This year marks the 54th anniversary of the Huntington Summer Arts Festival. A new season of music, dance and entertainment runs almost every night from June 25 through Aug. 11. Six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, touring artists and ensembles will be featured on the Chapin Rainbow Stage in Heckscher Park for the annual summer festival of free performance.
Here are some of the highlights from opening week:
Opening Night - Tuesday, June 25
“Cinderella” Plaza Theatrical Productions
All the ingredients that have made this musical a perennial favorite are here ... The wicked stepsisters, the zany Fairy Godmother, beautiful Cinderella, and, of course, the handsome prince!
A pre-show Prince and Princess Parade will feature children wearing colorful clothing from The Pink Link of Huntington.
Wednesday June 26
Long Island Dance Consortium Kaleidescope of Dance
The Long Island Dance Consortium (LIDC) is composed of presenters, dance advocates, dance professionals, Arts Councils and companies from the finest dance studios on Long Island. This program will showcase The Red Hot Mamas, a unique group of senior tap dancers, who will perform with their usual sophistication and vivacity and the brilliant dancers of the North Shore Dance who will showcase their sensational cutting edge choreography. The Dance Theatre Company will bring their upbeat style of Broadway jazz to the stage and Ohana Mokuloa, a classical Hawaiian Dance Company, will light up the evening with dances from the South Pacific. The winners of the Rea Jacobs Dance Scholarship and the Sandi Bloomberg Dance Scholarship, Ruth Rise and Elisabeth Shim will perform exciting solos.
Thursday, June 27
Huntington Men’s Chorus
The Huntington Men’s Chorus originated in 1949 with a group of Huntington men who shared exceptional vocal talent, choral singing experience, and a desire to foster male choral singing. That original group of 34 has grown substantially, as has the style and diversity of its programs. The chorus continues to promote and perform a wide variety of selections; its annual Christmas Concert at Huntington High School and its appearance at the HSAF are highlights each year.
Friday, June 28
Banda Magda-World Music
Banda Magda moves from samba to French chanson, from Greek folk tunes to Colombian cumbia and Afro-Peruvian lando. Their songs capture the best of mid-century pop ballads and cinematic arranging, drawing on the band’s global background and unchained musicality. This group of close musical friends turn Giannikou’s songs into engaging romps that have won them a spot with Carnegie Hall Musical Explorers Series, as well as performances at venues such as Webster Hall, Irving Plaza, The Kennedy Center and numerous festivals. Greek-born singer, film scorer, and composer Magda Giannikou has collaborated with everyone from Kronos Quartet to Snarky Puppy.
Saturday, June 29
Bluesy, roots, folk and jazz jam band HAZMAT MODINE plays the kind of blues one might have found in a barrelhouse in New Orleans had the city been inhabited by gypsies who performed with Otis Redding and the city had been built on the Black Sea. The band is driven by harmonicas, tuba, drums, guitars, Banjo and a full horn section. Guests play such exotic instruments as the Romanian cimbalom, the banjitar, and the Claviola. Front man Wade Schuman has the appropriately throaty voice of someone who has both hopped freight trains and collaborated with the Throat Singers of Tuva.
Sunday, June 30
Plena and bomba are distinctive musical styles of Puerto Rico, and the virtuoso musicians of Plena Libre are their contemporary masters. These four-time Grammy Award nominees combine a hard-hitting horn section, master hand drummers, and lush three-part vocal harmonies into a modern blend. Plena Libre mix traditional Puerto Rican rhythms with modern Afro-Caribbean influences, and folkloric musical roots with contemporary compositions. They’ve toured the world and recorded with some of the biggest names in Latin music. Over a 24-year, 15-album career, bandleader Gary Nunez and his orchestra have revived the once-dormant plena sound for a new generation, electrifying audiences with a dazzling spectacle of horns, drums, and dance.
The Huntington Summer Arts Festival is produced by the Town of Huntington and presented by the Huntington Arts Council. Additional support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the County of Suffolk and Canon U.S.A.All regularly scheduled performances take place at the Chapin Rainbow Stage in Heckscher Park and start at 8 p.m. The exception is Tuesday Family Night which begins at 7 p.m. A free fun craft is available on Tuesdays for children at the HAC Craft table starting at 6 p.m. All performances are rain or shine.