The Madison Theatre at Molloy University provides an important combination of high-quality entertainment along with a hands-on learning experience for fine arts students at the school.
The theater was started in 2011 “to bring in arts and education to the community as well as the students and on the campus,” said Kathleen Marino, general manager of The Madison Theatre. “And since then we’ve tried to bring a variety of acts to the campus and the South Shore of Long Island.”
Because of the theater’s affiliation with the university, students get insider access to the shows and acts that come to perform.
“We are able to spotlight the Molloy students, and we get to give them a capacity where they can work with Broadway professionals while they’re going through school,” she said. “Their goal is to be on Broadway, so we get to help them get there.”
The theater’s artistic director, Angelo Fraboni, has been there since The Madison’s founding. Before coming to Molloy, he had an illustrious Broadway career himself, including playing every male cat in the famous musical “Cats.”
“He actually is one of my favorite parts of working here because he makes the world a very small place,” Marino said. “He knows everybody.”
These connections enable The Madison Theatre to host names that wouldn’t be possible without Fraboni.
“It’s really cool because his friends come to play here,” she said. “He brings big, huge Broadway names all the time, and that’s great because it gives the local community a chance to see all these big names like Kelli O’Hara, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Judy Kuhn.”
His extensive experience and countless connections are invaluable to the theater students at Molloy.
“He knows everything about theater. It’s incredible. His breadth of knowledge on theater is indescribable,” Marino said. “[Fraboni] interacts with the students all the time. He’s great. He’s definitely a mentor for a lot of students.”
The Madison Theatre at Molloy University puts on a variety of professional and student plays, musicals, dances, concerts, comedy and more.
“What we try to bring is like a lot of different cultures’ shows here,” she said. “Every year we try to do something that is definitely a different demographic to bring new people here – to bring everyone’s culture here.”
This variety includes Asian acrobatics, Cuban music, flamenco dancing and more.
“We try to appeal to everyone,” Marino said.
One upcoming show she is particularly excited about is called “Coco in Concert,” which will be on Oct. 6.
“It’s the movie ‘Coco,’ and there’s going to be a be a live flamenco band here,” she said. “They’re going play the score of the movie while the movie plays – so the whole movie will play, but it’s going to be to live music, and I think that’s going to be really cool.”
Because of the venue’s smaller size, with just a 575-seating capacity, each show feels more intimate and personal. Marino also emphasized that you do not need to go to Manhattan to experience excellent entertainment.
“I think the best thing about [the theater] is we’re bringing really high-class, high-quality entertainment for a fraction of the cost, for everyone to see,” she said.
The theater, located at 1000 Hempstead Ave. in Rockville Centre, runs shows beginning in January and carrying on through the middle of May. More information about the venue and ticket availability can be found online at madisontheatreny.org