No winter slowdown for Queens theater scene

By Ron Hellman

Have you missed me? It’s been several weeks since my last column, and I was hoping for a barrage of letters, e-mails, texts and phone calls seeking my whereabouts and an immediate resumption of The Play’s The Thing. After all, I’ve been writing this column since June 2007, and some of you may have gotten in the habit of reading it.


This season of the winter of our discontent is also awards season. Starting with year-end 10 best lists and the Golden Globes, the professionals in movies, television and theater compete for honors and recognition. It’s all very subjective with opinions all over the place, but it means a lot at the box office and in the pay check.

In local theater it’s another story. Some words of encouragement and a good review are usually all that it takes. To that end, the TimesLedger last week published its first ever Queens Kudos Awards, judged by QGuide editor and theater buff Kevin Zimmerman. Kevin gets around, but by no means has he seen it all. So if you have your own candidates who merit special praise, let’s hear from you. The whole idea, just like this column, is to generate publicity and support for our very active Queens theater community.

Performing on stage and screen can sometimes be hazardous, and not just in the notorious and recently closed “Spider-Man” on Broadway. Debbie Starker, creator and editor of “Deb’s Web,” an online newsletter of local theater happenings, was in a terrible accident in mid-November during a performance of “A Christmas Carol.” She fell off a catwalk and broke several bones, and now faces months of painful recovery and rehab. Too weak and distracted to attend to her website, which she has published for a dozen years or so, never before missing a week, and all as an unpaid service to us theater people, Debbie deserves our thoughts and good wishes. You can reach her at tistar@optimum.net.

Shakespeare seems more popular than ever, judging by all the recent productions around town. On Valentine’s weekend, Feb. 14-16, you’ll have four chances to see the bard’s enchanting romantic comedy “Twelfth Night,” an Aquila Theatre production at Queens Theatre (718-760-0064).

Not to be missed is the latest tango offering at the Thalia Spanish Theatre in Sunnyside, running weekends from Jan. 31 to March 23. On Feb. 14, there’s a special performance with a wine and tapas reception with the stars of the show. If you want to make all those moves yourself, à la the tango scene in “Scent of A Woman,” sign up for Thalia’s tango dance workshop which starts Feb. 1.

New York’s leading mystery dinner theater group, The Killing Kompany, performs throughout the metropolitan area, making its next stop in Queens on Feb. 1, at Riccardo’s in Astoria. The original show is “The Super Bowl Murders!”, just in time for the big game the next day. Call 1-888 SHOOT-EM.

Michael Wolf, one of the most popular of Queens actors and a mainstay of the Douglaston Community Theatre, has e-mailed all his “dearest cohorts” to let them know that he is crossing the border into Nassau County to take a role in “Death of A Salesman” at the Merrick Theatre. Definitely worth the trip.

For all my loyal readers who have made it this far, you have earned your own award.

Contact Ron Hellman at RBHOFC@gmail.com.

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