Phoenix Repertory Theatre Group: The Actors’ Theatre

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Kelly Schmidt in “The Children’s Hour” (Photo by James Gorman)

Rising above the ashes of dated performances and uninspired casts, Long Island’s newest community theatre is excited to bring an innovative perspective to the performing arts.

The Phoenix Repertory Theatre Group, now the official theatre in residence at the Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts (BACCA) in Lindenhurst, is a self-declared proponent of the nontraditional.  

“The conceit was to bring shows to Long Island specifically for actors and directors,” says Paul Lichtman, president of the Phoenix board of directors. “We’re here to offer shows that these passionate local performers have been dying to do, but haven’t had the opportunity.”

The Phoenix’s inaugural show, Steel Magnolias, directed by Edward Cress, was held in May at The Onyx Theatre next to the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre, an intimate space where the crowd was thoroughly impressed.

“It was a treat from start to finish,” one viewer said. “The entire production had much more of a regional theatrical feel compared to the usual community theatre I have experienced … I was fairly surprised and impressed.”

While poignant social commentaries and difficult subject matters often make other theatres hesitate, it is this sense of emotion that Phoenix Repertory is actively seeking.

Most recently, in producing Lillian Hellman’s drama The Children’s Hour, the theatre found both financial success and critical acclaim in a compelling production befitting of its sensitive theme.

Continuing its season with One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in September and October, the Phoenix has big goals for the coming year. Planning to offer master classes and cabarets in addition to establishing a children’s theater and classes for teens, it seems the Phoenix is well on its way.

“Right now we’re the little theatre that could, but we have big ambitions and I’m happy to say in a short time we’ve gathered a strong group of individuals who not only believe in our mission, but are willing to devote their time and efforts to make our dreams a reality,” says Lichtman.

Inviting actors of all ethnicities, gender identities, and orientations, the Phoenix encourages all to be a part of its journey.

The Phoenix Repertory Theatre Group, BACCA Arts Center, 149 North Wellwood Avenue, Lindenhurst phoenixrepertorytheatre.com