Stars Back Bay Street Gala

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Susan Lucci might be famous for playing and devious and demanding divas on television but in real life she’s a good-hearted giver. The Emmy Award-winner and Quogue resident, who is currently starring in Marc Cherry’s “Devious Maids,” will host Bay Street Theatre’s annual “Rock the Dock Summer Benefit Bash” on Saturday, July 20.

Philanthropy, especially when it comes to the arts, is important to Ms. Lucci, a longtime supporter of several East End cultural organizations. And Bay Street is just the sort of place that she is passionate about, so when a friend called and asked her to host the fundraiser, she quickly jumped on board, she reported during a recent telephone interview.

“I was so happy to hear from her,” Ms. Lucci said of the theater’s special events coordinator, Mary Ellen DiPrisco. “Bay Street is definitely a destination. I have been to this event a number of times, and it’s one of the most fun events, I had to say yes.”

For an actor with roots here on the East End and fond memories of being on the stage, Ms. Lucci said that she’s passionate about keeping Bay Street alive and thriving.

“I love Sag Harbor, and at the heart of it is Bay Street Theatre. It reminds me of summer stock. The wonderful productions, the first-rate performances, the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd …” she mused. “This is a real artistic community, and one that must be supported.”

Another familiar and famous face, Joy Behar, is also planning on attending “Rock the Dock.” The Bay Street Board member—who will also be performing during a “Broads for Bay Street” benefit with Susie Essman, Julie Halston, Angela LaGreca and Mercedes Ruehl on Saturday, August 3—said that the success of the theater is critical to the area.

“This is hyperbolic but if the theater left, I would leave,” the East Hampton resident said during a telephone interview last month. “It’s crucial. Without Bay Street, you do not have Sag Harbor. Buy tickets.”

Ms. Behar’s sentiments were echoed by fellow Bay Street Board member and East End actor, Richard Kind, who has participated in the fundraising event for years.

“The theater is such an important entity to the scope of the Island. It’s a very, very important place and shouldn’t be taken for granted,” he said last month during a telephone interview. “I think it’s important to the town and to people’s lives. They are getting Broadway talent, dare I say ‘Broadway Talent,’ for $60 or $70, not $150 or more.”

Mr. Kind had planned on returning as the auction emcee at the event again this year but scheduling conflicts will prevent him from attending in person, he said during intermission of the play “Irma Vep” at Bay Street on Sunday. But, he added, he will still be a part of the festivities in spirit. And, of course, there’s the annual auction opportunity for attendees to bid on a game of golf with him.

“I always auction off golf with. I love playing golf … and I’m sort of fun to play golf with,” the avid golfer said, then remembered one of his favorite moments as auctioneer. “One of my favorite memories of galas past. I was auctioning off golf with myself. Naomi and Liev [married acting couple and East Enders—Ms. Watts and Mr. Schreiber] were there. They kept bidding up the price. Afterward, I said ‘Liev, I’ll play with you any time.’”

He paused for dramatic effect.

“He doesn’t even play golf,” Mr. Kind laughed.

Bay Street Theatre’s annual “Rock the Dock Summer Benefit Bash” will be held on Saturday, July 20, in honor of Sybil Christopher. The benefit starts at 6:30 p.m. under the tent overlooking the waterfront of the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor and will continue with dinner, dancing and fantasy auctions. Tickets range from $150 for dessert, drinks and dancing from 9 to 11 p.m. to $550 per person for the full affair. Tables are also available for groups of 10 or more. For reservations and additional information, call 725-0818, ext. 129 or visit baystreet.org.

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