Long-time community theater veteran Kevin Vincent said it was his passion for the characters in "Crossing Delancey" that has drawn him back to Zion Episcopal Church.
On Friday, the director will debut Susan Sandler's play as the fall show for the Douglaston Community Theater, which performs at the Douglaston house of worship.
Vincent, who first entered the community theater world in 1989 as a 19-year-old actor, plans on exciting his audience with his take on the classic about a young single Jewish woman living in Manhattan who resists her grandmother‘s efforts to fix her up with a “nice Jewish man.”
“When I read a play, I decide whether or not I have a vision or passion for it. If I don’t have that, I will not direct it. For me you need to have the vision and passion to direct a play well,” Vincent said. “When I read 'Crossing Delancey,' I liked it and instantly saw a vision for it.”
Although he received no formal training, Vincent has directed 15 plays in the past 10 years and has acted in and produced several others. "Crossing Delancey" will be his second directing job for The Douglaston Community Theater.
His first experience working with the theater was as an actor in 1997. Since then, Vincent has taken part in seven different productions with the theater group.
Although he has his own company, Theater Time, which is based in Whitestone, and has worked with several other community groups, Vincent said he loves working with Douglaston Community Theater because of the group's rich history and cooperative manner.
“There is no other group in Queens that can stay 52-plus years in the same location. I love extending their tradition to the play I am directing. I love being a part of a long standing tradition,” he said.
When the theater group selected "Crossing Delancey" for its fall show, Vincent was the winning candidate voted to direct the play. He was one of two other local directors who volunteered for the role.
He admits that his passion for the play was the main driving force behind his desire to direct the production.
“I wanted to direct this play because it is a really well-written piece. Each character is really well-developed and well-written. Everyone in this play has something interesting to do. I love the relationships between the people on stage. You have romance, you have family dynamic and you have friendship,” Vincent said.
He and his cast of five have been rehearsing for two months in preparation for the play’s debut. With only a few days left before opening night, Vincent admits that he is “feeling good” about the play and his actors.
“My job as director is to make my actors look the best they possibly can on stage. We are all volunteering our time and we want to have fun but, at the end of the day, we owe our audience a high quality performance and that is what I plan to deliver,” he said.
Vincent along with his cast and crew all volunteer their time to this and other community theater groups. For Vincent, this defines true passion and demonstrates the devotion they have for their craft.
“Not everyone can make a living doing what they love,” he said. “I feel like the people that do community theater are the ones that are real passionate for acting. We do it for free and we put in the same amount of work, passion and diligence as those who get paid to do this. That’s true passion.”
"Crossing Delancey" opens Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. at Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall, located on 44th Avenue off the Douglaston Parkway. It will be running every weekend through Oct. 29 with show times at 8 p.m. and matinee shows at 2 p.m. on select weekends.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and students with ID. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. To reserve your seat, call 718-482-3332.
Audience are expected to have a “good time” Vincent said.
“It is a romantic comedy that has a little bit of drama. It is a classic show that is heartwarming and funny and has a lot of really great characters. Plus there is nothing like live theater,” he said