The “Every Family’s Got One” performance will be held June 25...

The “Every Family’s Got One” performance will be held June 25 at the Southampton Cultural Center. Credit: Neil Kramer Photography

A mother who wanted to be a nightclub singer, a romantic massage mishap in Italy and other tales are part of the “Every Family’s Got One” performance on June 25 at the Southampton Cultural Center.

What "every family’s got" is a story, says Barbara Herel of Huntington, the founder, host and producer of the show for grown-ups. “We have funny stories, we have the heart-melting stories, and we have two stories that will really shock people,” Herel says.

This is the show’s third live storytelling performance — Herel produced a show in 2018 and 2019 before COVID forced it to move to podcast form. Eight writers will each entertain for approximately 10 minutes, and theatergoers can stay after the performance to meet them.

A bonus: Herel is producing the evening along with her childhood friend Dawn Nagle, of Center Moriches, who is bringing 17 artists to the Cultural Center’s gallery and hosting an opening night with the artists from 4 to 8 p.m. Theatergoers are invited to arrive at 7 to see artwork that includes a moose sculpture made of railroad ties and other works and enjoy music, hors d’oeuvres and drinks before the show, Nagle says.

“Every Family’s Got One”

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. June 25 at the Southampton Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane, Southampton (Art gallery opening is at 7 p.m.)

INFO $45 per ticket at, 631-287-4377

Here are four of the eight writers scheduled to perform, and a hint of their stories:

Sandi Marx, 65, Southampton

Her story: “Wind Beneath My Wings”

“In a nutshell, I’d say my story is about growing up in the 1960s in a household with a mother who was constantly frustrated because she couldn’t pursue her dream of being a nightclub singer,” Marx says. “This woman would break out in Ethel Merman on an elevator … can you imagine a mother who is singing in public?”

Marx describes her piece as funny but also a tribute to Greta Handelman, who never had much money, who “hated her husband” and was only brought pure joy when belting out the tunes. “Finally, when she retired to South Florida, she became a star with the ‘Sunrise Serenaders,’” Marx says. They wore Hawaiian shirts and performed at nursing homes and hospitals. “It brought her so much happiness.”

Ax Norman, 52, Brooklyn

His story: “Connecting the Dots”

“For Christmas in 2018, my sister gave me a DNA test kit,” Norman says. Both he and his sister are adopted, and he said she had done it and called it “fun.” That’s not how he felt about it, he says. “I was pretty terrified of what I would find. My story is about what I learned when I got this DNA test.”

Unlike the other storytellers’ tales, Normans is not meant to be comical. “It really changed my life and what I know about myself,” he says of the DNA test and its aftermath. His piece refects that journey.

Johanne Pelletier, 59, Montreal

Her story: “Nonna Isn’t Nice”

“My story is about my Italian grandmother, my Nonna, who came from Italy in 1911. “I didn’t love my grandma. I didn’t much like her. She was a cursing, fierce, volatile person.” Pelletier’s main interaction with her grandmother growing up was watching wrestling on TV with her, she says.

In her 50s, however, Pelletier traveled to Foggia, Italy, where her grandmother was from, and learned more about her Nonna’s life. “Not everyone has a ‘Leave It To Beaver’ style grandma,” she says.

Tony Mennuto, 60, Huntington

His story: “Massage: A Love Story”

Mennuto is married to the founder of “Every Family’s Got One” — they met as actors and improvisors in a comedy troupe in New York City about 30 years ago. His story travels back to a trip they took to Italy. “Right after we got engaged, we took a very romantic trip to Rome — strolling on streets, having amazing gelato, sipping wine,” he says. “We decided to get a massage. My story is about the first time I got a massage.” It didn’t go the way you might expect, and Mennuto’s comical piece explains why.


Dawn Nagle, of Center Moriches, and Barbara Herel, of Huntington, have been friends since growing up together in Bethpage, and they've always wanted to produce an event together, both say. So when Nagle saw the Southampton Cultural Center with its art gallery and 160-seat theater, she thought it would be the perfect venue to combine their talents.

"We're trying to increase the audience for both, so people who are interested in art know about the show and vice versa," Nagle says, who runs the online Dawn Nagle Gallery.

Seventeen artists and two teenage art students will be displaying in Southampton; pieces include school lockers painted to look like a row of books, Nagle says. The show is open through July 17, with two additional reception evenings planned for 4 to 8 p.m. on July 2 and 9, Nagle says. Receptions are free and include music and drinks, and all art is for sale, she says.