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Summer musical opens this weekend on Shelter Island

This weekend, yet another grand old Shelter Island hotel will reopen.

Like the Ram’s Head, the Chequit and the Pridwin, the Prospect Hotel is a stately place of historical importance, overlooking the bay, a place where our grandparents carried on, and a hell of a good time was had by tourists and locals alike. 

But the Prospect Hotel burned down for the second time in 1942 (the first was in 1923) and comes back to life in “The Prospect of Summer,” a musical that opens at 6 p.m. Friday night at the Historical Society barn for a three-night run.

“The Prospect of Summer” is a new musical by Lisa Shaw, Shelter Island’s auteur/impresario who brought “Hill of Beans” to the Historical Society last summer for a sold-out run. The show is set during a weekend at the height of Prohibition, when rumrunners plied the local waters, Prohibitionists preached the evils of liquor, and con men and women looked for people with money to prey upon.

Ms. Shaw has created a cast of colorful hotel characters, with dancing, romancing, archery practice, rumrunners, attempted murder, and flying local seafood.

All singing, all dancing at the Shelter Island Historical Society this weekend. (Credit: Charity Robey)

The characters are based on real people, and the events actually happened, although it’s not clear anyone was singing about it at the time.

Many stars of last year’s production are back this year, including Marie Bishko and Lenore DiLeo-Berner as a pair of frisky and upwardly-mobile maids, and Janet D’Amato as their supervisor and killjoy, Mrs. Raynor.

Bruce Leggett-Flynn is C.G. Myers, the manager of the hotel responsible for mediating between Oscar, played by Tom Hashagen, a high-maintenance chef who carries a very sharp knife, and Durnan, the terrified hotel accountant played by Chris Herman.

Jenifer Maxson and Tim Purtell are Viola Frey and Harold O’Hara, grifters on-the-make who set out to cheat, but end up falling for each other.

Ticket sales benefit the Shelter Island Historical Society and are available on their site: shelterislandhistorical.org/2022musical.html