The Montauk Playhouse Community Center is kicking off the fund-raising season with a new slate of officers on its board of directors — Lisa DeVeglio as president, Carol Nye as vice president, Rori Finazzo Butterfield as secretary, and Kathy Beckmann as treasurer.
The group has been networking all winter, holding cultivation dinners, which they call friend-raisers. They invite residents to dinner at board members’ houses and at Montauk restaurants to speak about the Playhouse project, raise awareness, and answer questions. The dinners, Ms. DeVeglio said, have been very successful, with guests not only offering money but also getting more people involved to help move the project forward.
While the main section of the Playhouse has been open for six years, it has always been the foundation’s goal to raise at least another $10 million to add an aquatic center, a lap and recreation pool, a 299-seat performing arts center, and a community room where people can cozy up in overstuffed chairs to socialize with their friends and neighbors.
Now the president, Ms. DeVeglio has risen through the ranks on the board and, with her husband, Bob (otherwise known as Bing) DeVeglio, was part of a small group that met monthly, starting in 1998, at the Montauk Firehouse with then-East Hampton Town Councilman Pete Hammerle to get the project off the ground. The group was confronted with many obstacles, some of them from town officials who suggested it would be less expensive to tear the building down and rebuild.
But like the little engine that could, they wouldn’t take no for an answer, forged through mounds of paperwork and bureaucracy, and opened in 2006, with a children’s and adult day care center, town-run recreational programs and a town clerk’s annex, a fully staffed gym, the Manual and Sports Physical Therapy center, and a branch of Body Tech Health and Fitness. On most days, the parking lot is full.
“The building, as it is, is buzzing all the time with activities,” Ms. DeVeglio said. “The pool and theater could add so much more.” The goal now, she said, is to get the whole community involved, “from the cashier at the local grocery store to the second-home owner with the $5 million oceanfront home, and everyone in between.”
The board has also spent much of the winter researching private foundations and having the raw outdoor spaces graded, readying for the annual party, which will be held under a tent on the grounds on Aug. 4.
Taste of New Orleans
Although smaller activities take place year round, summer is when the Playhouse Foundation steps up its fund-raising events, starting on Saturday night with A Taste of New Orleans at the Solé East resort, which is owned by Dave and Cindi Ceva, who, it was noted, have been very helpful to the Playhouse by hosting several events on their property on Second House Road and donating most of the proceeds back to the foundation. They have also reduced room rates that evening, so guests can whoop it up and pretend to be in the Big Easy.
The party runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and will feature Dr. Zsa’s Powdered Zydeco Band, a crawfish boil, and fancy cocktails, beer, and wine, all with a taste of Louisiana. Tickets, at $50 apiece, can be purchased at Ms. DeVeglio’s store, Willow, on the south Plaza in downtown Montauk or online at MontaukPlayouse.org.