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Patchogue Theatre names new executive director, chairman

The Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, seen

The Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, seen on Jan. 18, 2017, has a new executive director. Credit: Ed Betz

The Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, one of the village’s biggest draws, has a new executive director.

The theater last Thursday named Gary Hygom, producing director at Bay Street Theater of Sag Harbor, to the top post. Hygom, who will report to the board of directors, replaces John Ashline, who retired in November.

Hygom starts in Patchogue Monday. His salary wasn’t available.

Additionally, Christopher Capobianco, a theater board member since 2005, takes over as chairman of the board of directors.

Capobianco, who begins his role immediately, replaces Barbara Kane, who served as chairwoman for more than 10 years.

“It was time to let somebody else take the reins,” Kane said. “I didn’t have the time anymore.”

Kane said she plans to remain a board member. The chairperson position is unpaid.

Theatre officials said they expect Hygom and Capobianco to lead the performing arts center in a new creative direction.

“Capobianco worked very hard for the theater. He’s the perfect candidate for the position,” Kane said. “He’s so committed and brings so much to the theater.

She called Hygom “a person who is very committed to the type of work he’s going to do. He brings a lot of connections with him. He’s enthusiastic about bringing new programs to the theater.”

Hygom spent 20 years working at the Bay Street Theater where he was responsible for developing programming such as a classic American film series featuring celebrity guests including actors Julie Andrews and Alec Baldwin.

Patchogue theater officials said Hygom took a fading cabaret series on Monday nights and replaced it with a headline comedy series featuring up-and-coming comedians such as actress Amy Schumer.

“I could not be more excited to take on this wonderful new challenge, creating new programming and working within a diverse and vibrant community,” Hygom said in a statement.

Capobianco first joined the Patchogue theater as a volunteer in 1999, and was asked to join the organization’s board of directors in 2005. He curated a local music series, “Live in the Lobby,” which ran for 12 seasons, officials said, and organized the first Patchogue Folk Festival and the Patchogue Arts Festival.

“This is a big moment for Patchogue Theatre as we seek to expand our reach as a regional performing arts center while continuing to nurture and support the thriving local arts scene here in Patchogue,” Capobianco said in a statement.

Patchogue Theatre opened in 1923 as the largest theater in Suffolk County, officials said. Last year, the venue underwent $1 million in renovations to replace the seats, which now number 1,049. Parts of the roof were also repaired.


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