The Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County will hold its second annual gala benefit, Dressing for the Night this evening, August 18 at Bellport's Gateway Playhouse. The year's theme, Dressing for the Night, is taken from a scene in Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston's Phantom, the final show of Gateway's 2012 mainstage season. Select costume pieces from the theatre's 60-plus years design and construction will be on display.
Ken Page leads the all star cast of entertainers for the evening which includes Jennifer Hope Wills, Ed Staudenmayer, Erica Aubrey and Jamie Jackson. Ken Page appeared at Gateway earlier this season as Old Deuteronomy in CATS, reprising the role he originated on Broadway and immortalized on film. Page's Broadway credits include Guys and Dolls, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, The Wiz and Ain't Misbehavin'. On film, Page voiced the Oogie Boogie in The Nightmare Before Christmas franchise and was featured in Dreamgirls and All Dogs Go to Heaven. He has appeared on numerous television series, including Family Matters and Touched by an Angel.
Both Aubrey and Staudenmayer will be familiar to Gateway patrons for their lead roles as Judy Bernley and Franklin Hart, Jr. in Dolly Parton's 9 to 5 the Musical. Aubrey has appeared with Matthew Broderick, Barbara Cook, Patti LuPone and Sarah Jessica Parker in New York City Center's Encores! series. Staudenmayer, a Barrymore Award nominee, made his Broadway debut in Martin Short's Fame Becomes Me and portrayed the White Rabbit in the original Broadway production of Wonderland. He continues a 17-year association with the Forbidden Broadway franchise.
Wills starred as Eliza Doolittle in Gateway's My Fair Lady. On Broadway, she has performed as Christine Daae in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera and played opposite Brooke Shields as Eileen Sherwood in Kathleen Marshall's revival of Wonderful Town. Other credits include Broadway's Beauty and the Beast and The Woman in White, as well as Off-Broadway's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The versatile Jamie Jackson was the Professor Henry Higgins to Wills' Eliza, and is currently in rehearsal to play the title role in Phantom. Jackson's credits include Gateway's Sweeney Todd, Off-Broadway's The Brain that Wouldn't Die and The 39 Steps, as well as the national tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He has appeared in HBO's The Flight of the Concords and NBC's Smash.
Tom Manuel's Black Tie Affair Orchestra-the Signature Sound of Gateway's sold-out revue, The Rat Pack is Back-provides music for the evening. Dressing for the Night begins with cocktails at 6pm. Guests can enjoy 'A Taste of Bellport,' featuring hors d'oeuvres, entrees and desserts by Avino's Italian Table, The Bellport Restaurant, The Brickhouse Brewery, Nakama, Porters on the Lane, The South Country Inn, Swan Bakery and The West Lake Inn Caterers. Live and silent auction items include day-passes to Walt Disney World, tickets and backstage passes to Broadway shows, flying lessons, a walk-on role in Phantom and dozens of items donated by Suffolk County businesses.
Proceeds from "Dressing for the Night" will support onstage and outreach programming at Long Island's oldest professional theatre. Since its establishment as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2011, the PACSC has improved accessibility to its performing arts, partnered with Bay Area Friends of the Fine Arts, Maryhaven Center of Hope, Mercy Center Ministries and many others. This year, Gateway's Acting School Division began conducting acting workshops in North Bellport at The Boys & Girls Club of the Bellport Area. Dressing for the Night is sponsored, in part, by Pamela Lerner Antiques, Sunrise Toyota, Cullen and Denowski, Citibank, Bellport Brookhaven Historical Society and the Bellport community at large.