Summer Arts Preview 2017: The Gateway Playhouse

Saturday Night Fever at The Gateway Playhouse.
Saturday Night Fever at The Gateway Playhouse in 2015. Photo credit: Jeff Bellante

The Gateway Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County is one of three professional theaters on Long Island that cast its talent directly from Broadway, television, and film. This summer, the state-of-the-art, 500-seat Main Stage auditorium in Bellport will be hosting some sure-to-be unforgettable shows.

Jonathan Larsen’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical Rent opens the season at Gateway, taking us on a roller-coaster ride through a year in the fascinating lives of aspiring artists in New York’s Alphabet City. Get ready to tap your feet and bob your head to explosive rhythms and tender pop ballads like “Without You,” “Out Tonight,” “La Vie Boheme,” and, of course, “Rent.” This timeless celebration of friendship and hope reminds us all to measure our lives with the one thing that truly matters: “The Season of Love.” The ground breaking, pop-culture phenomenon runs through June 3.

Swing!, the musical that celebrates the music of the swing era of jazz, comes to Gateway starting June 7, running through June 24. Dance—notably jive, the Lindy, hip-hop and swing—takes center stage in this influential musical that launched popular television dance shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. The Swing era, which swung circa from 1930 until about 1946, also produced some national musical treasures. Ever heard of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, or Benny Goodman? Of course you have! We’ve been told you’re not supposed to sing along at musical theater but good luck with that once “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” pipe up.

Starting June 28, On The Town, the musical with music by Leonard Bernstein, hits the Gateway stage. Dropping anchor in Bellport after a smashingly successful revival on Broadway, On the Town is a bold and brassy musical comedy about three sailors on 24-hour shore leave in New York during World War II. You’re sure to recognize the iconic “New York, New York” and maybe even “Come Up to My Place” and “I Can Cook Too.” On The Town, a tale about seizing the day and living life to its fullest, runs through July 15.

Mamma Mia!—the world’s sunniest, funniest, most famous pop musical of all time—comes to the Gateway-affiliated Patchogue Theater July 19, bringing with it all the glittery costumes and dazzling choreography you’d expect. Dig out your platform heels and get ready to boogie to all those ABBA songs you know you love: “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “S.O.S.” and more. This production is guaranteed to have you dancing and singing in the aisle until at least August 5, the show’s closing night.

Gateway’s season ends with the deviously delicious and horrifically humorous cult classic Little Shop of Horrors. The musical comedy runs from August 23 through September 9. This wildly successful hit musical from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the creative geniuses behind Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, is a clever satire, bursting with dynamic dance numbers and Motown-style and doo-wop songs, like “Suddenly Seymour,” “Skid Row,” “Dentist” and of course, the title song, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

The Gateway is located at 215 South Country Road, Bellport. 631-286-1133

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