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Dean Miller with student Jonah
Dean Miller with student Jonah

It was a week of powerful performances, from my grandchildren’s dance and music recitals to the professional performance of my favorite classic Broadway musical, “Guys and Dolls,” at the newly restored Argyle Theatre in Babylon.

After so many hours of practice, it was finally time for my 9-year-old Morgan and 7-year-old Addy to strut their stuff in dazzling costumes onto the stage at the SUNY Old Westbury auditorium.

The venue was packed to capacity with proud parents and grandparents. I sat in my center row orchestra seat; my daughters had been sure to be the first parents to stand on line to buy their seats the moment they went on sale. The tickets were, after all, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

I positioned myself to take a video of Addy’s performance. As her group appeared, I had to search the group of 20 girls to find her. Since she wears glasses, I thought, it would be easy to find her, as she was right there on my side of the auditorium. I used my iPhone and zoomed in on her. I felt so happy to have captured her in all her glory.

But, within a short while, my bubble burst as I proudly showed my daughter Elizabeth the video. She said “Mom, Addy didn’t wear her glasses when she performed. You got the wrong girl!”

Thankfully, nothing could detract from Addy’s joy and the broad smile on her beautiful face beamed brightly as she took in all our compliments.

Morgan has become such a pro; she performed in two dances and we screamed and cheered at each one.

I’m in awe at both girls and their comfort in performing before hundreds of people. They are real stars.

That brings me to my pride in 9-year-old Jonah’s performance on the French horn in his school band’s recital. Having played violin in my fifth-grade string group, I remember how hard it was for everyone to play together.

I salute his band teacher and Jonah for the many hours of practicing they put in. Jonah was only one of two French horn players in the band; they stood up and played their short piece perfectly. I was so happy, so impressed, that I cried.

When I asked him if he’d continue next semester, he quickly responded, “Of course, Grandma!”

A musician has been born!

The Argyle Theatre reopens

Photo via Facebook/Argyle Theater

Photo via Facebook/Argyle Theater

Since becoming the publisher of the 109-year-old Long Island Press, I have had the opportunity to meet many talented people and explore places on Long Island that I’ve never visited before.

We created in the Press a “Destination” series to introduce our readers and me to towns and villages on the island. Babylon is a charming gem of a town, with multiple dining spots from waterfront seafood restaurants to ice cream shops.

This month we featured Babylon and their newly restored live Argyle Theatre, which showcased a revival of the classic Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls.” Run, don’t walk, to see it!

I’ve loved “Guys and Dolls” since performed in a production of it while I was in camp. The show has survived and endured through many revivals over the years because of the lovable Damon Runyan characters, wonderful songs and music, and lively dancing.

I sat transfixed in the Argyle’s comfortable plush seats as my favorite songs were belted out by a polished mesmerizing cast. I fell in love with them in the roles I’ve loved for decades. They made me feel and believe that a mission lady could fall in love with a gambler, and Adelaide could get a cold waiting for Nathan Detroit to marry her!

The show-stopping number “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” in which gamblers in the mission sing their hearts out, is my favorite part of the show — and it had the audience roaring with applause. A great theatre moment.

The Argyle has been lovingly restored by the father-and-son team of Mark and Dylan Perlman. They believe that Long Island deserves first-class theater outside of Manhattan and they have invested to see it begin.

“Guys and Dolls” was the first in a strong season of show revivals in the months ahead with “Hairspray” coming July 12, followed by “Peter and the Starcatcher” on Sept. 13; and, later this year, a musical retelling of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” They also have big shows lined up for 2019, including “Spring Awakening” opening on Jan. 17 and, later on, Mel Brooks’ hilarious musical “The Producers.”

In between the musical productions, the Argyle will also feature comedy nights.

Call them at 844-631-LIVE (5483) for more information. You will be as impressed as I was with the quality of the production from sets, to singing to dancing with a talented equity cast. There is even plenty of free parking only steps from the theatre.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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