brooklynONE Founder to Receive Dyker Civic Assoc. Award

The co-founder of one of Southwest Brooklyn’s most well known theater companies will be playing a different role, that of award winner, when he is honored by the Dyker Heights Civic Association at the organization’s dinner-dance in October.

Anthony Marino, co-founder of brooklynONE, will be one of the guests of honor at the dinner dance to take place on Oct. 25 at Sirico’s Caterers, 8015 13th Ave., at 7 p.m.

Marino, who works in real estate at Douglas Elliman, will be honored by the civic association along with John Bennett, the owner of Indigo Murphy’s, a popular bar at 7102 Fort Hamilton Parkway in Dyker Heights.

Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the civic association, praised both honorees for their generosity and community-minded spirit.

Through brooklynONE, a non-profit theater company, Marino “has brought theater and entertainment to venues in Dyker Heights, including concerts and most recently, a full production of ‘Godspell,’” Vella-Marrone said in a statement.

She was referring an acclaimed production of “Godspell,” the famous Stephen Schwartz musical, that brooklynONE staged at Redeemer St. John’s Lutheran Church in July. The production was presented as part of a new partnership among brooklynONE, the civic association and the church to bring the arts to Dyker Heights.

The production came about after Vella-Marrone approached Marino on behalf of Redeemer St. John’s Lutheran Church and asked him to consider mounting a version of “Godspell” in the church. “I thought it would be a great thing for Dyker Heights culturally,” Vella-Marrone told this newspaper in a recent interview.

It’s important for residents of Dyker Heights to realize that their community can be a home for the arts, Vella-Marrone said. And residents would get to see that the civic association is there not just to help solve problems like potholes and broken street lights, but to be a force in promoting the neighborhood, she said.

Aside from his theater productions, Marino’s work in brooklynONE is important for another reason, according to Vella-Marrone, who said he has “provided theater opportunities for local aspiring performers.”

Marino co-founded brooklynONE with the late Tom Kane.

In addition to his theater pursuits and his career in real estate, Marino is also a member of Community Board 10.

Bennett, who has been a business owner in Dyker Heights for 27 years, has earned a reputation as a strong supporter of youth sports programs and charities, Vella-Marrone said.

“He and his partners have sponsored, organized and donated to many charitable events over the years,” she said.

Bennett is a coach for the 68th Precinct Youth Council Soccer League and has served as a volunteer with the Brooklyn Shamrock Gaelic Football League and the Brooklyn Rugby Club. In addition, he organized the Bay Ridge Beach Whales, a team that took part in the New York Special Olympics Polar Plunge.

Marino, who was born and raised in Dyker Heights, said he was deeply grateful to receive recognition from the leading organization in his neighborhood.

“I consider it a great honor to be recognized by the Dyker Civics Association. Growing up in Dyker, living here and contributing back to the community is so important and I’m happy in my little way through the arts and even real estate I’m able to do that, all while having my family here in Brooklyn’s best neighborhood,” he told this newspaper.

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