OK, so you got a late New Year's Eve party invitation you'd rather dodge. Fear not. Tell 'em you have tickets to a hot show. It won't be a lie. Many Long Island theater and performing arts centers offer to entertain you in the waning hours of 2010 and the wee-est hour of '11.
At last check, they still had room for you and your closest friend.
CM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Start off with hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine at 9, followed by a buffet dinner catered by Saviano's of Bohemia (Italian fare). A cabaret show starts around 10, interrupted just before midnight with a satellite telecast from Times Square and a Champagne toast. The cabaret resumes with dessert and coffee served.
INFO $160 a couple; cmpac.com, 631-218-2810
SMITHTOWN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
2 E. Main St. Smithtown
"Loads of Laughs" features six comics doing their standup best to send 2010 off in stitches. Enjoy adult humor - don't bring the kids - plus a light buffet of Italian finger food and an open beer/wine bar. Dessert is served at intermission, with a Champagne toast, of course, at midnight. Doors open at 8:30. The show begins at 10.
INFO $140 a couple; smithtownpac.org, 631-724-3700
296 Rte. 109, East Farmingdale
"Move Over Mrs. Markham," a tangled web of romantic intrigue and cheating hearts, opens with a special New Year's Eve performance starting at 9. Wine, Champagne, coffee and pastries will be served as revelers mingle with the cast 'round midnight. Thereafter, the show runs through Jan. 23 - without the bubbly.
INFO $50 a person, $25 for your better half; arenaplayers.org, 516-293-0674
Gateway Playhouse at Patchogue Theatre
71 E. Main St., Patchogue
"Twist & Shout," a Beatles greatest-hits revue, brings a mop-top faux Fab Four to the stage for a song-and-dance celebration ranging from "Yesterday" to "All You Need Is Love."
INFO $61 (7 p.m.), $86 (10:30 p.m.), including hors d'oeuvres, beer/wine, party favors and a midnight toast with the cast; gateway playhouse.com, 631-286-1133
412 Main St., Port Jefferson
Martha Clara Vineyards
6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead
The Long Island Comedy Festival's annual Eve showcase has become so popular that founder and comic emcee Paul Anthony is branching out to two venues. "Both shows are scheduled early," Anthony says, "so our audiences can go to dinner, catch one of the shows and still be home to watch the ball drop or go to bed." Or maybe crash a friend's party. Showtime is 8 p.m. You'll be out of there around 10.
INFO $35 to $45; theatrethree.com, 631-928-9100; marthaclaravineyards .com, 631-298-0075
Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
76 Main St., Westhampton Beach
Make it a rockin' new year with Gregg Allman and his band. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his late brother Duane, founding members of the Allman Brothers Band, practically invented the Southern rock genre. The joint starts jumpin' at 8.
INFO $100 to $145; whbpac .org, 631-288-1500
With any luck, this one is sold out to help support the orchestra. If not, check out the Long Island Philharmonic's "Greatest Hits of Broadway" concert. It starts at 7:30 p.m., leaving plenty of time to party.
INFO $55 to $85; liphilharmonic.org, 631-293-2222