Their mantra is honor the past, embrace the present and create the future. Now, the Herricks Players are heading in a brand new direction after 40 years thanks to some devoted community theater lovers.
“I’m a person who’s been a part of the Herricks community, doing shows there since 1991,” said Mineola resident John Mezzo, who is guiding the Herricks Players in a new direction, along with his longtime friend Gary Pipa. “I recently joined the board and I happen to be the first person directing the next show, where we’re launching our new brand and logo.”
The new show that Mezzo is directing for the Herricks Community Center that is located at 999 Herricks Rd. is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“It’s all music, which I hope is not a deterrent to people,” explained Mezzo, who will be playing the role of Pharaoh in the musical. “It’s not an opera, but it has a nice cool rock aspect to it.”
“I think the community is going to love seeing the musical because it’s really bright with amazing colors and we’re going to have a live full orchestra between 10 and 15 pieces,” added Mezzo about the musical, which is slated to run for two weekends this November.
Mezzo, who is a life-long theater person, pursued theater professionally when he was younger and maintained theater and performance as part of his life because of his passion for it.
“I do it in the form of regional theater, Off-Broadway performances in New York City and improv classes,” said Mezzo. “Herricks has always been a local home to me where I’ve been involved and had been in productions like The Producers and Young Frankenstein.”
In terms of guiding the Herricks Players in a new direction, it was the perfect time for Mezzo and Pipa to jump on the opportunity.
“Gary and I have been friends for more than 30 years and we’ve done a lot of theater together,” explained Mezzo. “Admittedly, the timing is done based on the fact we are now empty nesters and we can dedicate the time again. It was that, married with the fact we have a passion to revitalize and take Herricks to the next level because there’s so much already in place and we wanted to take our skills and our talents and apply it here, so we started by joining a board, which is actually trying to work differently too. With the help of my wife, who’s a professional brand manager and graphic designer, we got a new logo and we’re working on a new website.”
The plan is to take the Herricks Players, which has made money in the past for the Herricks Community Fund, and pay homage to those that came before them.
“For our mantra we want to respect the people who got us here and appreciate those who’ve been around us as of late,” said Mezzo. “We have a beautiful stage, this gorgeous theater, funding and a costume room, and we just know that we can drive this to the next level.”