jill and Mark Eisenberg

 

With deep gratitude, we thank The Community Synagogue Theater Company's biggest supporters - the leadership of the Community Synagogue - to our Executive Director, Jeff Rembrandt who always found a way to say yes, to our clergy team, our Board of Trustees, our COVID task force and our maintenance team - we literally could not have done this without you!!

 

A big thank you goes to Matt DeLuca and the Mineola HS for sharing experience, knowledge, props and set pieces for this performance!


Dear Audience Member,

It is with deep gratitude and total amazement that I officially welcome you to a performance of The Community Synagogue Theater Company!  What an unbelievable roller coaster we have been on - as a company, as a community and as a collective humanity.  We could not have predicted on March 14, 2020 when we made the difficult decision to cancel our production of Once Upon A Mattress, that was set to open on April 2, that we would have spent nearly 15 months in lockdown, devoid of arts, culture, and the basic human experience of being together.  Community theater is so much more than putting on a great show - it's the process of coming together, working towards a goal, working and creating in tandem with fellow thespians to have the ultimate expression of emotion, with the goal of evoking that same emotion in our audience.  

When Tom approached me about putting on a series of one acts this year, I was ecstatic.  I knew that our company needed something to work on as much as our audiences needed the entertainment.  A musical didn't seem to make much sense, so we moved out of our comfort zone and into a straight comedy!   Zoom auditions, zoom rehearsals and rehearsing at home made for a bizarre, and yet totally doable experience.  We are nothing if not nimble!  As things began to open up in May, with vaccinations going up and infection rates going down, we allowed ourselves to believe that it would be possible to move the rehearsal process in person, and then possibly, a live performance.  It is dizzying to believe that we were able to bring you a live performance in just a few weeks. 

None of this would have been possible without the incredible leadership of our esteemed director and dear friend, Tom Rocco.  His vision, patience, time and expertise is second to none and we are so lucky to have him.  Our luck continues that we have the incomparable Jane Ronis as our resident, in house Stage Manager.  Her enthusiasm for this company and her training as a stage manager keeps us all working at the highest possible level.  The newest addition to our team was simply a godsend when we needed it most - Ben Hegarty is responsible for all of the technical aspects of the show - from the sound at the live performance, to the filming, editing and streaming of the video.  His talent is insane and we are going to be happy to say we knew him when!

Finally, I would like to dedicate this performance to our dear friend and company member, Gina Farasciano.  Gina would have loved doing comedy and would have had us all in stitches at rehearsal watching her shine up on stage.  We know she is shining down upon us at this performance, and forever.  

We thank you for your support and your belief that the theater is worth doing.  We certainly agree!

Sincerely,

Lori Zlotoff

Executive Producer