Whether they remember the joy of watching high-quality performances or the anticipation of stopping for ice cream after the show, generations of Beach Haven residents and visitors from all over share the same fond memories of the Surflight Theatre. The theatre was a staple in the Long Beach Island area for 68 years.
Countless visitors cherished Surflight Theatre’s unique performances that rivaled those on Broadway.
To the deep dismay of Surflight’s fans, the theatre closed its doors for two years after suffering harsh financial blows and devastation from both Superstorm Sandy and a fire. It was the first time that visitors could not enjoy a show at the Surflight Theatre since 1950.
The loss of this hub for professional theatre left the community in disarray and looking for someone to bring back the former glory of the Surflight Theatre.
Luckily for all those who deeply missed Surflight during that two year period, someone with their shared passion stepped in to help.
Al Parinello was born in Hoboken and is a current Old Tappan and Brigantine resident. He also has more than 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry and is the new owner of the Surflight Theatre.
Parinello has spent his career revolutionizing entertainment at the Jersey Shore as he produced more than 100 concerts in the Atlantic City casinos. When it came time for Parinello to transition into producing musical theatre, everyone he knew pointed him in the direction of Surflight for the theatre’s talented cast, crew and producers.
Because he spent so much time working with Surflight, Parinello understands the loss that visitors felt when they were forced to say farewell to their beloved theatre
“People miss it,” Parinello said. “It was a big part of their lives.”
Parinello is the producer of the world’s longest running musical and credits his success to the techniques he learned from the professionals at Surflight Theatre.
He knows what made Surflight successful and plans to use that knowledge now that Surflight is back.
“When I look at Surflight Theatre, I see a painting that’s half full,” Parinello explained. “And we have a thousand colors on the pallette.”
The theatre is already breaking ticket sales records on a daily basis since it reopened in June, according to Parinello.
Along with the broadway-style performances in the theatre, Surflight is also known for the performances at the Show Place Ice Cream Parlour. What Parinello called “the show after the show,” this ice cream parlour features singing waiters and waitresses who serenade customers as they enjoy the delicious flavors that they serve. Guests who want the show to go on can just walk across the street to the ice cream parlour.
Because the Surflight Theatre is a non-profit theatre, the Show Place is also a crucial part of Surflight’s future success. Parinello said he understands this business model will focus attention on both of these crucial components, which have been staples in the community.
He explained that the outpouring of support he’s seen from hand-written letters to volunteers helping out with the reopening process has truly warmed his heart.
This outpouring of support is also a testament to the impact Surflight Theatre has had on all those involved in its more than 60 year history.
The theatre offers a variety of shows such as broadway musicals, children’s theatre, comedy and concert performances. To be a part of the revival and buy tickets to any of Surflight Theatre’s performances, call 609-492-9477 or visit www.surflight.org.
- Hero (Top) Feature Image (& Additional Images): © Melanie Hunter