“The curtain is about to rise on Plaza Theatrical’s new professional Broadway Division,” shared producer Kevin F. Harrington, “as we open Nassau County’s only professional theatre this fall!”
The new division of the Plaza Organization, Plaza AEA Productions, Ltd., operating under a union contract with the Actor’s Equity Association*, “will allow Broadway talent to appear in our musicals which will be accompanied by live orchestras.” The company’s union shows will be presented exclusively at their new venue located in the state-of-the-art 400 seat Elmont Memorial Library Theatre on Hempstead Turnpike.
In January 2021, Plaza was invited to enter into a multi-year lease with the Elmont Memorial Library. “With uncertainty about the future, the lease included a ‘rolling’ start date,” explained Harrington, “to coincide with the state reopening guidelines.”
With the UBS arena and hotel complex less than a mile down the road, Plaza’s new professional venue will be part of Nassau County’s Entertainment Hub. Through Plaza’s strategic marketing plan which includes tourism marketing initiatives and working with the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, the venue will not only serve Long Island residents but will also serve as a destination for families, groups and convention participants. “There are so many amazing destinations in Nassau County for tour groups such as our museums, our parks, our beaches, our sports arenas, our gardens and arboretums, and now with The Plaza Organization, we add a professional theatre to this incredible county. Our productions will increase visitors to the area and create job opportunities which will have a direct economic impact on local businesses” added Harrington. “And, we look forward to partnering with local non-profits to do our part to support their missions, as well as, partnering with the Elmont and Sewhanaka school districts to support the K-12 educational process”.
“They say life begins at 40!” laughs Harrington (age 59) as he explains that 2022 will be the 40th anniversary of the company he founded when he was a college student. “Producing and directing musicals which entertain, educate, and inspire is a major part of who I am. This is the life that I was born to live. However, I was only interested in this new venture if we were able to create a new entity within our organization to produce the highest level of Broadway caliber productions by utilizing union actors, live orchestras, a professional creative team of designers and hiring a Broadway casting director”.
With a yearlong schedule featuring Broadway musicals, an annual Long Island original musical theatre festival designed to support emerging writers and composers, weekend and school vacation week children’s theatre, weekday arts-in-education productions (which support literacy, character education, and STEAM curriculum) for school groups and camps, as well as, an after-school educational theatre arts programs for students in grades K-12, The Plaza Organization is at the forefront of expanding new audiences in Nassau County and beyond.
Plaza Theatricals has a rich history dating back to 1982 when they first started presenting live musical theatre productions in outdoor venues on Long Island. In 1984, the organization began presenting shows year-round. Today, The Plaza Organization occupies a 7000 square foot complex, with offices, rehearsal studios, and production shop in Lynbrook. Pre-pandemic, Plaza’s 2019 non-equity touring productions presented over 275 performances in local venues including Live Nation’s NYCB Theatre at Westbury and The Suffolk Theatre to such long-distance venues in Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin! In 2018, Plaza acquired the Hudson Vagabond Puppets which are well-known across the country for their narrated ballets and larger-than-life puppetry performances that enrich school curriculum and engage family audiences. Staying true to their original mission, thousands of Long Island residents have been delighted by their annual out-door musicals presented across Long Island. Their most recent out-door productions have included Mamma Mia, My Fair Lady, Hairspray and Sister Act.
Over the years, The Plaza Organization has been recognized for their contributions to the arts on Long Island as recipients of the prestigious Nassau BOCES Partner-in-Education Award, The Huntington Arts Council Legacy Award, The Town of Oyster Bay Excellence in the Arts Award, and has received official citations from State Senator Chuck Schumer, Nassau County, Suffolk County, The Town of Hempstead, the Town of North Hempstead, Town of Oyster Bay and the Town of Huntington.
The 2021-2022 season of musicals will be announced on Tuesday, July 6 concurrently with the launch of their new website plazabroadwaylongisland.com. Tickets for all shows go on sale Tuesday, July 13 and purchases can be made online or by calling the box office (516) 599-6870.
*Actors’ Equity Association, founded in 1913, represents more than 51,000 actors and stage managers in the United States. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. Equity seeks to foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society.