Survival is no easy task for many theatre companies. With hundreds of companies in an endless cycle of opening and closing shop, one community theatre company in particular can lay claim to a very notable milestone: "The oldest existing theatre group in Queens." For the Douglaston Theatre Company (DCT), this season marks its 70th year, and that is no small feat.
Since 1950, the Douglaston Community Theatre has provided a home to performing actors and an opportunity for the community to experience a wide variety of theatrical choices. Working first at PS 98 and JHS 67, in 1966, DCT began rehearsing and performing at their current home, Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall. Today, they continue to actively do so, producing two to three shows each year.
Plays typically are presented in the Fall every November, then again in May for the Spring. Occasionally, they offer a small production in February. The group stopped producing musicals because the production costs became prohibitive, focusing instead on comedies, mysteries, and dramas. But one memorable highlight was the musical Applause. "The show opens with a voiceover for the Tony Awards ceremony," Says long time group member, Dana Jaffe (a 42 year member who joined at the age of 21), "At the time, Alan King was living in Great Neck. We contacted him and he was kind enough to make a voiceover tape for us. He wished us the best with the production."
Several members, including Barbara Mavro, Don & Joan Curran, join Jaffe as longterm members of DCT (40+ years). All have contributed by acting, directing and sharing their talents. Edward Dzioba, who served as DCT president and set builder for many years, shared a “can-do” attitude that became infectious. And so they kept going.
Says Jaffe, "We had a memorable 50th anniversary celebration. We invited many DCT members from early years. Theater friends attended from Queens and Long Island, including State Senator Frank Padavan. At the cocktail party we decorated the Zion Church Hall with posters from past shows, and displayed previous programs. That night we performed the musical Two by Two, which coincidentally was directed by Linda Hanson, who is directing this current production of Deathtrap," which is next.
Deathtrap, written by Ira Levin in 1978, opens November 8th. Ms. Hanson has directed ten previous plays for the Douglaston Community Theatre. saying, "I am very grateful to DCT for allowing me to direct plays that I feel passionate about. They allowed me to learn and grow as a director with plays like: Proof, The Runner Stumbles, Other Desert Cities, and most recently The Babylon Line. It is a pleasure to work on Deathtrap, a splendid thriller, with a very hard-working, dedicated, and talented cast." The cast includes Dawn Bianco, Ken Cohn, Danny Leonard, Sherry Mandery and Joe Pepe.
Deathtrap is a mystery-drama about Sidney Bruhl, a successful writer of Broadway thrillers, who is struggling to overcome a writing dry spell which has resulted in a string of failures and a shortage of funds. A possible break in his fortunes occurs when he receives a script from a student in the seminar he has been conducting at a nearby college—a thriller that Sidney recognizes immediately as a potential Broadway smash. Sidney’s plan, devised with his wife’s help, is to offer collaboration to the student for co-credit. Or is it?
Deathtrap by Ira Levin will be performed at 8:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays Nov 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23, and matinees at 2:30 PM on Sunday Nov. 17 and 2:00 PM on Saturday, Nov 23rd at Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 243-01 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston, New York.
Look for the church street Entrance off Douglaston Parkway.
Tickets $19 Adults ($17 Seniors, Students with ID). Call 718-482-3332 , e-mail DougCommThtr@gmail.com , or visit www.dctonline.org for reservations.