The irascible but endearing Ralph Kramden is coming back, as is his smart, no-nonsense wife, Alice. And Ed Norton, Ralph’s dimwitted, loyal best friend will be returning too when the Slayer Players perform “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” recreating one of the classic 39 episodes from “The Honeymooners.”
A tremendously popular television show which aired in 1955 for a year, it is more than likely unknown to the younger generation but remains in the hearts and minds of senior citizens.
The Slayer Players, a group of talented local actors, are serving up nostalgia to what they hope will be a large audience of senior citizens at the Glen Cove Senior Center on Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. free of charge.
Stella Shank, the executive director at the Glen Cove Regency, said she is grateful that the play is being offered to seniors midday, a more accessible time for them. And it will be great for them to see Glen Cove talent, she added.
She’s known Patrick Marone, who will play Kramden, for 19 years. Although Shank became the Regency’s executive director in February, she’s worked there for 29 years where Marone has served as its executive chef.
“Anything Pat gets involved in we try to support as much as possible,” Shank said, adding that the Regency is one of the sponsors of the play. “Pat is one of the funniest guys. He not only wants to be sure our seniors eat healthy cooked meals but does everything with humor. Our seniors gravitate toward him.”
A standup comedian as well as a chef, Marone’s appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” and in films. He played Kramden with Slayer Players for the first time in 2019. Marone said he loves being a comedian and acting, but also enjoys the company of seniors. It was in part his idea to bring the show to the Glen Cove Senior Center.
“I wanted to give back to the seniors,” he explained. “I wanted to do something nice for them. I think they’ll get a kick out of it.”
Marone first met Fred DiMenna, who co-owns Glen Cove’s The View Grill with his wife Jeanine, in 1983 at Mr. America’s, a now shuttered gym in Farmingdale. DiMenna was a competitive bodybuilder at the time and Marone and others worked out with him.
“We’d shout, ‘Honeymooners’ lines when we worked out,” Marone recalled. “I was always a big Jackie Gleason fan growing up as a kid.”
Dr. Eve Lupenko-Ferrante, a dermatologist and former Glen Cove councilwoman, will portray Alice Kramden once again, which she enjoys.
“Not only do I love to have a good time myself while portraying a feisty and funny character like Alice Kramden, but I love making others smile and laugh,” she said. “What could be better than bringing people’s memories back to the times when things were simple, wholesome and family-oriented?”
Slayer Players first started in Nov 2016 performing mainly murder mysteries across the North Shore. Because “The Honeymooners” was DiMenna’s favorite childhood comedy, the company decided to expand.
Jeanine suggested to Fred that he ask Marone to play Kramden. Fred, who wrote and directed the episode, played Norton, which he will play once again at the senior center.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the Slayer Players had to put their performances on hold, though they did continue to rehearse via Zoom, Marone said. In June they performed once again at the View Grill. That’s when there was talk about performing “The Honeymooners” Christmas episode.
Marone said the size of the room at the senior center is conducive to putting on the show. It’s a large space which is needed for the authentic set that viewers saw on television — including the tiny refrigerator Alice seemed to somehow be able to store all the couple’s food in. And they will bring plenty of props and costumes too.
After a few minutes the audience will forget Marone is a chef and Lupenko-Ferrante a doctor. They will become Ralph and Alice Kramden instead.