Narrows Community Theater honors a beloved former member with “Show Boat” performance

A different take on a classic musical that will also pay tribute to a beloved local is coming to Bay Ridge.

Narrows Community Theater (NCT) will honor the late Mickey Sullivan, a longstanding member of the board of directors dating back to NCT’s founding in 1971, with a concert version of one of his favorite musicals, “Show Boat.”

The classic musical is set on a riverboat on the Mississippi and tells the story of the Hawks family and its troupe of actors aboard the Cotton Blossom floating theater, but the concert version, “cut down the story a lot and reduced a lot of it to basic dialogue and narration. That’s meant to highlight the musical aspect of the show and really let it take center stage and shine,” according to director Sean Pallatroni, who is excited to bring the show to the neighborhood.

“Historically, it’s a very important show as it deals a lot with the racial tensions of the period, but most importantly, the music is spectacular,” he said. “‘Show Boat’ is of course a quintessential staple of American musical theater. It was really the first show that had a story and then music set to it and it evolved from there. No one had ever done that before.

“What makes this production supremely unique is that it isn’t the full version of the show,” Pallatroni added. “We spent a lot of time really perfecting the ensemble parts, the solo parts, and really highlighting everything musical about the show. We’re going to have an eight-piece orchestra which Narrows has never done before.”

SHOWBOAT - Photo 2
Photo courtesy of Narrows Community Theater

The decision to dedicate the show to Sullivan was a logical one. “Mickey Sullivan  stayed on the board until he passed away about two years ago and  he nominated ‘Show Boat’ for us to do many times in concert. It never got voted in and as a tribute to him, we’re doing it now,” said Maryjo Tipaldo of NCT’s Board of Directors. “He was like our historian and had great Broadway knowledge. He was a very active member of Saint Patrick’s parish and I think people will be coming to the show because of the tribute because he was so well known. There are five of us that are in the show that have worked closely with him so it means a lot.”

“The whole weekend is going to be dedicated to him,” added Pallatroni. “One of his granddaughters is in the production. His family is honored and thrilled for him to be recognized this way. It’s a great way to celebrate his memory and the continuation of Narrows and its growth and innovation in bringing new and old shows into the community.”

”Mickey’s love for the art of theater and his lifelong dedication to keeping it available as a vital part of our local community knew no limit,”  said a family spokesperson. “He was an active part of NCT until his very last day on earth. We were blessed beyond measure to have his influence in our lives and he will forever be remembered as an inspiration to us all.”

The cast is also expected to wow audiences. “It’s amazing that this caliber of music is right here in the community,” Pallatroni said. “I think what’s most important for me is that everyone comes in with different levels of experience. Some come in doing it for a long time, others have a natural talent, some of them work on their talent, but the important thing is getting everyone to that same level of excellence and that’s what we strive for in rehearsals. The audience will recognize it.”

NCT’s “Show Boat” will be performed on Friday, June 2 at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 3 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 4 at 2 p.m. in St. Patrick’s Auditorium, Fourth Avenue and 97th Street. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 seniors/students under 21.

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