Dentist Today, 'Daddy' Warbucks Tomorrow?

Theatre by the Bay reaches production 14.

Pull out the sheet music, because Theatre by the Bay, the six-year-old community theater group that operates out of The Bay Terrace Jewish Center, is holding auditions for their next production, "Annie."

Theatre by the Bay is operated by producer and director Larry Bloom and his co-producers Barbara Koenig and Martha Stein.

Bloom has been in the community and educational theater arena for nearly 50 years. At a shiva call for a mutual friend's father, the two met, and Stein suggested using the empty stage in the synagogue's social hall to create a local community theater group.

"I said 'I never turn anything down, let me take a look,'" said Bloom. "I went over and looked at the space and saw the possibilities." That was 2004.

"Annie," with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and a book by Thomas Meehan, is production number fourteen. It will open in March, 2011.

The occupations of cast and crew members tend to run the gamut.

"People put aside their daytime jobs and then have a chance to do theater," said Bloom, adding, "We get people who are in insurance, physicians, there was a chief of neurosurgery at one of the local hospitals who came and auditioned for our shows."

A lot of the time, Bloom is surprised when he finds out what people do for a living. "There was one guy that I said 'You're a great curtain puller; what do you do during the day?' He says, 'I'm a dentist.' He does a great job at either one," Bloom said. "They just want to be a part of it, and that's the nice thing."

While some members of the production staff, including the musical director and choreographer, are compensated for their time, the actors are all volunteers.

The synagogue helps to fund the productions, but interested thespians don't have to be members. "We invite people of all races or religions or creeds to come out and participate," Bloom said.

Each production is rehearsed two nights a week, usually Tuesday and Thursday, for three to four months. Bloom emphasized the familial atmosphere of the group; if someone is celebrating a birthday or other special event, it's celebrated during rehearsal, over cupcakes from Martha's Country Bakery, said publicity manager Stacey Zable.

Past shows have included "Gypsy," "Carousel," and "Fiddler on the Roof." They are picked based on suggestions by cast and crew members, and how family friendly they are.

"I like to do things that people can hum the tunes," Bloom said. "We pick shows that we know are going to be draws."

Altogether, during any given production, Theatre by the Bay has upwards of 50 people working for them, from actors to curtain pullers. "A lot of the people come back again and again because of Larry," said Zable. "It's so loving."

Auditions for "Annie," will take place on November 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center, 13-00 209th Street, Bayside. Bring music and be prepared to sing 16 bars with accompaniment, dance and read lines from the script.

The company's thirteenth production "Mame," is currently being performed Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons until Nov. 21.



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