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Arena Players Opens 64th Season

The Arena Players Repertory Theater, celebrating 64 years, will open its fall season on Friday, September 19, 2014, with the first of two plays by Murray Shisgal – The Tiger and Around the Park (A Need for Less Expertise) – followed in October by Ira Levin’s Veronica’s Room and the Arena Players Children’s Theater production of The Clowns’ Jack in the Beanstalk. Arena Players is located in the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Carriage House Theater, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, NY.

Photo by Frederic DeFeis Around the Park cast: Bobbie Ruth and Richard Martinez
Photo by Frederic DeFeis
Around the Park cast: Bobbie Ruth and Richard Martinez

Arena Players, which has produced a summer Shakespeare festival at the Vanderbilt for 26 years, has a reputation for presenting well-regarded dramas and comedies that are not widely performed, and for training generations of regional actors and stage-crew technicians. Among the alumni are the noted actress Edie Falco of The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie.

Frederic DeFeis, the current artistic director, founded his company in 1950 near Pittsburgh, where he headed the drama department at Duquesne University. He later moved the Players to a succession of homes – a YWCA in Brooklyn, the floor of a control tower at Idlewild (now Kennedy International) Airport in Queens, then to dinner theaters and libraries on Long Island. In 1972, he purchased a building in East Farmingdale that became the company’s permanent home. In 2011,  DeFeis sold his building and the museum invited him to move Arena Players to the Vanderbilt Estate. That event was covered in a feature article in The New York Times: (

Performances of The Tiger and Around the Park, which run through October 12, are at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $20 on Friday and Sunday, $25 on Saturday.

In The Tiger, Ben, a disgruntled mailman, kidnaps a frustrated housewife whom he wants to control. During the struggle of wills, the mailman becomes the victim and the housewife becomes the tiger in a reversal of roles. Around the Park (A Need for Less Expertise)is the story of a married couple who attempt to revitalize their sex life by listening to a series of tapes by noted therapist Dr. Oliovsky.

The Childrens’s Theater production of The Clowns’ Jack in the Beanstalka comical twist on the age-old adventure of Jack, performed by a band of clowns – will open October 4 and run through November 2, on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. Admission: adults $10, children $8, and free for children under three.

For reservations or further information on all Arena Players productions, call 516-293-0674. Visit

Arena Players Repertory’s presentation of Veronica’s Room by Ira Levin will open October 17 and run through November 7. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $20 on Friday and Sunday, and $25 on Saturday.

This thriller-chiller, which had a successful Off Broadway revival, entwines fantasy and reality.  Susan, a young college student who resembles Veronica Brabissant, is lured to a mansion by an elderly Irish couple who insist that she plays the role of Veronica to appease her demented sister, but ends up trapped in Veronica’s room.

Arena Players Repertory Company is a non-profit company funded in part by Suffolk County under the auspices of the Office of Cultural Affairs; New York State Council for the Arts; and individual contributions.

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