Advance Ticket Sales, Open House, Buoy Spirits at Surflight

May 31, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill



Surflight’s producing artistic director Steve Steiner says the theater’s Memorial Day open house was a huge success.

“It was a good day, oh my God, it was great,” he said on Tuesday. “We had well over 100 people over the course of the three hours (noon to 3 p.m.). Al (Parinello, the New York City producer who is Surflight’s new owner) got a real good feel for the community. And we had a big day at the box office.”

Steiner said work on the 0.61-acre complex is proceeding apace.

“Ain’t got no bad news this year,” he joked.

The theater proper and backstage areas are “all done” excepting new carpeting, donated by Jeffries Floor & Décor, which will arrive this coming Saturday. The cast house has been cleaned and painted. The tech house is ready for occupancy. The plumbing in both the theater and cast house is up and running, save for the lobby water fountain, which had almost zero pressure for a couple of years before Surflight was shuttered in February 2015 after going bankrupt.

“We’re working on the water fountain now,” said Steiner.

The Show Place Ice Cream Parlour is half cleaned but needs work on its floor, which hopefully will be done in the next week.

It was the Show Place that suffered the most during the two-plus years the complex was shuttered. Steiner said 13 tables and 140 chairs had to be purchased to replace those that had gone missing during the shutdown. The “guts” of the ice cream parlor’s freezer had been removed – “that’s being replaced next week.” Meanwhile, the apartment above Show Place had been used as an ad hoc partying spot and still needs cleaning.

“There were no drugs left there but there was drug paraphernalia like bongs,” said Steiner. “The fire extinguishers had been set off.”

Everything, said Steiner, is on schedule for the June 23 opening of both the theater and Show Place. The troupe of performers will arrive on June 10 and almost immediately start rehearsal for Surflight’s first musical, “Footloose,” which will be directed and choreographed by Karen Babcock, who directed many a show for Steiner in his previous incarnation as Surflight artistic director and as head of the Ocean Professional Theatre Company.

Steiner is also convinced, to steal a line from “Field of Dreams,” that if you reopen it, they will come.

“The people who came to the open house were extremely supportive,” he said.

Talk, though, can be cheap. But supporters are backing up their talk with money. Steiner said Surflight has already recorded over $200,000 in advance ticket sales. He said that back in the last few years of his previous stint as Surflight’s artistic director, sales by the end of the Memorial Day weekend sometimes reached $225,000. But, he said, that was when the theater’s budget estimated 50,000 tickets sold by the end of the year. This time around the original estimate for the 2017 season was that 23,000 tickets would be sold.

“We’re way ahead of what we budgeted,” said Steiner.  —R.M.


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