Live theatre is back on Long Island!
On Friday, June 9, the Studio Theatre of Long Island at BayWay Arts Center in East Islip held their grand opening gala and premiered their first show of the season, “Catch Me If You Can.”
“The arts are such a critical part of the fabric of our community and to have this theater opened again, where all of us can enjoy the arts from a professional point of view [and] where the students can hone their craft and enjoy the arts... it’s an amazing thing,” said Suffolk County Legis. Tom Cilmi, as he presented the staff of BayWay with a proclamation to mark the occasion.
Also present was Broadway veteran and original cast member of “Catch Me If You Can,” Angie Schworer, who cut the grand-opening ribbon. Schworer said it was her first time seeing live theatre since the pandemic, as well as her first time seeing “Catch Me If You Can” without being in it.
Studio Theatre of Long Island acquired the Manes Studio Theatre in Lindenhurst in January 2020 and were promptly shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, they acquired BayWay in East Islip and plan to use it as their more “Broadway” location, with the theatre in Lindenhurst presenting more plays and an “Off-Broadway” feel.
BayWay has been heavily renovated and now features Rick’s Américain Café, named for executive project manager Rick Hachemeister, who volunteers his time and expertise to both BayWay and the Manes theatre in Lindenhurst.
“Without Rick Hachemeister, we wouldn’t all be standing on these steps—that I can assure you of,” said managing director Michael Blangiforti. “His love and passion for theatre has brought us here today.”
Executive director Chris Rosselli said that when he first met Hachemeister, he was told he was the guy to go to for “broken seats” and other small issues. Fast-forward a few years and everyone agreed, “we wouldn’t be here without him.”
Before the curtain went up and the show began, executive artistic director Rick Grossman thanked the audience and community for coming out and showing their support.
“We are fortunate to be in a community that has such great leaders of the arts,” Grossman said.