South Shore Theatre Experience

Deborah Cascio Plezia ~ Artistic Director

Mission Statement

Founded in 2009 to fill a void in children’s theatre workshop programs,

South Shore Theatre Experience is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that strives to bring the joy and love of theatre to everyone through theatre classes & workshops, magic shows and our professional adult theatre company. We perform Broadway & Off-Broadway classics, as well as original works from local writers, for the community, both young and old. We are ardent in our desire to develop and foster learning workshops for children. We are committed to helping charities and organizations in our community with our programs, as our organization believes in "Paying it Forward". We try to do that in everything we do.

Life is Good!

~Debbie & Ted Plezia

Board of Directors

Deborah Cascio Plezia ~ Artistic Director

Ted Plezia ~ Executive Producer

Leslie Ippolito ~ Resident Musical Director

Martin Knapp ~ Associate Director

Christopher Hackert ~ Playwright in Residence

William Cherno ~ Barrister

David Schrader ~ Planned Giving Director

Deborah Cascio Plezia - Artistic Director

Deborah has been involved in theatre for over 40 years. She has designed, painted and built sets, run lighting & sound boards, managed props, stage managed, written for theatre, produced, directed, acted and has costumed at most theatres on Long Island. She has performed regionally and Off-Broadway and has starred in the world premieres of many shows as well as the Long Island premieres of such shows as "Breaking Legs" (Angie), "Spiked Heels" (Georgie), "Catholic School Girls" (Maria Theresa), "The Convertible Girl" (Christine), "Four Dogs and a Bone" (Brenda), Love, Loss & What I Wore and "Sylvia" in the title role to name a few. Recently she has starred in It Had to Be You (with her husband) and Steel Magnolias (M'Lynn) ... She has also worked in TV, commercial print ads and narrated the Channel 21 Emmy award winning documentary "Let's Talk About Sex" hosted Gabrielle Cartaris. Besides teaching classes here at SSTE, she has worked as drama advisor/ director/ costumer in many area schools and was the Drama Advisor for West Babylon Junior High School and East Islip Middle School. She also started and ran a 5th grade theatre program within the school district that raised money for Senior Scholarships for over 8 years. Deborah also volunteered for many years with the Scholarship Committee for a local community theatre group and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as a counselor/ mentor. Deborah has studied acting with HB Studios, Stella Adler and Suffolk Community College. She also studied at The School of Visual Arts, NYC; Phil Black Dance, NYC; and Eglevsky Ballet. Deborah resides in West Babylon with her husband and has three grown children. On a personal note, over the years she and her husband have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting, learning and experiencing theatre from some of the best actors in NYC and on Long Island...In their 'Pay it Forward' attitude, they hope to provide low cost benefit performances and theatre experiences for children and adults...It is this passion that they hope to take into every show they do. Exciting the children into performing their best or doing a show for adults and bringing them into another world for just a little while. This is what gives them their greatest joy.... and they hope to share that with you....

Life is good! <3

Ted Plezia - Executive Producer

Ted has been involved in magic and theatre for over 30 years. He, also, has stage managed, designed sets, has written and produced for Long Island Theatre. He has starred in the Long Island premieres of "Greetings" (Mickey) and "Ragtime" (Willy Conklin) as well as world premiere plays such as Cruise to Switzerland. His "Storytime Magic" and "The Magic of Thaddeus" has been featured in Fios 1 , LI Parenting and Good Times magazines and he builds many of the illusions you see in his shows. He has performed to sell out crowds for years at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center with his family oriented original magic shows. He is a founder of The Parlor of Mystery, Long Island's ONLY ongoing magic show for adults featuring a new shows every month and performs with them regularly. With Deborah, they operated "Partners in Crime", their own murder mystery company for private events and restaurants in the tri-state area and still offer this service to fundraising for local organizations. Email us for info on all magic parties.

Leslie Ippolito - Resident Musical Director

For the past twenty years, Leslie has been teaching private vocal and piano lessons to children and adults of all ages. Her style is a laid back one focusing on the needs and personal style of the student. Leslie has prepared many of her students for all levels of NYSSMA, auditions that they may have, helps them prepare for their parts in any performances that they may be in, and accompanies them for open mic performances if that's what they like to do. She has been the children's musical director and musical director for our adult productions at SSTE for the past 6 years.

Martin Knapp - Associate Director

Martin is graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NYC '95) A trained stage actor who seamlessly worked his way into directing. Some of his directing credits here at SSTE are 'Five Women Wearing the Same Dress' , 'Walter's Wish', 'Dog Sees God' ,'Charming, Darling, Deadly'and most recently 'Sexual Perversity in Chicago'. A few of his favorite roles on stage have been Jake - A Lie of the Mind, Jake - Jake's Women, Scrooge - Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge , himself in 'Completely Hollywood' and Cal Porter - 'Mothers and Sons'. Martin also teaches Acting for Adults. 

Christopher Hackert - Playwright in Residence

Chris has been a part of the Long Island theater scene for more than a dozen years. He began his theater career as a contributing playwright for Middle Class American Productions. After having several of his one act comedies produced by MCAP, Chris was offered an acting role by the troupe's leader John Blenn. Chris accepted the role and has been hooked on acting ever since. He went on to appear in many MCAP productions and continued writing for the troupe's American Dating Catastrophes series for many years. Chris' MCAP experiences opened the door for him to write and act in other venues as well. He later joined the SEE Saw Comedy Improv troupe and quickly became a featured actor and head writer for the company, appearing all over Long Island and New York City. Chris continued to write, act, and direct in several Long Island play festivals and took home best actor, best director, and funniest play awards in two Northport based One Act Play Festivals. Chris currently works with the Northport based Bare Bones Theater Company where he attended several acting classes and workshops. He appeared in the lead role in two of Bare Bones shows, The Pavilion and Scapino! and received great praise for his work in each of those. Most recently, Chris' one act play., "Don't Forget to Write" was accepted for production and Chris was asked to direct the 30 minute comedy as well. Chris is also thrilled to call South Shore Theater Experience his other home, having worked with Deb and Ted Plezia at MCAP. Chris has appeared in many SSTE plays, including the hilarious Completely Hollywood. His full length play "Til My Dying Day" was staged by SSTE in March 2013 as well as numerous one act plays over the years. Hiw play Walter's Wish (which world premiered here) won Best Play for BroadwayWorld.com. Chris is the owner of the East Meadow Florist in East Meadow. He is also an active volunteer in the East Meadow community having served as President of both the East Meadow Kiwanis Club and the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce.

William (Bill) Cherno - Barrister​

 Bill has been an attorney since being admitted in 1980. He graduated Hofstra University School of Law in 1979 after having received a BA in Political Science from The American University in Washington, DC. Bill started his career as a litigator and spent 10 years in house with Chase Manhattan Bank and then turned to Real Estate Law. As all attorney’s he is a frustrated actor. He started in grade school and has continued since that time. In the past few years he has performed in many shows; comedies, dramas and musicals (including his new favorite-Silence, The Musical-a musical parody of Silence of the Lambs as told by the lambs). He continues to practice Law, has become a Licensed Real Estate Broker and acts here at SSTE and elsewhere on Long Island.

David Schrader - Planned Giving Director

David “Squid” Schrader has been, along with his family, members of South Shore Theater Experience since its beginnings. He is a longstanding member of SSTE’s Bad Apples Improv. When not performing he is a Field Sales Manager for Empire Merchants working on the Moet and Hennessy portfolio. He also volunteers with Babylon United Methodist Church’s soup kitchen and Save the Great South Bay organization as the Lindenhurst Creek defender which works with the community by cleaning up waterways and educating our residents on improving our waterways and ultimately the Bay! Dave is also the Environmental Liaison for the Village of Lindenhurst concentrating on improving our local environment and quality of life.

Henry Horstmann - Vocal Instructor

Henry has been an active musician on Long Island and NYC since graduating from The Crane School of Music in 2018. He has performed with The Gilbert and Sullivan Light Opera Company of LI, New York Lyric Opera Theatre, Geneva Light Opera Company, Bronx Opera, and also as a supernumerary at The Metropolitan Opera. Henry has worked with students of all ages and enjoys helping students unlock their fullest musical potential

Carolyn Popadin - Acting Instructor

Carolyn is a NY based teaching artist, director and performer. She brings her love of theatre to students throughout Long Island and Brooklyn directing school musicals and incorporating theatre arts into class curriculums.

She is also a drama consultant for Council Center of Brooklyn, co-director of Infinity Arts LI, and a member of the theatre faculty at Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts.

Carolyn has studied in the professional acting program with the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, UK and has toured the US with the National Theatre for the Performing Arts. She has appeared in numerous east coast, regional, and Off-Off Broadway productions.

As a teaching artist, Carolyn motivates her students to reach their fullest potential by making brave and interesting theatrical choices and, most important, to believe in themselves. She encourages her students throughout the creative process allowing for personal growth and discovery. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion with the students at South Shore Theatre Experience.

High School Senior Scholarship Recipients 2021:

Isabel Camacho

Ryan Lewis

James Rossomangno

High School Senior Scholarship Recipients 2020:

Jenna Halvorsen

Darren DelOrfano

High School Senior Scholarship Recipients 2019:

Aaron Liebowitz

Monika Orzelowski

High School Senior Scholarship Recipients 2018:

Danielle DelOrfano

Mackenzie Grimes

Sara Halvorsen

Lauren Prendergast

Megan Reis

Amanda Riche'

High School Senior Scholarship Recipients 2017:

Megan Burke

Robert Gianferrara

Michael McAlvin

Annarose Vallone

Emily Welliver

West Babylon HS Senior Scholarship Recipients 2016:

Paige Leddy

Samantha LoBasso

Angeline Meller

Thaddeus Plezia

Callie Seward

West Babylon HS Senior Scholarship Recipients 2015:

Cassidy Lilly

Alexa Lucchesse

Joseph Valenti

What People are Saying:


Loved, loved, loved it! ~ Louise M.

The show was great ! We really enjoyed it! ~Michelle D.

"All Shook Up" - Completely/totally enjoyable, entertaining evening. Casting superb. Acting Phenomenal. What can I say............Great Job/Success once again, Deb! ~Jane T.

Great show, everyone should get their tickets to see this-a talented cast of young people. ~Bill C.

Love it!!! ~ Fran L.

OMG. This was an incredibly brilliant and funny show! ~ Alan S.

Great show! We didn't stop laughing all night... Angela H. 

Four words... MUST SEE THIS SHOW! ~ Matt H. 

Just hysterical! Great job! ~ Nancy R.

It was sooooo much fun!!!...Rambie! lol!...congrats on another great show ~Katie S.

I thought it was really funny! ~ Gail S.

Ephrons' poignant tales of obsession

Originally published: October 25, 2012 12:08 PM Updated: October 25, 2012 12:22 PM

By STEVE PARKS [email protected]

Photo credit: Ted Plezia | Starring in "Love, Loss and What I Wore," are, from left, Patricia Consalazio, Deborah Cascio, Harriet Baker, Mary Ann Cafiero and Sylvia Walsh

The show runs through Oct. 27, 2012, at South Shore Theatre in Lindenhurst.

All three essentials in "Love, Loss, and What I Wore," which won a 2010 Drama Desk award, figure prominently in the 28 vignettes by Nora and Delia Ephron. The experience -- it would be misleading to call it a play -- makes its post-Off-Broadway Long Island premiere, performed, aptly enough, by the South Shore Theatre Experience. Superficially, the stories, inspired by Ilene Beckerman's book of the same name, are about clothes and accessories. But the five women confessing to fashion obsessions are really talking about what animates their desire to wear something that makes them feel thinner, smarter, happier, hipper and, of course, sexier. Especially for special occasions: weddings, yes, but also the first time she tells her boyfriend that she'll spend the night, or when she's mortified by an "outfit" her mother bought her when everybody else is dressing like hippies.

Gingy, nominally the narrator, played with coy restraint by Trish Consalazio, traces her fashion history with cute drawings: from her Brownie uniform to closet artifacts with which her granddaughters delight in playing dress-up. In between, are three marriages, motherhood and the loss of a child. The other ladies play multiple roles of women we've met or, for the opposite gender, may have been at times. Harriet Baker, Mary Ann Cafiero, Sylvia Walsh and Deborah Cascio Plezia range in age and body type. The casting by director Martin Knapp reflects that of the original Off-Broadway lineup led by Tyne Daly and Rosie O'Donnell.

Players rotated frequently Off-Broadway, which is why the show is essentially a staged reading, though it seems unnecessary here. (The first reading was at East Hampton's Guild Hall in 2008.) Each woman, dressed in black, has a bar-stool-type chair and a sheet-music stand for the script, sparingly referred to on opening night. Each also has a purse (or substitute) that accessorizes one of the funnier discourses. A story about breast cancer, delivered by Walsh, is hilarious, shocking and moving. She wants a tattoo on her reconstructed breast rather than a nipple.

Loss comes in several forms in the Ephron sisters' script, but none sadder than one that's never mentioned. The show closed Off-Broadway on March 27, after 1,013 performances. Nora Ephron died June 26 of leukemia. She was 71.

WHAT "Love, Loss and What I Wore"

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts, 149 N. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst

TICKETS $15; southshoretheatre.com, 631-669-0506

Debbie and I would like to thank you so very much for the generous donation made to Strength for Life in memory of Evelyn Knapp. We are always thrilled to learn about the talents that Julia, Natalie, Isabella and Martin Knapp share in this arena, and I trust “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” was another huge success. Strength for Life is our answer to Evelyn’s vision, to help others living with cancer live their optimal life and we are honored that you chose our charity to benefit from this show and help keep Evelyn’s memory in the forefront.

~Jacqueline Errico, Strength for Life

   The World of Wonder

Deb's Web - The LI Theater Buddy Newsletter 2/3/2011

ed. at Dix Hills Performing Arts Center

We had no idea that Ted Plezia is a magician. AND not only a magician but one of the top magicians on LI. We know Ted as Debbie Cascio's husband and a local actor. We've been to their home on many occasions. AND we know Debbie as a LI Performer/Director and costumer (she costumes all my shows at Longwood). As THADDEUS, Ted, a past president of the Suffolk Co Chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, a highly decorated Nassau Co Police Officer, medic and helicopter pilot, delighted his sold out crowd. It was a one-night only event, but I'm sure he'll be back again next year and you shouldn't miss your opportunity to see an entertaining actor/magician at work. Thaddeus draws the audience in by using a story-telling approach and by inviting many volunteers onto the stage to "help." The squeals and laughter from the audience were non-stop throughout. Of all the illusions he performed, I was at a loss to figure all but one of them out and I've seen lots of magicians perform. As a fellow audience member commented, "I come back every year with the kids - it's always different. He always adds something new." It was a fun-filled afternoon and one I would highly recommend.

Want to see more of Thaddeus?