Bridging the Broadway Gap

By Jaclyn M. Tacoronte

Founded in 2010, The Harbor Lights Theater Company has built an artistic bridge between Staten Island, NY and Broadway, bringing the nation’s best to work with their community’s finest. Executive Artistic Director Tamara Jenkins and Founder/Co-Artistic Director Jay Montgomery carefully select material to present in professional productions featuring scores of Broadway veterans, among them Tony and Emmy award winners and nominees, directors, designers, musicians, and choreographers.

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The Harbor Lights Theater Company is the first and only Equity theater company in the history of Staten Island. Partnering with the Smithsonian Affiliate Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden and the historic St. George Theatre this season, Harbor Lights offers accessible and affordable professional productions on Staten Island.

For Everyone

This summer, The Harbor Lights Theater Company produced the all-time classic Gypsy, considered by most to be one of the greatest musicals of all time. Directed by award-winning Bill Castellino, the cast of Broadway veterans and local actors was be led by Tony nominee Sally Mayes starring as “Rose.” Adding to the magic, Harbor Lights presented this classic vaudeville masterpiece at an authentic vaudeville theater, Staten Island’s own gem, the historic St. George Theatre. With St. George’s new technical capabilities, the production showcased numerous set and scene changes, and created a fast moving kaleidoscope of music, song, and storytelling. 

This fall, The Harbor Lights Theater Company will present Rent, the landmark 1996 Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning musical, at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. Harbor Lights’ production, again featuring a cast of Broadway veterans, kicks off the show’s 20th anniversary. Based on Puccini’s La Boheme, Rent transfers Puccini’s young artists to New York City’s Bohemian East Village and Alphabet City at the end of the millennium, instantly capturing a turbulent period in New York City’s history – a period marked by sweeping social change. Hugely influential both as theater and commentary, Rent is a celebration of art, friendship, love, loss, survival, and the contemporary struggle to find meaning in life.

If you plan on visiting Broadway shows in the city, average single tickets can range anywhere from $70 to $300. As part of Harbor Lights Theater Company mission, the theater offers affordable and accessible options for the community ranging from $35 to $55 for a single ticket.

For Young Adults

As part of the Harbor Lights Theater Company’s mission, the company also focuses on educational outreach within the borough of Staten Island. In the spring of 2011, the Harbor Lights Theater Company created the Harbor Lights Academy, called Enter Stage Right, for young and aspiring actors.  Enter Stage Right offers continuing classes year round, and a Summer Intensive for youth, ranging from ages 11-18, that focuses on acting, vocal technique, theater dance, and song interpretation. Classes are taught by Broadway Master Teachers.

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Founder and Executive Artistic Director Tamara Jenkins; Doreen Cugno, Executive Director of the St. George Theatre; and Jay Montgomery, Founder and Co-Artistic Director

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Founder and Executive Artistic Director Tamara Jenkins and Jay Montgomery, Founder and Co-Artistic Director

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Fall 2014 Production of West Side Story at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

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Fall 2012 Production of The King & I at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

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