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S. Ozone Park playwright’s first piece set for its debut

By Ron Hellman

A while ago I saw a Charlie Rose interview with Frank Langella on Channel 13. Langella was starring in “King Lear” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and he had a lot to say about playing such a demanding role and his approach to acting. Three elements of his craft are vital, he said: “Know the lines, know what they mean, and mean them when you say them.”

With that advice in mind, I am returning to the stage after a layoff of many years. For a long period (1993-2010) my theater efforts were as the producer of The Outrageous Fortune Company in presenting 50 contemporary plays of significance at Queens Theatre in the Park.

This new venture, a play with a cast of seven, is “The Gemini Killer,” an original mystery/thriller by local favorite Tom Williams. Born and raised in South Ozone Park, Williams, a banker by profession, has directed and appeared in at least 30 plays in the last 20 years. He has another play and a novel in his hope chest, but Gemini is the first to be produced. The plot revolves around a wealthy and famous author who invites several strangers to his home. Sure enough, there is a murder, everyone is suspect, and all gets sorted out in the final scene.

Theatre Time Productions, run by the husband-and-wife duo of Kevin and Judy Vincent, have high hopes for this play and are presenting it at their latest venue, the Colonial Church of Bayside. Unlike most churches, Colonial has a separate and superior space for theater productions, and there’s ample street parking in its quiet residential neighborhood of Bayside Hills.

Only five performances of “The Gemini Killer” are scheduled: two Saturday nights, two Sunday afternoons, and a Friday night, March 29-April 6, with the opening night featuring a dessert buffet and mingling with the cast after the show. As for me, my goal as an actor is somewhat less than Frank Langella’s: “Be seen, heard and understood, and don’t fall off the stage.”

For tickets or more information, call (347) 358-8102 or access www.theatretime.org.

With the coming of spring, love is in the air, so you may want to get over to Forest Hills at Saint Luke’s Church to see The Gingerbread Players’ production of “The Boy Friend.” Described as the “classic boy-meets-girl romantic romp,” the 1954 Broadway original starred Julie Andrews. This energetic group always does good work, and for a ticket donation of a mere $12, you can’t go wrong. Call (718) 268-7772, or visit www.gingerbreadplayers.org.

I’m happy to report that Deb’s Web, the invaluable online weekly theater newsletter, is back in action. Debbie Starker who runs the site – in a dozen years or so she has never missed a week – had a terrible onstage accident that laid her low for the past few months. Still facing months of rehab, Debbie, in true show business tradition, is going on. Check her out at TiStar@optimun.net.

Contact Ron Hellman at RBHOFC@gmail.com

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