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Doug Theater brings laughs with new show

The Douglaston Community Theatre will premier "Crossing Delancey" at the Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall Friday evening. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

If the term “romantic comedy” makes you think of contrived setups, cringe-inducing gags and expectable conclusions, the Douglaston Community Theatre is producing a play that just may change your mind.

On Friday, the theater will premier “Crossing Delancey,” which was written by Susan Sandler and first presented at the Jewish Repertory Theater in Manhattan in 1985. The screenplay was adapted for a 1988 film starring Amy Irving and Peter Riegert.

“It’s a romantic comedy that’s a little different,” said Tom Williams, president of the DCT. “In most romantic comedies you know for sure that at the end they’re going to go on happily ever after. In this one, we just know she’s giving him a chance.”

“Crossing Delancey” is the story of Isabelle “Izzy” Grossman, an Upper West Side Jewish woman whose life revolves around the book shop she works in and her New York intelligentsia circle of friends. Her grandmother, Bubbie, however, would like to see her settle down with a “nice Jewish man” and sets her up with an old-fashioned matchmaker. When Bubbie and the matchmaker Hannah attempt to arrange a date for Izzy and Sam, the local pickle man, the story takes off as generations and cultures clash.

“It’s got excellent dialogue and the characters feel very real,” said Williams.

The play will be performed the next three weekends at the Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall, at 44th Avenue off of Douglaston Parkway, which Williams said has been home for the majority of the past 62 years to the oldest community theater group in Queens.

“I think it’s a combination, obviously, of doing good productions — we have a loyal fanbase who see something good and come back — and of a lot of work of everyone who came before us,” he said.

The DCT presents three plays a year, one in each the spring, fall and winter seasons. For the director of “Crossing Delancey,” the DCT board chose Kevin Vincent, a familiar face in northeast Queens community theater circles.

“I’ve known him for 14 or 15 years myself,” said Williams. “I’ve been directed by him and I’ve directed him. I know he has what it takes to put on a good show.”

The play features Rick Brody, Sara Fellini, Dana Jaffe, Keith Junas and Sonya Tannenbaum.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and students. The first performance is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 718-482-3332.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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