On Stage at Kingsborough is returning live to the Manhattan Beach stage with four in-person shows for its spring season — and they’re already seeing loads of interest from community members eager for social activity.
“We are really happy to be coming back and so excited by the calls we are getting from our audience,” said Anna Becker, On Stage at Kingsborough’s executive director. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect when we announced but people are just calling and saying they are overjoyed.”
The organization selected the four acts, which will be preforming between March and May, and the honchos behind the concerts hope the events will get people excited about returning to the community theater after two years virtually during the pandemic.
“The one thing that we thought was really important was that the spread was going to include just some really uplifting joyous shows,” Becker said, “so that people just being excited to come back to life will be able to come here and kind of celebrate that.”
Two of the shows — Rhythm of Dance, and Lords of 52nd Street — will be making a return to the Manhattan Beach theater as Becker said their previous performances were huge hits and will fit in perfectly with their theme.
“We did a combination of some true audience favorites along with some new exciting shows so that people will have a range of choices, all of which were very celebratory.”
The remaining pair of performances — Ladies Sing the Blues and A Night of Wonder — include performers Mark G Meadows and Catherine Russell who both have also previously performed at the CUNY Kingsborough Community College’s stage but in different acts.
Rhythm of Dance, the national dance company of Ireland, will open up the season with their internationally-renowned Irish step dancing performance on March 11, in time for St. Patrick’s Day, taking viewers on a journey through history.
“That is the show that we streamed virtually this year but have had in person several times,” Becker said. “It’s a big extravaganza with 22 dancers, all world-champion Irish step dancers, three tenors and a live band.”
The Lords of 52nd Street, the original behind New York’s own Billy Joel, will perform some of the Piano Man’s classic tunes they played alongside him on his early tours on April 9.
“They are the original Billy Joel band, they are the guys that toured the world and recorded some of Billy Joel’s most beloved albums and songs,” Becker said. “And they now tour with their own vocalist doing all of those great songs with the authentic Billy Joel sound. We had them a few years ago and it was just an overwhelming sensation with the audience.”
Grammy-award winning Catherine Russell will perform with Brianna Thomas and Ada Dyer on May 7 as “Ladies Sing the Blues” vocalizing renditions of iconic female jazz singers such as Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey and Ida Cox among others.
“That’s just a wonderful evening with a seven-piece band that was originally created for jazz at Lincoln Center and now they are bringing the concert here,” Becker said.
Mark G. Meadows and The Movement will vocalize popular Stevie Wonder with his own spin on them in the season’s final show,“A Night of Wonder,” on May 20, accompanied by his smooth piano-playing and his seven-piece band at a special performance at the campus’s lighthouse for a night of wine and cheese (included in the ticket price) and love songs.
“We set [the lighthouse] up nightclub style with tables, we serve wine and cheese which is included with the ticket price,” Becker said. “It’s just a great community evening, its a Friday evening you get off work, you come you have wine and cheese and enjoy great music and share tables and enjoy each other as well.”
The three other performances in the spring show season will be held at On Stage at Kingsborough’s theater, with ticket prices starting at $34 for standard seating in the theater. Meadow’s performance at the lighthouse will be priced slightly higher starting at $42 for standard seating.
Becker said the organization kept ticket prices the same as they were prior to the pandemic to keep the shows available to all New Yorkers.
In compliance with state and city ordinances, On Stage at Kingsborough will require proof of vaccination for entry into all performances and masks must be worn at all times. The performers are allowed to remove their masks while on stage.
On Stage at Kingsborough’s performance seasons usually begin earlier and have more shows but the theater group has decided to begin their full return slowly to figure out what’s safest for performers, the crew and audience.
“Normally we would have quite a bit more and start a bit earlier, but we’re really putting an emphasis on a safe reopening,” Becker said. “We wanted to make sure that we take this one step at a time and have everything really worked out before we move on.”