At home in Hicksville, Theresa Caputo has something more mundane on her mind than the spirit world and the grieving relatives whom she helps find closure on "Long Island Medium."
"Look, there's water all over the floor," Caputo, 47, says in that quintessentially Long Island voice familiar to fans of her hit TLC show, which returns in March. The 13-year-old stainless steel refrigerator, a fixture in her show's domestic scenes, is leaking.
"When you own a home, you're never finished," Caputo laments, sounding every bit like Long Island's best-known psychic homemaker.
THAT'S A WRAP
If you watch "Long Island Medium," you know all about the 5-foot-1 Hicksvillian with the super-teased blond hair and long nails, who shops at Target in Broadway Mall and attends Mass at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, dispensing spiritual insights along the way. Then there's her two-hour stage show, which runs tonight through Saturday at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, during which she plans to spend about 15 minutes introducing herself to the audience, and the rest of the time offering healing messages from the dead.
Today, Caputo is taping a Christmas show that will be shown on TV next year. It's a 16-hour workday: She was up at 6:30 a.m. to exercise and spent the morning shooting with a 12-member television crew. They break for a late lunch -- wraps and other takeout from an Italian restaurant.
Spending an hour with Caputo off-camera feels like you've walked into an episode of her show, down to the inevitable, unsolicited demonstration of her gifts.
A chat about Christmas traditions eventually turns to what Caputo says is a message from this reporter's mother, who died shortly after Christmas in 1996. "There should be no regrets connected to your mom's departure, do you understand that?" Caputo asks.
A NATIVE LONG ISLANDER
Caputo was born in Freeport Hospital and still lives next door to her parents. "I've lived on this block for 42 years," she boasts. The big break came three years ago for Caputo, who says she began to sense spirits when she was 4 years old. Private readings gave rise to meetings with larger groups at the Knights of Columbus and Crossroads Bar & Grill in Hicksville.
Now, she packs arenas with up to 7,000 fans, has close to 800,000 Twitter followers and 3 million likes on Facebook. Her show is one of the highest rated on cable, says Courtney Mullin, her manager and longtime family friend.
With fame come naysayers and misinformation, she says, laughing off a report that described her house as some kind of palace. "Welcome to my sprawling mansion," she cracks. It's actually a Levitt ranch, which she and her husband, Larry, 58, a retired business owner, remodeled in 1999 and 2001. (Their children, Victoria, 20, a college junior, and Larry Jr., 24, are out for the day.) The expansion made way for a spacious living room with long sectional couches -- one black and one white. She also shrugs off rumors that she demands high fees for readings. Caputo charges $175 an hour for a private session such as the one scheduled for later that afternoon: Clients join a waiting list online and make out their checks to charity.
Caputo becomes even more animated when asked about Christian bloggers who claim that as a psychic reader she's a tool of the devil, or a heretic.
"People have bad things to say about the pope," Caputo says. Later, she adds, "The bottom line is we believe in God, no matter whether we're Catholic, Protestant, Jewish."
Part of her mission, she says, is to help people believe after the trauma of losing a loved one. "You know how many people have gone back to their faith because of coming to see me?" she asks.
But she understands that some remain skeptical.
"People always ask, why would someone want to go to a medium," Caputo says. "People might say, this is crazy, people can't communicate with people that have died. Listen, I understand that, I am never asking anyone to believe in what I do."
Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience
WHEN | WHERE Wednesday through Saturday night at 8, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
INFO $59.50-$79.50; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com