All About Armonk

North Castle Daily News

“Looking at Christmas”

December 4, 2016
“Looking at Christmas” is a sweet, smart and slightly twisted romantic comedy on Christmas Eve in New York City. A failed writer and a struggling actress meet while looking at the famous holiday windows at Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf’s, Lord & Taylor’s, and Macy’s.

The play is written by Steven Banks and and the play reading by Armonk Players is directed by Pia Haas, with Tom Ammirato, Rodd Berro, Jean Garner, Charles Hallock, Angie Joachim, Ann Marie Lieberman, Greg Mangieri, Emily Tarpey and Beth Brandon on Piano

The windows they’ve been viewing come alive and we get to see what they saw and more — amusingly irreverent views at what the characters in the windows think and do about their lives in the stories they find themselves in. A delightful romp through some of the world’s great Christmas stories with just enough bite to make it exciting — and hilarious.

Seating will be in the audience, not on-stage, at Whippoorwill Hall on Thursday December 15 at 8:00 p.m. Join the Armonk Players for a reception after the reading and the opportunity to voice your opinions about the play in a discussion with the actors and director. Advance ticket sales are not necessary for this performance.  Admission is free and voluntary donations are cheerfully accepted.

The Armonk Players

A Parody of Shakespeare

June 3, 2016
Can all 37 Shakespeare plays be done in 97 minutes? Combine three seasoned actors who clown around with amusing slap stick, occasional audience participation, and Shakespeare’s language and you have the Armonk Players presentation of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)."

The 20 year old play, written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer & Jess Winfield, is an entertaining parody of Shakespeare’s successes and failures that swiftly spews out his wonderful language tangled with modern slang.

“It’s a potpourri,” says Anthony Valbiro, set designer, whose whimsical murals provide an exaggerated backdrop with a comical effect.

“While it’s irreverent, silly, and hugely energetic,” says Director Pia Haas, “at its heart is a celebration of Shakespeare — his famous stories, the blistering and gruesome violence, the love, the death, the struggles for power, and the wonderful language.”

Tickets can bought online or at the door for the five remaining performances at Whippoorwill Hall this weekend and next weekend. 


Armonk Players Unique Comedy: “One Night with Fanny Brice”
By Bruce Apar

March 5, 2016
What an electric night it was for The Armonk Players on Thursday at Whippoorwill Hall at North Castle Library. More than 100 enthusiastic audience members cheered on the Broadway-quality talent of Christine DiTota, who proved herself the consummate performer as star of the one-woman staged reading and singing of "One Night with Fanny Brice".

Written by Chip Deffaa, directed by Pia Haas, with musical accompaniment by pianist Assaf Gleizner, the highly entertaining show is packed with more than a dozen signature songs of Fanny Brice. The musical selections tell the colorful story of the legendary early-20th Century Ziegfeld Follies and a vaudeville star who was the inspiration for Barbra Streisand's star-making vehicle, "Funny Girl".

Celebrating their triumph at the post-show gathering are (from left) writer Chip Deffaa, star Christine DiTota, accompanist Assaf Gleizner, and director Pia Haas. (Photo courtesy Bruce Apar)

“What an amazing evening was had by all,” said Haas. “Congratulations to Christine and Assaf whose performances were astounding!”

Haas also thanked the varied talents of Adam Jonathan Welch for the lighting design, Dan Scherer and Keith DiBuono for sound, and Jeff Rocco, jack of all trades.

In addition, she extended special thanks to the enthusiastic audience. “Your love and support was greatly appreciated. See you for Shakespeare mayhem in June.”

Simply Theatre! Play Reading By The Armonk Players

December 7, 2015
Looking at Christmas by Steven Banks is a sweet, smart and slightly twisted romantic comedy. It’s Christmas Eve in New York City where a failed writer and struggling actress meet while looking at the famous holiday windows at Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf’s, Lord & Taylor’s and Macy’s.


The windows come alive and we see what the characters in the window see; an amusingly irreverent view of what they think and do about their lives in these holiday stories. Looking at Christmas is a delightful romp through some of the world’s great Christmas stories with enough bite to be exciting and hilarious.

Join the Armonk Players on Wednesday December 16 at 8:00 p.m. for a reception after the reading with an opportunity to discuss the play with the actors and director.

Admission is free, although voluntary donations are cheerfully accepted. No advance tickets are necessary for this performance at Whippoorwill Hall of the North Castle Public Library, 1 Kent Place, Armonk.

Looking at Christmas is directed by Pia Haas, with Tom Ammirato, Cait Gallagher, Jean Garner, Angie Joachim, Greg Mangieri, Jeff Rocco, Stephanie and Jean Schleicher, with Beth Brandon on the piano.


Mothers and Sons
Armonk Players’ Production Is Provocative, Contemporary and Real

November 13, 2015
Something different has come to Armonk’s stage as the Armonk Players present Terrence McNally’s production of Mothers and Sons. The play is an adult drama about a gay couple, their relationship, and how they have evolved into the new meaning of family.

The American playwright McNally said this is the first time in contemporary theatre where a gay married couple has been depicted in a completely normal and average way.

Mothers and Sons was taken from McNally’s earlier 1990’s drama film Andre’s Mother. This was expounded upon and written specifically for Tyne Daly for Broadway in the 2014 season. Daly received a Tony Award nomination for her performance.

Anthony Valbiro is the director of Mothers and Sons. We’ve seen Valbiro as a fine actor on the stage in many Armonk Players’ past performances. He says he is proud to bring this production to the Armonk Stage.

McNally received the Tony Award for Best Play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class. In his remarks to the members of the League of American Theatres and Producers, McNally said, “I think theatre teaches us who we are, what our society is, and where we are going.”

Mothers and Sons is a snippet of the life and the relationships which have been accepted by four generations who appear on the stage as a 70-year old woman; her deceased son’s lover, who is 49 years old; his husband who is 33 years old; and their six-year old son.

The interaction of the four generations is essential to the entire play. While the mother has a more traditional approach to heterosexual relationships, there is a poetic sense of forgiveness and how fast and slow some things in life have occurred. “It’s beautifully written with a great pathos about understanding, coming to terms, and putting to rest some bad feelings about life,” says Valbiro.  

He further explained it’s a dense piece in the sense that the actors’ intensity in rehearsals went far beyond what they normally do for other productions.

Valbiro said that the Armonk Players is one of the first regional community theatres where Mothers and Sons has been produced. There is a local connection in the script since the mother is from Rye and her son’s lover is from Port Chester, where Terrence McNally’s mother was born.

With the 2011 passing of the Marriage Equality Act in New York State, the content is current and relevant to most people today. Pia Haas, a longtime member of the Armonk Players and past director, said she is happy that they are doing a piece like this. “I love doing the farces and comedy, but it’s nice to work on some meaningful pieces such as the last one we did, Time Stands Still, which was about war, and then this play which is about gay marriage. I’m happy to be moving in the direction of something different for the Armonk audience.”

The six performances at Armonk Library’s intimate Whippoorwill Hall will open Friday, November 13 and run three shows this weekend and next weekend, Thursday through Saturday. The 90-minute production has no intermission, which follows many Broadway shows that are now condensing pieces. The curtain time is 8:00 p.m. with this Sunday’s matinee time at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are available at www.armonkplayers.org. 

Time Stands Still
Three Shows Still Remain in the Well-Received Armonk Players’ Time Stands Still  

June 8, 2015
The prologue of Armonk Players’ thought-provoking production of Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies is seen through the lens of a photojournalist who survived an occupational hazard as she documented the war in Iraq.

Amber Mason plays the leading role of Sarah Goodwin, the photojournalist. “One of the things I like about doing these kinds of shows is peeling back the layers to figure out the motivation and the intention of the words that I am saying on stage.” She said she did a lot of research on photography that bears witness to real life atrocities, which validates the experiences of her character.  

The audience of Sunday’s matinee was mesmerized by the skillfully acted performance of this Tony-nominated drama for Best Play. Jane Dunn of Armonk said, “I saw it on Broadway and enjoyed this better.”

The complex story of the four characters is well written and filled with intelligence and compassion. The casting is superb from actors who brought a plethora of theatrical experiences to the stage: P.J. Glazer plays Richard Ehrlich, the photo editor. Tom Coppola plays James Dodd, a foreign correspondent. And Elizabeth Harrington plays Mandy Bloom, a young mother who choose a more conventional path.  

The vibrant play deals with the deep desire of Sarah to reveal the truth of a war that she captured from behind her lens before she “had the dumb luck” of getting hit by fragments from a roadside bomb that changed her life. A year later, the play is set in a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Rich Ferrante, Creative Director of Ferrante & Associates, was moved by the poignant story about the choice to take a photograph or to put the camera aside to assist in a serious situation. He said he appreciated the story about the changes of the characters through the experiences and understanding of one another that was incredibly close to home. “It was a wonderful and moving performance. A terrific show that was beautifully crafted with the intricate riff between the importance of following one’s heart, versus living an essentially meaningless life. It took my breath away a couple of times as the characters went through some important changes.”

The stage arrangement is magnificent with a splash of colors and textures in a comfortable home without any technology. It’s a complex story wittily woven around a simple stage setting.

“It’s like a gestalt,” said Hall Simonetti, who has been seen on the Armonk Player’s stage for decades. “There’s a piece here and there, and the audience fills in the blanks.”

“This has to be the best set ever, thanks to Anthony Valbiro and Linda LeBlanc,” said Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum, who handles the stage props.

Janet Ferrante and Barbara Simonetti said they loved the music. During the pre-show and the intermission, war protest songs were played that were chosen by Director Pia Haas. Contemporary music was also heard during the set changes. These songs were chosen for their words which related to what was going on at the time.

“The title Time Stands Still refers to the intensity of the photographer’s experience,” said Hal Simonetti, who refers to himself as an amateur photographer. “The main character looks through the viewfinder and at the moment she presses the shutter she captures a decisive moment in time. A still photograph focuses on something specific that is a fragment of something that is in motion at all times. She’s made it stand still so we can see it forever from that particular point in time.”

The remaining shows of Time Stands Still are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, June 11 to 13 at 8:00 p.m. at the intimate Whippoorwill Hall of Armonk Library. The show is appropriate for teens and adults. To reserve tickets, please visit www.armonkplayers.org.

Much thanks to the Friends of the North Castle Public Library who sponsor the Armonk Players.

The Armonk Players Presents Time Stands Still
By Donald Margulies

May 13, 2015
Time Stands Still is the story of James and Sarah, a journalist and a photographer, who share a passion for documenting the realities of war.  But when injuries force them to return home to New York, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life.  A blazingly important new work about responsibility - to ourselves, to our loved ones, to our community, and to our world.  This Broadway-hit play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies is a witty, intelligent look at what happens when ordinary life is refracted through the lens of war.

Featuring: Tom Coppola, P. J. Glazer, Liz Harrington and Amber Mason
Directed by Pia Haas. 
Designed by Anthony Valbiro.
Lighting Design: Rodd Berro.
Production Stage Manager: Jeff Rocco.

Friday, June 5 & Saturday, June 6 at 8pm
Sunday, June 7, 2015 at 4pm
Thursday, June 11, Friday, June 12, & Saturday, June 13 at 8pm
Adults: $20, Students (18 and under): $10

Whippoorwill Hall of The Armonk Public Library
19 Whippoorwill Road East (the entrance is on Kent Place) Armonk, NY.

Info & tickets: www.armonkplayers.org