Rich Mahogany Sells Out at Boulton Center

FRONT ROW SEATING: Rich Mahogany at the Boulton Center prior to the performance. Photos by Danielle D’Agostino.

            A favorite Long Island band got the nod on Friday, November 17 to jumpstart the triumphant return of The Boulton Center for the Performing Arts after its two-and-a-half-year hiatus.

            Rich Mahogany, is a favorite local band that has been playing all over Long Island for the past 18 years, was welcomed at Boulton Center to a packed crowd.

             The theatre arts center often hailed as a symbol of the revitalization of downtown Bay Shore remained shuttered since 2020 upon the onslaught of the pandemic. Owner Frank Boulton said they were just waiting for the permit for the marquee to reopen it. 

“You have to open up when you can,” Boulton said.  The performing arts center wanted to open earlier, but the permit was slated to arrive in late fall and finally it did. 

Regarding Rich Mahogany being the band of choice to reopen the Boulton Center post pandemic, Boulton said, “They have a huge following.” 

Rich Mahogany is known for playing in the Bay Shore, Brightwaters area, as well as Fire Island and this was a great act to let everyone know that the performing arts center is open again.

The band did not disappoint as they had the Boulton Center audience on their feet enjoying every moment. 

On the band’s popularity on Long Island, Greg Rabin, lead vocalist and percussionist, said, “Hard work.” 

When the band was just starting out, they agreed that the most important thing was practice.  “If we are going to do this, we need to work hard and make sure we practice regularly,” Rabin added.

The band plays a variety of styles from classic rock to Billy Joel to modern rock to reggae to disco to country and consists of six members. Besides Rabin, there is Mike Dickson, drums and vocals, Peter Kletchka, vocals and guitar, Rich Krabak, keyboards and vocals, George McRedmond, bass and vocals, and Tim O’Connor, guitar and vocals.        

The band started in March 2006, when Rabin’s brother was turning 40 years old. Rabin asked his brother, what do you want for your birthday and he said, a live performance. What only a good brother would do, Rabin recruited Kletchka, Dickson and some other friends to form a band to play at a party on the north shore of Long Island. After the show, people asked the newly assembled group to play at their parties and at backyard barbeques. The band obliged, and here they are, 18 years later, extremely honored to be the ones to help reopen this treasured Long Island venue. 

            Boulton remembers going to the performing arts center when he was a kid.  It was called the Regent Theatre back then, where he watched Beatles and Elvis movies and even “Old Yeller.”  While being the chairman of the local YMCA, Boulton did not like what was going on with the Regent Theatre and when there was an opportunity, he bought it.  He then donated it to the YMCA in 1997 and in the early 2000s, it opened for live musical performances. During this time, it had his name on it, but it was donated to the YMCA. Fast-forward to this year, Boulton bought the performing arts center back from the YMCA.  This month Boulton was finally able to reopen his namesake center for the community where he grew up and loves.

There were so many great shows that played at the Bay Shore performing arts location over the years Boulton explained, but some of his top acts were Orleans, Timothy B. Schmit, the bass player from the Eagles and Bryan Adams. There were also performances by comedians and other entertainers.  Boulton is fond of all types of music and enjoys the performing arts aspect of it. It doesn’t matter if it is film, dance, or live entertainment, he loves every bit of it.

Todd Schumacher of Brightwaters considers himself a super-fan of Rich Mahogany.  He tries to make every performance. 

“They are all incredible musicians,” Schumacher said. 

Besides Friday’s memorable night at the Boulton Center, one of Schumacher’s best highlights of the band was their barge show at Fair Harbor. 

“It was about three or four years ago and it was one of those perfect Fire Island nights,” he recalls. “The sunset behind them, the atmosphere was amazing and they hit on all cylinders that night. Friday night, the crowd had the same electric feel at the Boulton Center.” 

The Boulton Center is a 501c3, not-for-profit organization affiliated with the Great South Bay Arts and Entertainment Foundation, also established by Boutlon . As for future plans for the performing arts center, Boulton said, “We are going to widen the bandwidth.” He wants to book national touring acts, give venue opportunities for the better bands like Rich Mahogany, screen more films, bring in playwrights and authors, as well as just provide the community with a little more than was offered in the past.

About the Author: Joseph D’Agostino is a math teacher with the Freeport Public Schools, presently working toward his second degree in Broadcasting and Mass Communication at SUNY Oswego.