City Island Theater Group: Back and Bringing Us A Very Human Story

Feb 28, 2024 | Behind the Business

For more than two decades, the City Island Theater Group (CITG) has offered us dramatic plays and rousing musicals, entertaining us as they educate and empower.

Becky’s New Car, the latest production opening Friday, March 1, is no exception.  It’s a play with laughter and with tears.  It’s a play about choices, good and not so good.  There’s loss, mixed with joy, mixed with regret, mixed with excitement, mixed with sadness.  It’s a play about humanity.

As CITG starts this new season, Board Member Elizabeth Paldino observes that this first full season since COVID will showcase plays that are “hidden gems,” starting with this uniquely told tale.  “We’re excited to be back,” she told the City Island Chamber of Commerce, noting that she and others working on the show have felt a great welcome on their return.

“This show breaks the fourth wall constantly,” says Mary McIntyre, CITG’s Marketing Director, adding that of the seven cast members, four are brand new to the theater group.

Tsuyako Sandy Dunn

Among the first-timers to take the stage at CITG’s home, Grace Episcopal Church Hall (116 City Island Avenue), is Tsuyako Sandy Dunn, who connects a walk across that stage to the church’s office with how she came to audition. “The last time I was on stage was 30 years ago, and I wondered on that walk, ‘Will I ever get back on stage?’” she explains.  Her husband, Bruce Weis, soon after shared that the new CITG play had a part right for her.  Sandy plays the role of Ginger, a woman in her 50s who has lost all her wealth. In fact, she and her siblings have all lost their riches.  “I hope people who see the play think twice about decisions,” she says.

Mike Sedia

The sentiment is shared by cast member and another newcomer to CITG, Mike Sedia, who plays Chris Foster, the son of Becky and Joe, who is still living at home.  “You’ll leave this play with a lot to chew on,” he told the Chamber.  Pausing, he adds, “But there’s also the message that there’s always more to life than your current situation.”

William Kozy

William Kozy did six shows with CITG some 15 years ago, and is happy to be back.  He plays Walter Flood, a wealthy man who has suffered loss. “He’s a total wreck,” Kozy says, “a rudderless character with the heart of a poet.” “I think the audience will question things,” he explains, noting that the cast itself had some conflicting discussions throughout.  “This would be an interesting date experience,” he adds about the play.

Steven Bendler

Another returning CITG player is Steven Bendler, who last performed with the theater group five years ago.  The father of four plays Joe Foster, a character that is like him, and not like him, he reflects.  “I like his heart, his strength, and his compassion,” he says.  “He has an open mind in a situation where most men probably would not.”  He describes the play as three-quarters comedy and one-quarter drama which “hits heavy, sneaks up on you.” “I think that people will leave feeling hopeful, and hopefully the play starts conversations,” he adds.

James Mohn

James Mohn last performed with CITG in Play On!, “the play that COVID couldn’t kill,” he says, referring to the postponements in the production as CITG returned with this show last year, the first one after the pandemic.  James is Steve the car salesman in Becky’s New Car. The actor had performed in this play a decade ago, with a different theater company, and playing the part of Joe. His character this time has suffered a tragedy, but the way he deals with it is a subject for comedy, he explains.  “I’m the tragic relief in the play,” he says.  James also hopes the audience discusses the issues of the play, that they “leave thinking that there are two sides to every story.”  (On a side note, James was one of the carolers at the City Island Chamber of Commerce caroling event last December.)

Imani Logan

A newcomer to CITG, Imani Logan plays Kenni Flood, the daughter of Walter Flood.  “She is a brilliant, cynical young woman on the brink of a destructive love situation,” she explains.  “She thinks she’s got it figured out but she’s in over her head.” A person of great wealth, Kenni longs for a relationship that’s real.  “I hope that the audience is able to find something different about women and choices,” Imani told the Chamber. “We’re all flawed, but we’re all human.  We’re not so different after all.”

Laura Lee Botsacos

The “Becky” in Becky’s New Car is played by CITG newcomer Laura Lee Botsacos. Recently back home in New York (she was born in the Bronx), Laura recalls coming to City Island when she was growing up. “Going over the bridge was so nostalgic,” she says.  “This play is about every one of us,” Laura explains, “that every one of us is flawed, every one of us has a brokenness inside, and we all have a different way to heal it, but we all need grace.”   She cautions against judging Becky.  “If you judge, you’ll lose Becky’s beauty and vulnerability,” she notes.

Director Maria Provenzano echoes Laura’s sentiment.  “Judging people is not good to do at their worst moments,” she says.  “As a therapist, I always come at directing a play as dealing with flawed humans,” she told the Chamber. “This play is filled with that. We all make mistakes.  We are all flawed humans making our way through this crazy world.”

This is Maria’s sixth play with CITG.  “The cast always has a gift to give when on stage,” she says. “If someone walks out having laughed or felt an emotion they hadn’t felt that’s it. That’s the gift.  We want folks to feel something.”

In addition to feeling something, Maria hopes audiences who will see this play the first two weekends of March feel and believe this message, “We’re not alone.”

Behind the scenes for Becky’s New Car are Joseph Burck (set design), Zach Dulny (lighting design), Hannah Glick (sound design), Giovanna Mascol (lights), Margie Guzman (sound), Pam Johnston (stage manager), Joanie Higs (production assistant), Lorraine Nicoletti (costumes), and Paula J. Rocheleau Hernandez (props).

Performances of Becky’s New Car are Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, at 8 PM; Sunday, March 3, at 3 PM; Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, at 8 PM; Sunday, March 10, at 3 PM.  Shows are at the Grace Hall (116 City Island Avenue, City Island, NY).  Tickets at this link.

June 2024
No event found!
Load More

Become a Member

Join other businesses in having a unified voice, enhance your web presence, raise your network, and enjoy other membership benefits.

Finding Family at Amadiz Cigars

Finding Family at Amadiz Cigars

As you enter Amadiz Cigars, a light lingering smell of cigar smoke wafts through the air, and the sweet sounds of light jazz sail along with it.  A family feeling permeates the air as well…

read more