The Montauk Playhouse Foundation will welcome members of the Montauk community and beyond at the organization's annual Gala on Saturday, August 6th from 7 to 11 p.m. The fundraiser will take place on the grounds of the Montauk Playhouse Community Center and will feature international acclaimed New Orleans-based funk band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Trombone Shorty has performed at the White House and the Grammy Awards. He was also recognized by Forbes Magazine
on its 2016 "30 Under 30" list for his musical talents and philanthropic contributions.
Attendees of the Gala should look forward to the New Orleans-style food and drink, dancing, and silent and live auctions that will offer over 40 items to bid on during the event.
This year's honorees are Montauk residents George F. Biondo and Perry B. Duryea III, who will be honored for their philanthropic commitment to the Montauk community and the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation.
Susan Henkin, the Executive Director of the Foundation, believes this is a wonderful chance to celebrate the efforts of all involved in the Montauk Playhouse Foundation and Center, as well as a way to bring attention to all they hope to accomplish in the coming years.
Trombone Shorty is guaranteed to have guests dancing all evening. (Courtesy Photo)
"The mission of the Foundation is to raise the necessary funds to finish the unfinished half of the Montauk Playhouse," remarked Henkin. "It will have a cultural arts center with a theater and an aquatic fitness center with a lap-lane fitness and recreational therapy pool."
When asked why the Foundation's campaign is so vital to the Montauk community, Henkin explained how the East End is deprived of these necessary community meeting places.
First, Henkin discussed the necessary plans for the aquatic center in Montauk: "The aquatic center has a really important mission and that is to create a place where our community can come together for health and fitness, as well as a place where every member of our community will have access to a learned swim program. We feel we can be instrumental in drown-proofing Montauk. I know some people are averse to hearing that, but Montauk is surrounded by water on 3 sides and right now we don't have a place where we can teach anyone how to swim during the off season. We think the aquatic center will have a particularly important mission in health and safety."
She also spoke about the need for a place where the community members of Montauk can congregate for events, including art shows, guest speakers, or pre-event gatherings.
"We don't even have a place in Montauk where our residents can go to a movie theater or host any sort of celebration other than some of our larger hotels," said Henkin. "During the season, that can be prohibitively expensive. We're hoping our arts center will give them that space where they can come together for community events or theater events for a music or art class. We hope to have a fabulous lecture series that will bring famous academics to Montauk. We also know for sure that we have a beautiful light-filled atrium at our Playhouse that can be used for either pre-function events or more importantly, art shows."
Plans for the aquatic center. (Photo Credit: Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership)
There is undoubtedly grand plans for Montauk's community scene which will hopefully draw more full-time and part-time residents to "The End." Henkin noted the fundraising efforts will continue for the next 12 months, and if they are able to reach the necessary funds to complete the Center, the building process will take roughly 12 to 15 months.
The facilities will positively affect not only the children of Montauk, but every age group, and that is what is so attractive about this campaign.
"I think our programming is only limited by the creativity of the professionals and volunteers who are engaged in our Town," said Henkin. "I see us in 20 years being able to partner with our local and regional events. I see the Playhouse being a resource for our community to engage in cultural and social activities, from the littlest babies that can go to a mommy-and-me classes to our seniors."
So, how can you contribute to the expansion of Montauk's horizon? Henkin spelled out the answer plain and simple: "The most important thing is for our community to step up and make a commitment for the campaign to get the capital project completed. Until we raise the money, we can't execute our great plan."
Tickets to the Gala begin at $300.
The Montauk Playhouse Community Center is located at 240 Edgemere Street, Montauk. For more information on the Gala, call 631-668-1124 or visit www.montaukplayhouse.org.