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Tune in to these upcoming theatre productions in Queens

The Queens Urban Park Rangers are looking for dozens of volunteer actors for the Haunted Lantern Tour to make “various spooky scenes” come alive in the annual Halloween event at Fort Totten.
By Ron Hellman

Now that I’m back at sea level after nearly two weeks in the state of New Mexico, it’s time to resume my comments and musings on the state of our local theater.

For those of you geographically challenged, New Mexico is in the southwestern part of the country, between Texas and Arizona, where my first wife and I vacationed, mainly in Santa Fe, at an elevation of 7,000 feet. There are lots of mountains, high desert and open spaces in New Mexico, the fifth largest state in size with a population less than the borough of Queens.

One of the most interesting emails in my absence, which should appeal to you talented theater folks, was from Matthew O’Keeffe of the Queens Urban Park Rangers. Ranger Matt is looking for dozens of volunteer actors for the Haunted Lantern Tour to make “various spooky scenes” come alive in the annual Halloween event at Fort Totten.

Last year more than 2,100 people showed up to enjoy this “spine-tingling” event, and a bigger turnout is anticipated this year.

Scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, the Haunted Lantern Tour is one of the most popular programs offered by the Urban Park Rangers, which runs tours of the fortress and surrounding wildlife throughout the year. It sounds like a lot of fun and it gives you actors a chance to benefit the community. For more information call Fort Totten at 718-352-1769, or email matthew.okeeffe@parks.nyc.gov.

For more Halloween, check out The Killing Kompany’s comedy murder mystery dinner show at Riccardo’s in Astoria Oct. 27th, “Murder at the Halloween Ball.”

Debbie Starker has been publishing an online weekly newsletter, Deb’s Web, about theater happenings for 17 years, but she’s calling it quits in November. This invaluable free service has featured audition notices and performance dates, mainly geared to Long Island but also some events in Queens, and its absence will be a great loss. A new group, the Long Island Community Theatre Cooperative, has been established to pick up the slack. Hopefully, Queens will not be overlooked.

LocalTheatreNY.com, run by Roger Gonzalez, continues to thrive. That site includes notices about Brooklyn and Manhattan productions, as well as Queens. And another source for community theater listings is Charlene Greenberg’s Spotlight on Stage.

A couple of organizations you should know about are the Queens Council on the Arts, now in its 51st year as the borough wide arts council, which provides grants to nonprofit companies, and Theatre Resources Unlimited, celebrating its 25th anniversary in November.

November is also the month in which most of our local groups start their season. Three musical productions that have come to my attention are: “Young Frankenstein” (Royal Star Theatre), “She Loves Me” (Parkside Players), and “Little Shop of Horrors” (Theatre by the Bay).

Meanwhile, the award-winning Astoria Performing Arts Center presents the world premiere of “Veil’d,” a play by New York-based playwright Monet Hurst-Mendoza, and next spring it will produce “Follies,” a musical that we Stephen Sondheim fans can’t get enough of.

Contact Ron Hellman at rbhofc@gmail.com.

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