Performance groups add to rich cultural life of Bay Ridge

Spotlight on Bay Ridge: Performing Groups

The neighborhood next to the visually dramatic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is home to a plentiful array of drama lovers, facilitators and culture/theater buffs that are proud to call the Ridge their home.

Among these are:

The Narrows Community Theater (NCT), a non-profit theater organization operating since 1975, puts on a minimum of two shows per year, currently at the theater on the Fort Hamilton Army Base. Putting on musical and non-musical productions, the theater’s activities and shows are open to the general public.

In addition to shows, the theater offers workshops in stage craft, musical theater performance, acting technique, dance and team work.

“NCT has a built-in, loyal audience who either live and/or work in the Bay Ridge area,” according to the group’s website.

Regina Opera, founded in 1970 by Marie Cantoni and Nicholas Tierno, strives to “bring great opera performances at reasonable prices to Brooklyn neighborhoods” and provide a platform for singers to “perform the standard operatic repertoire, primarily in the original language, in fully-staged productions with orchestra,” according to its website.

In over four decades of performing, the not-for-profit company has put on performances of well-known operas like “The Barber of Seville,” “La Boheme,” “Carmen” and “Madama Butterfly,” as well as show tunes and other popular music.

The company now performs at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 5902 Sixth Avenue, just over the border of Bay Ridge in Sunset Park. For more information, visit

Jeff Samaha Theatre Productions has been producing “full-book Broadway shows” since 2002 and debuted the Ridge Chorale Youth Theater in 2008.

Some of the group’s past productions include: “Children of Eden,” “Ragtime,” “Miss Saigon,” “West Side Story,” “Smokey Joe’s Café,” “Fame the Musical,” “Shout! The Mod Musical” and “The Producers.”

Samaha’s “dream to start a chorus in the community,” began slowly and eventually developed into a 55-singer group and a hand-picked orchestra. For more information about the group, visit

Act Out! Acting School has been a Bay Ridge staple since 2007 and, among other achievements, has brought the works of William Shakespeare to Narrows Botanical Garden through an annual outdoor production.

The school offers classes for aspiring actors of all ages throughout the year.  Each class concludes with a full-scale production and master’s classes, independent study and, private lessons are also available. Some past productions include: “Alice in Wonderland,” “Twelve Angry Men,” “A Midsummers Night Dream,” “The Tempest,” “Peter Pan” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

For more information, visit the school’s Facebook page at

The Rhapsody Players, a performance group, made up of seven local vocalists—Eileen Monahan, John Heffernan, Colleen Martin-O’Donnell, Anthony Marino, Kevin Sweeney, Donna Heffernan and Kiernan Hamilton—got together in 2006.

The group focuses on performing fundraisers for worthy causes — over 65 to date — including shows that have raised funds for Sandy Relief, the Dynamite Youth Center and pediatric cancer awareness.

The Players were even presented with a Congressional Award of Recognition for their service to community in 2013. For additional information about the group, visit

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