Rising stars on Long Island
From the South Shore to the East End, Long Island's got talent. Here, we put the spotlight on locals who are making names for themselves in the entertainment world.
EMILY ROSE DEMARTINO, Shirley
DeMartino plays Essie, one of the factory girls, and also understudies for the role of Mary Phagan in "Parade" on Broadway through Aug. 6. She auditioned for last summer's City Center production of "Parade" and got a callback but didn't get cast. Shortly after she was cast this winter in the role of Bebe in "A Chorus Line" at CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale, the "Parade" producers asked DeMartino to play Essie in the Broadway company. "I was completely surprised. I didn't even know it was transferring to Broadway," she said. "Parade," a musical dramatization of the 1913 murder of 13-year-old factory worker Mary Phagan, stars Ben Platt as her accused killer. Working with Platt has been a dream come true for DeMartino. "It can be nerve wracking when you’re working with someone you’ve looked up to your entire life, but he’s so genuine." After "Parade" wraps, DeMartino said she might continue her musical theater education or possibly book another show.
NOAH MARCUS, Dix Hills
Marcus' ship really came in when he was hired by Disney for their nautical musical shows in June, just one month after graduating from Indiana University Bloomington. He and his fellow actors spent a month in Toronto rehearsing three shows — "Twice Charmed," a spin on "Cinderella"; the revue "Disney Dreams"; and "Tangled the Musical," in which he played Maximus the horse. "They're hourlong shows, but Disney bills them as Broadway-caliber productions, and they truly are," he said. Playing Maximus also was an education in puppetry. "It was one of the coolest puppets I’ve ever seen," he said. "I wore the back and controlled the head, the eyes and the ears." He even got to hoof it up a bit. Marcus is hoping to be called back by Disney, but his ultimate goals are to be on Broadway and break into film and TV.
JOHN HANNIGAN, Baldwin
Though he has performed in shows since the fifth grade, Hannigan only turned professional in the past year after leaving a career in the finance world. "One thing that came out of the pandemic for me was an evolved perspective and a certain amount of courage that I hadn’t had before," he said. Hannigan, who now lives in Brooklyn, tried out for two regional productions last summer — "Jersey Boys" in Highlands, North Carolina, and "Forever Plaid," an homage to the guy groups of the 1950s, in Chatham, New York. He landed both. "That was a defining moment for me," he said. Getting the chance to play Smudge for a second time in Plaza Broadway Long Island's "Forever Plaid," which runs from March 18 through April 2 in Elmont, allows him to bring something new to the role, he said. Hannigan will return to North Carolina's Mountain Theater Company this summer for an encore of "Jersey Boys."
DOUGLAS GOODHART, Stony Brook
Gateway Playhouse in Bellport is like a second home for Goodhart, who took classes there when he was 12 and appeared in the theater’s productions of “Urinetown” and “Show Boat” the following year. “I fell in love for the first time right here on the Gateway grounds, and I also got my heart broken here,” he says. After graduating from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Goodhart has never stopped working with roles Off-Broadway in “That Bachelorette Show” in “My Very Own British Invasion” at Paper Mill Playhouse, as well as HBO’s “The Time Traveler's Wife” and a slew of TV commercials. Goodhart is playing Robbie Hart through Feb. 26 in "The Wedding Singer" at Gateway, a role he clearly identifies with. The essence of the character, he says, is all about “losing yourself during a breakup and having to claw back and find yourself.” He also performs with his sketch comedy group Uncle Function. Goodhart also has done a slew of television commercials, including his most recent one for U.S. Bank, in which he plays a man who loves to crochet.
AMBER CORRIGAN, Patchogue
Corrigan began appearing in musicals in community theater when she was 4 and then started studying dance when she was 12. Though proficient in tap, ballet is her first love. The culmination of that love affair came in December when she danced with the Seiskaya Ballet as both Snow Queen and Doll in “The Nutcracker“ at Staller Center for the Arts in Stony Brook, and also got the chance to perform a solo. “Dance is really the hidden language of the soul,” she says. “When I dance, I forget about everything else and just become one with the music and it’s really incredible.” Right now, she's focused on continuing her training with both The Institute for American Musical Theatre and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Ultimately, she hopes to tour internationally with a major ballet company (“Giselle” is her dream role) or star in a Broadway musical.
CHRIS WADOLOWSKI, Lindenhurst
Though Wadolowski started out as a mechanical engineering major at Stony Brook University, his involvement writing scripts and performing with The Actors Conservancy, a theater troupe on campus, changed his plans. He then studied creative writing and took vocal training with an opera singer. While performing in a local production of the musical “Heathers,” a co-star suggested he audition for Argyle’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Out of nearly 400 applicants, Wadolowski was hired for the ensemble and as a swing performer. That was followed by a featured role as Curtis in Argyle’s “The Happy Elf.” He’ll next appear in William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” at South Shore Theatre Experience in Lindenhurst Feb. 24-March 4. He’s also working on a script that he’s hoping will be produced. “It's a musical themed after a popular Japanese shonen series called ‘JoJo's Bizarre Adventure,’ ” he says. “A big theme of the show is that the characters and supernatural abilities reference past popular musicians and bands.”
JACKSON PARKER GILL, West Babylon
Jackson started performing when he was 2 and has appeared in several children's shows on Long Island including "The Little Mermaid" (as Scuttle the seagull) and "Moana" (as Hei Hei the rooster). He recently played Randy, his largest role to date, in "A Christmas Story" at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport. The role was also his favorite, especially when he got to sing "Up on Santa's Lap," which allowed him to cry, scream and whisk down an enormous slide. Even more delectable was the dinner scene when he gets to put his face into a plate of mashed potatoes. Jackson is always ready to audition for his next show, whatever that may be. One thing he is certain about: "When I get older, I want to be an actor on Broadway."
MELISSA GOLDBERG, Port Jefferson
Since graduating from Oklahoma City University in 2020, Goldberg has not been out of work. Theaters were still closed at first, so she took a retail job at Cartier's in Manhattan, but once those stage lights were turned back on, she's been a frequent presence at The Argyle Theatre in Babylon. She played Glinda in "The Wizard of Oz" and was in "Harry Connick Jr.'s The Happy Elf" for its children's theater. Last fall, she was a swing — and got to appear 25 times — in the main stage production of "Elf," and returned in the spring for "Mamma Mia!." Since then, she's done two shows at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton, Florida — "Milk & Honey" and the current "Cinderella," as part of the ensemble (and as understudy for the Fairy Godmother). Goldberg is anxious to return to Long Island theater and do more regional shows. And eventually, she adds, "maybe there's a Broadway debut in there."
ALY KANTOR, Massapequa Park
Kantor says she has been writing plays for a long time but "it was the sort of thing I did alone in my room." She had written plays for children's theater, but got started focusing on more adult projects once the pandemic hit. She joined a group called the Playwrights' Center and took part in Zoom sessions as often as eight hours a week to hone her craft. Her play "Fish Tank" has been published and been performed by universities. In December, EastLine Theatre premiered her play "These Gilded Souls," in which she put her spin on "The Great Gatsby," "Not only is Nick Carraway a queer protagonist … but I’ve also adjusted the character of Jordan Baker to make her more of a queer mentor for Nick," Kantor says. She's now putting the finishing touches on "Occupied," an L.I.-set comedy about two friends who grow from children into caregivers.