The curtain will rise once again at Beach Haven’s Surflight Theater, which has recently been purchased and is slated to open June 23 with the musical “Footloose,” followed by a full season of shows.
Al Parinello, who once owned the South Jersey radio station WJSE-FM, bought the Surflight in February, a deal that was a while in the making according to the theater’s Press Director Gail Anderson.
“We have the rights to the shows, we’ve been in the building and have a comprehensive plan as to what needs to occur structurally and cosmetically,” says Anderson of the plans to reopen the theater that’s been closed since 2014. “We have audition dates set, and set and costume designs are good to go.”
This plan-of-action will relieve many locals whose biggest fear of a sale was that the building would be torn down and made into condos.
“Al has made it clear that he was in it for the long haul,” Anderson says.
After Parinello, who lives in Bergen County with a house in Brigantine, sold WJSE-FM, he became a Broadway and movie producer. He is currently the lead producer of “The Fantasticks” on Broadway, a musical that has sentimental meaning to him as it was the first Broadway-style show he saw as a child growing up in Hoboken.
Steve Steiner, who was Parinello’s partner in a Broadway music series at Trump Plaza a dozen years ago, will act as the theater’s artistic director and will continue to uphold the mission its Founder Joseph B. Hayes, which is: to serve as a training ground for young artists in a supportive summer stock environment and to provide quality entertainment to the residents and vacationers of Long Beach Island.
Anderson, who is thrilled with this progression, was almost as excited to speak of the reopening of ShowPlace Ice Cream Parlour located just next door.
“It’s a cabaret-style old-fashioned ice cream parlor where servers sing and do skits with patrons,” she says. “And the ice cream sundaes all have theatrical names that tie into the theatre. It’s very interactive and a lot of fun.”
Asbury Park photographer Suzanne Spitaletta aspires to own an art gallery one day. But until…
Surflight has always been considered and will remain a non-equity professional theater that focuses on young, raw talent. In its last incarnation, theater classes were a part of Surflight’s business. While they will not be provided on site this time around, a partnership with Starlight Performing Arts Center in Manahawkin is being “worked out.”