For Jessica Cianciotto and her father, Dennis Rosenblatt, construction on the home of their new performing arts venue is a dream come true. After moving from one location to another, the Patchogue family has finally set up shop in a more permanent structure in the shopping center on Portion Road that was once home to Xtreme Fitness.
Take-One Theatre Arts has been in business for 24 years, according to Cianciotto, the artistic director. They took over the new building two months ago and since then have been retrofitting the space to fit 192 seats, with four wheelchair-accessible spaces, sloping toward a 1,400 square-foot stage. A full rehearsal space with floor-to-ceiling mirrors adjoins the future theater. As Cianciotto walks through the construction, students ranging from grade school to high school age practice their numbers with Meagan Materazo, a 17-year-old singing and dance instructor—herself alum of Take-One Theatre Arts. The company’s first show in the new digs opens this Saturday,with The Rocky Horror Show.
Prior to leasing the former Xtreme space, Cianciotto said they were operating out of United Methodist Church in Smithtown. Take-One performers hail from all over western Suffolk—from Farmingville to Commack to Smithtown. Cianciotto said her family spent a good deal of time looking for a place before finding the 8,500 square foot vacancy.
“We knew it was time to move,” Cianciotto said. “It’s been a dream of my father’s to have our own place. I was thrilled when we started talking about doing this again.”
Take-One Theatre Arts considers itself a teaching theater—a place for students to learn all aspects of a production, from acting and dancing, to lighting and stage management. Cianciotto said the students have responded well to the new place, helping raise funds with a car wash and promoting the building, which is set back from Portion Road, with flyers and their own social networking acumen.
“The kids are great, because they all have changed their profile pics on Facebook to their Rocky Horror images,” Cianciotto said. “They’re really working hard to get the word out.” She added that a planned flash mob
where performers will do the Time Warp in the middle of Adventureland is in the works.
Rosenblatt, who is managing the construction project, said the new place will not only feature musicals and kids shows, but will also host a “Safe New Year’s Eve” party for teens, and produce non-musical dramas.
“Eventually we’d like to do straight plays,” Rosenblatt said. “I’d like to do a couple of Neil Simon’s plays. We’d also like to host comedians.”
Both Cianciotto and Rosenblatt stated that they’re actively looking for people to audition, and will consider some resumes for directing jobs. Despite the newer, more comfortable space, Cianciotto said Take-One Theatre Arts will still have that down-home feeling.
“We consider ourselves a family,” she said. “One of my mottos is that we always leave a light on for you.”