“Ladies, wear your best hat,” the invitation to the naming party for The Stewart F. Lane & Bonnie Comley Event Lawn at The Parrish Art Museum. And so, a panoply of palettes dotted the manicured ground, already the scene of jazz and movie nights.
“This was an ideal opportunity,” Lane — a hands-on Broadway producer, theater owner, author, playwright and director — told us. “In the last 13 summers that Bonnie and I have been here, we’ve always supported the art museum. And when they decided to move the location to this wonderful new area, I wanted to be part of it.” The Event Lawn seemed the perfect fit. “It dovetails nicely with our philosophy of contributing to local community affairs in our summer home. Plus, we could actually involve the idea of a theatrical event with the arts. Performance art with regular art is an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.” The Lanes also support the Bay Street Theater, Child Development Center of the Hamptons, and Watermill Center out here, among other East End causes.
They would love to see some outdoor theater on “their lawn” as well. “Greek tragedy is always fun in the summer,” Stewart quipped. He got a chance to keep his acting chops up when he was cast in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” as Erronius, opposite Broadway stars Peter Scolari, Jackie Hoffman and Conrad John Schuck last summer at the Bay Street Theater. “Acting has always been my first love in the theater. It opened doors to other possibilities, including writing, directing and producing.” That includes a musical he wrote and is developing, called a “Moment in Time.” “Inspired by the music and lyrics of John Denver,” and performed in Long Island and Pasedena workshops, Stewart says he anticipates bringing it to Broadway. He also says it should do extremely well on tour. “The nation loves John Denver: mountains, clean air, clean water and hiking.”
The play is “an engaging father/son story about reconciliation and sacrifice. It’s something you’ve never seen on the Broadway stage, capturing a certain slice of Americana and tipping my hat to William Faulkner. It’s about an American soldier fighting for his life in Afghanistan. Through remembering his history with his girlfriend, his parents, and his father camping in the mountains of West Virginia that he discovers a real reason to live and survive.”
Perhaps that soldier’s tale can add another Tony to the Lane’s arsenal. Their most recent win was for “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.”