Board of Directors
Deborah Cascio Plezia ~ Artistic Director
Ted Plezia ~ Executive Producer
Mary Ann Cafiero ~ Director of Music
Martin Knapp ~ Associate Director
Christopher Hackert ~ Playwright in Residence
Deborah Cascio Plezia - Artistic Director
Deborah has been involved in theatre for over 30 years. She has designed, painted and built sets, run lighting & sound boards, managed props, stage managed, written for theatre, produced, directed, acted and has costumed at most theatres on Long Island. She has performed regionally and Off-Broadway and has starred in the world premieres of many shows as well as the Long Island premieres of such shows as "Breaking Legs" (Angie), "Spiked Heels" (Georgie), "Catholic School Girls" (Maria Theresa), "The Convertible Girl" (Christine), "Four Dogs and a Bone" (Brenda), Love, Loss & What I Wore and "Sylvia" in the title role to name a few. Recently she has starred in It Had to Be You (with her husband) and Steel Magnolias (M'Lynn) ... She has also worked in TV, commercial print ads and narrated the Channel 21 Emmy award winning documentary "Let's Talk About Sex" hosted Gabrielle Cartaris. Besides teaching classes here at SSTE, she has worked as drama advisor/ director/ costumer in many area schools and is currently the Drama Advisor for West Babylon Junior High School. She also started and runs a 5th grade theatre program within the school district that raises money for Senior Scholarships, among other things. Deborah also volunteers with the Scholarship Committee for a local community theatre group and Boy Scouts as a counselor. Deborah has studied acting with HB Studios, Stella Adler and Suffolk Community College. She also studied at The School of Visual Arts, NYC; Phil Black Dance, NYC; and Eglevsky Ballet. Deborah resides in West Babylon with her husband and their three children. On a personal note, over the years she and her husband have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting, learning and experiencing theatre from some of the best actors in NYC and on Long Island...In their 'Pay it Forward' attitude, they hope to provide low cost benefit performances and theatre experiences for children and adults...It is this passion that they hope to take into every show they do. Exciting the children into performing their best or doing a show for adults and bringing them into another world for just a little while. This is what gives them their greatest joy.... and they hope to share that with you....
Life is good! <3
Ted Plezia - Executive Producer
Ted has been involved in magic and theatre for over 30 years. He, also, has stage managed, designed sets, has written and produced for Long Island Theatre. He has starred in the Long Island premieres of "Greetings" (Mickey) and "Ragtime" (Willy Conklin) as well as world premiere plays such as Cruise to Switzerland. His "Storytime Magic" and "The Magic of Thaddeus" has been featured in LI Parenting and Good Times magazines and he builds many of the illusions you see in his shows. He has performing to sell out crowds for the last few years at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center with his family oriented original magic shows. With Deborah, they operated "Partners in Crime", their own murder mystery company for private events and restaurants in the tri-state area and still offer this service to fundraising for local organizations. For info about specialty shows and parties of all kind visit www.MagicofThaddeus.com
Mary Ann Cafiero - Director of Music
Mary Ann has been a member of this group since
2010. She has assumed such roles as actor, musical director and director and
has worked with both the children's and adult theatre companies. Mary Ann is a
high school music and theatre teacher at West Babylon, directing the musical
productions and advising Blue and Gold performances. She has been assistant
director of the Long Island Gay Men's Chorus, director of the Town of Babylon
Summer Music Program and musical director of the Town of Babylon Summer Theatre
Workshop. She has also performed and musically directed for James Street
Players. Mary Ann has a music education degree in both voice and piano with a
theatre minor from Westminster Choir College. She has an MALS, focusing in 18th
century English literature from Dowling College. She lives in Lindenhurst.
Martin Knapp - Associate Director
Christopher Hackert - Playwright in Residence
Chris has been a part of
the Long Island theater scene for more than a dozen years. He began
his theater career as a contributing playwright for Middle Class American
Productions. After having several of his one act comedies produced by MCAP,
Chris was offered an acting role by the troupe's leader John Blenn. Chris
accepted the role and has been hooked on acting ever since. He went on to
appear in many MCAP productions and continued writing for the troupe's American
Dating Catastrophes series for many years. Chris' MCAP experiences
opened the door for him to write and act in other venues as well. He
later joined the SEE Saw Comedy Improv troupe and quickly became a featured
actor and head writer for the company, appearing all over Long Island and New York
City. Chris continued to
write, act, and direct in several Long Island play festivals and took home best
actor, best director, and funniest play awards in two Northport based One
Act Play Festivals. Chris currently works
with the Northport based Bare Bones Theater Company where he attended several
acting classes and workshops. He appeared in the lead role in two of Bare Bones
shows, The Pavilion and Scapino! and received great praise for his work in each
of those. Most recently, Chris' one act play., "Don't Forget to
Write" was accepted for production and Chris was asked to direct the 30
minute comedy as well. Chris is also thrilled
to call South Shore Theater Experience his other home, having worked with Deb
and Ted Plezia at MCAP. Chris has appeared in many SSTE plays, including
the hilarious Completely Hollywood. His full length play "Til My
Dying Day" was staged by SSTE in March 2013 as well as numerous one act
plays over the years.Chris is the owner of
the East Meadow Florist in East Meadow. He is also an active volunteer in
the East Meadow community having served as President of both the East Meadow
Kiwanis Club and the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce. Chris grew up in
East Meadow, and currently lives in North Babylon with his
wife Joanne, a
William Cherno - Attorney
Lauren Loizidis - Instructor/ Vocal Coach
Jennifer Lynde - Instructor/ Vocal Coach
March of Dimes
Strength for Life
West Babylon JHS Drama Club
The KG Foundation
Deer Park HS Drama Club
MS Views & News
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
American Cancer Society - Relay for Life
The Morgan Center
Babylon United Methodist Church
St. Joseph's Church - Babylon
First Presbyterian Church - Babylon
Boy Scout Troop 104 - West Babylon
Wounded Warriors Project
American Heart Association
Our Lady of Lourdes Church - West Islip
What People are Saying:
WE LOVED THE SHOW... ~ Paul H.
Loved, loved, loved it! ~ Louise M.
The show was great ! We really enjoyed it! ~Michelle D.
"All Shook Up" - Completely/totally enjoyable, entertaining evening. Casting superb. Acting Phenomenal. What can I say............Great Job/Success once again, Deb! ~Jane T.
Great show, everyone should get their tickets to see this-a talented cast of young people. ~Bill C.
Love it!!! ~ Fran L.
OMG. This was an incredibly brilliant and funny show! ~ Alan S.
Great show! We didn't stop laughing all night... Angela H.
Four words... MUST SEE THIS SHOW! ~ Matt H.
Just hysterical! Great job! ~ Nancy R.
It was sooooo much fun!!!...Rambie! lol!...congrats on another great show ~Katie S.
I thought it was really funny! ~ Gail S.
Ephrons' poignant tales of obsession
Originally published: October 25, 2012 12:08 PM Updated: October 25, 2012 12:22 PM
By STEVE PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Ted Plezia | Starring in "Love, Loss and What I Wore," are, from left, Patricia Consalazio, Deborah Cascio, Harriet Baker, Mary Ann Cafiero and Sylvia Walsh
The show runs through Oct. 27, 2012, at South Shore Theatre in Lindenhurst.
All three essentials in "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," which won a 2010 Drama Desk award, figure prominently in the 28 vignettes by Nora and Delia Ephron. The experience -- it would be misleading to call it a play -- makes its post-Off-Broadway Long Island premiere, performed, aptly enough, by the South Shore Theatre Experience. Superficially, the stories, inspired by Ilene Beckerman's book of the same name, are about clothes and accessories. But the five women confessing to fashion obsessions are really talking about what animates their desire to wear something that makes them feel thinner, smarter, happier, hipper and, of course, sexier. Especially for special occasions: weddings, yes, but also the first time she tells her boyfriend that she'll spend the night, or when she's mortified by an "outfit" her mother bought her when everybody else is dressing like hippies.
Gingy, nominally the narrator, played with coy restraint by Trish Consalazio, traces her fashion history with cute drawings: from her Brownie uniform to closet artifacts with which her granddaughters delight in playing dress-up. In between, are three marriages, motherhood and the loss of a child. The other ladies play multiple roles of women we've met or, for the opposite gender, may have been at times. Harriet Baker, Mary Ann Cafiero, Sylvia Walsh and Deborah Cascio Plezia range in age and body type. The casting by director Martin Knapp reflects that of the original Off-Broadway lineup led by Tyne Daly and Rosie O'Donnell.
Players rotated frequently Off-Broadway, which is why the show is essentially a staged reading, though it seems unnecessary here. (The first reading was at East Hampton's Guild Hall in 2008.) Each woman, dressed in black, has a bar-stool-type chair and a sheet-music stand for the script, sparingly referred to on opening night. Each also has a purse (or substitute) that accessorizes one of the funnier discourses. A story about breast cancer, delivered by Walsh, is hilarious, shocking and moving. She wants a tattoo on her reconstructed breast rather than a nipple.
Loss comes in several forms in the Ephron sisters' script, but none sadder than one that's never mentioned. The show closed Off-Broadway on March 27, after 1,013 performances. Nora Ephron died June 26 of leukemia. She was 71.
WHAT "Love, Loss and What I Wore"
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts, 149 N. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst
TICKETS $15; southshoretheatre.com, 631-669-0506
Debbie and I would like to thank you so very much for the generous donation made to Strength for Life in memory of Evelyn Knapp. We are always thrilled to learn about the talents that Julia, Natalie, Isabella and Martin Knapp share in this arena, and I trust “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” was another huge success. Strength for Life is our answer to Evelyn’s vision, to help others living with cancer live their optimal life and we are honored that you chose our charity to benefit from this show and help keep Evelyn’s memory in the forefront.
~Jacqueline Errico, Strength for Life
The World of Wonder
Deb's Web - The LI Theater Buddy Newsletter 2/3/2011
ed. at Dix Hills Performing Arts Center
We had no idea that Ted Plezia is a magician. AND not only a magician but one of the top magicians on LI. We know Ted as Debbie Cascio's husband and a local actor. We've been to their home on many occasions. AND we know Debbie as a LI Performer/Director and costumer (she costumes all my shows at Longwood). As THADDEUS, Ted, a past president of the Suffolk Co Chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, a highly decorated Nassau Co Police Officer, medic and helicopter pilot, delighted his sold out crowd. It was a one-night only event, but I'm sure he'll be back again next year and you shouldn't miss your opportunity to see an entertaining actor/magician at work. Thaddeus draws the audience in by using a story-telling approach and by inviting many volunteers onto the stage to "help." The squeals and laughter from the audience were non-stop throughout. Of all the illusions he performed, I was at a loss to figure all but one of them out and I've seen lots of magicians perform. As a fellow audience member commented, "I come back every year with the kids - it's always different. He always adds something new." It was a fun-filled afternoon and one I would highly recommend.
Want to see more of Thaddeus?
N. Y. TIMES THEATER REVIEW:
How to Make a Killing in Show Business, Sort Of
By LEAH D. FRANK
Published: February 6, 1994, Sunday
FOR a sidesplitting evening in the theater, "Breaking Legs," a comedy by Tom Dulak at the Arena Players Repertory Theater in East Farmingdale, fills the bill.
If arguments might be made over the quality of the script or the talent of the actors, they do not matter. This production is outrageously funny.
It is overacted, overdirected and overwritten to a degree that would, with a lesser-artistic team than this one, turn it into an overdone turkey. Here the end result is an evening that will keep you laughing all the way home.
The plot winds around an English professor and the lengths to which he will go to raise the money he needs to produce a play he has written. Having exhausted the donations of all his friends and family members, this naive, straight-laced, intellectual professor turns to the father of Angie Graziano, a former student.
Lou Graziano and his daughter own an Italian restaurant, and the play's action is in the private back room, where the Graziano family does its serious business with members of some of the other families in the neighborhood.
A professor hoping to raise money from an organized-crime family to produce an experimental play Off Broadway is a preposterous concept. But toss in a beautiful woman who manipulates the powerful men around her with the same ease that she winds spaghetti around her fork, a father who would flatten the earth to please her and a couple of intense "uncles," and you have a plot that would be unbelievable.
As Mr. Dulak has written it, however, "Breaking Legs" takes on its own internal logic, and the audience quickly settles into a willing suspension of disbelief.
Angie is a young woman who thinks that if something feels good, it is therefore good. In her devotion to her own pleasure principles, she decides that she wants to add the professor, Terence O'Keefe, to her collection of life experiences.
In short order she persuades her father and his "partners" to invest in the play. As it happens, it is about murder, but it is not a mystery thriller or anything else so pedestrian. It is, rather, an intellectual investigation of the emotional experience of killing another human being.
What makes "Breaking Legs" so funny is the juxtaposition of ideals and goals between the sheltered intellectual and the pragmatic "family." To say any more would spoil the fun of watching the professor become a fly in the web of art, lust and "family business."
The Arena production has been deftly directed by Frederic De Feis, who piles one ridiculous situation on top of another while keeping everything light, frothy and unpredictable. He has also cast the play with a couple of actors who must have studied hours of tapes of the John Gotti trials and other available information about crime families to make the characters come alive with such sharpness.
Don Frame is a delight as he turns the professor into an air bag who waffles between sheer fear, intellectual superiority and moral equivocation. Louis A. Lagalante gives a brilliant performance as the tough head of the family. Dapper and genial on the surface, Mr. Lagalante can flip his character into an amoral killer and back again to a loving, concerned father-figure without mussing a hair of credibility.
The core of the play or, more aptly, the spider in the center of the Grazianos' widespread web is Angie. Here, Deborah Cascio is a shimmying seductress one moment and a hard-nosed businesswoman the next. Ms. Cascio's delightfully energetic and subtle performance leaves no room for doubt that Angie is the true head of the family.
Tony Bellucci as Angie's father and Lou Nargi as one of Angie's "uncles" manage to personify a code of ethics that makes sense only within a select group. The one weak cast member is a character who owes too much money to the wrong people and is consequently on stage for a very short period in the first act.
"Breaking Legs," which will be at the Arena through Feb. 13, is a comedy about morals and values and the nature and purpose of art. It is also very, very funny.